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Interview with Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO of GitLab

A new era rises: “The software community owes a lot to GitHub, as does the GitLab community”

Gabriela Motroc
GitLab
© Shutterstock / Rawpixel.com

It’s been a crazy week for the programming community; Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub made waves throughout the industry but there’s at least one company that made the most of this turn of events and that’s GitLab. We talked with Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO of GitLab about #movingtogitlab, what separates GitLab from GitHub and more.

JAXenter: It’s official: GitHub has been acquired by Microsoft. What’s GitLab’s take on that? Is the news shocking or is this something that was bound to happen?

Sid Sijbrandij: I think this is a great opportunity for GitHub and well deserved. It also validates the growing influence of software developers. The software community owes a lot to GitHub, as does the GitLab community. We first developed on GitHub and found some of our first contributors through them.

I didn’t find the news to be shocking. It makes sense because of the millions of developers using GitHub’s platform. They will migrate their repositories to Azure, which we know is a priority for Microsoft. Azure was the driving focus behind the deal.

JAXenter: The GitHub/Microsoft news has had a positive impact on GitLab. #movingtogitlab is extremely popular right now. Why are people moving to GitLab?

We chose Google Cloud Platform (GCP) because we’re all in on Kubernetes.

Sid Sijbrandij: #movingtogitlab now has more than 3,000 tweets since this weekend. But, people were already watching the improvement of GitLab every month. I think the acquisition was the trigger that people needed to act on their desire. A big driver behind this is what separates GitLab from GitHub.

At GitLab, we offer users a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle. It includes built-in CI/CD, container repository, monitoring and other crucial features. Developers can ideate and see it to fruition all within the same application. Also, it is much easier to collaborate if everyone is working within the same application. Developers can communicate faster with designers, security teams, operations, etc.

JAXenter: This sudden boost in attention is probably flattering, but is the move real? Are people walking the walk or just talking the talk?

Sid Sijbrandij: Over the past few days, we’ve imported well over 200,000 repositories and have seen a 7x increase in orders and are excited to see this momentum continue.

SEE ALSO: GitLab is stepping up its game in the midst of “git wars”

JAXenter: People are panicking about GitHub being acquired by Microsoft but GitLab (still?) runs on Azure. However, the migration to Google Cloud Platform is underway. Why did you choose to go from Azure to Google Cloud Platform and when will the migration be complete?

Sid Sijbrandij: In April of this year, we made the move from Azure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We chose GCP because we’re all in on Kubernetes. GCP has a great Kubernetes as a service offering called GKE. Following the announcement from this week, we are working to expedite the migration of repositories from Azure to GCP.

JAXenter: You recently announced that GitLab Ultimate and Gold are now free for educational institutions and open source projects. Why did you decide to make this change and is it just a coincidence that the announcement was made shortly after it was revealed that Microsoft is acquiring GitHub?

I think the acquisition was the trigger that people needed to act on their desire. A big driver behind this is what separates GitLab from GitHub.

Sid Sijbrandij: We made GitLab free for education because we want students to use our most advanced features, which are usually only accessible to large enterprise clients.

The Sunday night before the news was announced officially, the GitLab team went live on YouTube to answer community questions. Mohammad Al-Ahdal, who joined the webcast, asked if GitLab would consider offering education discounts or student-developer packs. We decided it would be a priority to offer educational institutions free advanced services. This because most educational bodies don’t have access to enhanced security or performance management tools for their software projects.

JAXenter: Why should people migrate their projects from GitHub to GitLab?

Sid Sijbrandij: GitLab offers users a single application for the complete DevOps lifecycle. With us, developers can establish an idea and create a project from start to finish within the same application. Whereas, competitors require 10+ disparate tools to accomplish the same thing. Our continuity expedites the development process, and as a result, allows teams to achieve a 3X faster DevOps cycle.

SEE ALSO: How to win the diversity battle: Tips from GitLab’s Barbie Brewer

JAXenter: How can people migrate their projects from GitHub to GitLab?

Sid Sijbrandij: Users who are interested in migrating their projects from GitHub to GitLab can take advantage of GitLab’s migration tool. This feature easily allows users to transition GitHub projects to GitLab with one click. Not only does everything transfer over, from branches to commit history, GitHub issues, comments, labels, pull requests and wiki pages, but release node descriptions are converted as well.

On our blog, we published a video that offers a step-by-step guide and we also created documentation users can follow.

Thank you!

Author
Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc is editor of JAXenter.com and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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