GitHub: Can no longer search code without being logged in


Since theres been some confusion with dates

In 2016 github made site side searching login only and hid the search bar if you werent logged in. This didnt include searching within a repository so that could still be done, just not all repositories

This year was the change being referred to in this link which made repository level searching require logging in

Blog post:…/2023-06-07-code-search-now-requires…


Microsoft sucks for this, outlook, “open source vscode”, and many other reasons.

That said my current workaround is to use sourcegraph.


FWIW Sourcegraph chrome extension adds a neat “open in Sourcegraph” to github pages and SG is just superior. Why would you use Github’s mediocre search either way ¯_(ツ)_/¯


It’s been this way for years. Really?

kryllic, avatar


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  • dbilitated, avatar

    do you log in to codeberg?

    kryllic, avatar

    Not to view code


    Honestly, I can’t wait for Forgejo to implement federation. Gitlab might do so too after Forgejo shows that it’s possible and gets a major following. They already are letting one external dude implement it after having slept on it for a good decade.


    Yeah. Right now GitHub is the only choice for my work to be seen; but someone is going to fix that by adopting activity Pub.

    I’ll run my own instance once that’s an option.

    Someone please correct me if it’s already in play and I’ve just missed it.


    It’s still not here. If you’re a Go or Ruby dev with some time, you could help out Forgejo or Gitlab.

    agilob, avatar

    Fantastic way to start a shitstorm. You people don’t even use search function logged out, because if you did, you would know they changed it in 2016. Microsoft has nothing to do with it.


    I have been able to search logged out within a repository, up to this year. I think what you are referring to is search across all repositories. That was indeed disables a while ago. But things did change this year, unfortunately. So yes there is a legitimate and new issue… Once more.


    What are you saying? We’re not supposed to form ignorant mobs with pitchforks?


    It’s not new, but it’s possible that this is the first ticket created to discuss it. I don’t search github using their shitty search anymore anyway: Long live

    mark, avatar

    This is helpful. Thanks. Didnt even realize it. No need to use something to point out how its not a good look. It’s still good to bring more awareness around how sites like Github are becoming a more of walled gardens. I agree with everything else you said though.


    I’m getting so exhausted with the constant outrage in every goddamn feed in my life.


    do a post

    whoisearth, avatar

    Ignore it, laugh and increase your awareness that people are dumb as shit but also have the humility to realize you’re also people and are also dumb as shit.

    It makes life far more palatable.


    So begins our final transformation… idiocracy

    whoisearth, avatar

    The alternative is depression


    Oh is that why I can’t seem to figure out where the damn search function is anymore? That’s legit been driving me nuts for a few years.

    mac, (edited ) avatar

    searching across all of github was made to be logged in then

    repository level searching though is relatively recent. Heres the blog post about the change dated in June this year…/2023-06-07-code-search-now-requires…

    This comment by an employee in the thread also calls out it was in 2023 and links to the blog post

    agilob, avatar

    Heres the blog post about the change dated in June this year

    Half year too late for that outrage anyway :)

    ISometimesAdmin, avatar

    Fuck's sake, people. Gitlab already didn't allow search unless you were logged in.
    This ain't enshittification.



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  • towerful,

    I don’t know that “requiring a free account” is enshitification.
    Enshitification is the pursuit of profits at the expense of users and core experience.

    Sure, it’s annoying. Especially if I’m checking something on a random computer that I don’t want to log into GitHub with.
    But worst case, I can search on my phone then navigate to the file.



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  • towerful,

    Right, and at the expense of who?
    You can’t just quote a small section of what I say, and “gotcha” me.
    How is this at the expense of users or core experience ?


    Well for the experience of users, cookies/tracking/having to log in.

    Personally, I’m annoyed when I’m trying to do a basic function and am forced to log in. I’m not affected by this particular case with GitHub, but as a user where this happens elsewhere it is annoying.

    I’d be interested in the rationale behind the decision, asking your same question to them. Why do they need account login to search repositories?



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  • towerful,

    I’m clearly using GitHub wrong if the search feature is that important.
    Just download the code. You don’t have to be logged in for that (that would be more of an example of enshitification). Then you can search it however you want.


    Reject shithub, return to open source


    I see they’ve finally started the Extinguish phase.


    2023, the year of Big Tech companies restricting their users in every single possible way. But why is 2023 not the year of users finally waking up and switching away from this proprietary garbage?


    The last part is happening. A lot of people switched to gogs/gitea/forgejo instances like codeberg when GH pulled a copilot on them. Lemmy went from being an obscure platform to a good one with lots of new users, better codebase and loads of clients when Reddit screwed its users. Mastodon was already healthy, but ballooned in size when twitter was trashed by Musk. YouTube is the only platform standing without a viable alternative, but people are trying after their adblock shenanigans.

    Are the big proprietary platforms dead yet? No. Did they lose the audience - only a little bit. But it has made the alternative open platforms healthy and stronger. We are no longer in a condition where big platforms can just screw their users knowing that nothing will happen to them. Each transgression will cause more and more people to migrate. That’s a good thing.

    Jaysyn avatar

    And this is why my Org rolled our own Gitea server.


    Hey Guys, Microsoft is cool now, they really care for Open Source now, they changed.

    How do people always forget, how often they get fucked by that company in the last 20 years, that they think anything changed? They still abuse their monopoly, they still buy up the work of others and they still will then dilute it down for their bottom line and restrict it to force you to use a login to harvest data on your profile (see also Windows).

    Everyone who said it’s cool that MS bought Github, because they are now Pro-Open-Source: Can we please have a round table every 2 years and talk. Because I think you guys are victims of the Stockholm syndrome and do not even notice.

    Jaysyn avatar

    restrict it to force you to use a login to harvest data on your profile (see also Windows).

    FYI, there is no forcing here. Heavy suggestions, but no forcing. I've never used a MS or Hotmail account to log into Windows 10 or 11.


    If some has to know to unplug the internet, try to sign up, and force an error to bypass sign up…

    It is forcing.

    stifle867, (edited )

    On new installs it does force you. I had to do it today (Windows 10). There are workaround such as attempting to log into a banned account, or other weird hacks involving disconnecting the internet and know the right combinations of hidden menus to navigate.



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  • CosmicTurtle,

    It shouldn’t have to be that way is the point. I shouldn’t have to take all these steps to opt out of getting a Microsoft account. Just like I shouldn’t have to click 3-5 times to deny cookies.

    It should be as simple as it used to be: Do you want to log in with your Microsoft account?

    User clicks “No thanks. I’ll log in locally.”


    I agree it’s absolutely stupid, nothing I said was in support of it, I was just pointing out it wasn’t difficult to get around


    I can fix her!!! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


    Apparently, this change was in 2016 - before MS bought them. However, I agree with your point. But the proof of that isn’t in restricting search to logged in users. It’s in how they ripped off FOSS code (esp GPL code) for training copilot. They did something that fundamentally damaged the roots of FOSS activity.


    Yeah, fuck Microsoft. They haven’t changed at all.

    For example I remember when they held monopoly in a browser market and purposely broke their sites for other browsers.

    Now the IE is gone, they have Chrome based Edge and are doing it again, if for example you try to use their office and make Teams call in Firefox it will refuse saying you should use Edge or Chrome. I’m guessing they are now trying again to claim they support another browser in case of antitrust, but Edge and Chrome is essentially the same thing. They just want to kill Firefox.

    agilob, avatar

    Yeah, fuck Microsoft. They haven’t changed at all.

    GitHub changed that a few months before acquisitions talks even started lol


    The biggest news to me is that GitHub allows users to search code. Every single time I tried to search something in GitHub, search results were next to completely useless, and always a sure-fire waste of time and effort.

    There’s hope, I guess.


    lol? That must have been a half ass attempt on your part because GitHub search is fantastic.


    GitHub search is almost as bad as Atlassian search


    Agreed their search is legendary



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  • nous,

    Just use the search bar… the only one they have that is on every page at the top right. That takes you to the results which defaults to code, but you can change it on the side to show repos, issues, prs, etc. You can even limit it to single repos or whole organisations.



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  • Kuinox, (edited )

    You used the wrong search bar, you just used the one for the file list.
    There is a search icon on the top right.


    You used the wrong search bar, you just used the one for the file list.

    The fact that one of the excuses for GitHub search results being subpar is that there is a right and a wrong search bar is already telling.


    The fact you call it “search results being subpar” tell me you never used the big top search bar labeled “Type / to search”.
    You can’t make an interface that everyone will understand, there will always be a percentage of user who will be lost.



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  • Kuinox,

    I mean what view do you even get in this case ?
    The code tab, shows… code ?



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  • Kuinox,

    If you used the top search bar, there was always this tab selection.
    The looks changed a few month ago, but the featureset was visually the same.


    As long as I can remember


    This is news to me. I’ve been cloning and searching for years because web search was useless. And by useless I mean - I know the word I’m looking for appears in exactly four places, formatted and capitalized exactly this way - and GitHub web search still doesn’t find it.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s gotten massively better - but only in the way that choosing to ride a bicycle to work is a massive improvement over sitting on a random rock.


    must have been a half ass attempt

    How hard do you need to try to use a feature for it to be considered decent? Do you expect something as basic as a search to put up a fight?


    Can you elaborate on what happened when you tried to search? I’ve never had trouble.


    GitHub search simply won’t find search terms that I know are there (because I can grep them in my local repo). It also fails to search all branches. There’s also insufficient filtering for filetypes or paths.

    Maybe I’m just spoiled from having used OpenGrok, as well as knowing how to use basic tools like find and grep, all of which I find substantially more useful.


    Do you expect something as basic as a search to put up a fight?

    Increasingly, you should be. Search algorithms from Amazon to Google are getting deliberately enshittified in order to force you to see what they want you to see instead of finding what you were actually looking for. For example, things like quotation marks and the minus operator no longer work. I would be supremely unsurprised to learn of Microsoft following suit.

    idunnololz, avatar

    It used to be pretty bad but they worked on it and made it a lot better over time.


    It still sucks


    I don’t find the search too bad but what does make it difficult is digging through a million forks of a library. Sometimes I want to find how other people used an obscure library method and I end up having to wade through endless forks with the same repeated bit of code.

    This is more a complaint of people using forking as a like button but I do wish there was an option to exclude them from search.

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