Tuesday, 07 April 2020 23:15

Git version control system hits 15 year milestone


Happy birthday, Git. The open source distributed version control system was first released on April 7th 2005, and thus today marks its 15th anniversary - 15 years aiding software developers to collaborate on projects large and small no matter where on the globe they may be.

Git began life when the Linux kernel team sought a highly performant, distributed and robust version control platform for developers worldwide. This is an important tool in the development pipeline, allowing new code from multiple developers to be pulled together with robust protections from corruption.

Finding nothing suitable, Linus Torvalds wrote his own - after all, what else would Linus do? He began on April 3rd 2005 and released it on April 7th.

Today, Git is the major source code control system In use. It's seen off much off the competition and it's the basis for the world's largest single source code repository, GitHub.

"GitHub is built on Git, and GitHub wouldn’t have been around without it. We’re lucky to have been able to benefit from Git in a number of ways, including its internal data model and flexibility. Likewise, Git had an instant user-base because it was created for the Linux kernel, so it had a built-in endorsement from the kernel community," said Jeff King, Distinguished Software Engineer, GitHub.

GitHub has delivered back to Git, contributing "many substantial features upstream, including pluggable reference backends, object bitmaps, delta islands, much of the groundwork for the SHA-256 transition, HTTP authentication, the credential subsystem, and more," King said.

As with Torvalds, GitHub developed these features out of its own unique needs, but the whole Git community benefits by feeding the features back to the core product.

Git's 15 years not only chronicle the rise of the product, but a vast turnaround in open source software's standing. It's unfathomable now but at the beginning of this century there were enterprises almost at war with the open source movement. Today, open source is "the place developers and beyond work to solve problems at a global scale. Whether that be at work, for a personal project, or as a way to give back to issues they care about, open source is the place where people are coming together to collaborate and work towards a common goal," King said.

Git's come a long way, but there is more to come. What do the next 15 years hold? According to King, "the next stop for Git is a focus on larger repositories. Git repositories are a unique thing to try and make scale because they only grow larger over time. The Git community is already making steady improvements for larger-than-life repositories, like partial clones, sparse checkouts, and many optimisations at the object storage layer such as commit-graphs, multi-pack indexes, and more."

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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