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GitHub Hits 1,000,000 users (github.com)
375 points by bkbleikamp on Sept 21, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 76 comments

They provide a great service, and I use them all the time, but I don't like how their pricing scheme works for freelancers. You end up with a million small private repositories, and BitBucket has much more reasonable options.

Yeah, it's ridiculous. I have enough repos that I'd need the Platinum 200 dollar a month plan.

All the repos are small and most are updated once or twice a year -- but the pricing is the same as if I had a whole team of people pushing to github every day.

But what's the point of having those on Github anyway? GH is great for teams or for sharing your code with 'the community', but I don't see what it buys you for private, single developer projects over a directory in your drive(s).

Code availability from anywhere without having to manage your own repo server.

Even for a single dev it might be worth it to be able to check out to your normal dev workstation, your laptop, and even on a totally random pc when the need arises. It also allows you to checkup on things through the web when a pc to checkout on isn't available.

A git server (at least on a personal scope) requires close to zero management. Fire up an Ubuntu box on Linode or such, `sudo apt-get install git`, boom, there's your server. A git server is nothing more than "filesystem + SSH + git".

Not to say GitHub doesn't make it even more convenient, but the DIY option isn't exactly difficult either.

Gitosis also takes like all of 5 minutes to set up and then you've got repositories that you can collaborate on and manage permissions between projects.


I set up our repo hosting using Gitosis a few years back and haven't had to think about it since. Accounts are also managed via a special repo so even that is done over git.

You could also put your collection of repositories on your Dropbox and clone from / push to there.

Gitolite is a better tool, with more options. It's easier to manage who gets access to what as well with gitolite.

I do this now. It works. It just sucks. Rather than have everything in one consolidated location, I have to recall where I put things. It seems like a small thing, and in the grand scheme of things it is, but it's really annoying. And if I'm already going to manage my own server for private repos, then why bother with a paid GitHub account?

I agree. I have a 40 Euro per month server solely for things like a MediaWiki, backup storage and git repositories. Granted, it takes a little bit of Linux-administration, but that's a useful skill anyway.

And creating a new git repo just takes 15 seconds:

  cd /opt/git
  mkdir reponame.git
  cd reponame.git
  git init --bare
  cd ..
  chown -R username:username reponame.git
That's it. Having said that Github is obviously great (nay, awesome) for larger teams (comment features etc.) and, of course, open-source projects.

And for a single dev who actually has a need to be concerned about all of these things, $200/month doesn't seem unreasonable to have someone else manage it all for you.

The alternative is of course to run your own repo server as you said, which with git can be as simple as just a directory you can access via SSH.

Yeah, I guess I assume any developer has some online "drive", be it Dropbox, a NAS or just some web based storage. That's all you really need for a git repository.

I've been running my own SVN server for nigh-on 10 years and it requires very little management, if any at all. I imagine git is similar.

You can use Dropbox as Git server if you wan't.

Please don't ever do this, unless you wish to invite Dropbox's file syncing to destroy your repo.

(See http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1964347/mercurial-and-i-g... and http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1960799/using-gitdropbox-... )

The top-rated answer there warmly recommends using Git on top of DB.

Yes. I'm sure it works for the common case. It's the edge-case problems outlined in the answers below it that worry me more.

Going out on a limb: I'd assume that if you care enough about your data to version it in a git repo, then I'd also assume that you'd not enjoy it exploding because of a sync problem between two computers.

> wan't

In what implementation of the English language would that contraction make any sort of sense?

Don't you have even an old spare computer to put aisde in the attic/closet for your personal ssh/web/git serving needs?

One side-affect of having your projects on Github is that they are now backed up and you won't lose all your work if you drop your laptop or your drive goes kaboom.

I love using GitHub Issues even as a single dev. I give clients read access to a repo and they can log feature requests or bugs they find. As a single dev I'm less inclined to manage and backup a server for my repos. Also, I try to delete projects I'm not actively working on from my drive so I'm less likely to tinker with stuff when I should be working on paying projects. Just my $0.02.

And the team plans offer very little value for money vs the normal plans...

It'd be great if you could trade diskspace for # of repositories or something like that.

Out of curiosity, why don't you keep several repos in a single repo as sub-directories? AFAICT, this should work quite well if the work done on those directories is unrelated to other work. Yes, there will be more revisions but merges shouldn't be more difficult because work is done on different parts.

This is intended usage in svn, but it just feels so very very wrong in git. If I want to transfer a project to someone else, I want to be able to give them the whole history. Granted, I'm sure there's some relatively easy way to replay a subdirectories commits to a new repo (with all the sha1s changed obviously), but I would prefer to actually pay Github more money, or else just use some other hosting rather than do something like this.

Exactly what I was thinking, but this'd kill the convenience of GitHub anyway.

Then use bitbucket, recently after they updated the website its actually really good service

BitBucket is also very nice for students, their deal gives you unlimited private repos among other things, far more generous than GitHub.

Did they change that recently? For as long as I have been on Bitbucket I have had LOADS of private repos ...

I recently switched to Unfuddle for private repos. It's designed for small teams and freelancers.

Or RepositoryHosting.

Another new service on the scene, providing cheap unlimited git hosting repositories, is sourcehold.com specifically to help solve this problem.

Full Disclosure: I am writing it, and it is still in beta.

Unlimited? You may want to rethink your business model.

Yes unlimited repositories, but you will have a space limit.

Sounds like an interesting model for my workflow. Keep HN posted.

@0x0x0x will gladly do that. I am still working through stuff, but that is why it is in beta.

How much are you going to charge?

Will be $4 a month and a 1gb limit and $1 p/g after that. I am still trying to figure out pricing for collaborators, but it won't be bad at all. The $4 will include 3 collaborators automatically.

What about non-collaborators, like clients so they can clone repo's and use the ticketing features but not commit?


I've been there for years and I couldn't be happier. The only downtime was when AWS went down for everyone.

I just have my own Github repository on an EC2 instance that I rent. I can have how many repositories I want with GB of data, whatever for something like $12 per month.

http://projectlocker.com/ provides free private git repositories. Sure, their GUI is nowhere close to Github's, but you get what you pay for.

Have a look at http://xp-dev.com which does not have any limits on number of projects

(disclaimer: I run it)

Disclaimer: I haven't used these company before, but they do seem like an okay option: https://codeplane.com/

I just signed up for them earlier today, actually. It seems simple so far. Nice looking interface.

Less features than GitHub (no file browser, no web interface that shows commits) but hopefully they will address that.

I suspect one of the reasons why github just hit a million users is that people use more than one account to get around that limitation.

What limitation does this get you around? Private repositories do cost more if you use more private repos, but creating another account doesn't get you anything. Look at our plans — it would actually cost more to use multiple accounts to publish many private repos.

Apologies I was mixing up your plans with one of your competitors.

Wow, that number almost doesn't seem believable. A million people must be a good chunk of all programmers in the world. This Wikipedia article[1] says there are 612,000 programmers in the US and 522,000 in India. Admittedly old incomplete data but it's easy to see how a million people might be 10-20% of all programmers worldwide. In corporate drone offices I've been in my guess is maybe 10% of programmers have even heard of git.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_engineering_demographi...

Do you need an account to be able to report issues or watch projects? Interested bystanders and responsible bug-reporting OSS citizens may account for some of that.

I wonder how many of those accounts have active repos of their own?

I would wonder how many of those accounts have pushed to a repo recently, not just their own (in cases where people work for a company/on a project that has a GitHub organization).

Yep, that's a valid point. I got my account for more than a year but I use it to report issues and for Gists only.

I imagine there's also a small, but non-trivial number of people on GitHub who wouldn't be readily identified as programmers. For example, I'm acquainted with a civil engineer that's on GitHub so he can contribute to software used with his astronomy hobby.

also designers. That might be the biggest demographic of "non-programmers" even though the designers on github veer technical.

I know Project and Account managers that have github accounts, you are probably missing those or similar users in nature

Many of our non-technical clients have Github accounts and are collaborators on our projects - we treat the commit log as our way of reporting status updates.

I was wondering this same thing! I wonder if someone can provide more recent data on how many programmers there are worldwide.

I'm very happy for their success, I really see GitHub as one of the most rapidly evolving services; my only wish is for BitBucket to receive the same care.

I love GitHub and when our company recently migrated its code to Git, we were much interested in hosting the code on GitHub. I was surprised that they have a repository size limit, or more precisely I was surprised by how low the limit is. They have no hard quota, but they "don't recommend repository size over 1GB". Plans don't make a difference.

We're a small four-people workshop, but our repos are easily several gigabytes in size because of the artworks, source photos and similar stuff. We would probably have squeezed under their limit, but did not want to live under the constant threat of growing out of it.

So, I love GitHub, will continue using it for my public stuff, but I am surprised you can't easily host 10-15 GBs of private code even though you're willing to pay $50 a month for it.

How are they measuring users here? Is this all-time-registrations? Or "actives"? Because if this is registrations, I thought they were a lot bigger already. Regardless, awesome!

>Because if this is registrations, I thought they were a lot bigger already.

No way. How many programmers are there in the first place? I bet you it's <100M, hell <50M.

EDIT: Back of the envelope by other people put it between <12M to <24M http://stackoverflow.com/questions/453880/how-many-developer...

Under that perspective, one could say that Github has captured the attention of 4-8% of everyone capable of understanding the app.

I think it depends on how you define programmer. If you are just looking at people who write scrips or excel macro's etc then it might be as high as: 6billion people * 1/3 have computers * 25% of computer users write scrips = 500 million people. Or you could limit it to people who have software developer or programmer etc as part of their job title and then it's probably below 20 million.

PS: Personally, I rather prefer the most inclusive version which includes people who simply train their outlook to auto sort their mail etc. In the early days of computing there was little that separated users from programmers and I like to think we are heading back in that direction. If for no other reason than I like the idea of the maximum number of people learning how to work though problems logically.

Fortunately, in this case we're clearly talking about people who understand what source control is and have a desire to use it ;).

And we all know the wildly varying calibre of people with "programmer" or "software engineer" type titles ("Source control? Which key is that?"). I wouldn't be too surprised if it was more like 10% of those capable...

Registered user accounts (meaning this does not include Organization accounts). We also purge spammers fairly often, so it should be our best guess as to real people who have registered.

Github is the best place for Social Coding. Can't tell you how easy it is to manage a Repository being a Release Engineer with Github.

Well deserved. The team has consistently brought the kinds of functionality we need as developers since they launched the service. Kudos guys!

This made me curious what my user number was. You can see it on your Account page source:


Unfortunately I couldn't figure out a way to explore user numbers like going to /users/5603 for example. That is actually the route for DELETEing your account, but it doesn't have a GET redirect or anything.

".. and as a gift to you all, we'll be building side by side diffs!"

(j/k -- congrats to the Github team, you can pry my account from my cold dead hands)

If anyone's interested in their growth curve, this scraper of their search engine using date ranges gives you figures for their number of users every month since they started. https://scraperwiki.com/scrapers/github_users_each_year/

If you don't like GitHubs pricing model, just download and install Gitorious on your own server. It's open source.

When was this reached? I setup an account a few hours ago and have to wonder if I am the millionth user?? ;-)

It wasn't you, we already contacted the 1 millionth user. Nice try though!

Good work GitHub team! Using github as part of my workflow has greatly helped my efficiency. Their interface makes reviewing code and making comments much easier.

GitHub is basically the Facebook of software developers and I think it is eating LinkedIn's launch.

such a coincidence that this happens the day I created a Bitbucket account :)

How many users does the biggest public SVN repo have?

Well done GitHub! Keep up the good work.

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