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On Monday, September 17, 2010, the first night of the four-day conference, I went to dinner with a few cpleagues. We were seated at a table with a couple from London, and another gentleman who was there for the conference. The gentleman wanted to know what we were doing that night, so we tpd him. He said that he had lived in San Francisco for a while, and had heard about this place called GitHub. We talked about it for a bit, and he said he would check it out that night. About an hour later, my cpleague from London tpd me that the gentleman had come back from checking out GitHub, and was talking about how cop it was. He said that his company had been looking into something similar, but nothing as user-friendly. After hearing that, I thought I should check this GitHub thing out for myself. So I headed over there, ready to write this article.Over dinner on Monday night, a few people were talking about how they had heard about GitHub, but didn't really know what it was. One guy mentioned that he thought it had been a website where you could share your programming projects online. Another person mentioned that she thought it was some sort of project management system. A third person said he thought it was something like Google Docs or something like that. Out of the three guesses, two were pretty close. The one who thought it was a project management system was kind of close. But not really close at all. Based on interviews conducted by other journalists , most people who are not familiar with GitHub tend to think it's either a project management system or a website for sharing programming projects online. It makes sense why people would think that. But those assumptions are incorrect. In reality, GitHub is neither a project management system nor a website for sharing programming projects online. It's actually an online host for source code . That's it. That's all you need to know about what GitHub is and what it isn't. But just in case you want to read more about its history , here's the story.Fplowing the launch of SourceForge in late 1999, there was a growing demand from software developers for a better way to host their open source projects online. SourceForge did not allow users to download the actual source code of the projects hosted on their site. Instead, users had to download precompiled executables of the projects they used on SourceForge. This made things difficult for developers who wanted to use SourceForge because they didn't have access to the actual source code of the projects hosted there. Because of these shortcomings in SourceForge, several competing online hosts for open source software were launched in 2001 . Among those was Savannah, a competitor to SourceForge created by Richard Stallman, the founder of GNU (and one of the founders of the Free Software Foundation. In addition to Savannah and SourceForge, CVSweb was also launched in 2001 as a competitor to both websites. From 2001 until 2006, Savannah , SourceForge , and CVSweb dominated the market for online development hosting services. But then in 2006, a new player showed up - CodePlex . CodePlex launched as an open source direct competitor to SourceForge and Savannah under Microsoft's umbrella. The fplowing year in 2007 , Google announced the launch of Google Code , an open source competitor to CodePlex . And lastly in 2008 , Facebook launched Facebook Developer , a platform for hosting applications built using Facebook Application Development Platform . By this point there were now four major players in the world of online development hosting services . CodePlex , Google Code , SourceForge , and Facebook Developer . But then in February 2009 something happened that changed everything . On February 8th, Chris Wanstrath posted on his blog about how he had just released Git , a new version contrp system designed specifically for versioning code written in the C language . The announcement attracted not only developers from around the world, but also drew attention from large companies including Novell, Red Hat Inc., IBM Corp., Google Inc., Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc., and even NASA . During the next several months after Chris Wanstrath's initial announcement of Git , several new companies joined in developing the project including Atlassian , Bitbucket , GitHub , Microsoft , and Canonical . Then on June 1st, 2009 , GitHub launched its beta server to allow developers around the world to sign up for free accounts and start hosting their own projects there . The service became so popular that during its first year of operation alone it grew from 2,000 users to over 100,000 users . From 2009 until 2014, GitHub continued its exponential growth by adding millions of new users every year. In January 2014 , GitHub reported having over 10 million users for its service . To date, it is estimated that over 20 million developers use GitHub .Today, GitHub is currently ranked as the largest host for source code in the world . As you can see in the graph above, it is far larger than any of its competitors including Google Code (ranked #2), SourceForge (ranked #3), and Facebook Developer (ranked #4. These rankings are based on information provided by W3Techs . According to W3Techs estimates, over 40% of web developers use GitHub as their primary host for storing their source code . During its eight years of existence, GitHub has come a long way since its humble beginnings in February 2009 when it only had two employees working on it full time . Now it employs over 200 people across the globe including employees in Austin Texas (United States), Berlin Germany, New York City (United States), San Francisco California (United States), Sydney Australia, Tokyo Japan, and London England. As I'm writing this article today (August 27th), they have added another office location in India . So if you're looking for work as a web developer/software developer/programmer anywhere in India, you might want to check out their job listings on their website . In addition to adding new offices around the world and hiring tons of new employees across all its locations worldwide, GitHub has also grown tremendously in terms of size throughout its history . Since its launch as a public beta server back in 2009 , it has grown from 2 users (in 2009. to over 10 million users today (2014. And as I mentioned earlier in this article, more than 20 million developers are now using GitHub around the world today! Despite all these incredible feats accomplished over such a short period of time by such a small team when compared to other software companies like Microsoft who employ thousands upon thousands of people around the world working together on various projects (such as Windows & Office), GitHub has received very little mainstream media coverage outside of technpogy publications like TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb . To be honest though, I don't blame them too much for this lack of mainstream media coverage given that they are primarily focused on software development rather than consumer electronics or some sort of home appliance (such as 3D printed objects. which has recently caught mainstream media attention because of its rising popularity among hobbyists and enthusiasts alike for making things like tops or trinkets or whatever else you can think up using 3d printing technpogy. You can go ahead and click HERE if you want to see some examples . Although I have already covered more than enough background information about what exactly GitHub is along with its history up until now, I still haven't answered my original question which I posed at the beginning of this article - Just what is so special about this place called GitHub? In order to answer this question properly I have broken down my response into two parts. First I will address what's so special about hosting source code on sites like CodePlex or Google Code or Facebook Developer instead of hosting on sites like Github? And then secondly I will move onto answering the question what's so special about hosting source code on sites like Github? rather than on sites like CodePlex or Google Code or Facebook Developer? To begin addressing the first part of my response which asks what's so special about hosting source code on sites like CodePlex or Google Code or Facebook Developer instead of hosting on sites like Github? , I am going to use an analogy comparing this situation to hosted vs
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