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The Top Six Alternatives to GitHub

Jeff Edwards| June 25 2018

| IT insights

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Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it's impending $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub, and developers everywhere have responded with an uproar.   Software professionals  and open-source developers everywhere are ripping the cat stickers off their laptops and seeking alternatives to GitHub. 

And there are plenty of alternatives to consider. Some of them are near identical to GitHub, while others have some major differences. Below is a list of the most popular alternatives to GitHub.

There are, of course, those who say that Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub is a good thing, for more on that, check out Greg's post here. 

GitLab

GitLab is probably the most popular alternative to Github, and has seen a huge influx in new users following Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub, with up to ten times the average daily amount of repositories opening up. This is a sure sign that those who do not want a Microsoft owned GitHub are flocking. Of course, GitLab is aware of this situation, and now provides an easy way to migrate from GitHub to GitLab. 

Unlike GitHub, GitLab itself is an open-core project, but also offers a closed sourced proprietary product called GitLab EE, so you can pick and choose what works best for your needs. What's more, you don't have to deploy GitLab on your own server, if you don't want to. GitLab offers a hosting service, for a small fee. 

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Bitbucket

Another notable mention is Bitbucket by Atlassian. Chances your team is already using Atlassian products like JIRA and Trello, so Bitbucket could be a good pick for ease-of-integration purposes. You can connect up to five users to Bitbucket free of charge, so there's no barrier to entry for trying before you buy. Bitbucket can deploy on the cloud, in your data center or in a local server. 

SourceForge

For open source GitHub alternatives, the biggest name that comes to mind is SourceForge. SourceForge actually predates GitHub, and is one of the first  widely-available open-source hosts for version control. While SourceForge had some bad PR a few years back for hosting malware, they still are among the most popular open source projects. Following that PR nightmare, the company has revamped its security capabilities and policies, and now offers multi-factor authorization. 

LaunchPad

First launched in 2004 by Canonical, the folks behind Ubuntu, LaunchPad is one of the earliest web-based hosts for version control. LaunchPad has been essential for version control and bug-tracking on ubuntu projects. However, due to it's close association with Ubuntu, LaunchPad never gained widespread adoption, and was always seen as a niche player in the version-control market, targeted at Ubuntu users. While the UI and workflow will take some getting used to if you're accustomed to GitHub, the platform does have good support for Git. 

BeanStalk

BeanStalk is a cloud-based code management software for coding, committing, and deploying from your browser. It's a powerful tool that supports both Git and SVN, and allows integration with a grip of online messaging tools, as well as email. However, there's no free version, free trial aside, so you'll have to spring for the monthly subscription plan if you want to use it. There are a wide variety of plans available, though, so it should be easy to find one that meets your budget. 

GitKraken

GritKraken is a popular version control software for GIT that features a great interface and ease-of-use—as well as a free version that can support up to 20 users. If you need more users and capabilities, tiered pro and enterprise versions are also available.

GitKraken is a Git client built on Electron, allowing it to run natively on Windows, Mac and Linux desktop systems, and also integrates seamlessly with other repositories such as GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket. 

Topics: IT insights

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards is a tech writer and analyst with three years of experience covering Information Security and IT. Jeff has written on all things cybersecurity, from APTs to zero-days, and previously worked as a reporter covering Boston City Hall.

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