GitHub Large File Support

I can understand the purpose of GitHub’s Large File Support (LFS) system, any large files can be downloaded by a designated server to cut down web-traffic on their more important servers, but I have already had some problems with LFS.

First of all, for those not familiar with LFS (I am still learning about it also), it is basically replace large files in a repository with “bookmarks” to the actual file, which would make repositories smaller and quicker to transmit, (good for group-collaborations that have all the large file resources already downloaded) but it would also make the repository incomplete until the user downloaded and replaced the files.

However, that means instead of just downloading a working project, you have to download a project and find which files are missing and then download those files from a server using the GitHub LFS software (and these files are “Large Files” so it might take a while.

Here’s what my experiences have been with LFS so far:

-The files that were replaced were not necessarily large files, some were very small, for example 3 megabytes and even smaller. It basically “swiss-cheesed” the repository, making many “holes” that had to be fixed before the project could function.

-It wasn’t clear that the repository had been edited for LFS, I didn’t find out about the missing files until trying to import them into a project and being told they were invalid. The files are “disguised” as resource files with extension, but are actually text files that link to the file to download using GitHub LFS (which might have to be cofigured for every single repository individually). I have found that not all GitHub repositories have files missing from them, so it should be made more clear which project need LFS support.

-Now GitHub wants me to make another repository for LFS repository downloads and use LFS, meaning that I will have to use up more hard drive space for repositories (including Github Desktop and any 3rd-Party repository folders, Unity Projects for example), and I have to perform more long downloads for the missing repository files on the LFS servers.

Maybe LFS will be improved, or removed, I don’t know. I just think it was less complicated and took less space to just download a repository in zip format and extract it when needed. I recently had to install GitHub Desktop to clone repositories because any large downloads from GitHub online were failing and not resumeable. GitHub Desktop keeps an uncompressed copy of the repository on your PC, that takes up more space than using zip files.

1 Like

Hey @honorsoftentertainme, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I suggest passing your experience along here: https://support.github.com/contact/feedback so the LFS team can have a better understanding of what your experience was like. If there’s anything I can help with, feel free to let me know!