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The "crippled community edition vs paid enterprise edition" business model raises red flags. It's not that different from the free crippled demo version or outdated by 2+ major versions freeware model.

Who gets to decide that features are enterprise only ? How are these enterprise only features: "Hosting static pages straight from GitLab", "git-annex", "git hooks", etc. ?

Get a crippled version that doesn't fit the reasonable expectations or pay for enterprise edition coming with a big bag of features I have no use for just to get the missing features that I can have on github for free (And I'm not a big fan of github)?

As such gitlab community is not very useful to me and does not seem to have a future because its chosen business model goes against its usefulness to people.




GitLab CE is not crippled in any way, it is used every single day by hundreds of thousands of companies and millions upon millions of developers. It is and has always been our (GitLab, the company) main focus, we only decide to make new features EE-only when we think that they are mostly interesting to companies with 100+ employees. Besides the company's efforts, contributions from the 1000+ community contributors always go into CE, unless the contributor submits it to the EE repository specifically.

As evidence, just look at our Direction page: https://about.gitlab.com/direction/, or compare the CE and EE changelogs: https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/blob/master/CHANGELO... vs https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee/blob/master/CHANGELO....

Note that our free, hosted GitLab.com runs EE, which means that EE features like GitLab Pages ("Hosting static pages straight from GitLab") are available to everyone.


Just yesterday I ended up implementing my own mirroring of GitHub repositories. GitLab supports this in EE (new in 8.3), but not CE.

That's not a feature that only large enterprises use–I run an open source GitHub organization and wanted to use GitLab as CI. It works! But I needed to reimplement an EE feature to do it.

To be clear, I don't think there is anything sinister about keeping features behind a paid firewall. That is how software developers have paid their rent for decades. I'm just saying that the EE features are not all "mostly interesting to companies with 100+ employees." Several of them are things I needed as a single open-source developer.

I've debated about buying EE to fill in the gaps, but you sell licenses in packs of 10, and I only need 2 :-)


> I run an open source GitHub organization and wanted to use GitLab as CI. It works! But I needed to reimplement an EE feature to do it.

Is there a reason why you didn't use GitLab.com, which runs EE and thus has Repository Mirroring?

> I'm just saying that the EE features are not all "mostly interesting to companies with 100+ employees." Several of them are things I needed as a single open-source developer.

Fair enough, I'm not saying our judgment of what is and what isn't interesting to smaller/single-person teams is perfect. If the general feedback of the community is that a certain piece of functionality belongs in CE rather than EE, we will consider bringing it to CE. We have done this in the past.


> Is there a reason why you didn't use GitLab.com, which runs EE and thus has Repository Mirroring?

1. My hosting is way more reliable than yours :-)

2. I need to host the CI runners myself anyway, because you don't have the right config

3. I already have a private GitLab install, so it's no extra trouble

4. My repository mirroring is quite a lot better than yours, as it's instant, not hourly

5. I prefer to have a commercial relationship with important tools. You seem like nice people, let's see what happens when you get acquired. As long as you can't be bothered to sell to 2-person teams, I'll just run CE and have my commercial relationship with AWS instead.


> 1. My hosting is way more reliable than yours :-)

You've got me there :) I'm sure your aware of our intention to greatly improve GitLab.com reliability and performance in Q1 2016: https://gitlab.com/gitlab-com/operations/issues

> 4. My repository mirroring is quite a lot better than yours, as it's instant, not hourly

Heh, care to share? :) Maybe we can take some pointers from your implementation. How does your repository mirroring know that the upstream repo was updated? Do you use webhooks on GitHub? That would actually be pretty easy to implement, an `update_mirror` GitLab API endpoint that GitHub could call to, hmm...

> 5. I prefer to have a commercial relationship with important tools. You seem like nice people, let's see what happens when you get acquired.

What are you afraid of?

> As long as you can't be bothered to sell to 2-person teams, I'll just run CE and have my commercial relationship with AWS instead.

Fair enough!


> Do you use webhooks on GitHub? That would actually be pretty easy to implement,

Bingo. Full implementation, in Bash: http://faq.sealedabstract.com/gitlab_mirror/

> What are you afraid of?

Mostly, that you'll get bought by the likes of Oracle. In spite of my quibbles about CE features, I think you're doing a (mostly) fine job of CE right now. But your acquirer will see CE as a cost center (there's no revenue) and will want to "streamline" by focusing on enterprise (where your balance sheet is). GitLab.com will also look like a cost center, and will either shut down, turn into a datamining opportunity, or go through the bad PR of no longer being free. I fully anticipate, in 5-10 years time, that I will be running a CE fork to get out from under your acquirer, just like StarOffice, MySQL, Hudson, etc.

Contrast with GitHub, who makes a silly amount of money from people like me. Their acquirer would be mad to screw up a winning formula.

The good news is, GitLab is such a good product that I still hugely prefer it even after "pricing in" the risk (cough, certainty) that my days are numbered. It is an amazing tool, it really shows that you care about it. For now.


All right, I see where you're coming from. I think any eventual GitLab acquirer would be mad to screw up _our_ winning open core formula, but I'm not in a position to tell the future or make any promises.

I've asked our CEO Sid (you know, the "GitLab CEO here" guy) to chime in.


> I think any eventual GitLab acquirer would be mad to screw up _our_ winning open core formula

Understand, I want to believe. I want to live in a world where open core works at VC scale and over long timeframes. I'd love to run all my own projects that way, if it was possible. And who knows, maybe you will be the people to do it where everybody else failed.

It's just the available evidence suggests I don't live in that world. In my world, you have to pay money for things if you want them to last. I'd like to pay you money, but you don't want it, and that's weird.

Look at it from my POV. GitLab isn't "just" another tool for me, it's my homepage. I'm in there hours every day. I trust it to store my life's work. That's amazing! People literally kill to get that deeply embedded into their customers lives. But it's also a huge responsibility. You and I are in the honeymoon period right now, but when times get tough and we have 3 kids and a mortgage, it's going to get real.

You may not be in a position to speculate that far out, but I have to. I'm still going to need this product in five years. You might not need me.


We can't promise we'll never be acquired but we when we raised financing we tried to ensure that we're as much in control of our destiny as you can be as a VC founded start up. For example last month we were cash flow neutral.

GitLab CE is MIT licensed and will not go away in case we get acquired. Some companies (including Oracle themselves) are using GitLab CE with thousands of users (they rebranded it as Orahub, don't ask).

For our promises regarding being a good steward of CE please see https://about.gitlab.com/about/#stewardship


Honest question, did you ever consider making self-hosted GitLab EE free under a GPL-like license, but only for installations that only host open source and are reachable from the internet?

You might even get the community to develop EE features for you to sell :)


I don't think that limiting it to only-open-source is compatible with the GPL license. But in the HN thread I did make an offer for free EE licenses for open source projects https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10924406


There is nothing crippled about GitLab CE. There are a few features that are clearly useful to large enterprise users, and if you're using GitLab with 50+ employees I'm sure $39 per year year per seat isn't going to break the bank.

We've been using GitLab CE for a while internally and it's fantastic. Don't dismiss it because of some narrow-minded ideology.


I think called the community edition crippled is a stretch. I have a small team (4-5 devs) that has been using the CE for a few years now and we have been more than happy with it for all of our needs.

The EE edition features make a lot of sense for much larger organizations I suppose.


Glad to hear that in your case we made the CE/EE feature tradeoff correctly!


git-annex is EE-only, but they're giving you git-lfs for free in CE. I expect the latter getting way more traction due to GitHub's backing.

Working with a on-premise GitLab CE has been just fine in a company with 20 developers, using Jenkins and later Go[1] for CI.

[1]: https://www.go.cd/


We think that Git LFS has more traction too. Any reason why you're using Go instead of GitLab CI?




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