GitLab Aquires Public Chat Software Gitter

| by David Iffland Follow 4 Followers on Mar 17, 2017. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

GitLab, the open source git solution, has acquired Gitter, a open collaboration-style Slack alternative. While there are no plans to integrate the product, the hope is that GitLab can drive growth by connecting to Gitter's large user base.

In a blog post, Gitter co-founder and CTO Andrew Newdigate announced the acquisition and laid out the general direction for the foreseeable future. Customers that are on paid plans will continue to have everything they have now, but will no longer have to pay for it.

GitLab is famously transparent (whenever possible) and they are treating Gitter no differently. The entirety of Gitter will be open-sourced around the middle of 2017.

In their own blog post, GitLab wrote that the acquisition is about fulfilling part of their goal to "become the most popular SaaS solution for public repositories." GitLab does not make any money off their public repositories and the product is open sourced. Instead, they make money on user licenses for the enterprise edition.

GitLab already ships Mattermost with their omnibus package. Mattermost is a "private cloud Slack-alternative" and GitLab will "continue to ship and recommend Mattermost for internal team communication."

In a discussion on Hacker News, GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij wrote that they don't have plans for Gitter in the enterprise yet:

If we see strong adoption and feature requests from the enterprise we'll consider adopting an open-core model and charging for it. For now the adoption is mainly from open source communities and we think of our costs as a marketing expense.

Gitter is often used to link discussions to GitHub repositories. For example, on the Angular GitHub repository — which has over 21,000 stars — there is a link right at the top of the README for the open discussion room on Gitter. There are over 800,000 people using over 90,000 communities on Gitter, so if GitLab can get their name and product in front of those users, it could dramatically drive adoption of GitLab and chip away at their competitors' dominance.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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