GitHub this week announced is making available private repositories for an unlimited number of collaborators available to all GitHub accounts for free.
Kelly Stirman, vice president of product strategy and marketing, said that subsidiary of Microsoft could make this move because it is now generating enough revenue from the enterprise edition of its platform to sustain its business model.
Previously, organizations that wanted to use GitHub for private development needed to subscribe to a paid plan. DevOps teams that need access to advanced features such as code owners or secure access markup language (SAML) support will still need to upgrade to a paid plan. However, the cost of a paid Team plan has been reduced to $4 per user/month from $9 per user/month, effective immediately, as part of an effort to increase the use of paid plans around the globe. Existing customers of paid plans will also see their bill reduced, added Stirman. Alternatively, existing customers can downgrade their current plan to take advantage of a free service.
The overall goal is to increase the number of projects being developed on GitHub, said Stirman. Many open source projects generally get started by small groups of developers that are not initially ready to share their code publicly. GitHub provides an affordable way to launch those projects among a core set of developers that may not have ever met one another.
Stirman also noted private repositories on GitHub provide a much more cost-effective alternative to standing up a private repository in an on-premises IT environment that requires IT teams to provision and manage their own infrastructure.
GitHub also tracks all the vulnerabilities that are discovered in open source projects hosted on the platform, which is information that is shared with every developer on the platform, added Stirman.
Additionally, GitHub provides access to a content delivery network (CDN) to more easily share code across geographically distributed teams of developers, Stirman said.
It’s hard to forecast how much pent-up demand there is for access to a free private repository for an unlimited number of collaborators. GitHub has previously made private repositories available for a limited number of collaborators. Nevertheless, Stirman said there was a massive spike of adoption on the first day the new plan was available.
In addition, Stirman noted there has been a marked increase in the number of teams that are working on projects related to COVID-19 research.
Of course, the more development teams that are exposed to repositories such as GitHub the more likely it becomes more of those teams will find themselves to varying degree embracing best DevOps practices. Invariably, those bet practices will then find their way into a larger number of enterprise IT projects. Undoubtedly, GitHub views making private repositories available for free as a method to create increased demand for the enterprise edition of its platform down the line. Of course, rival providers of continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platforms will be seeking to convert as many of those projects into enterprise customers as well.