GitHub competition growing fast

WANdisco, Google Code positioning themselves as alternatives

It is hard to argue that GitHub is one of the most popular code-hosting sites in the open source arena, and in the general development world, thanks in large part to the popularity of Linus Torvald's other great invention, the open source distributed version control system Git.

Developers should note that today two companies have delivered simultaneous challenges to GitHub's dominance, albeit in different ways.

The first company to have a go at GitHub is WANdisco, which announced the uberApps store for apps in their uberSVN application lifecycle management platform. That's a lot of market-speak, so now that that's out of the way, let me try to explain what this means.

WANdisco is a company that, when they launched two years ago, was a straightforwards software and services provider for the Subversion version control system, a direct alternative to Git. A lot of people like Subversion, but according to WANdisco President and CEO David Richards, there are still features in Git that appeal to many developers, such as branching and merging, and social coding. 

Three months ago WANdisco launched uberSVN, which came preconfigured with social coding features. Richards says that this was a huge success, and they have already seen 10,000 installs of uberSVN behind corporate firewalls. 

With that success under their belts, WANdisco immediately moved to the next phase of their plan, which is today's announcement: the uberApps store. Essentially, this is an app-store framework that will enable uberSVN customers to try and buy a whole range of apps that will, when added to the base Subversion version control, will deliver an end-to-end application management system.

Apps in the uberApps store include assembla, CornerStone, SonarSource, CloudBees, and uTest, with others ALM apps coming soon, including defect tracker and automated build apps. Richards said open source and proprietary apps will all be welcomed into the store: the only requirement is that the apps are easy to install and must agree to be part of WANdisco's 30-day free to buy program. 

Richards sees this store as a big opportunity for vendors in the ALM field, because of uberSVN's early success. That success, he adds, will enable WANdisco to let in what they perceive are best in class apps, too.

uberSVN is trying to fit Subversion into a larger development platform model, which Richards hopes will move beyond the capabilities of GitHub.

Meanwhile, Google Code, another GitHub competitor, is taking on GitHub more directly, by adding support for, of all things, Git.

That may not make sense, until you recall that Google Code started out supporting just Subversion, and then Mercurial version control systems. GitHub was seen as a popular alternative to Google Code for those developers who wanted to use Git. By now supporting Git, Google Code is positioning itself right across from GitHub.

It may not matter, since GitHub has a pretty loyal following by now. Still, Between the platform services of uberSVN and a strong alternative in the form of Google Code, GitHub is going to want to stay sharp and on their game if they want to stay on top of the distributed computing scene.

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