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GitHub is a web-based hosting service for version control using Git. It is mostly used for computer code. It offers all of the distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git as well as adding its own features.

It provides access control and several collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project.

GitHub offers plans for enterprise, team, pro and free accounts which are commonly used to host open-source software projects. As of January 2019, GitHub offers unlimited private repositories to all plans, including free accounts.

As of June 2018, GitHub reports having over 28 million users and 57 million repositories (including 28 million public repositories), making it the largest host of source code in the world.

GitHub was developed by Chris Wanstrath, P. J. Hyett, Tom Preston-Werner and Scott Chacon using Ruby on Rails, and started in February 2008. The company, GitHub, Inc., has existed since 2007 and is located in San Francisco.

On February 24, 2009, GitHub team members announced, in a talk at Yahoo! headquarters, that within the first year of being online, GitHub had accumulated over 46,000 public repositories, 17,000 of which were formed in the previous month alone. At that time, about 6,200 repositories had been forked at least once and 4,600 had been merged.

On July 5, 2009, GitHub announced that the site was now harnessed by over 100,000 users. On July 27, 2009, in another talk delivered at Yahoo!, Preston-Werner announced that GitHub had grown to host 90,000 unique public repositories, 12,000 having been forked at least once, for a total of 135,000 repositories.

On July 25, 2010, GitHub announced that it was hosting 1 million repositories. On April 20, 2011, GitHub announced that it was hosting 2 million repositories.

On June 2, 2011, ReadWriteWeb reported that GitHub had surpassed SourceForge and Google Code in total number of commits for the period of January to May 2011.

On July 9, 2012, Peter Levine, general partner at GitHub investor Andreessen Horowitz, stated that GitHub had been growing revenue at 300% annually since 2008 "profitably nearly the entire way".

On January 16, 2013, GitHub announced it had passed the 3 million users mark and was then hosting more than 5 million repositories. On December 23, 2013, GitHub announced it had reached 10 million repositories.

In June 2015, GitHub opened an office in Japan that is its first office outside of the U.S.

On July 29, 2015, GitHub announced it had raised $250 million in funding in a round led by Sequoia Capital. The round valued the company at approximately $2 billion.

In 2016, GitHub was ranked No. 14 on the Forbes Cloud 100 list.

On February 28, 2018, GitHub fell victim to the second largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in history, with incoming traffic reaching a peak of about 1.35 terabits per second.

On June 4, 2018, Microsoft announced it had reached an agreement to acquire GitHub for US$7.5 billion. The purchase closed on October 26, 2018.

On June 19, 2018, GitHub expanded its GitHub Education by offering free education bundles to all schools.

Development of the GitHub platform began on October 19, 2007. The site was launched in April 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, P. J. Hyett and Scott Chacon after it had been made available for a few months prior as a beta release.

Projects on GitHub can be accessed and manipulated using the standard Git command-line interface and all of the standard Git commands work with it. GitHub also allows registered and non-registered users to browse public repositories on the site. Multiple desktop clients and Git plugins have also been created by GitHub and other third parties that integrate with the platform.

The site provides social networking-like functions such as feeds, followers, wikis (using wiki software called Gollum) and a social network graph to display how developers work on their versions ("forks") of a repository and what fork (and branch within that fork) is newest.

A user must create an account in order to contribute content to the site, but public repositories can be browsed and downloaded by anyone. With a registered user account, users are able to have discussions, manage repositories, submit contributions to others' repositories, and review changes to code.

The fundamental software that underpins GitHub is Git itself, written by Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux. The additional software that provides the GitHub user interface was written using Ruby on Rails and Erlang by GitHub, Inc. developers Wanstrath, Hyett, and Preston-Werner.

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