UPDATED 14:31 EDT / MARCH 16 2017


GitLab gets more social, buying open source developer community Gitter

Open-source development lifecycle tool provider GitLab B.V. on Wednesday announced its acquisition of Gitter, a community hub platform for open-source developers.

GitLab also announced that it will release Gitter’s code as open-source software. This includes the web application and mobile apps. Such a move will allow the developer community at large to create and deploy Gitter community websites and apps as well as deeply integrate with Gitter-run applications using custom application programming interfaces.

“Community is core to GitLab’s principles,” Sid Sijbrandij, chief executive officer of GitLab, wrote in his announcement. “Our mission is to ensure that everyone can contribute, and over a thousand developers have contributed to GitLab CE. This acquisition is part of our strategic plan to become the most popular SaaS solution for public repositories.”

Launched in 2014, Gitter has fast become home to more than 800,000 developers who use the platform to engage in collaboration and communication. The software is available for users on Android, iOS, Windows and Linux and even has a handy Internet Relay Chat bridge to cover everything else.


Gitter provides chat rooms and community discovery for open-source developers. Image: Gitter

Gitter’s social apps also integrate with numerous developer productivity tools including GitHub, Heroku, Trello, Jenkins, and many more.

Gitter Chief Technology Officer Andrew Newdigate wrote in an announcement that the integration with GitLab will make conversations on the service free.

“We will also be making all conversations free and unlimited,” Newdigate said. “We know that many communities want to have private conversations amongst the core team and contributors, this was previously limited to 25 people in private rooms–well that’s a thing of the past and you can talk freely wherever and however you like.”

Users with existing paid subscriptions will not have their payments renew as these services are now offered free of charge.

Newdigate said that GitLab was one of the first third-party integrations on Gitter and represented a solid open-source core business model. He also said GitLab’s experience maintaining and fostering open-source communities would allow Gitter to open-source its own code.

Plans to complete the open sourcing of Gitter’s code will require some structural changes — mostly involving separating out sensitive configuration — but Newdigate said that it would happen no later than June. The open-source code would also be available under the MIT License.

For GitLab and Gitter users to get more accustomed to this change, and each other, there is a GitLab community on Gitter.

Image: Pixabay

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