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GitHub Enterprise is now free through Microsoft for Startups (github.blog)
256 points by i_am_not_elon 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 82 comments





It gives you a credit of $1,000 monthly for 2 years, but there's no real indication anywhere on Github of exactly what that pays for?

So it's not really free.

How does this compare with Gitlab and Bitbucket offerings for small teams?

I know Bitbucket has a one-time payment option for their self-hosted version of $10 for 10 users. Pretty hard to beat that, unless you're adamant you need it hosted for you.


>It gives you a credit of $1,000 monthly for 2 years, but there's no real indication anywhere on Github of exactly what that pays for?

Random screenshot I was able to find on their help page. Seems to be that the pricing for github enterprise is around $21/month/user.

https://help.github.com/assets/images/help/organizations/sta...


So basically up 47 free users for 2 years. Not bad.

Is 47 users really a "startup"? If you have anywhere near 47 actual users, affording $1k a month is going to be trivial.

Would be nice if you could have, say, 5 users and extend the 2 years by not using all $1k monthly credits, adding users as you grow.


It's targeted towards funded startups that are just picking up:

> Designed for: "Funded: Product Market Fit"

> The qualified offer is designed to help companies that are focused on growth, so it’s less applicable for consultancies and small businesses.

It's not designed for smaller bootstrapped businesses and other scenarios that would involve 5 users for extended periods of time

https://startups.microsoft.com/en-us/benefits/


You might also pay for stuff like LFS and packages.

But if I had to guess, $1000 is probably in the 95th+ percentile of spending for teams <20 (or any sufficiently small group) -> thus this is letting startups spend on Github resources without worrying about running out of credits for two years


If you are that size, why not just use regular github?

If you can't afford to start paying after 2 years, it's time to give up or pivot. This is very generous of MS/GH to offer until you've got traction.

> If you can't afford to start paying after 2 years, it's time to give up or pivot

That's kind of extremist, isn't it?

Plenty of startups are bootstrapped, one or two people, and can survive just fine using basic tooling. The free offerings from Gitlab and Bitbucket (which include private repos) are just fine for a lot of startups.

Not all startups are your VC backed unicorns.

> This is very generous of MS/GH to offer

Is it? It's really just an attempt to lock you into a proprietary system that you cannot export your data out of nor easily move off of down the road.


No, I don’t believe it’s extremist to start paying for a commercial offering after a 2 year trial period. If you can make due with a free competing product, go for it.

If you’re not making enough in 2 years to pay for basic biz expenses, you’re a hobby and you shouldn’t expect enterprise features (SSO for example) for free in perpetuity.


You are misrepresenting their argument. He didn't say paying for a commercial offering after two years is extremist. Rather, they said your position that "if you can't pay for a commerical offering in two years, it's time to give up or pivot".

I also find that second position extremist.


Time is valuable, but I suppose we all value it differently. I concede being an extremist in this regard. Time is the ultimate non renewable resource.

If you are two people, regular github will serve you fine.

> It's really just an attempt to lock you into a proprietary system that you cannot export your data out of nor easily move off of down the road.

The GH API covers a lot of what `git` doesn't. GH's strategy has never been lock-in. They provide a good service that's constantly improving. (I'm sure other services have advantages and I'm in no way going to claim that GH is the best in class, but I am continually happy with GH and with its continued improvement.)


Liking GH and not (currently) wanting to move doesn't mean you're not locked in. Sure, it's possible to export your GH data and import it into something like GitLab or Bitbucket, but it's not exactly an easy process, and most orgs would think really hard before moving. It's definitely lock-in, regardless of whether or not it's a part of their strategy.

From MS's side, of course it's a lock-in strategy. The whole "MS for Startups" thing is a way to attract small companies to their platform and keep them there until they've grown to a point that switching away is more work than it's worth. Adding GH Enterprise to the offering just makes it more attractive.


(Hint: the lock-in is AZURE)

i wouldn't be able to tell you, github enterprise invoices are really weird and hard to read, we had to ask for a correction once too because it would've never gotten past bookkeeping

the entire enterprise feature set seems uncharacteristically less polished in some places, the UX is confusing throughout and things you'd think you could do in the enterprise dashboard being elsewhere in the organization settings


GitLab's similar program can be found at https://about.gitlab.com/solutions/startups/

> Members of the current or two most recent YCombinator batches (currently s2019, w2018, and s2018)

That requirement is a pretty substantial difference.

(disclosure: I work for MS)


(and GP for Gitlab)

I assume it can also be used towards their hosted CI (GitHub actions)

Has anyone had success with Microsoft for Startups? Do they actually bring deals or just pressure to run azure?

why not a gitea or gitlab instance running on a few pi's or something? Why pay anything at all?

Because if you're a startup, you probably don't want to deal with something like that. You want something that "just works."

Depends how "real" of a startup you are.

VC backed? Ya, you'd probably just pay someone else to handle it - it's not your money after all...

Bootstrapping with a friend as a side gig until you have something viable... you're probably going to go with the free/cheapest option possible - scaling up as necessary and not a second before.


If you're bootstrapping, you use the online hosted solution.

The program offers github enterprise for free. The credits are in addition to that and can be used to e.g buy cloud CI/CD time.

Running your own infrastructure doesn’t cost nothing.


> The program offers github enterprise for free. The credits are in addition to that and can be used to e.g buy cloud CI/CD time.

That's not what the Github page says.


What does it say? The article itself seems pretty clear that it’s included in the free program

> [..] we’re announcing that GitHub Enterprise is now included in Microsoft for Startups, a free program [..]

Am I reading in the wrong place? Or just reading it wrong?


> Participants receive $1,000 of monthly credit for up to two years of GitHub Enterprise Cloud.

They're giving select startups $1,000 monthly in free credits used to pay for GitHub Enterprise. That $1,000 isn't in addition to GH Enterprise being free.

It's unknown, but seems implied, if you can apply unused credits to their CI/CD and other offerings.


I see. So by ”now included” what they mean is “now included in the set if things you can use the credits for”? That’s an interesting use of the word...

I think they mean it's now included in their Startup package, which includes other things like free Azure Credits and others.

Sort of like their free Student offering which includes Azure, and others to get students hooked on using GitHub & Company products.


Interesting that it’s explicitly limited to B2B startups.

Is there a feeling that B2C isn’t a “real” business? Or maybe because B2B startups are more likely to be acquired by larger companies, thus absorbing Microsoft’s stack?


I work at Microsoft for Startups.

We are focused on B2B companies (for now) because those are the companies we can best support.

Microsoft has a vast partner network, enterprise field sales team, and marketplace, where mostly B2B customers interact.

We decided to leverage that network for startups in order to push sales their way (hence the $1BN in sales pipeline we are pushing in 2020 to startups), in addition to the other technology benefits (Azure, Dynamics, Office 365, Power Platform, Github, etc).

Eventually we will come up with a focused solution for B2C businesses, but for now, we realize our limitations and are focused on where we can best be helpful!

Info in BIO if you have any questions!!


Not just B2B, but the business must be “Seed, Series A, B, or C stage (or validated equivalent)” funded.

I’m not entirely sure what “validated equivalent” entails, but I take it to mean they’re interested in VC-funded companies, not bootstrapp{ed,ing}, angel-funded, or crowd-funded companies

Your acquisition hypothesis seems quite likely to me; it would be naïve to believe that Microsoft would offer such value out of the kindness of their hearts.

I don’t want to sound bitter: If one has a business that qualifies and is okay with adopting a Microsoft stack, it seems like a great value. However, let’s not give MSFT too many PR creds for being a selfless charitable organization who is ‘looking out for the little girl’ in business, because they’re simply not. They’re a for-profit corporation.


Frank here, I work at Microsoft for Startups.

Validated equivalent means that you don't necessarily need to be a company on the fundraising path in order to make it into the program.

So if a self-funded company comes to us and shows they have sales traction, then we can take them to our field sales team, make a target list of companies, and get them intro'd to the right accounts to close deals.

No, this is not out of the goodness of our hearts (although I do know my team has good hearts also :).

The point of the program is to get companies on Azure (a strong platform from a technical perspective), and the best way to keep companies on Azure is to provide value via technology and sales.

If you're closing more deals with us, you will have to consume more Azure in order to service those deals.

Win, meet win.

P.S: On the side, I run a community for profit-driven entrepreneurs who have not raised venture: http://inflectioncommunity.com


I suspect it's because Microsoft's core DNA is B2B so they're able to justify an accelerator and the subsequent resource pull for it by going that route. Your latter suspicion is also not unfounded either I'd bet.

Definitely because of the core DNA of the company, and structurally how the business model of Microsoft works.

The MS - for - startups page is pretty clear that Microsoft wants the startups they help to be helpful for _their_ customers down the road. So they want the startup to ideally play nicely with Azure / Office365 / GitHub / other Microsoft properties.

The funding thing is a bit restrictive (speaking as a currently-bootstrapping founder), but I understand that it would be very challenging filtering out scammers and not-serious users otherwise. It's easy to put up a nice-looking website and then spend the (pretty generous) credits on unrelated work.

I don't think anything here is especially nefarious, given how public they are about the restrictions and goals. Think of it as closer to an accelerator than a charity, if it helps frame the program better in your mind.


We support bootstrapped/self-funded founders!!!

I even created a community for these types of companies http://inflectioncommunity.com

Maybe that wasn't clear from the language, but the thought is that we can only really introduce you to sales leads once you've figured out product market fit.

If you don't have product market fit and a sales rep starts introducing you to leads, it's not going to end well for anyone.

It's not really about scammers (I can't remember an internal conversation that centered around people scamming the program), more about making sure it's going to be useful partnership.


Oh, noted, my bad. Yeah, that's not the read I got from the website, but I appreciate the correction. Definitely aware of those resources now though!

Having played a lot with gitlab and really happy with it, I'm confused as to why I would look at GitHub.

This looks like it is free as in price, but not free forever and not free of red tape.


I also have experienced GH.com, GHE on prem, and (now) twice GL on prem. There's absolutely zero comparison between how hungry the GL team is as compared to GH(E). I appreciate that GH is the gorilla in the room, and "nobody got fired for going with GH" but there's a new feature packed release every month from GL, and it comes batteries included.

I do have a huge amount of frustration with GL's open core system where it seems they use a dartboard for deciding what level to make open source, or ultra-enterprise $$$$, and their issue tracker is the definition of chaos, but nothing's perfect, I guess.

A lot of words to say that I agree with you: short of your team/company already being locked into the GH world, I can't imagine going back to GH


Got to meet MS4S at Govt Cloud Conf in DC. The deal for premiere founders is $325K in Azure Credits. That's pre-seed level. No equity. Then post-incubation you can talk to MS Ventures for Seed Round. Auto-enrolled via YC SUS ;)

I also like the Azure Portal web panel. Powershell in the browser is fun to play with on simulations of clusters.


Thank you, I am happy with GitLab.

Kinda funny that they market their enterprise plan to startups.

This startup-focused "first drink is free" marketing effort for Enterprise software has been going for years.

Would companies have to worry about their proprietary code being seen and used in a not-so-obvious way?

If some start up is working on some novel ML algorithms, that has some nice demos out in the public showcasing their work, I wonder if these bigger companies would take a peek at the source code and use some ideas from the algos for their ml products. This would prevent start-up from expanding into other areas.


> Would companies have to worry about their proprietary code being seen and used in a not-so-obvious way?

Does that happen when you use AWS or Azure? Enterprise is a completely different ball game, be it Microsoft, Google or Amazon.

The amount of value they will get by peeking will be insignificant as compared to the reputation loss they will suffer from enterprise customers.


I have a company I started with 2 university professors in the geospatial analytics space and as I work on building out the tech I am increasingly anxious about spending since we're pre-revenue and it's all out of my pocket for now. This Microsoft for Startups is appealing to me. Anyone know of any similar programs I should look into?


Startups requiring compliance documentation from GitHub were forced to upgrade to GH Enterprise. Many competitors provide this for free or a fraction of the price. An industry based on an open source language will naturally have a race to the bottom in terms of price.

GitHub's CLI is a move to get people off the open source solution by obfuscation.


> GitHub's CLI is a move to get people off the open source solution by obfuscation.

The "hub" project they have (which I haven't heard of anyone using) is like that yes.

The CLI is not https://github.com/cli/cli From their own docs: "While both tools bring GitHub to the terminal, hub behaves as a proxy to git and gh is a standalone tool."


The CLI is itself open source. Surely it can't be a huge barrier for competing software (GitLab, Gitea, etc) to implement its API.

It's still an open point of contention whether an API can be copyrighted. There's obvious benefits to GitHub to encourage the use of a 'gh' command over the 'git' command.

How can you say that? It's definitely a significant barrier.

"Open source" is often used to appear more "friendly" to outsiders. Something can be open source and still be used to lock people into a particular environment. Case in point: Chromium, Android, etc.


I would love to run this in my homelab with a few users, is there a path for that or do I need a registered company?

The answer appears to be: yes you must be a privately held company.

The FAQs for Microsoft for Startups [1] list the following requirements:

- You must be engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of you current or intended business - this software must be owned, not licensed.

- You cannot have received more than $10,000 of free Azure in the past.

- Your headquarters must reside in the countries covered by our Azure global infrastructure.

- You must be a privately held company.

- You must operate a public website on your own domain.

- Your contact email address domain must match your public website.

- Your funding information must be verifiable.

The FAQs also add that:

> The qualified offer is designed to help companies that are focused on growth, so it’s less applicable for consultancies and small businesses. If you are a small business or consultancy you can get started with a free trial.

[1]: https://startups.microsoft.com/en-us/benefits/#faq

Note also that Microsoft’s new offer is for GitHub Enterprise Cloud, not self-hosted GitHub Enterprise. GitLab is probably your best bet for a self-hosted GitHub alternative. [2]

[2]: https://about.gitlab.com/install/


Thanks for the info, looks like I had the wrong idea with the wrong product!

You'd need to buy their self-hosted Enterprise version, which is certainly more expensive than Gitlab and Bitbucket offerings for self-hosted small team versions.

This offering is specifically for Enterprise Cloud, which they host.


Am I the only one finding GHE vastly worse than GH.com? Or is my employer just running an old version?

Reminder that this exists: https://git.zx2c4.com/cgit/ and is the preferred implementation of "web frontend to git" by Linus himself (ahem the creator of git)

cgit is a great git web frontend (I'm the guy who set it up on git.xfce.org back in 2009 or so), but it's a far cry from a full-project management solution like GH (or GitLab, or Bitbucket, or even Sourceforge, of all things).

Interesting, it looks like Microsoft has finally realized how unpopular they are among SV style startups. I’ve never been a fan of Windows but if there are enough perks in the program I would seriously consider using a Microsoft stack for a future startup.

I use Azure at work, honestly the Kuberentes/Docker support is pretty awesome. Not to mention the fact that they only run garbage collection after 28 days so if you accidentally destroy a production bucket with user images in it, support can easily get it back to you. (Yes this happened before)

You don't even have to use Windows - Linux/MacOS and .NET Core is a combo that works really well.

For OSS, I really like Github, and honestly even moreso since the Microsoft purchase, since there has been some actual progress.

For non-OSS though, I favour Azure DevOps over Github (despite the silly name) - they have a very generous free plan that includes pricing repos and build time on Windows, Linux and MacOS build agents. The CI/CD side of it really is fantastic - I've used Travis, Appveyor, GitLab and Jenkins, but Azure DevOps is just so much more capable.

With Microsoft buying Github, I'm actually kind of worried about what is going going to happen with Azure DevOps - it really is a great platform, and I hope Microsoft don't end up replacing it with Github...


Dealing with MS licensing used to be a PITA but maybe it's better now with Azure.

Better go Gitlab

Scam to create MSFT lock in. Devs are too smart to get snookered.

I would not use GitHub these days.

On GitLab, you can decide to download all your data anytime and put it into a selfhosted GitLab instance.

Why would I want to give that up and put my balls into the hands of Microsoft?


Don't worry, soon you'll probably be able to put your balls in the hands of Google. Git is distributed by definition. If you really want to be free, stop using external centralized sc services.

they sunsetted code dot google dot com like 10 yrs ago...it's not coming back

Seems a bit alarmist..

This article is specifically about free access to `GitHub Enterprise` the self-hosted GitHub instances.

It's GitHub Enterprise Cloud in this offering - they host it for you.

I think it's pretty hilarious that some companies are opting to allow another company (Microsoft, no less) to see the source of their proprietary code. It's like putting a giant sign outside your building that says "We're not working on anything interesting".

Ah the GitLab astroturfers are here

Slinging accusations of astroturfing is against the rules here. Please don't.

Also, while I have you, could you please stop creating accounts for every few comments you post? We ban accounts that do that. This is in the site guidelines too: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

You needn't use your real name, of course, but for HN to be a community, users need some identity for others to relate to. Otherwise we may as well have no usernames and no community, and that would be a different kind of forum. https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20community%20identity...


I mean, I use gitlab, gitea, github, and bitbucket all fairly regularly for different projects, and I haven't seen anything out of the gitlab posts here that I think is wrong.

People disagreeing with you and/or opposing the free offerings of a company known for embrace/extend/extinguish does not mean they're astroturfing.


They spam every GitHub post with “I use gitlab” regardless of the content.
zelly 6 days ago [flagged]

Lots of github employees on this site.

It's ok, you just work there. No need to get angry.


This breaks the site guidelines, which ask you not to insinuate of astroturfing, and not to feed egregious comments by replying. Also, please don't cross into personal attack. That's bad and not allowed here either.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html




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