GitHub

GitHub

Web-based hosting service for software development projects using git.

Github is based around a system of version control called Git. Git is an open-source version control system that was started by Linus Trovalds--the same person who created Linux. Git is similar to other version control systems: Subversion, CVS, and Mercurial and Bazaar to name a few.

Version control systems keep these revisions organized, storing the modifications in a central repository. This allows developers to collaborate, as they can download a new version of the software, make changes, and upload the newest revision. Developers can see these new changes, download them, and contribute.

"Forking" is when developers create a new project based off of another project that already exists. This is an amazing feature that vastly encourages the further development of programs and other projects. If you find a project on GitHub that you'd like to contribute to, you can fork the repo, make the changes you'd like, and release the revised project as a new repo. If the original repository that you forked to create your new project gets updated, you can easily add those updates to your current fork.

When multiple people collaborate on a project, it's hard to keep track revisions--who changed what, when, and where those files are stored. GitHub takes care of this problem by keeping track of all the changes that have been pushed to the repository.

Git has three core features: forking, pull requests and merging. Gregg Pollack of Code School (which just launched a class called TryGit) explains that before GitHub, if you wanted to contribute to an open source project you had to manually download the project's source code, make your changes locally, create a list of changes called a "patch" and then e-mail the patch to the project's maintainer. The maintainer would then have to evaluate this patch, possibly sent by a total stranger, and decide whether to merge the changes.

Even for maintainers who don't end up using the GitHub interface, GitHub can make contribution management easier. "I end up just downloading the patch anyway, or merging from the command line instead of from the merge button," says Isaac Schlueter, the maintainer of the open source development platform Node.js. "But GitHub provides a centralized place where people can discuss the patch."

Besides its public facing open source repositories, GitHub also sells private repositories and on-premise instances of its software for enterprises. These solutions obviously can't take full advantage of GitHub's network effect, but they can take advantage of the collaboration features. That's how GitHub makes money, but it's not alone in this market.

Microsoft is acquiring GitHub. After reports emerged that the software giant was in talks to acquire GitHub, Microsoft is making it official today. This is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's second big acquisition, following the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn two years ago. GitHub was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, and Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in stock for the company in a deal that should close later this year.

The question around this acquisition will be what Microsoft does with GitHub in the future. LinkedIn has largely remained separate, with some integrations into Microsoft's Office software. Microsoft's Minecraft acquisition has been managed equally well, and it's likely that GitHub will need to stay as separate as possible to maintain developer trust. However, we could start to see even closer integration between Microsoft's developer tools and the service. At Build last month, Microsoft continued its close work with GitHub by integrating the service into the company's App Center for developers.

"The concept is based around change: what is the right thing to do, what is the wrong thing?" said Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub's co-founder and chief executive. "The efficiency of large groups working together is very low in large enterprises. We want to change that."

Mr. Preston-Werner's own company is something of a proxy for how he sees the world. GitHub has no managers among its 140 employees, for example. "Everyone has management interests," he said. "People can work on things that are interesting to them. Companies should exist to optimize happiness, not money. Profits follow." He does, however, retain his own title and decides things like salaries.

In his blog Mr. Preston-Werner has written about how important it is for companies to expose as much of their inner workings as possible. Another member of GitHub has posted a talk that stresses how companies flourish when people want to work on certain things, not because they are told to.

Companies pay to use GitHub, and it has become an exceptionally popular way for people to do all kinds of software work; in 2012 its number of users jumped to 2.8 million from 1.2 million. The number of "repositories" -- containing code, its documentation, images associated with a project or other work -- increased to 4.6 million from 1.7 million last year.

GitHub's popularity has also made it an important way for companies to recruit engineers, because some of the best people in the business are showing their work or dissecting the work of others inside some of the public pull requests. Its founders and backers, however, want to use the GitHub model to make mobile and enterprise software applications, and possibly much more.

Executives from both companies insisted that GitHub would remain technologically neutral, welcoming developers using any code or any cloud service, rather than a Microsoft walled garden. The proof, analysts say, will be in how GitHub operates under Microsoft ownership.

GitHub has become far more than a platform for software development. It is where developers demonstrate their skills. Software engineers routinely include links to their GitHub projects on their résumés, and companies scout for job candidates on GitHub.

Timeline

March 16, 2020

GitHub buys JavaScript packaging vendor npm for an undisclosed amount.

March 12, 2020

GitHub launches new tools for teachers, including autograding

GitHub announces two new features for GitHub Classroom, its set of tools for helping computer science teachers assign and evaluate coding exercises.

November 13, 2019

GitHub launches GitHub Actions to the general public.

GitHub Actions is a system for automating tasks like building, testing, and deploying software. The beta was launched in 2018 and it is now available to everyone.

October 4, 2019

GitHub announces that Rachel Potvin will join as its new vice president of data.

September 18, 2019

Microsoft's GitHub acquires a code analysis tool called Semmle.

June 4, 2018

Microsoft, fully embracing a model it once saw as a threat, said on Monday that it was buying GitHub, an open software platform used by 28 million programmers, for $7.5 billion.

In a blog post, Chris Wanstrath, the company's chief executive and a co-founder, who will become a technical fellow at Microsoft, wrote that when GitHub started up a decade ago, he could have "never imagined" the outcome announced on Monday.

2015

GitHub was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, and Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in stock for the company in a deal that should close later this year.

2015

GitHub raised a $250 million round in 2015, led by Sequoia Capital.

2014

The $7.5 billion purchase, an all-stock deal, is the second-largest acquisition Microsoft has made since Mr. Nadella became chief executive in early 2014.

July 14, 2012

Andreessen Horowitz announced a whopping $100 million investment in GitHub this week.

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People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Brian Doll

Employee

Daisuke Horie

Employee

Devin Reams

Employee

Elizabeth Naramore

Employee

Garrett Bjerkhoel

Employee

Jared Koumentis

Employee

Joel Glovier

Employee

John Britton

Employee

Lee Reilly

Employee

Melissa Severini

Employee

Mike McQuaid

Employee

Nicci (Ciranna) Arsenault

Employee

PJ Hyett

Founder

Sahra Santosha

Employee

Tom Preston-Werner

Founder

Zachary Adam Kaplan

Employee

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Rita Liao
August 21, 2020
TechCrunch
The technological decoupling between the U.S. and China has been a boon to Chinese firms from chipmakers for smartphones and electric vehicles through to software that are the backbones of millions of businesses' daily operations. Chinese companies might have established a firm grip on internet services for consumers, but many fundamental technologies undergirding hardware and [...]
Frederic Lardinois
July 28, 2020
TechCrunch
GitHub today announced that it will start publishing a public roadmap to help its users understand when it will ship new features across its various versions of the GitHub code repository and products like GitHub Actions, its mobile app and its security tools. "What we're trying to do is provide a way for people to [...]
Martin Heller
June 30, 2020
InfoWorld
By hosting datasets, notebooks, and competitions, Kaggle helps data scientists discover how to build better machine learning models
Elizabeth Landau
July 6, 2020
Wired
Companies and programmers are re-examining how technical terms are used amid Black Lives Matter protests. But some worry the changes are empty symbolism.
Christopher Carbone
June 15, 2020
Fox News
Github is going to overhaul coding terminology that has long been criticized for being racially insensitive, according to the company's chief executive.
BBC News
June 15, 2020
BBC News
Microsoft-owned GitHub is changing its default project names to avoid slavery-related terms.
Henry Pickavet
June 10, 2020
TechCrunch
In week four of a16z's Crypto Startup School, the spotlight shifts to building companies by growing communities of users, developers and employees in a decentralized context.
May 9, 2020
Hindustan Times
However, it appears that the hacker did not get access to source code of any significant projects, such as Windows and Office, said the report based on what several Microsoft employees said.
Brian Barrett
May 7, 2020
Wired
Thank a tiny change to a software development kit for widespread crashes Wednesday, including the Spotify and TikTok apps.
April 30, 2020
WebWire
Geneva, April 30, 2020 - STMicroelectronics is now publishing STM32Cube embedded software on GitHub, the popular cloud-based service, to open the STM32 embedded software offer to collaborative and community-friendly development and leverage faster, more efficient distribution of updates., , , , Publishing all STM32Cube original code through GitHub lets users of more than 1000 STM32 Arm® Cortex® -M microcontroller variants and heterogeneous Cortex-M/-A microprocessors easily store, manage,...
Frederic Lardinois
April 14, 2020
TechCrunch
GitHub today announced that all of its core features are now available for free to all users, including those that are currently on free accounts. That means free unlimited private repositories with unlimited collaborators for all, including teams that use the service for commercial projects, as well as up to 2,000 minutes per month of [...]
March 25, 2020
TechNadu
Someone has uploaded the source code of AMD's Navi and Arden GPUs on a GitHub repository, claiming it was somehow stolen from AMD.
Greg Kumparak
March 17, 2020
TechCrunch
With YC's W20 Demo Day coming in at nearly 200 companies, we've decided to split our recap into multiple posts for easier reading. These are the hardware, AI/ML, and developer-focused companies
March 17, 2020
WebWire
Your personality could significantly impact your ability to contribute to open source projects, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo. Open source projects are online spaces where software developers work together to improve computer code that is made available to anyone. Each project is managed by a person whose job it is to accept or reject the offer of help from a software developer. In a recent study, the Waterloo researchers found that social factors...
Klint Finley
March 16, 2020
Wired
GitHub, home to about 100 million code "repositories," is buying NPM, which makes tools widely used by JavaScript developers.
Ron Miller
March 16, 2020
TechCrunch
GitHub, the developer repository owned by Microsoft, made a little deal of its own this morning when it bought JavaScript packaging vendor npm for an undisclosed amount. As GitHub CEO Nate Friedman wrote in a blog post announcing the deal, npm is a big deal in the JavaScript community. The company is the commercial entity [...]
Frederic Lardinois
March 12, 2020
TechCrunch
GitHub today announced two new features for GitHub Classroom, its set of tools for helping computer science teachers assign and evaluate coding exercises. The first of these is autograding, which does exactly what the name promises. Teachers can now add tests to their workflows that automatically test assignments and grade them accordingly. These tests then [...]
March 6, 2020
The Economic Times
Tech community events are not only becoming platforms to solve challenges, but are also turning into hunting grounds to recruit people with niche skills. Events like these are rapidly gaining in popularity, as people become more active in sharing knowledge. There is more than just knowledge sharing taking place at these large-scale gatherings.
Jeffrey Bussgang
January 21, 2020
Harvard Business Review
How businesses shift from selling products to building networks.
Dan Goodin
January 16, 2020
Ars Technica
Attack demoed less than 24 hours after disclosure of bug-breaking certificate validation.
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References

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