Friday, October 31, 2014

Bitnami is Now on Google Cloud Platform



After working closely with the Google team, we’re thrilled to announce that Bitnami now supports Google Cloud Platform! As of today, all Bitnami apps may now be deployed with the one-click simplicity you’re used to on the Bitnami Launchpad for Google Cloud Platform. The Launchpad provides a simple interface for launching any of the over 100 applications now available on Bitnami - for free!

The video below shows just how easy it is to launch a Bitnami app on Google Compute Engine. Select from one of our developer environments, such as Rails, Node, Django or LAMP, or our huge range of apps - from WordPress and Drupal to Redmine and Jenkins to Discourse and eXo, and many others. Just visit the Launchpad to view the complete list of apps, click on the one you’d like to launch and we walk you through the simple process from there.




Try this out today with the Google Cloud Platform free trial --you can check out just how quickly you can spin up apps with Bitnami on Google Cloud Platform free of charge.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meet Bitnami at AWS re:Invent 2014

After a great show last year, we are excited to be sponsoring this year's AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas from Novemeber 11th to November 14th. Our team can't wait to share why so many AWS users choose Bitnami to power over 10 million hours of AWS usage every month!

This event is sold out, so come to our booth (#325) early to grab one of our popular Bitnami shirts before they are all gone.

This year, we will also be participating in the AWS re:Invent Partner Passport event. Meet up with Bitnami and our partners, TIBCO Jaspersoft, MongoLab, NuoDB, and MapR. Stop by our booths for a chance to win prizes, and meet up for a drink at the pub crawl at Zeffirino's, free to AWS re:Invent attendees.

Don't wait until the conference to try Bitnami. Check out Bitnami Cloud Hosting for the easiest way to deploy sever apps to the Amazon Web Services cloud!

Pimcore added to Bitnami Library!

Pimcore is the latest winner of the Bitnami monthly packaging contest and we are happy to announce that it is now available as part of the Bitnami library.


Pimcore is a free and open-source web content management platform for creating and managing web applications and digital presences. The Pimcore platform contains various integrated applications for web content management, product information management, multi-channel publishing, e-commerce and various other marketing-specific applications.

Thanks to their efforts in encouraging their community to vote during the Bitnami contest, Pimcore is now ready to install in a few clicks with the Bitnami Pimcore installers (available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X), Virtual Machine images(VMs), cloud images for the Amazon EC2 and Azure cloud platforms.


Pimcore main page


Pimcore administration panel


If you want to quickly check out Pimcore, you can launch a free cloud demo server. By clicking the button below, you will have your own Pimcore instance running for 1 hour, for free!


We also had the opportunity to interview Dietmar Rietsch, CEO/Co-Founder of the project, who was kind enough to answer some of our questions:

What is the goal of the Pimcore application?

The vision of pimcore is to manage and integrate any digital information within an open-source enterprise suite.

What are some of the features of Pimcore?

Pimcore is the first and premier open-source multi-channel experience and engagement management platform. It features web content management, digital asset management, product information management, e-commerce and multi-channel-publishing in an integrated open-source suite.

Which projects or organizations are using Pimcore currently?  What kind of projects do they use it for?

Pimcore is currently used within approximately 80k different organizations. Those organizations and companies use pimcore for a variety of different project types. For example they use pimcore for their master data management initiatives, managing their international central product data, their digital assets and of course their e-business processes like B2B e-commerce. In most cases pimcore is used for managing whole digital presences.

What do you expect will be the main benefits of having Bitnami packages available for Pimcore?

Cloud deployment is a critical feature for any application. Being quickly and efficiently able to deploy pimcore in the cloud is therefore a very important aspect for pimcore and the pimcore community. So, big thanks to Bitnami for providing an outstanding pimcore stack for the cloud.


Would you like your favorite app to be part of Bitnami? Be sure to suggest and vote for it in our monthly contest!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bitnami Open Source Leaders Interview Series: Francisco Mancardi from TestLink


Within one application, TestLink leads the way for software quality assurance by offering all of the tools needed for test plan management. As part of our Open Source Leader podcast series, we interviewed Francisco Mancardi, Project Leader of TestLink, to learn how TestLink helps people manage tests and where they will be going from here.

The topics below are covered in the interview:
  • What is TestLink?
  • Is TestLink only for software testing?
  • Who uses TestLink?
  • How can one be involved in the TestLink Community?
  • What should we expect from the next versions of TestLink?
After learning more about the project, you can launch TestLink to the cloud or deploy it locally with free installers, virtual machines and cloud templates from BitnamiGet started in the cloud for free with a $200 credit from Windows Azure.

            

Stuart Langridge:       These are the Bitnami Open Source Leaders Series of interviews.  I’m Stuart Langridge and I’m talking to Francisco Mancardi, who is the project leader of the TestLink project.  Hi, Francisco.

Francisco Mancardi:  Hello, how are you?

Stuart Langridge:       It’s all fun and games here. So, tell us a little bit about TestLink.  What is it?

Francisco Mancardi:  TestLink is a test and requirements management application. In an ideal world, testing is pretty straightforward, but normally it doesn’t happen that way. I think that an application like this can improve how people can manage case-testing processes a lot. Testing, in my opinion, is the weakest part of the delivery process. Normally people tend not to use a tool, and try to use spreadsheets. With Testlink, you can describe the artifact you plan to test and describe it’s characteristics.

You can also create requirements, create versions of the artifact you want to test, and get reports as well. TestLink should ideally be used for manual testing. We also offer an API to connect with other systems, which allows TestLink to get results from other systems. However, it is not able to run automatic tests on other systems. Also, TestLink has integrations with the most popular issue-tracker systems such as Jira, Mantis, and Mozilla. That is what TestLink is today, more or less.

Stuart Langridge:       So, TestLink isn’t a system for actually running your tests.  It’s a system to manage which tests should be run, and which tests go with which modules?

Francisco Mancardi:  Yes.

Stuart Langridge:       Interesting.

Francisco Mancardi:  Instead of buying Excel and start typing there, where you have no versioning, you are not able to manage other integration with other systems, you can simply start TestLink in it’s own application, and write as much or as little as you want. Normally, I just write the name of the test and start adding more details if I have time. You aren’t forced to describe a lot of things on your test, and you have the ability to change what you want. Also, you can use it in your Excel versions.

Stuart Langridge:       Obviously the people who mostly use TestLink and test-management software are generally QA, but QA in which areas?  Do you know what type of companies are currently using TestLink, and what kind of companies/organizations you would like to see using TestLink?

Francisco Mancardi:  I have informal data regarding what kind of companies use TestLink. I normally get this information from the channels that we use to communicate with people, such as forums. From this, I can look at the company email to get an idea of which companies are using TestLink. I see people from – I know that people from Philips and Netherlands are using TestLink. Some examples are IT companies, insurance companies, and banks. I supposed they always happen to have a lot of IT. I think that other kinds of activities, like biology test labs, could also use this product. I need to create, in my opinion, some new scales or proof of concepts in order to show more people that they may be able to use TestLink to create these tests.

Stuart Langridge:       TestLink doesn’t have to manage just software tests, it could be any kind of testing at all?

Francisco Mancardi:  Yes, and that is what we are really seeing. Suppose you want to test your car before going on a holiday. The test is primarily, in my opinion, a checklist with certain characteristics of something you want to test. This can be a chair, an oven, or anything that you need to test. The reason you test is to see if it works, and if it does you may need to describe it. For example, you need to test the timer on the oven to make sure it is working as you expect, you could use TestLink for that. There is nothing specific that forces TestLink to be used only for testing software.

                                    If you look to the logo, you can see that it looks like something from a crash testing sight, with the same concept and same colors. The idea for TestLink is that it supports something to test, but not necessary a piece of software. I can describe parts I want to test, how to test it, and record results of my experience for anything.

Stuart Langridge:       If someone has decided to use TestLink and they want to start setting it up, obviously they will need to install TestLink initially. What’s the easiest way to do that, and how much technical knowledge do you need to run TestLink?

Francisco Mancardi:  I think the best thing to do is to get an Installer or Virtual Machine from Bitnami, it is an easy way to start. If you don’t want to do this, you can download from SourceForge. The technical knowledge is, in my opinion, not too high. You need to understand how to change a permission on a file, how to connect using a secret client to a MySQL server, and how to start or stop an Apache server.  But surely if you want to start right away, you should install a Bitnami installer because you get everything you need. You get the database and a web server all in one installer.  

Stuart Langridge:       There are obviously people using TestLink within their organization, and some people will be deploying it to the cloud. Do you expect cloud usage to increase in the future?

Francisco Mancardi:  The cloud will be the future because people do not want to manage this solution on some server. For example, I am always talking about Bitnami because I have had a good experience with them. If you want just to test TestLink, you can launch a server on Bitnami for an hour and without any effort you can test TestLink, or any other of applications that Bitnami is offering. I think the cloud is the way to go if you don’t want to worry about your servers.

Stuart Langridge:       TestLink is a Web-based application. Do you tend to work with mainly modern browsers or mainly with mobile? Are you trying to support old versions of Internet Explorer 6? What do you expect the users of TestLink will be using?

Francisco Mancardi:  I expect that people aren’t using Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8 because it has a lot of compatibility issues. Since the development team is small, it’s very difficult to be able to test – to be sure that TestLink has no issues with the different browsers. That being said, I don’t have a problem telling users to run on different servers – from different browsers. I normally test on Chrome and Firefox, and not much on Internet Explorer just because I’m using Linux as my development platform.

Stuart Langridge:       How often does TestLink release?  What’s the release strategy and the release cadence?

Francisco Mancardi:  During the last few years, I have tried to increase the release pace of TestLink, and we can say that we have four releases in a year normally. These releases include bug fixes and new features.  In the last two years we have no big-bang features, but people have been requesting a lot. As an example, many people were requesting to record the execution results of step levels. Finally this year, I was able to release it because a German company had provided support with the development. It is really great when people support us like that because it makes it easier to release a new thing.

Stuart Langridge:       Do you do time-based releases or feature-based releases?  When you say that you release four times a year, do you mean that four times a year you say, “Okay, the development version of TestLink is now TestLink 1.9.2”?

Francisco Mancardi:  It is normally time-based because if TestLink has bugs, and we need to provide fixes to the people. Aside from the releases, if there are some features that I consider important enough, I will release before the preplanned date.

Stuart Langridge:       How do upgrades work?  If I’m running the current version of TestLink and a new release happens, how do I upgrade to it? Can I stay on the version I’m on and stay supported, or do I have to be running the most recent version?

Francisco Mancardi:  During the last year, I chose not to support a very automated upgrade process because it’s very time-consuming to develop this kind of approach. Also, in the past years, the changes normally had a big impact on the databases. Since the updates have been very small in the last years, I currently provide an upgrade manually.

Normally, an upgrade consists of taking a couple older VMs and installing new ones, or you can just install a new Bitnami installer. Another option is to download the latest release from SourceForge, by installing TestLink in another folder and applying two or three SQL scripts to the database.

Regarding the older releases, I try to only maintain releases that are not older than a year because changes on code require a lot of work to maintain newer versions. Version 1.8 is not supported anymore, and currently you can run 1.9.9 or 1.9.10. We don’t support the other versions due to bug fixes and features that are no longer there.

Stuart Langridge:       So, TestLink is currently in the high 1.9 versions. What are your upcoming plans for TestLink?  Is there going to be a TestLink 2.0? Are you planning on working on the 1.9 series, and what will happen in new versions?

Francisco Mancardi:  The development on Version 2.0 has stopped because it was very difficult to maintain two parallels between 1.9 and 2.0. I have tried to work backward by going from 2.0 to 1.9, and suppose that the new features of TestLink would be a 1.9 branch. I don’t know when I’m planning to change to 2.0, but I need to consider what kind of future I can afford. 2.0 is going to be beneath it, and the new 2.0 will be an evolution of 1.9.

Stuart Langridge:       What things are you planning on working on next, improvements to the reports or improvements to the GUI?  Is that the kind of area that you’d expect TestLink to change in?

Francisco Mancardi:  I think the reports area needs more work because people like to have the Word or OpenOffice format. Currently they have provided us with a kind of fake OpenOffice or fake Word, and I have a lot of issues with embedded images. That is one of the most important things we need to change, but also the GUI needs to be refreshed a lot. I don’t think we will be able to have a mobile version of the app, but we need to work on a mobile and responsive version of TestLink in order to be used from a PC tablet.

Stuart Langridge:       You obviously work quite closely with the TestLink community.  Is that community mostly people who work on TestLink itself, or people who use TestLink to manage tests in their own organization?

Francisco Mancardi:  There aren’t enough people that want to help to develop TestLink. I think our community has an interesting size because you have to consider that I have no download statistics from Bitnami. On SourceForge, we get more than 1,000 downloads a week. I think it’s a good figure because this kind of application isn’t the most popular as an issue tracker. As more and more people use TestLink, they improve things through ideas more than through development work. I like to have people help by writing tutorials or other documentation of a use case that can be useful for other people. One thing that TestLink lacks is documentation – we had written a user manual long time ago, and it was my choice to develop instead of documenting, which sometimes makes it a little difficult to use TestLink.

Stuart Langridge:       If someone wants to use TestLink, where should they go to try it out or if they want to ask questions?

Francisco Mancardi:  The main site is www.testlink.org, which has information about the last stable release and links to our other channels. For community help, the best place is forum.testlink.org. For issues, we have a Mantis installation, and a Twitter account that I use to inform people of things that are happening and nothing more. I don’t provide support via Twitter. Also, we have a LinkedIn group, but managing all these channels is very time-consuming. I suggest that people get a username for the forum if they need to ask for help between users. Also, they can get a username for Mantis, which will give them the ability to provide feature request and the option for us to help them with issues.

Stuart Langridge:       Excellent.  And so, thank you very much for talking to us, Francisco Mancardi of the TestLink project.

Francisco Mancardi:  Bye-bye.


[End of Audio]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bitnami Supports New Amazon Cloud Region in Germany




Amazon just announced the addition of another region for the Amazon Cloud. This new region, eu-central-1, is located in Germany! We have been working closely with Amazon previous to the launch and we are excited to announce that all of the applications on the Bitnami Library are available immediately for this new region. You can find the new AMIs in the Amazon catalog as well as in the cloud tab for each one of the apps in the Bitnami web site.

Support for the eu-central-1 region is also in the works for Bitnami Cloud Hosting and will be released shortly. Bitnami Cloud Hosting is a service that simplifies the process of deploying and managing the Bitnami library of applications and development environments in the cloud. It offers dynamic deployments, automatic backups, monitoring and other features that make it easier to run applications in the cloud. Check it out!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Akeneo added to Bitnami Library!

Akeneo is the latest winner of our monthly app contest, and is now part of the Bitnami Library! We are happy to announce that Akeneo is now available to download on Bitnami.

Akeneo is a Product Information Management (PIM) application designed to simplify your product management processes with a tool that helps centralize and harmonize all the technical and marketing information of your catalogs and products.

Thanks to their successful effort in encouraging their community to vote in the the Bitnami contest, Akeneo is now ready to install in a few clicks using the Bitnami installers, available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, Virtual Machine images (VMs) and cloud images for the Amazon EC2 and Azure clouds.

Akeneo PIM dashboard



Do you want to quickly check out Akeneo? You can launch a free cloud demo server. By clicking the button below, you will have your own Akeneo instance running for 1 hour.

http://bitnami.com/launch/akeneo/azure
 
We also had  the opportunity to interview Frédéric de Gombert, CEO of Akeneo, who was kind enough to answer some questions about the project.

How was the Akeneo project started? What are the origins of this project?


The Akeneo journey really started in Las Vegas during the Magento Imagine Conference in May 2012. Yoav Kutner (former CTO & co-founder of Magento) and I were talking about what was really missing for merchants. We quickly agreed that CRM and PIM were major pain points for our clients. Not because there was no existing solution in the market but because those solutions were mostly closed-source, expensive and rarely designed for e-commerce needs. Six months later and with the help of a dream team including two other co-founders (Benoit & Nicolas), we were officially founding Akeneo. Our mission : building an open and intuitive PIM to help marketers struggling with spreadsheets and/or archaic tools. (Yoav also founded in the same time OroCRM but it's another story!)

What is the main goal for Akeneo?

At heart, Akeneo is an intuitive and super connected product information management software. But it is also a productivity tool : it means that our main goal is making product management much more efficient. Clients can centralize and push a product to a new channel much more quickly — on average, it takes 60 to 80 percent less time.

Which projects or organizations are using Akeneo currently? What kind of projects do they use it for?

We currently have more than 7 000 live installations of Akeneo in the world. It's a good start considering that the first stable version has been released in March 2014. We have very various kind of customers : fashion or luxury brands like Lancaster or Charlotte Olympia, large retailers like Auchan (largest supermarket chain in Europe with more than 1 600 supermarkets in the world), real estate companies, manufacturers, ... Every company selling products - virtual or physical, online or offline -  can find a good usage of Akeneo!

What do you expect will be the main benefits of having Bitnami packages available for Akeneo?

Two main benefits : ease the installation and evaluation process of Akeneo for non technical users and help them to find an efficient and cost effective hosting solution if needed. 



Would you like your favorite app to be part of Bitnami? Be sure to suggest and vote for it in our monthly contest

Bitnami Open Source Leaders Interview Series: Sytse Sijbranij from GitLab



Gitlab leads by example with their passion for creating open source collaboration tools, with the ability to do everything on code. As part of our Open Source Leader podcast series, we interviewed Sytse Sijbranij, CEO of GitLab, to learn how they maintain their open source community and what will be next for their tools.

Below is a sample of the topics we covered:
  • Why Gitlab?
  • Who should use it?
  • What is the relationship between Gitlab and Github?
  • Where is the best place to run Gitlab?
  • How does the Gitlab community work? 
  • Where is is Gitlab going next? 
You can launch a GitLab application or stack to the cloud with Bitnami for free, or download any of our free native installers or VMs to run the software locally. Get started in the cloud for free with a $200 credit from Windows Azure.







Stuart Langridge:       This is the Binami Open Source Leaders Series of Interviews.  I’m Stuart Langridge, and I’m talking to Sytse Sijbranij of GitLab.


Sytse Sijbranij:            Hi Stuart thanks for having us.

Stuart Langridge:        No problem.  So Sytse, you’re CEO and co-founder of GitLab, yes?

Sytse Sijbranij:            Yes. That’s correct. 

Stuart Langridge:        So tell us, what is GitLab?  

Sytse Sijbranij:            GitLab is open source software to collaborate on code.  It means you can download a package, install it, and you’ll have version control, issue management, code reviews, a wiki, all ready to run within your organization.

Stuart Langridge:       So you could think of this essentially like a self-hosted version of GitHub, yes?

Sytse Sijbranij:           Exactly. 

Stuart Langridge:       Since we mentioned GitHub, the elephant in the room. Obviously there’s a big advantage in that I’m running it inside my organization, so it’s private if I want it to be.  If you look at this field there are an awful lot of different packaging attempts at this, both hosted, something like GitHub or LaunchPad. Talk about why GitLab’s better than the competition, what you do really well, and why people would want to go with you.

Sytse Sijbranij:            A few things we do really well is that you get a lot of possibilities to modify it as you see fit. With some of the other competitor’s products, you get a black box virtual machine that you don’t even have proper access to.  At GitLab, you can use it anyway you like with nginx or with Apache. We’re the only product in the whole marketplace, commercial or non-commercial, that you can actually run in a clustered configuration with multiple application servers.  GitLab is really complete. It is all about integration; integration with other issue trackers such as Jira and Redmine. It’s just a very polished product compared to a lot of other open source projects that are out there.  It really contains everything you need. We really listen to the community and our clients, and there are a lot of features that enterprises find handy in GitLab.  For example, not only do we have public and private projects, but we also have internal projects; projects that are visible only to people who are logged in. 

Stuart Langridge:        Even within the organization, you can lock off certain projects to certain development teams and so on?

Sytse Sijbranij:            Sure, that’s a feature in many projects, but these internal projects are visible to anybody who has a login.  Imagine as an organization, most of your projects are only for internal use, but you’ll have some public projects that you released out to the public and have them contributing back. Within the company you probably want to collaborate on most projects, but you have to first be added to a project before you can see it, and that’s a hindrance compared to the open source workflow. This is not a problem if you’re with five people or ten people, but it starts becoming a problem if you’re with 50,000 people which some of the organizations running GitLab are. Now you can say this is an internal project, and everybody in the organization can see it and can try to contribute back. With this, you get the open source workflow within this large company.  It’s also called inner sourcing, working with an open source workflow within a large organization.

Stuart Langridge:       You spoke about large organizations using GitLab.  Are you targeting particular types of organizations or companies?  Give us a sense of the sorts of people who are running GitLab now and the sorts of people who you’d like to be running GitLab in the future.

Sytse Sijbranij:           We’d like everybody to be running GitLab, so we’re not targeting anything specific. I cannot talk about some of our largest and most impressive, but some of the companies running GitLab are Redhat, Electronic Arts, NASA, Comcast, IBM, SpaceX, NASA, Qualcomm, SOHO, AT&T, but also universities, such as Michigan State University, University of Texas at Austin. Also non-profits such as Interpol, the police agency, International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It’s really all over the world.  In advertising, publishers are running it, but also in research, the Fraunhofer Institute is running it. We like that diverse of a group, it’s great for GitLab to be everywhere. 

Stuart Langridge:       What about if I’ve got a small development team?  Is there a size of organization, a size of project below which it’s not worth running GitLab, or will it be suitable if I basically have one small internal project and only a couple of developers?

Sytse Sijbranij:           Yeah, for sure it’s suitable then.  Of course your logo won’t end up on our homepage, but many people run it with a really small organization. They just start a Digital Ocean server, and they get up and running within a few minutes. People even run it for themselves on their own server back at home, for their own projects. They use GitLab to have a visual overview of all the repositories as a kind of remote backup. They use the code review things to review their own changes.  So they run it on a home server or even on a raspberry pi.

Stuart Langridge:       GitLab is obviously set up so we can be scaled out to as large as you want.  How does that scaling story work technically? If you’re using Bitnami for example, to deploy into EC2 or Rackspace or something like that, how are you set up to scale GitLab to the size that you need it to be?

Sytse Sijbranij:            If you just provision a decent Amazon server, let’s say C1 medium, you can size it up to thousands and thousands of users. For years, GitLab commerce has offered a service with more than 10,000 people, which has been running on a single Amazon server.  So you can scale on the single server for a very long time, and we do strongly recommend that. If you want to scale out on Amazon, you could have one file server. You’d attach an EBS drive of one terabyte, use that as an NFS server, and then have a couple of application servers in front with an elastic low balancer and use Amazon RDS with PostgreSQL or MySQL to store the database. One limit on Amazon is the one terabyte limit for EBS drives. So we have experience with striping across a couple of those volumes with LVM, so you can scale to multi-terabyte setups. 

Stuart Langridge:       Obviously in order to set up that kind of environment, you need quite a lot of technical knowledge. What would you consider to be the level of technical knowledge to run GitLab - not necessarily in a very complicated, multiple-striped, multiple cloud deployment -  just internally in my organization? Is it something where you’d need a very competent system administrator?  Is it something that can be set up and left to run relatively easily? 

Sytse Sijbranij:            I think it can be set up and run relatively easily, and I think the Bitnami packages are a good example of that. People just set it up and those keep running. There are also a lot of other options to install GitLab. What we focused on is making it very easy to install even if you download a package that installs in two minutes. It doesn’t require any rails knowledge, none whatsoever, and then you’re still able to upgrade with a single command. We’ve really focused on installing and upgrading over the year last year, and that’s become so easy. As long as you’re comfortable with the command prompt on a UNIX server then you can do it, and with Bitnami it’s even easier. 

Stuart Langridge:       If you think about your large, diverse user base, do you get a sense that most of them are deploying on hardware inside their own company or are most people deploying into the cloud, digital ocean servers,  or is it quite evenly balanced between all those different ways?

Sytse Sijbranij:           Yes, quite balanced.  Some people like digital ocean.  For a small team that will be a common way to start.  If you’re an individual probably your home server. If you’re a larger organization, sometimes they have hardware at their sites. Sometimes they have hardware and data centers, or sometimes they have a private cloud. People, even if they’re comfortable with the cloud, still want their own GitLab installation. They don’t want to use a SaaS, because they want to inspect the code, be able to modify the code, customize the installation to fit their preferences, connect it to an LDAP server hosted behind their VPN, and run their logging and intrusion monitoring software on it, so there are lots of reasons to run it in the cloud but still run it on a server that you control. 

Stuart Langridge:       GitLab is itself hosted on GitHub, so we’re obviously happy to work with existing SaaS solutions, but obviously again there are benefits to running your own stuff in house. There’s quite a divergence between strongly open source bits of software, and a proprietary commercial SaaS alternative which might have the features you want, but you can’t inspect the code. Talk about how GitLab is trying to find a balance there.

Sytse Sijbranij:           We try to be really pragmatic about these choices. That’s one of the reasons that we still have a repository on GitHub, and the reason is that many people have GitHub accounts. We don’t want to miss out on contributors who want to contribute via that channel. I do want to mention that the canonical source of GitLab is available on gitlab.com, so that’s where you find the real version, but what is the real version in a world of distributed version control. So we’re quite pragmatic. If people are comfortable contributing from a certain platform, we don’t want to deny them the opportunity. We want to make software that works. It’s open source, but it’s not GPL-licensed. It’s MIT, so anybody can do anything they want with it, and we believe that’s real freedom for people and companies. They don’t have to be worried about anything. We want it to be a very polished product that you can use without any problems. We spend a lot of time fixing all the small things such as fixing the UI or having good documentation. That’s why we need income as a company so we’ve created a version of GitLab that’s called the Enterprise version that focuses on organizations with 100 people or more using GitLab. It offers some extra features, and it’s how we generate revenue and also grow as a company. 

Stuart Langridge:       That makes sense. GitLab is primarily web-driven, yes? You use the web interface to get everything. What are your policies on things like supporting modern browsers, on working well on people’s mobiles, or using responsive designs? Are you using the latest cutting edge HTML for that and cutting off older browsers, or does it work all the way back down to Lynx?

Sytse Sijbranij:            No, it’s web-driven of course. SSH connections are supported, but you mainly interface with it via web browser. We do have strong support for mobile. For example, everything is tested on iPad before it ships, so the whole user interface works very nicely there. We do support the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari 7+, Opera, and Internet Explorer 10+. We expect developers to have relatively recent browsers and also if they have a mobile phone that it has a substantial screen area, but we definitely want to support a mobile.  We’re on the latest bootstrap, and we’re on the latest Java script frameworks so that people can have good experience there. 

Stuart Langridge:       What’s the GitLab release strategy?  How often do you put out new versions and what’s the cadence of that?

Sytse Sijbranij:            We have a pretty awesome cadence we think. We release once a month on the 22nd of the month, and we have never missed that release window since we started releasing in 2011. People are very sure that when there is a new GitLab release and we only ship what’s finished, so we have a pretty high-quality standard. We have a merge window that closes on the 15th, and then we do a Q&A for a couple of days before we release it, and people look forward to it. It’s always a bit of a celebration. We even do sometimes a video call or something like that to celebrate the new release.

Stuart Langridge:       How do upgrades work?  Do I just SSH into my server and do git pull, or is there some kind of managed upgrade service? 

Sytse Sijbranij:           Yeah it can be like that. If you installed it by hand, you can do the git pull, and look at the instructions for what else you should change. We also have an upgrade script, so you don’t have to type as many lines. Many people nowadays use the packages and that means you’re downloading the package and just do an opt install, and that manages the whole rest of it.

Stuart Langridge:       So you’re providing Debs or RPMs?

Sytse Sijbranij:            Exactly, debs and RPMs for CentOS, Redhat, Debian and Ubuntu for multiple versions. We make those for Omnibus, which is a very interesting piece of technology from Opscode, and they allow us to make a package that has everything, that not only has the rails components but also all the gems, all the rails assets precompiled, and all the native compilation for the rails gems. Also Nginx, Postgres, Unicorn, everything you need to run a GitLab server. It prevents a lot of problems and it makes things a lot easier, especially upgrades.

Stuart Langridge:       I love the idea of people having little parties when you do a release. So that leads us on to talking about the GitLab community. Obviously you’ve got a contributor community, but you’ve also got a user community. How much do they overlap and what’s going on there?  If I’m a GitLab user, if I’m using it in my organization, would I want to get involved in the community and what would I get from that?

Sytse Sijbranij:            Certainly it’s up to you if you want to get involved. I think the vast majority use GitLab and are very happy using it and that’s great. We love our users.  You don’t have to contribute anything back. But it might be fun to explore, and most other people start offering small suggestions. They have a feature request they’d like to see. They contribute to our feature request tracker, and sometimes they find a piece of text or some small thing that’s broken and they contribute it back, and that’s how they get going. We have a core team of more than ten people, most of them not from GitLab BV, but just the rest of the community. We also have some people out on the issue trackers that are called merge marshals, so they review all the merge requests that come in and help people get them, so they can be merged.  More than 600 people have contributed to GitLab so far. 

Stuart Langridge:       Do you find the GitLab community, the GitLab user community are helping one another, or is it kind of hub and spoke where everyone talks to you and you help them out? 

Sytse Sijbranij:            No, it’s certainly people talking to one another. I’m very glad not everybody talks to me, because I wouldn’t have any time left. People find one another, and there’s some people who like to get in our chat room and are very active there. There are some people who manage IRC and there are all these different preferences, and people find one another there. There’s people on GitHub and GitLab talking about contributions. There are a lot of ways, and people are even making money with GitLab. There’s githost.io, where you can spin up a GitLab CI server, as a managed instant, which is a great service and it’s run by George. We just really welcome people also, not only doing volunteer work but also trying to make money with GitLab.

Stuart Langridge:        If I’m looking to do something like this within my organization and I’m looking at GitLab and at the competitors, what sorts of questions should I be asking to help me decide between them?

Sytse Sijbranij:           I think you should think about what kind of workflow you want. You should realize that the whole open source workflow is what we do. We’re doing merge requests, proposing code, and that’s what makes Git so powerful, so that’s why people have switched to Git. If you’re doing Git without having proper software, without doing code reviews, I think you’re doing it wrong and you want software that supports that. There are lots of things to look into, but I think that the advantage of the GitLab is that it's open source version is already very powerful, it’s not limited in any way. You can grow to an installation of many thousands of people and just run it without owing anybody anything. Although if you want commercial support or if you want the extra features, there’s also a company behind it that can support you, and most people find that GitLab is easy to install, has excellent documentation, and that if there are problems, they get fixed very, very fast. 

Stuart Langridge:       Where’s GitLab going next? What are your plans for the next six months, the next year, the next five years?

Sytse Sijbranij:           We have some ideas, but we don’t really have a roadmap. We used to have a roadmap, but we didn’t like it because it’s always very easy to come up with what we should do this month because everybody’s saying the same thing. So two months ago, we heard from multiple channels that people were fed up with the issue labeling. You had issues, you had labels, you had callers, but they were impossible or hard to customize, so it was really clear that that needed to change so we spent some time on that, and it’s always like that. It’s really easy to decide what to do because somehow there’s a signal coming from multiple sites from the community. We don’t want to run ahead of ourselves and we don’t want to start thinking about what should be done in five months and start promising that. We don’t have a big master plan. For example, a year ago, everyone was complaining that upgrading was hard, so we fixed that with our omnibus installer, and I’m sure that for this release we’ve got it figured out.  We have some ideas for the next release, and I’m sure by the time we do the next release, we’ll have ideas for the release after that. So we’re very roadmap-lite, and if we have any time left, we can always spend a little time on GitLab CI our continuous integration product.

Stuart Langridge:       Is the continuous integration thing a separate project which happens to be from the same company, or are you seeing CI as being tightly integrated into GitLab as a whole?

Sytse Sijbranij:            It’s a separate application, but you can only use it with GitLab. We found that with CI, one of the hurdles is to set everything up to add projects to it and to arrange for all the code cloning and authorizations. With GitLab CI, you can just login with your GitLab credentials, we’ll show you the list of projects on the server, and with one click you can create a CI project out of it and it will clone automatically. There’s very little to configure and we think that it’s unnecessary to convince people to actually start using CI because lots of companies don’t have all the projects in their CI server yet. So it’s bound to GitLab, but it’s a separate application and you can work on it separately. You can host on a different server, etcetera.

Stuart Langridge:       That’s interesting that you talk there about the tight integration. One of the strengths of SaaS solutions in this kind of area is they have a very strong developer API because they’re up in the cloud, and you can’t fiddle with the code yourself. If you look at GitHub, BitBucket, or LaunchPad they have a strong developer API so you can build applications which talk to these things, web hooks for notifications when projects have changed and so on. Does GitLab also have that detailed developer API, so I can build apps and scripts which integrate with GitLab? 

Sytse Sijbranij:            Sure. The APIs that GitLab CI uses are all public and there are CI tools like Macnew CI that even have explicit support for GitLab.

Stuart Langridge:       That makes perfect sense. Where do people go if they want to find out more about GitLab the project and the product?

Sytse Sijbranij:            Just Google GitLab and you’ll probably see our site about.gitlab.com, and you can read more there. There’s a video on the bottom of the home page that has a few examples, and get into the documentation.

Stuart Langridge:       Excellent, so thank you very much for talking to us.