FauxPilot vs Copilot: Choosing the Right Local vs Cloud-Based Code-Generation Tool

GitHub Copilot is a cloud-based AI tool that quickly became popular for its natural language code completion. However, some developers value privacy and prefer open-source tools without sending data to servers. As an alternative, FauxPilot runs locally and is open-source. Let’s explore these options in-depth.

How FauxPilot Works

FauxPilot uses Salesforce’s CodeGen models pre-trained on massive code datasets. These models were created using Transformers, the popular NLP framework. To run FauxPilot, you install it as a Visual Studio Code extension and it loads the models using NVIDIA’s Triton Inference Server.

When you type a query, FauxPilot analyzes it locally using these pre-trained Transformer models. It then returns code snippets without needing an internet connection. The developer can then incorporate useful snippets directly into their code editor.

FauxPilot was created by researchers at NYU to experiment with more privacy-focused code models. While still in development, it shows potential as an alternative to cloud-based tools.

How Copilot Works

Copilot uses Codex, an AI system from OpenAI trained on vast code corpora using novel techniques. When you type a query in supported languages and IDEs like VS Code, the request is sent to GitHub’s servers where Codex analyzes it. Codex then returns relevant code snippets to the developer.

Copilot provides features like context-aware completions within code files. It can also generate whole functions or classes from natural language descriptions. As Copilot runs in the cloud, it can utilize far more resources than a local tool. However, queries and some data are sent to GitHub’s servers.

Key Differences

The main differences between FauxPilot and Copilot come down to:

  • Privacy: FauxPilot runs locally without sending queries/data anywhere, valuing privacy over cloud capabilities. Copilot sends some data to GitHub for its functionality.
  • Resources: As a local tool, FauxPilot’s performance depends on the developer’s hardware. Copilot can leverage massive cloud resources for more powerful models.
  • Features: While promising, FauxPilot is still in development so lacks some of Copilot’s features. Copilot is production-ready with broad language support.
  • Open Source: FauxPilot is open source for transparency and customizability. Copilot remains proprietary technology from GitHub/Microsoft.
  • Set-Up: FauxPilot requires installing dependencies like NVIDIA GPU drivers. Copilot just needs a supported editor/IDE and internet connection.

Choosing Between Them

For most developers, Copilot will likely remain the more fully-featured option due its powerful AI models and ease of use. However, FauxPilot shows promise as a locally-run privacy-first alternative for some users:

  • Developers working on privacy-sensitive projects
  • Open source contributors who value transparency
  • Researchers interested in exploring new code models
  • Those with limited internet or without cloud access

As FauxPilot matures, it could narrow the capabilities gap. For now, evaluate your priorities around privacy, control, and features to decide which tool fits your needs best. Both aim to boost programmer productivity through AI.

Key Takeaways

  • FauxPilot runs locally for privacy while Copilot utilizes cloud resources
  • Copilot offers broad language support but FauxPilot is still developing
  • Privacy-focused or open source projects may prefer FauxPilot
  • Most developers will find Copilot’s ease and features preferable overall
  • Consider your priorities around privacy, resources, and features to choose


Q: Is FauxPilot open source?

A: Yes, FauxPilot is fully open source for transparency and customization. Developers can inspect the code and help improve the project.

Q: What hardware is needed to run FauxPilot?

A: FauxPilot requires an NVIDIA GPU with 2-32GB VRAM depending on the model, along with Docker, a supported OS like Linux, and Python 3.7+.

Q: Can FauxPilot support all the languages Copilot does?

A: Not yet, as FauxPilot is still in development. But its models were trained similarly to Copilot so it aims to expand coverage over time if developed actively.

Q: Is any data ever sent from FauxPilot?

A: No, FauxPilot was designed to avoid sending any queries or data externally for strong privacy. It operates completely locally on the user’s machine.

Q: Is Copilot free to use like FauxPilot?

A: Yes, both tools offer free tiers for individual use. Copilot has paid team and enterprise tiers too though for additional features.

Q: Could FauxPilot also run in the cloud someday?

A: Possibly, but that would require significant changes from its focus on local, privacy-first operation. The developers aim to preserve that differentiating aspect versus cloud-based tools.

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