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GitHub Officially Launches: Git Hosting A-Go-Go!

By Peter Cooper / April 10, 2008


It's been the programming world's worst kept secret, but the covers are finally off as GitHub officially launched today. No more beta invites needed - hurrah!

GitHub is, officially, a Git repository hosting service (where Git is a source code control system - think decentralized, distributed SVN) built by Chris Wanstrath (Err the Blog), Tom Preston-Werner (creator of Chronic and God), and PJ Hyett. GitHub's early users are calling it a "social programming network," a "FaceBook for coders," and all sorts of wonderful things. This is because Git's decentralized nature makes it easy to fork, branch and merge code, and so does GitHub, which makes GitHub an ideal platform for collectively working on software, especially open source.

As of Rails 2.1 (coming very soon), GitHub will be the new official home of the Rails source repository, and the Merb, RSpec, Capistrano, Prototype and Scriptaculous projects are also on board, along with hundreds of other Git repositories created by beta users.

GitHub is a commercial offering (though from two open source devotees), but with an incredibly generous free level, meaning that the service is free for most reasonably sized open source projects (that is, the free level covers that sort of open use). There are, of course, a wide range of plans available for the whole gamut of users.

If you haven't yet given Git a go, don't fear, as a round up of Git tutorials, tips and tricks (with a Ruby slant, naturally) is coming next here on Ruby Inside. That said, I've just noticed InfoQ has already posted something similar, so read that if you're feeling impatient.


  1. Edward S. Marshall says:

    So, it's centralized hosting decentralized version control system? :-)

    (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

  2. Chris says:

    Edward: No more central than you running your own git-daemon. In fact, why not do both? You can push to multiple git hosts with a single command.

  3. Matthew King says:

    GitHub is centralized hosting for the *communication* between users of distributed version control.

  4. Sho says:

    I cannot understand this ridiculous hoopla over some guy writing a web interface to git and then selling access to it. Furthermore, since his whole business model revolves around an open source product he didn't write, I find it pretty distasteful that github itself is closed source.

    Gitorious looks just as good, and at least it's open source - but why bother using that either? Setting up a remote git repository on my server took me less than 3 minutes. What is wrong with everyone?

    Using a service like github for your source control is like using Blogger for your blog or Geocities for your web page. Great, I guess, if you don't know how to do otherwise. I had kind of assumed all these "developers" would have the basic technical skill needed to set up their own repositories - guess not.

  5. Gregory Brown says:

    The project for Ruby Mendicant (Prawn) will be hosted on GitHub as well :)

  6. Peter Cooper says:

    I sympathize with your argument, Sho, but if you just want one reason why Github is relevant, it's because the Web interface provides the connection BETWEEN hosted projects and the forks of them. Hosting your own Git repository is not hard, as you say, but co-ordinating efforts of forking and merging amongst people you don't personally know is tough. With a system like Github, it becomes a lot easier.

    Compare Github more to Facebook than Blogger. If Facebook were an app you could install yourself on your own site, the social connectivity side of it would be lost.

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