5 Open Source Alternatives to GitHub (2023)

Git is a popular version control system used primarily for code, but is also popular inandere disciplinesIt can also run locally on your computer for personal use, it can run on a collaboration server, and it can run as a hosted service for full public participation. There are many hosted services and one of the most popular brands isGitHub.

GitHub is not open source. Pragmatically, it doesn't matter much to most users. Most of the code published on GitHub is probably intended to encourage everyone to share it. GitHub's main function is therefore a kind of public backup service. If GitHub crashes or the terms of service change drastically, recovering your data would be relatively easy, as it is assumed you have a local copy of the code you keep on GitHub. However, some organizations have come to rely on non-Git components of GitHub's offerings, making migration from GitHub difficult. This is a delicate situation, so for many people and organizations, retaining suppliers is a worthwhile investment.

If you find yourself in this situation, check out these five GitHub alternatives, all of which are open source.

1. GitLab

GitLab is more than just a GitHub alternative; It is more of a complete DevOps platform. GitLab represents almost all the infrastructure needed by a software development house as it provides tools for code and project management, issue reporting, continuous delivery and tracking. You can use GitLabGitLab.comAlternatively, you can download the codebase and run it locally with or without paid support. GitLab has a web interface, but all Git-specific commands work as expected.

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GitLab is committed to open source, both in the code and organization behind it, and in Git itself. The organization publishes much of its corporate documentation, includinghow employees are involved, herMarketing policy, and much more. GitLab is a website that passionately promotes Git. When using a site-specific function (such as a merge request), the GitLab UI explains how to resolve the request in pure Git, in case you prefer to work in the terminal.

2. Gitoliet

Gitolmost likely the minimum amount of code needed to give a server admin access to manage a Git repository. Unlike GitHub, it has no web interface, no desktop client, and doesn't add anything to Git from a user perspective. In fact, your users are not using Gitolite directly. They just use Git as usual, whether they're used to Git in the terminal or Git in the front-end clientGa Cola.

However, from a server administrator's perspective, Gitolite solves all the permissions and access issues you would have to manage manually if you were using a simple Git server. With Gitolite, you only create one user (for example, a user namedIdiot) on your server. You allow your users to use this unique login identity to access your Git server. However, when they log in, they have to interact with your Git server via Gitolite. It is Gitolite that controls users' access rights, manages their SSH keys, checks their permission level when accessing certain repositories, and more. Instead of creating and managing countless Unix user accounts, an administrator only needs to list the users (identified by their SSH public keys) in the repositories they can access. Gitolite takes care of the rest.

Gitolite is almost invisible to users and makes Git management almost invisible to the server administrator. As long as you don't need a web interface, Gitolite is a clear win for everyone involved.

3. Gîte i Gogs

OfGog-projectis an MIT-licensed Git server framework and web interface. In 2016, some Gogs users found development difficult because only the original developer had write access to the development repository, so they distributed the code to himmanager. Today, both projects exist independently and are essentially the same experience from the user's point of view. Ironically, both projects are hosted on GitHub.

With Gite and Gogs, you download the source code and run it as a service on your server. This provides a website for users to create accounts, log in, create their own repositories, upload code, navigate code, submit issues and bug reports, request code merges, manage SSH keys, and so on . The user interface is similar in look and feel to GitLab, GitHub, or Bitbucket. So if users have experience with an online code management system, they are essentially already familiar with Gitea and Gogs.

Gitea or Gogs can be installed as a package on any Linux server, including Raspberry Pi, as a container, on BSD, macOS or Windows, or compiled from source code. Both are cross-platform, so they can run on any device running Go. Read Ricardo Gerardi's article about FrSet up a Gogs container with PodmanFor more information.

4. Independent Communities

If you're not ready to self-host just yet, you can cheat a bit by using the self-hosting option on someone else's server. There are many independent websites such asCodeberg, Nixnet, tinfoil hat andNotabug.org. Some run Gite, others run Gogs, but the result is the same: free code hosting to keep your work safe and public. Those solutions may not be as complex as GitLab or GitHub, they may not offer on-demand Jenkins pipelines and continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) solutions, but they are great mirrors to your work.

There are also dedicated providers:Gitea instance for FSFE employees, Gitlab instance forFree desktop projects, and one more beforeGNOME-project.

Since these independent servers are smaller communities, the "social" aspect of social coding may also be more important. I've made a few friends online through an independent Git provider, while GitHub has proven to be socially disappointing at the very least.

The message is clear: there is no need or benefit for a centralized, dominant, proprietary Git software hosting service.

5. Git

You may be surprised to learn that Git is surprisingly server independent. While there is no user management and permission settings, Git integrates with SSH and comes with a special featureGit ShellAn application specifically designed as a constrained environment for using Git commands. By setting the user's default shell toGit Shellyou can limit what actions are available to them when they interact with your server.

What Git itself doesn't provide are repository permissions tools that let you manage what each user has access to. To do this, you have to use operating system controls and access control lists (ACLs), which can be annoying if you have more than a few users. For small projects or those just getting started, running Git on a Linux server is an easy and instant solution to the need for a collaboration space. See my article on for more informationGit server structure.

Bonus: fossil

Fossil is by no means Git, and in some ways that's its appeal as an alternative to GitHub. In fact, Fossil is an alternative to the entire Git system. It is a full version control system like Git, and also has bug tracking, wiki, forum, and documentation capabilitiesintegrated into every repository you create. It also has a web interface and is completely self-contained. If this all sounds too good to be true, you can see it in action belowfossiel-scm.org, because the Fossil homepage is powered by Fossil!

Read Klaatu's articleGetting started with FosilaFor more information.

Open source means choice

The best thing about Git (and Fossil) is that they are open source technologies. You can choose which solution suits you best. Since Git is also distributed, you even get to choosemultipleSolutions. There's nothing stopping you from hosting your code on multiple services and writing them on every push. Review your options, decide what's best for you, and get started!

5 Open Source Alternatives to GitHub (5)This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


5 Open Source Alternatives to GitHub? ›

Gitea is by far the most active project for self-hosted source control. They have 1,071 contributors. There are 300+ releases and many include a combination of new features and bug fixes.

What are other alternatives to GitHub? ›

  • Comparison Chart of Alternatives.
  • #1) GitLab.
  • #2) Bitbucket.
  • #3) Launchpad.
  • #4) SourceForge.
  • #5) Beanstalk.
  • #6) Apache Allura.
  • #7) Git Kraken.
May 7, 2023

What is the best self hosted Git solution? ›

Gitea is by far the most active project for self-hosted source control. They have 1,071 contributors. There are 300+ releases and many include a combination of new features and bug fixes.

What is the private equivalent of GitHub? ›

Cloud Source Repositories is a cloud-based private Git repository tool developed by Google. Cloud Source Repositories is one of the best alternatives to GitHub, which allows design, develop, and securely manage your code. Features: This websites like GitHub provides Unlimited private Git repositories for free.

Which open source software allows you to host internal Git repositories? ›

Because GitLab is open source software, this simplifies the process of downloading it and hosting it on your own server. GitHub and Bitbucket both make hosting your blog or static website using your repositories in the cloud extremely easy.


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