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How the Atlassian Acquisition of Bitbucket Changes Things

September 29, 2010 1 comment

A while back I posted about selecting and implementing a source control system for Project Greenfield.  I outlined how I came to the decision to use Mercurial (Hg) and so far I have been very pleased with my decision.

One of the key factors in my decision was Bitbucket, an online repository service that I am using as a central source control server.  The original free service came with a single private repository, not exactly ideal for an ISV, so I purchased an account that gave me a handful of private repositories and more storage space.  At a few dollars a month the price was more than reasonable.

Yesterday, however, they announced that Bitbucket has been acquired by Atlassian, a development and tooling company.  Naturally, I was immediately concerned, but this turns out to be really good news.

What’s Changed

The most important change is this: small accounts like mine are now free.

Bitbucket’s pricing scheme was based on the number of private repositories and storage space, but under Atlassian the pricing is all about users.  An entry level account is for 5 users and includes unlimited public and private repositories with unlimited storage space.

According to the website, a user is defined as “Someone with read or write access to one of your private repositories.”  This means that most small development shops won’t have to pay anything.  I think that is just awesome.

What if I’m not so small?

Another great bit (pun intended) of news is that the price for pay accounts is very small. A 10 user account is only $10/month, 25 users is $20/month, 50 users is $40/month, and for $80/month you can have unlimited users.  Again, this includes unlimited private repositories and unlimited storage space.  In my mind those prices are great regardless of your team size.  They also have an introductory offer: if you sign up for a 10user account before Oct. 3rd your first year will be free.

How does this affect Open Source projects?

Since users are only counted for private repositories, you can have unlimited users on public repositories.  This means you should be able to manage any open source project on the standard free 5 users account.

What about Github?

This change got me thinking about Github.  When I was selecting a DVCS I almost chose Git because of Github even though everything else had me leaning towards Mercurial.  In my research it seemed people were more fanatical about Github than Git itself and I really wanted hosted repositories.  In the end it was finding Bitbucket that finalized my choice.

The only reason I even bring this up is I wonder if this will be a game changer for Github.  When I signed up, Bitbucket and Github prices were practically identical.  Will people researching DVCS begin choosing Hg over Git because Bitbucket is now free?  Github pricing is still based on the number of private repositories, will it change its pricing model? 

Github already has unlimited free public repositories and “collaborators”, so I don’t see this affecting the open source crowd.  And I certainly don’t think people will be switching from Git to Hg because of this: it’s the new adopters I’m curious about.  It just seems to me that Github will have to do something to respond to this: I’ll be curious to see how it plays out.

Categories: News, Source Control
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