Why GitLab won

There are many git based repository viewers. But GitLab beats them all.

Yesterday GitLab hosted a very nice informal session regarding the release of GitLab 7. There have been quite a lot of attendees, but not so many questions. From the questions I got the impression that people are quite happy with GitLab and that everything seems to be included or possible at this point.

GitLab is a ruby based web page that let's users view git code repositories or submit patches of code in an organized fashion. Additional to the version control system offered by git, bug tracking, release management, mailing lists, and wiki-based documentation are also offered. All in all, GitLab is like GitHub for own premises.

Even more, in my opinion GitLab makes all non-open source repositories obsolete. Everyone can buy a cheap microcomputer that is powerful enough to host GitLab like a BeagleBone Black or an Odroid U3. Running such a system 24/7 doesn't cost a thing and makes adequate (personal) continuous integration possible.

Is this even a threat to commercial systems offered by Microsoft, IBM or Atlassian? In my opinion it definitely is. Why should I invest in software that costs thousands of Dollars when I could just spent a couple of hours setting up a fully customizable solution that scales very well and offers tons of plugins. Additionally the git integration is probably nearly on the same level as provided by GitHub. This is huge. Total understanding of git means that analysis and reviews are as accurate as they could be. Accompanied with issue tracking, project management and a project Wiki GitLab offers everything a small to midsize development team might be interested in (out-of-the-box).

Are there even reasons to still restrict to GitLab? Of course, there are always reasons. But most of these reasons come from people who still refuse to accept git. Yes, Mercurial (Hg) is also very good. But is it as fast as git? I doubt it. Also Visual Studio offers a quite neat integration these days, which means I don't have to switch to the PowerShell as often as before. Since git is independent of GitLab, which is independent of Visual Studio we get the loose dependency that, e.g., TFS never had (as a VCS).

There is one reason to still restrict GitLab: If one is a satisfied Raspberry Pi user and thinks that gitweb is still sufficient.

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