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GitHub, Inc.
GitHub logo 2013 padded.svg
Type Private
Founded 8 February 2008; 10 years ago (2008-02-08)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Tom Preston-Werner
Chris Wanstrath
PJ Hyett
CEO Chris Wanstrath
Key people PJ Hyett (COO)
Industry Software
Employees 415 (2015)[1]
Slogan(s) "Build software better, together.", "Where software is built"
Written in Ruby
Alexa rank 86 (January 2016)[2]
Type of site Git repository hosting service
Registration Optional (required for creating and joining projects)
Users 10 million (2015)
Available in English
Launched 10 April 2008; 10 years ago (2008-04-10)
Current status Active

GitHub is a Web-based Git repository hosting service. It offers all of the distributed revision control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git as well as adding its own features. Unlike Git, which is strictly a command-line tool, GitHub provides a Web-based graphical interface and desktop as well as mobile integration. It also provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project.[3]

GitHub offers both plans for private repositories and free accounts,[4] which are usually used to host open-source software projects.[5] As of 2015, GitHub reports having over 11 million users and over 29.4 million repositories,[6] making it the largest host of source code in the world.[7]

The trademark mascot of GitHub is Octocat, an anthropomorphized cat with octopus limbs, done in a manga style.[8]



Development of the GitHub platform began on 1 October 2007.[9][10] The site was launched in April 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett after it had been made available for a few months prior as a beta period.[11]

Projects on GitHub can be accessed and manipulated using the standard Git command-line interface and all of the standard Git commands work with it. GitHub also allows registered and non-registered users to browse public repositories on the site. Multiple desktop clients and Git plugins have also been created by GitHub and other third parties that integrate with the platform.

The site provides social networking-like functions such as feeds, followers, wikis (using wiki software called Gollum) and a social network graph to display how developers work on their versions ("forks") of a repository and what fork (and branch within that fork) is newest.

A user must create an account in order to contribute content to the site, but public repositories can be browsed and downloaded by anyone. With a registered user account, users are able to discuss, manage, create repositories, submit contributions to others' repositories, and review changes to code.

The software that runs GitHub was written using Ruby on Rails and Erlang by GitHub, Inc. developers Chris Wanstrath,[12] PJ Hyett, and Tom Preston-Werner.


GitHub is mostly used for code.

In addition to source code, GitHub supports the following formats and features:

  • Documentation, including automatically-rendered README files in a variety of Markdown-like file formats (see README files on GitHub)
  • Issue tracking (including feature requests) with labels, milestones, assignees and a search engine.
  • Wikis
  • Pull requests with code review and comments.
  • Commits history.
  • Graphs: pulse, contributors, commits, code frequency, punch card, network, members.
  • Integrations Directory[13]
  • Unified and split diffs.
  • Email notifications.
  • Option to subscribe someone to notifications by @ mentioning them.[14]
  • Emojis[15]
  • Small Websites can be hosted from public repositories on GitHub. The URL format is
  • Nested task-lists within files
  • Visualization of geospatial data* 3D render files that can be previewed using a new integrated STL file viewer that displays the files on a 3D canvas.[16] The viewer is powered by WebGL and Three.js.
  • Photoshop's native PSD format can be previewed and compared to previous versions of the same file.

Licensing of repositories

GitHub's Terms of Service do not require public software projects hosted on GitHub to meet the Open Source Definition. Therefore, (and in any case) it is advisable for users and developers intending to use a piece of software found on GitHub to read the software license in the repository (usually found in a top-level file called "LICENSE", "LICENSE.txt", or similar) to determine if it meets their needs.

GitHub Enterprise

GitHub Enterprise is similar to GitHub's public service but is designed for use by large-scale enterprise software development teams where the enterprise wishes to host their repositories behind a corporate firewall.[17]


GitHub also operates other services: a pastebin-style site called Gist[11] that is for hosting code snippets (GitHub proper is for hosting larger projects), and a slide hosting service called Speaker Deck.

Tom Preston-Werner presented the then-new Gist feature at a punk rock Ruby conference in 2008.[18] Gist builds on the traditional simple concept of a pastebin by adding version control for code snippets, easy forking, and SSL encryption for private pastes. Because each "gist" has its own Git repository, multiple code snippets can be contained in a single paste and they can be pushed and pulled using Git. Further, forked code can be pushed back to the original author in the form of a patch, so gists (pastes) can become more like mini-projects.

Education program

GitHub launched a new program called the GitHub Student Developer Pack to give students free access to popular development tools and services. GitHub partnered with Bitnami, Crowdflower, DigitalOcean, DNSimple, HackHands, Namecheap, Orchestrate, Screenhero, SendGrid, Stripe, Travis CI and Unreal Engine to launch the program.[19]


The shading of the map illustrates the number of users as a proportion of each country’s Internet population. The circular charts surrounding the two hemispheres depict the total number of GitHub users (left) and commits (right) per country.
  • 24 February 2009: GitHub team members announced, in a talk at Yahoo! headquarters, that within the first year of being online, GitHub had accumulated over 46,000 public repositories, 17,000 of which were formed in the previous month alone. At that time, about 6,200 repositories had been forked at least once and 4,600 had been merged.
  • 5 July 2009: GitHub announced that the site was now harnessed by over 100,000 users.
  • 27 July 2009: In another talk delivered at Yahoo!, Tom Preston-Werner announced that GitHub had grown to host 90,000 unique public repositories, 12,000 having been forked at least once, for a total of 135,000 repositories.[20]
  • 25 July 2010: GitHub announced that it hosts 1 million repositories.[21]
  • 20 April 2011: GitHub announced that it is hosting 2 million repositories.[22]
  • 2 June 2011: ReadWriteWeb reported that GitHub had surpassed SourceForge and Google Code in total number of commits for the period January to May 2011.[23]
  • 9 July 2012: Peter Levine, general partner at GitHub's investor Andreessen Horowitz, stated that GitHub had been growing revenue at 300% annually since 2008 "profitably nearly the entire way".[24]
  • 16 January 2013: GitHub announced it had passed the 3 million users mark and was then hosting more than 5 million repositories.[25]
  • 23 December 2013: GitHub announced it had reached 10 million repositories.[26]
  • In June 2015, GitHub opened an office in Japan that is its first office outside of the U.S.[27]
  • 29 July 2015: GitHub announced it had raised $250 million in funding in a round led by Sequoia Capital. The round valued the company at approximately $2 billion.[28]


Main article: Censorship of GitHub
  • 3 December 2014: GitHub was blocked in Russia for a few days over user-posted suicide manuals.[29]
  • 31 December 2014: GitHub was blocked in India (along with 31 other Websites) over pro-ISIS content posted by users.[30] On 10 January 2015, GitHub was unblocked.
  • 26 March 2015: GitHub fell victim to a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack that lasted for more than 118 hours.[31] The attack, which appeared to originate from China, primarily targeted Github-hosted user content describing methods of circumventing Internet censorship.[32][33][34]

Allegations of harassment and departure of Tom Preston-Werner

In March 2014, GitHub programmer Julie Ann Horvath alleged that Tom Preston-Werner and his wife Theresa engaged in a pattern of harassment against her that led to her leaving the company.[35] After an investigation, GitHub CEO and cofounder Chris Wanstrath issued a statement on the company blog personally apologizing to Horvath. He wrote, "The investigation found Tom Preston-Werner in his capacity as GitHub’s CEO acted inappropriately, including confrontational conduct, disregard of workplace complaints, insensitivity to the impact of his spouse's presence in the workplace, and failure to enforce an agreement that his spouse should not work in the office… After being presented with the results we felt Tom could no longer be an effective leader at GitHub. He offered his resignation and we accepted."[36]


GitHub, Inc. was originally known as Logical Awesome[citation needed].

Organizational structure

As of December 2012, GitHub, Inc. was a flat organization with no middle managers; in other words, "everyone is a manager" (self-management).[37] Employees can choose to work on projects that interest them (open allocation). However, salaries are set by the chief executive.[38][needs update]

In 2014, GitHub, Inc. introduced a layer of middle management.[39]

Finance is a start-up business, which in its first years provided enough revenue to be funded solely by its three founders and start taking on employees.[40] In July 2012, four years after the company was founded, Andreessen Horowitz invested $100M in venture capital.[3]

See also


  1. "GitHub Team Info". Github. Retrieved 2015-12-11. 
  2. " Alexa Ranking". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-01-09. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Williams, Alex (9 July 2012). "GitHub Pours Energies into Enterprise – Raises $100 Million From Power VC Andreessen Horowitz". Tech Crunch. Andreessen Horowitz is investing an eye-popping $100 million into GitHub 
  4. "Why GitHub’s pricing model stinks (for us)". LosTechies. 7 November 2012. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  5. "The Problem With Putting All the World's Code in GitHub". Wired. 29 June 2015. Archived from the original on 29 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  6. "GitHub Press Info". Github. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  7. Georgios Gousios; Bogdan Vasilescu; Alexander Serebrenik; Andy Zaidman. "Lean GHTorrent: GitHub Data on Demand" (PDF). The Netherlands: Delft University of Technology & †Eindhoven University of Technology: 1. Retrieved 9 July 2014. During recent years, GITHUB (2008) has become the largest code host in the world. 
  8. "FAQ of Octocat". Retrieved 21 September 2015. 
  9. Weis, Kristina (2014-02-10). "GitHub CEO and Co-Founder Chris Wanstrath Keynoting Esri’s DevSummit!". in 2007 they began working on GitHub as a side project 
  10. Preston-Werner, Tom (19 October 2008). "GitHub Turns One!". GitHub. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Catone, Josh (24 July 2008). "GitHub Gist is Pastie on Steroids". 
  12. "Interview with Chris Wanstrath". 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  16. Weinhoffer, Eric (2013-04-09). "GitHub Now Supports STL File Viewing". 
  17. "Introducing GitHub Enterprise". GitHub. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  18. Preston-Werner, Tom (2008-07-20). God's memory leak - a scientific treatment. RubyFringe. Retrieved 2014-10-21. He previewed the upcoming git feature gist 
  19. By Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch. "GitHub Partners With Digital Ocean, Unreal Engine, Others To Give Students Free Access To Developer Tools." 7 October 2014. 7 October 2014.
  20. Dascalescu, Dan (3 November 2009). "The PITA Threshold: GitHub vs. CPAN". Dan Dascalescu's Wiki. 
  21. "One Million Repositories, Git Official Blog". 25 July 2010. 
  22. "Those are some big numbers, Git Official Blog". 20 April 2011. 
  23. "Github Has Surpassed Sourceforge and Google Code in Popularity". During the period Black Duck examined, Github had 1,153,059 commits, Sourceforge had 624,989, Google Code and 287,901 and CodePlex had 49,839. 
  24. Peter Levine (2012-07-09). "Software Eats Software Development". 
  25. "Code-sharing site Github turns five and hits 3.5 million users, 6 million repositories". 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  26. "10 Million Repositories". 2013-12-23. Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  27. "GitHub Expands To Japan, Its First Office Outside The U.S.". techcrunch. 2015-06-04. 
  28. "GitHub raises $250 million in new funding, now valued at $2 billion". Fortune. 2015-07-29. 
  29. "Russia Blacklists, Blocks GitHub Over Pages That Refer To Suicide". 
  30. "GitHub, Vimeo and 30 more sites blocked in India over content from ISIS". The Next Web. 2014-12-31. 
  31. "Large Scale DDoS Attack on". GitHub. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  32. "Last night, GitHub was hit with massive denial-of-service attack from China". The Verge. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  33. "U.S. Coding Website GitHub Hit With Cyberattack". The Wall Street Journal. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  34. "Massive denial-of-service attack on GitHub tied to Chinese government". Ars Technica. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  35. Biddle, Sam; Tiku, Nitasha (17 March 2014). "Meet the Married Duo Behind Tech's Biggest New Harassment Scandal". Vallywag. Gawker. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  36. Wanstrath, Chris (28 April 2014). "Results of the GitHub Investigation". GitHub company blog. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  37. Ryan Tomayko (2 April 2012). "Show How, Don't Tell What - A Management Style". Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  38. Quentin Hardy. "Dreams of 'Open' Everything". New York Times. 
  39. Evelyn, Rusli (17 July 2014). "Harassment claims make startup GitHub grow up". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  40. Michael, Carney (20 June 2013). "GitHub CEO explains why the company took so damn long to raise venture capital". PandoDaily. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 

External links