GitHub Hits One Million Hosted Projects

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GitHub, the source code hosting and collaboration service, has hit a major milestone tonight: the site is now hosting one million projects, confirmed Scott Chacon, VP of Research and Development at GitHub. Approximately 60 percent of these projects are full repositories – that is, shared folders with code spread across multiple files – while the remaining 40 percent are “gists”, or short code snippets contained in a single file, like this one, for example.

GitHub has seen rapid growth since it launched in February 2008, all despite the fact that the company has eschewed the traditional venture capital funding route. In an exchange that took place, appropriately enough, via the messaging system built into GitHub, Chacon stated that the company is still “funding free and very profitable” and that they are seeing “incredible growth for GitHub and Git usage in general.” In January 2009 they won a Crunchie for best bootstrapped startup.

The profit comes from the paid plans that GitHub offers for those developers and companies who want to host their repositories privately. GitHub offers essentially unlimited hosting to anyone who is willing to make their code open source, but charges based on the number of private repositories and the number of contributors for other projects. This profitability has spurred the launch of a number of new features of late, such as Organizations, which offers more advanced workflow tools for projects with multiple contributors and varying permissions, and support for fifteen new languages.

GitHub is a key part of the software development ecosystem, hosting a number of notable code bases, including Ruby on Rails, the jQuery JavaScript library and the Linux kernel. Git, the distributed version control software that GitHub is based on, was in fact built by Linus Torvalds, the lead developer and maintainer of the Linux kernel, and the source code for Git itself is also hosted on GitHub. TechCrunch hosts a number of repositories using the service, including some that are open source, and Twitter has recently been publishing the source for several of their gems and other code, using GitHub to do so. Ruby and JavaScript are the most popular languages on GitHub, with 19 and 17 percent of the hosted code respectively, but there are currently projects in over 50 languages on the service: everything from Visual Basic to Go.

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