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Globe icon of the infobox
Website logo
Build software better, together.
collaborative version management
languages English
operator Microsoft (since 2018)
editorial staff Tom Preston-Werner
Chris Wanstrath
P.J. Hyett
user 40 million (August 2019)
Registration Optional
programming language Ruby on Rails
On-line April 2008 (currently active)

GitHub is a web based service for version control for software -Entwicklungsprojekte. It was named after the version management system Git . GitHub, Inc. is based in San Francisco , USA . The company has been part of Microsoft since December 26, 2018.

Similar services are GitLab , Bitbucket, and Gitee .


GitHub was developed by Chris Wanstrath, PJ Hyett, Scott Chacon and Tom Preston-Werner using Ruby on Rails and Erlang and launched in February 2008. The company GitHub, Inc. was founded in 2007 and is based in San Francisco . In July 2012, GitHub received a $ 100 million investment from venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz. In July 2015, GitHub received another US $ 250 million financing round from Sequoia Capital , Andreessen Horowitz, Thrive Capital and other venture capital funds as part of a further ("series B") financing round .

In early June 2018, Microsoft announced it would buy GitHub for $ 7.5 billion. Software developers initially viewed this purchase very critically and feared a disadvantageous development. The purchase was approved by the EU Commission on October 19, 2018 without any conditions and was completed at the end of December 2018. According to Microsoft, GitHub should remain an independent platform. GitHub took over Spectrum in 2018 and Dependabot, Pull Panda and Semmle in 2019. Github's CEO is Nat Friedman .

In November 2019, GitHub announced that it would archive all public code repositories on the platform in a former coal mine on Svalbard . For this purpose, around 21 Tbytes of data with more than 100 million repositories were stored on 186 microfilm rolls. These were stored on July 8, 2020 in a former mine located in the permafrost zone. The archive is known as the Arctic Code Vault .


In contrast to other service providers for the management of open source software ( English 'open source hosters' ) such as SourceForge , GitHub does not focus on the project as a collection of source code , but on the user with his source code databases, the so-called repositories ( i.e. directories that contain Git managed). The creation (English ' branch ') and merging (English ' merge ') of splits (English ' forks ') is particularly promoted. The so-called forks make co-development with external projects particularly easy: In order to make a contribution there, the repository is first split off, then the changes to be adopted are added and a request (English 'pull request') is made to the owner of the original , the changes to take over. Since all steps can also be carried out via the web interface, GitHub is particularly easy to use, even for beginners, compared to other developer platforms. This creates a social network , taking into account the particularities of distributed version control systems , which is also reflected in the "observe" or "follow" functions known from "real" social networks.

The creation of publicly viewable as well as private, i.e. non-public repositories is possible after a free registration. In addition, GitHub offers larger companies with GitHub Enterprise to deliver their own, separate GitHub installation in order to use the advantages of social programming for in-house software development.

After the design of GitHub had remained unchanged for years, a new interface was presented in June 2013. In this, the source code of the software provided there comes to the fore. A major innovation was a visualized statistic, which shows the programming languages ​​used and their contribution to the entire project.

Since March 2020, GitHub has also been available as a smartphone app for iOS and Android.


In 2011, GitHub was the most popular service of its kind for open source software, measured by the number of write accesses (“ commits ”). The service has over ten million registered users and manages 26.3 million repositories (as of August 2015). In addition to many very small or often only used by the owner projects, there are several well-known larger open source projects that use GitHub for the version management of their source code . Since mid-2012 it has been possible to provide complete websites on GitHub . The service supports the linking of an A record with the IP address of its server and delivers static content in response to corresponding HTTP and HTTPS requests. The function can be used in both the free and the "Enterprise" version of the service. GitHub Enterprise is also part of the Platform as a Service , Bluemix .

In October 2016, the journal Nature reported on the increasing importance of GitHub for the exchange of scientific data. In 2016, one percent of all computer science publications cited GitHub as a source, followed by mathematics and the life sciences.


  • John D. Blischak, Emily R. Davenport, Greg Wilson: A Quick Introduction to Version Control with Git and GitHub . In: PLOS Computational Biology . tape 12 , no. 1 , January 19, 2016, doi : 10.1371 / journal.pcbi.1004668 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. GitHub Actions - Now with built-in CI / CD! Live from GitHub HQ. Retrieved August 9, 2019 .
  2. ^ The untold story of Github. Retrieved October 24, 2016 .
  3. GitHub Facts. Retrieved October 13, 2018 .
  4. a b Alexander Neumann: GitHub more popular than SourceForge and Google Code. heise Developer, June 6, 2011, accessed January 6, 2013 .
  5. Douglas MacMillan: GitHub Takes $ 100M in Largest Investment by Andreessen Horowitz. Bloomberg , July 9, 2012, accessed January 6, 2013 .
  6. Frederic Lardinois: GitHub Raises $ 250M Series B Round To Take Risks. TechCrunch , July 30, 2015, accessed July 30, 2015 .
  7. Spiegel Online: Microsoft buys GitHub for 7.5 billion dollars. June 4, 2018, accessed June 4, 2018 .
  8. Stefan Krempl: GitHub: developer community worried about "sell out" to Microsoft. In: Heise Online. June 4, 2018, accessed June 4, 2018 .
  9. Martin Holland: Microsoft buys GitHub for 7.5 billion US dollars. Heise online , June 4, 2018, accessed June 4, 2018 . dpa : EU Commission: Takeover of GitHub by Microsoft approved. October 20, 2018, accessed October 25, 2018 . Nat Friedman: Pull request successfully merged. Starting build ... The GitHub Blog, October 26, 2018, accessed October 27, 2018 .

  10. Ingrid Lunden: Microsoft closes its $ 7.5B purchase of code-sharing platform GitHub. In: TechCrunch. October 26, 2018, accessed November 27, 2019 .
  11. Björn Bohn: New CEO: GitHub should remain independent despite the Microsoft takeover. Accessed June 11, 2018 (German).
  12. Savia Lobo: GitHub acquires Spectrum, a community-centric conversational platform. December 3, 2018; Retrieved December 31, 2019 (American English).
  13. Stergios Georgopoulos Neowin ·: GitHub acquires Dependabot; Launches GitHub sponsors. Accessed December 31, 2019 .
  14. Ravie Lakshmanan: GitHub acquires pull Panda and makes its code review tools available for free. June 19, 2019, accessed December 31, 2019 (American English).
  15. ^ GitHub acquires code analysis tool Semmle. In: TechCrunch. Retrieved December 31, 2019 (American English).
  16. Bryan Clark: GitHub's new CEO isn't asking for your trust, he plans to earn it . In: The Next Web . June 4, 2018 ( [accessed June 11, 2018]).
  17. Sebastian Grüner: Github completes archiving in the ice , July 17, 2020, accessed on July 19, 2020.
  18. New year, new GitHub: Announcing unlimited free private repos and unified Enterprise offering. In: The GitHub Blog. January 8, 2019; Retrieved January 21, 2019 (American English).
  19. ^ GitHub Enterprise. GitHub, accessed January 6, 2013 (The best way to build and ship software, on your servers.).
  20. Kim Rixecker: Github with massive redesign - this is new. In: t3n magazine . yeebase media GmbH, June 18, 2013, archived from the original on March 3, 2016 ; Retrieved March 3, 2016 .
  21. ^ The world's development platform, in your pocket. GitHub, Inc., 2020, accessed March 18, 2020 (American English). GitHub's smartphone app is leaving beta. heise online, March 17, 2020, accessed on March 18, 2020 .
  22. GitHub Press. GitHub, accessed August 28, 2015 .
  23. Ilja Zaglov: Free hosting for static websites with GitHub. In: t3n magazine. yeebase media GmbH, December 28, 2012, accessed on January 6, 2013 .
  24. GitHub Enterprise becomes Bluemix service
  25. Jeffrey Perkel: Democratic databases: science on GitHub . In: Nature . tape 538 , no. 7623 , October 6, 2016, p. 127–128 , doi : 10.1038 / 538127a ( [accessed January 15, 2017]).