UPDATED 20:32 EDT / JANUARY 07 2019

CLOUD

GitHub opens up access to private repositories for free users

Microsoft Corp. today offered some good news for nonpaying users of its software code repository platform GitHub.

Previously, free users were forced to host their code in public repositories but that’s no longer the case. Now those users can have private repositories if they so desire.

According to Microsoft, free users can now host an unlimited number of private repositories, with up to three collaborators per project. The number of collaborators is the only real limitation, and free users can always add more by making their projects public.

The move seems to be a goodwill gesture by Microsoft as it tries to get more coders to use the GitHub platform, which it acquired for $7.5 billion last year. At the time of that acquisition, some developers were worried about Microsoft’s intentions, so today’s news might provide a bit of reassurance that the company has no plans to try to make money from smaller teams using the platform. Instead, it seems Microsoft is more focused on getting large enterprises to use, and pay, for the service.

To facilitate this, Microsoft also announced its combining GitHub’s two paid services, GitHub Business Cloud and GitHub Enterprise into a single service that will be sold under the “GitHub Enterprise” banner, priced on a feature-per-user basis.

In addition, the GitHub Developer suite is now being called “GitHub Pro” in a move designed to “help developers better identify the tools they need,” Microsoft said.

GitHub’s main rivals — GitLab and Bitbucket, owned by Atlassian Inc. — both already offer private code repositories for free users.

Image: GitHub

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