Feeds

Geek darling GitHub nabs $100m investment

Wants to become the Facebook for software developers

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Software developers aren't always known as the most social of creatures, but the venture capital firm of Andreessen Horowitz is betting big that the social networking craze will be a cash cow even among hardcore geeks.

The firm, which was cofounded by Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame, has sunk $100m into GitHub, the online collaboration site for programmers that investors hope will become the Facebook of the coding set.

"By orienting around people rather than repositories, GitHub has become the de facto social network for programmers," Andreessen Horowitz's Peter Levine wrote in a blog post announcing the investment.

Not only is this the most cash Andreessen Horowitz has shelled out to a single company so far, but it's also the first time GitHub has accepted any outside investment.

According to a blog post by its cofounder and CTO Tom Preston-Werner, GitHub "has been profitable for years, is growing fast, and doesn't need money" – but it accepted Andreessen Horowitz's offer anyway. We all make sacrifices.

To the uninitiated, GitHub doesn't look like much of a party. There are no games to play, no streaming video, and no LOLcats. First and foremost, it's a tool for software developers, and it's currently home to more than three million software projects.

At its heart is Git, a source code–management system originally created by Linus Torvalds to help him maintain the Linux kernel. Git and similar tools help developers manage complex software projects by storing, organizing, and providing version control for the source code files that make up a program.

Using the Git client, a programmer can check out a copy of the latest version of a project from a central repository, modify it, then merge any changes back into the main branch, all without disturbing the efforts of other programmers who might be working on the same files.

Git is open source software, so it's free for anyone to install. What GitHub provides is a large-scale, hosted Git server, where anyone can store their code and make it available to other developers worldwide.

GitHub hosts open source software projects for free, provided the code is accessible to everyone. Customers who want to keep their code private pay a monthly fee, starting at $7 per month and scaling upward based on how many private code repositories they need.

But what Levine and Andreessen Horowitz think will really drive GitHub's growth are the social tools the company has added on top of the core Git platform.

In addition to code repositories, GitHub allows developers to create personal profiles and post "activity streams" showing what projects they are currently working on. Other tools allow project managers to organize developers into teams, publish Wikis, and conduct code reviews.

Facebook still sounds a lot more entertaining – and, for that matter, so does MySpace – but Andreessen Horowitz is betting that GitHub will become an increasingly prominent presence in the software-development scene, particularly among coders hoping to land their next gigs.

"If you need to hire great programmers, why look at resumes when you can view a candidate's actual work on GitHub?" Levine writes.

No word yet on exactly what GitHub plans to do with all its newfound loot, but it's a safe bet it plans to grow its staff. It announced six new hires on Monday.

It also plans to expand into the mobile realm, having just released a GitHub app for Android.

And as successful as GitHub has been so far, there's always room for improvement.

"I love software development, but I hate source control," grumbled software developer Jeff Atwood in a Twitter post following the investment announcement. "Necessary and important evil, but un-fun to the extreme. Even GitHub." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?
Microsoft's long history of broken Windows sync
Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority
Let’s Encrypt to give HTTPS-everywhere a boost in 2015
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Nokia's N1 fondleslab's HIDDEN BRILLIANCE: The 'Z Launcher'
Sugarcoating Android's Lollipop makes tab easier to swallow
Bug fixes! Get your APPLE BUG FIXES! iOS and OS X updates right here!
Yosemite fixes Wi-Fi hiccup, older iOS devices get performance boost
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Meet Windows 10's new UI for OneDrive – also known as File Explorer
New preview build continues Redmond's retreat to the desktop
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.