10 years of GitHub

When we look back at the last decade, it’s not any one individual piece of software that we remember, it’s what people have done with it

Ten years ago, GitHub officially went live. We started with a pretty simple purpose: to connect developers and make it easier for them to work together on projects with Git. In the last decade, we’ve evolved as a company and as a platform, but the reason why GitHub exists is fundamentally the same. What makes this platform special isn’t an idea or an invention. It’s the people using it—and GitHub is celebrating ten years because of you, our community.

When we look back at the last decade, it’s not any one individual piece of software that we remember, it’s what people have done with it. You’ve shared, taught, tinkered, and built on GitHub from all around the world. At launch, we couldn’t have anticipated the number of projects we’ve seen take shape, the one-line programs and massive frameworks. We also never imagined that businesses would become so deeply invested in the open source community or that so many of you would learn from each other’s code.

GitHub launched at a time when technology was connecting people in new ways, but as I wrote in our launch post ten years ago, let’s not pontificate on the journey. Your work speaks for itself—and we’ve collected some of our favorite moments and milestones (link to landing page) to celebrate just a few of the ways you’ve pushed software forward.

As we look ahead, I’ll keep this simple. Together, you have defined what software is today. And you’ll continue to shape its future in the years to come. So what’s in store for the next ten years of software? We’ll follow your lead.

In the meantime, we thank you for the code you’ve committed, the pull requests you’ve merged, the documentation you’ve written, the projects you’ve shared, and for the ten years of GitHub you’ve made possible. We’re grateful for them all, and we can’t wait to see what you build next.

Thank you for 10 years

For 10 years, you’ve shared, tinkered, and built on GitHub from all around the world. Before we head into the next decade, we’ve collected some of our favorite moments and milestones—just a few of the ways you’ve pushed software forward.

4/10/2008: GitHub officially launches

In April of 2008, our private beta ended and GitHub officially launched with a simple purpose: to connect developers and make it easier for them to work together with Git.

Read the launch post

4/3/2008: Rails moves to Git and GitHub

Ruby on Rails was one of the first large open source projects to join GitHub when the platform still in a private beta. Considering GitHub is built on Rails, this was a big moment.  

01/03/2009: Bitcoin is invented

Bitcoin, the world's first decentralized digital currency, was invented in 2009 and arrived on GitHub in 2010. To date, the Bitcoin project has seen over 18,000 forks and over 500 merged pull request authors—and inspired thousands of other blockchain projects on GitHub, many of which are forks of Bitcoin's source code.

5/21/2009: Node.js launches

Node.js launched in 2009, leading to a fundamental change in the way people use JavaScript. With Node.js, developers could build complex server-side and desktop applications across operating systems using libraries and frameworks like Angular, Ember, React, jQuery, and Vue. The project effectively extended the possibilities of JavaScript and pushed a major programming language forward.

In 2014, io.js forked from Node.js, in an effort to reinforce the community’s open principles. A year later, both projects established an open governance model and reunited under the newly formed Node.js Foundation—demonstrating the power of open source communities to solve complex collaboration issues across two major projects.

Today, Node.js supports one of the richest ecosystems of libraries and tools available with almost 2,000 contributors to Node.js Core. It’s relatively easy to learn thanks to the community-driven NodeSchool, which connects developers, provides free tutorials, and hosts in-person events around the world.

11/26/2010: Rails Girls Summer of Code holds its first workshop

Rails Girls held its first event in Helsinki in 2010. In 2013, the group started their Summer of Code—a global scholarship that funds women and non-binary people as they spend three months working full-time on open source projects. Along with Google Summer of Code, Outreachy, and others, Rails Girls Summer of Code has had a lasting impact on representation in the software industry. They just celebrated five years, so now is a great time to support their work.

2/28/2011: Travis CI’s first pull request

Travis CI’s launch in 2011 provided consistent, reliable continuous integration (CI) for open source and private projects—and one of the first tools developers to integrate with GitHub. Jenkins and CircleCI were founded around the same time, making 2011 an important year for CI—and software in general. Tests have become a critical part of writing more secure, reliable code. To learn more, check out the top 10 CI tools used on GitHub.

1/1/2012: JavaScript becomes the most popular language on GitHub

JavaScript kicked off 2012 as the most popular language on GitHub—surpassing Ruby, Java, and Python. It’s still the most popular language on GitHub today.

1/16/2013: GitHub community reaches three million users

And later in the year, our community created its 10 millionth repository—including the one containing Project Open Data.

6/9/2014: Docker 1.0 launches

Docker 1.0 launched in June 2014—a little over a year after its first version—bringing Docker’s container program to enterprise datacenters and the cloud. Projects like Docker and Kubernetes kicked off the container movement, simplified DevOps, and freed teams from their infrastructure, so they could focus on what matter most to them.

7/21/2014: The first Django Girls workshop happens

The first Django Girls took place at EuroPython 2014 in Berlin, kicking off four years of training and support for women in software around the world. Support their work to keep the Django Girls community growing.

10/23/2014: Microsoft open sources .NET

.NET and the .NET Foundation were just the beginning of open source initiatives at Microsoft. Now the company maintains hundreds of open source projects. These include VS Code, which had the most contributors of any project last year, and TypeScript, one of the fastest growing languages in 2017.

Microsoft’s organization has also become one of the most active contributors on GitHub with thousands of engineers, designers, and program managers contributing and releasing software across platforms and programming languages.

Investments in open source from large companies like Microsoft and Google shifted perspectives on how businesses build software. They’ve also shown us that their “secret sauce” sometimes isn’t the technology they build but how people—and communities—use it.

2015/3/2: Unreal Engine 4 source code is available for free

The team at Epic Games set Unreal Engine 4 free, breaking down barriers between game developers and their creative visions with some of the best tools around. Free source code also allows their community to access major features before they’re released. From bug fixes to Git integration, their latest release had the help of 128 community contributions.

“Games” was one of the most popular topics on GitHub in 2017 thanks to open source game engines, libraries, and other development tools. Phaser, Godot Engine, and other projects like Itch.io, are shaping the way people build and share indie games. And open source learning resources and games like 2048—which inspired hundreds of clones—have invited even more people to play and create.

Apart from active game development, public source code for some of the most influential games of all time, including Doom and Prince of Persia are archived in public repositories—certainly a better fate than being buried in the New Mexican desert.

9/22/2015: GitHub Classroom starts school

GitHub Classroom makes it easier for teachers to distribute starter code and collect assignments on GitHub. Today, students at high schools, universities, and coding bootcamps are learning across 1.8 million Classroom repositories—but these are far from the only educational resources on GitHub.

From lists of resources to massive open online courses (MOOCs) like edX and Udacity, you’ve created thousands of ways to learn software development on GitHub. Courses at that top our list include Ada’s Jumpstart program and Stanford’s TensorFlow Tutorials. STAT545 is teaching thousands of students to wrangle data, while CS50 is being adopted in classrooms across the United States.

In the last decade, community-driven programs like Django Girls have kicked off online tutorials, hosted in-person events, and broadened learning opportunities for students around the world. Our Campus Experts are also building tech communities on campuses in more than 15 countries.

12/3/2015: Apple open sources Swift

The decision to release Swift as an open source language raised the bar for new development tools—and encouraged more companies to release their tools to the public.

7/9/2016: Apollo 11 code takes off

Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969. Forty-seven years later, the source code that launched it landed on GitHub. The code made a splash in part due to the number of easter eggs it contained, proving that programmers in the 1960s had a sense of humor, too.

Apart from storing bygone code, organizations are propelling modern spaceflight and exploring other frontiers of scientific research through open and closed source software. NASA maintains hundreds of open source projects. In public repositories, you’ll find software that visualizes Martian terrain and identifies exoplanets using TensorFlow. You can also find the open source projects that organizations like SpaceX use to build their software—including the project that made this moment possible.

2/10/2017: The Python team opens their first GitHub pull request

Python maintainers announced their plans to move to GitHub at the beginning of 2016 and opened their first pull request the next year. Over the last decade, Python has become one of the fastest growing major programming languages. It’s been the third most popular language on GitHub since 2015 and seen almost 70% year-over-year growth in non-spammy repositories created.

Python’s history goes back to the early 1990s, but it’s become increasingly important in recent years. This is likely because of the vast ecosystem of data science and machine learning tools built by its community, starting with Scikit-learn in 2007 (check out the topic for more). Wildly popular libraries like pandas have also made it easier to wrangle data in Python.

2/15/2017: TensorFlow 1.0 launches

Google first made their internal machine-learning library TensorFlow public in 2015. Last year, it was was one of the most forked projects on GitHub, and the TensorFlow/models repository had 5.5 times more visits in 2017 than in 2016. Now TensorFlow is a go-to tool for data professionals creating machine learning models.

In recent years, the possibilities of machine learning have expanded beyond limit. Organizations and individuals use TensorFlow to create models that diagnose psychiatric disorders, classify skin cancers, compose music, and power self-driving Mario Karts.

Today, data scientists can use a range of open source deep learning tools and models to solve complex and interesting problems. In addition to TensorFlow, tools Caffe2, Sonnet, DeepSpeech, and Keras—along with data analytics tools like pandas and Jupyter—are supporting data science work across industries.

5/2/2017: 30,000 nonprofit accounts created

The nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) make incredible things happen with technology. Last year, we reached 30,000 nonprofit users making the world better through initiatives like the Human Utility, Maven, and ConnectHome.

Marine conservation efforts by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) span 25 countries to protect and preserve the world’s coral reefs. In Kenya, WCS uses software to crunch numbers from researchers across the globe and help local communities fish more profitably and sustainably by collecting species data and monitoring more 252 hectares of coastal reefs—about 260 football fields worth.

5/31/2017: The 100 millionth pull request is merged

That’s a lot of bugs fixed, features launched, and software made better. In fact, you committed about 2.9 trillion lines of code in 2017 alone.

4/10/2018: Ten years of code, collaboration, and commits

A decade after GitHub’s official launch, our community has grown to 27 million developers working all over the world on more than 80 million projects.

Thank you for the repositories you’ve created, contributions you’ve made, and software you’ve built together. Thank you for 10 years of code.


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