Microsoft’s stance for decades was that community creation and sharing of communal code (later to be known as free and open source software) represented a direct attack on their business. Their battle with Linux stretches back many years. Back in 2001, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously tarnished Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft also initiated its “Get the Facts” marketing campaign from mid-2003, which specifically criticized Linux server usage, total cost of ownership, security, indemnification and reliability. The campaign was widely criticized for spreading misinformation.
However, in recent years, there has been a partial shift by Microsoft to embrace the open source software paradigm. For example, some of their code is open sourced. Examples include Visual Studio Code, .NET Framework, Atom, and PowerShell. They have also made investments in Linux development, server technology and organizations including the Linux Foundation and Open Source Initiative. They have made acquisitions such as Xamarin to help mobile app development, and GitHub a hugely popular code repository for open source developers. And they have partnered with Canonical, the developers of the popular Ubuntu distro. But many developers remain hugely sceptical about Microsoft and their apparent shift to embrace open source.
This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives to products and services offered by Microsoft. We launch the series with GitHub.
is a provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git. It offers the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git and offers its basic services without charge. But it is not open source which puts some organisations in a difficult position to migrate where they rely on the non-Git elements of GitHub’s service offerings. Vendor lock-in is a legitimate concern.
There are lots of alternatives to GitHub. We only recommend the best open source alternatives to GitHub in this article.
GitLab, like GitHub, offers version-control distributed git platforms used for storing your code inside git repositories.
GitLab is essentially a comprehensive DevOps platform. It has a mature built-in CI/CD framework, the combined practices of continuous integration and either continuous delivery or continuous deployment. Combine that with code and project management tools, issue reporting, and more, it makes it easy to manage, plan, create, verify, package, secure, release, configure, monitor and defend projects.
Self-host GitLab on your own servers, in a container, or on a cloud provider.
GitLab is published under an open source license.
We’re big fans of self-hosting. And storing your code inside your own locally hosted git repository makes a lot of sense. Make sure your backup strategy is sound!
We are also big fans of Gitolite. It lets you setup git hosting on a central server, with fine-grained access control and many more powerful features. Manage a Git server with Git.
While you’ll need to learn how to use Gitolite, this involves simple editing of text files in a Git repository. And the project’s documentation is excellent.
We also love Gitea as a self-hosted Git service. This is a community managed lightweight code hosting solution written in Go. It aims to offer the simplest way to set up a self-hosted Git service.
Gitea is cross-platform, easy to install, lightweight and published under an open source license (MIT).
If Gitolite or Gitea don’t float your boat, we also recommend Gogs. It shares many similarities with Gitea (Gitea is a fork of Gogs).
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services|
|GitHub||Distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git|
|OneNote||Note-taking program for free-form information gathering and collaboration|
|Project||Develop schedules, assign resource, track progress, manage budget +|
|Yammer||Social-networking platform for organizations|
|New to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series.|
|The largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Supplied with our legendary ratings charts.|
|Hundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software.|
|Alternatives to Google's Products and Services examines your options to migrate from the Google ecosystem with open source Linux alternatives.|
|Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services recommends open source Linux software.|
|Essential Linux system tools looks at small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.|
|Linux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.|
|Home computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.|
|Now and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years.|
|Linux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.|
|Linux Candy opens up to the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun!|
|Best Free Android Apps. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series|
|These best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language|
|These free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to the free programming books series|
|Stars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA|