As a engineering founder myself, I think just copying GitHub and uncutting on price (developers are notorious cheap) is not great innovation. Though, if there are specific features that GitLab does better or has over GitHub willing to hear those.
I pay $50 a month to GitHub (two organizations) and that is still amazing value for a tool that I use ridiculously and daily. Anybody who complains about GitHub's pricing is well...
Github is a much larger organization, and it does a lot of good. However, I like gitlab, they are engaged in the community, really love their users (thanks for the tshirts btw!) and they do things like this-- apologise for their mistakes and listen to their users.
So yes, even though they both just copied open source software created by linus torvalds, the great innovation is building a community around that infrastructure, to which I think gitlab is doing a better job at present.
"...developers asking for more features, control, consideration ect; and it github largely seemed to be ignoring these concerns."
"It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." — Steve Jobs
"So yes, even though they both just copied open source software created by linus torvalds..."
> git never brought social interaction (issues, pull requests) into coding. GitHub created a lot of innovation in their product.
Many people feel like they stopped innovating here, and thus they choose gitlabs. As a startup, it has to answer the question you asked, and it has to work extremely hard to win developers, add features, and draw distinctions between github and gitlab.
The steve jobs quote doesn't make sense. In your example, if numerous people switched to android right after they offered the features ignored by apple, it would be pretty obvious they were important.
I don't dislike github. I actively like gitlab. You can choose whatever one you want. I personally am a gitlab user for the reasons above. These are subjective, but many seem to embrace them.
> A large group of popular open source contributors wrote an open letter to github and even then, there was not much change until gitlab responded
What is a large group? Is large 10 people, 100? 1000?
What is a popular open source contributor? Name me one that was on that list?
What is not much change? Was there no change? Or was there not the change that YOU wanted? Also what exactly did you think will happen? Someone writes a letter today and tomorrow all the features will be implemented out of nowhere? Things take time and if you want to make them great, then maybe even longer. The fact that there WAS some change since then is evidence enough that GitHub did take it to heart what was in that letter.
By the way... GitLab is fucking slow. They are so bloody slow that it is painful and as a developer my time is too valuable to waste it on badly implemented software that I have to use every day. The issue has been raised many times and GitLab still didn't do anything until today to speed up their bloody service. So if anything then GitLab hasn't done anything until today except being a bunch of cheap copy pasters. Lol
Here are some recently-announced GitHub features that GitLab had first:
* Rebase-and-merge button
* protected branches
* Trello-like view for issues
* Changing the base branch of a merge/pull request
Some features that GitLab has that GitHub does not:
* Geographically local caching instances for their on-premise product
* Prefixing a merge request name with WIP prevents merging
* Milestones at the group level
* A "Merge when CI Succeeds" button
* Built-in CI that is better-designed than Travis
Where GitLab will really be transformative is their long term vision to become a platform for the entire software development lifecycle. Their endgame is to be a platform where you can spin up a development environment and code in your browser via Koding integration, have your changes built and tested in GitLab CI, and then deployed via Kubernetes integration, with the environment for every stage of the pipeline customizable via a dockerfile in the repo. Whether or not you disagree with their vision, they have loftier goals than GitHub does.
My time and companies time is better spent working on our core product. Can I setup a VPS server with Gogs? Of course, but that is wasted bandwidth and energy. Less than $2 a day for GitHub a tool that I use daily and religiously is great value.
Curious, have you tried running your own startup before?
The most value in GitLab today is that you have many things that requires you to setup additional integration with GitHub, as part of the product, and because of that you can get complex workflows mapped easily.
For example, I personally opt for self hosting in many cases where I need more control over what runs on the server. It saves me a lot of time if I can do this; cost savings is a side benefit.