GitHub Universe: Last call for early bird tickets and proposals


GitHub Universe is more than just a conference or a festival, although it feels like both. On September 13-15, you can experience advanced trainings, deep-dives on open source projects, keynotes from industry experts, and a look into successful software teams, all in beautiful surroundings and with excellent company.

As July draws to a close, so does your opportunity to grab an early bird ticket to Universe. Make sure you get yours before this Sunday, August 1, when the price will increase from $399 to $599.

You also only have six more days to submit a proposal to the call for speakers; don’t miss out on sharing your story with the largest software community in the world. Check out some helpful tips and tricks from CodeConf alum E Dunham to get the gears turning upstairs.

This is not a drill! Get registered and get ready for GitHub Universe.

Invite members to your organization with an email address

Organization owners can send an email invitation to invite members, billing managers, and owners to their organization.

This helps organization administrators invite members without a GitHub account or with unknown usernames.

Newly invited members will receive an email asking them to join the organization. If they don't have a GitHub account yet, they will be prompted to sign up for one and guided through the signup process.

Inviting a new member by email address

Submit a talk for GitHub Universe


The GitHub Universe 2016 call for proposals is open until July 31st, and we're looking for 24 speakers to share their ideas in breakout sessions on September 14-15th. We encourage speakers with all levels of experience to apply, whether it's your first talk or your fiftieth.

We believe that having a diverse group of speakers fosters a healthy community, stimulates conversation, and exposes fresh ideas. So we're looking for speakers from different backgrounds, communities, and experiences. To make Universe accessible to a wide range of speakers, we provide an honorarium and travel accommodations to speakers. You can see all the details in the CFP description.

What we're looking for

The 24 breakout sessions will explore a number of the personal and technical challenges involved in building software. We’re looking for sessions that examine the entire software development process: from before you start writing code, to writing and collaborating on code, through maintaining and scaling your code.

Whether you’re working on an open source project or on an enterprise software team (or both!), we all face similar challenges and we can learn how to overcome them together. You should submit a proposal if you want to share your experiences with:

  • Workflow. How is software built today, and how will it be built tomorrow? What languages and tools are used, what processes, and what cultures? What is your workflow like, and how has your team been successful with it?
  • Community. How do you start contributing to open source, and how do you grow a thriving software community? How has learning to code changed? What impact is openness having on public institutions? Which open source projects are having the largest impact on the software community?
  • Business. What goes into building a modern software team? How can you contribute to, release, and maintain open source projects? What does it mean to use open source principles within your organization?
  • Ecosystem. What are the tools you use to have a seamless development workflow? How do you deploy, monitor, and scale your code?

Helpful resources

If you'd like to submit but need some help organizing your ideas into a compelling proposal, check out Lucy Bain's excellent blogpost about how to get the creative juices flowing.

Already have an idea but need to streamline it into a great proposal? Take a look at CodeConf LA speaker E. Dunham's post about the 7 essential parts of a complete abstract..

Already have a proposal ready? What are you waiting for? Submit now, don't wait until July 31!

CodeConf LA: Recap & Special Thanks

codeconf la recap overview pic

Last week, 300 open source enthusiasts gathered in Los Angeles for CodeConf LA, and more than 500 people tuned in from around the world via live stream. The event opened with a full day of workshops, followed by two packed days of single-track content, featuring more than 20 speakers. The conference brought together open source developers, software engineers, security professionals, and operations engineers to network, learn, and share the technical components as well as the cultural aspects of open source systems.

We will be sharing speaker slides, complete session videos and more in the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out the awesome community conversations that took place on social media (some speaker slides are there too).

Did you attend or volunteer at CodeConf LA? Your unique insights are extremely appreciated to help us continue to build memorable events in the future. Please take a moment to fill out this survey.

Featured Content

A dynamic range of speakers took the stage to share insights, offer tips and showcase projects on open source systems. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the day:

"If you can't be kind, helpful, and welcoming you should step away from the computer and go do something happy until you can.” – Mitchell Hashimoto, Hashicorp / The Hashicorp Formula to Open Source

"If we find ourselves always having the answers, then we're asking really boring questions.” – Kerri Miller, GitHub / Crescent Wrenches, Socket Sets, and Other Tools for Debugging

“Languages succeed not because they are perfectly designed, but because of the tools, people behind them.” – Michael Bernstein, Code Climate / The Perfect Programming Language

“Diversity is inviting people to the party, inclusion is making sure they're comfortable." – Anjuan Simmons, Assemble Systems / Lending Privilege

codeconf la recap tweet pic


Attendees were invited to join us a day early for three in-depth workshops. Together, we spelunked into Git’s plumbing (Dissecting Git’s Guts, led by Emily Xie from Recurse Center), reflected on the cultural implications of being an open source change-agent (Transitioning to InnerSource, led by Cedric Williams from PayPal), and scraped data from the web using two real-world examples (Web Dev & Data in a Graph Database, led by Nick Doiron from The Asia Foundation).

“To make organizations work like open source projects, we have to address the culture first.” – Cedric Williams, PayPal / Transitioning to Innersource

Diversity & Inclusion

We know that diversity breeds innovation and that bringing people together from disparate backgrounds will not only enrich the conference experience but also the experience of contributing to open source projects. For these reasons and more, we aimed to make the space as welcome and inclusive as possible, including providing gender neutral restrooms, nursing rooms, and a quiet space for Ramadan.

In addition, we allocated nearly 20% of conference tickets for distribution through some amazing local organizations, and provided complimentary tickets to local user groups and students to encourage attendance by a wide range of individuals and experience levels.

codeconf la recap diversity pic

After Party

What happens when a few hundred open source enthusiasts descend on a swanky bar for a pub quiz-style trivia night? The gloves come off in a ruthless competition to answer the most esoteric open source themed questions. At CodeConf LA’s After party, prizes were won, a dance party coalesced, and forever friendships were forged.

Covetable Artifacts

This year we had a ton of fun with the event visuals and swag. Attendees marveled at the substantial badges, rocked the conference t-shirt en masse, and left adorable stickers in their wake. The 180-degree animated screens got some love too. Check out these awesome videos made by attendees in our custom stop-motion video booth:

bosco 1 bosco 2

Thank You

Many thanks to our Sponsors and Community Partners for helping to make this event possible, and for their support for the open source community.

codeconf sponsor lockup

condensed codeconf gallery sm

GitHub Universe is back, and we've got all the details plus early bird tickets


GitHub Universe is the event for people making the future of software. Immerse yourself in three days of creativity and curiosity with the largest software community in the world. Join us on September 13-15 at Pier 70 in San Francisco for an event packed with advanced training, deep-dives on open source projects, keynotes from industry experts, and a look into successful software teams.

Early bird tickets

You can purchase early bird tickets for $399 which include access to all conference activities and The Big Bang benefit concert. For $100 more, you can extend your Universe experience with a full day of hands-on workshops from GitHub's training team. Early bird pricing is available through July 31st.

Call for proposals

The GitHub Universe program will feature community leaders, project maintainers, industry experts, and the GitHub team. We're looking for a diverse range of speakers from all parts of the software ecosystem. We'd love you to share your ideas with us and submit a proposal to the CFP.

Interested in supporting GitHub Universe as a sponsor? Take a look at the prospectus and get in touch.

At Universe, you'll feel like you're at a festival and connect like you're at a conference. We'll see you there.

Reorder issues within a milestone

Milestones and labels are a handy way to group and organize your issues, but sometimes it’s helpful to indicate which ones you or your team want to focus on first. You can now reorder issues and pull requests and indicate priority by moving them higher up or lower down the list.

Re-ordering Issues


Once you’ve grouped issues and pull requests within a milestone, drag-and-drop to place them in whatever order you need, or use keyboard commands to select and move items up or down the list.

keyboard shortcuts

Learn more about Milestones and issue prioritization in our help guide.

Email updates about your own activity

When you enable email notifications, GitHub sends you messages about everyone's issues, pull requests, comments, and commits except your own. For many people that leaves email threads feeling incomplete. For this reason, we have added a configuration setting so that you can receive emails about your own activity, too.

Different options for configuring the email notifications you receive

These emails contain the address in the CC field so you can filter them in different ways. For instance, you can mark these emails as read automatically and only receive notifications about others' actions—all while keeping the complete conversation in your inbox. You can also star or tag emails, so they'll stand out among all the other updates you might receive.

We've also added a few more configuration settings that let you get notifications on the actions that interest you most. Now you can choose to receive email updates for comments on issues and pull requests, pull request reviews, and pull request pushes, too.

Making open source data more available

Data gives us insight into how people build software, and the activities of open source communities on GitHub represent one of the richest datasets ever created of people working together at scale.

In 2012, the community led project, GitHub Archive was launched, providing a glimpse into the ways people build software on GitHub. Today, we're delighted to announce that, in collaboration with Google, we are releasing a collection of additional BigQuery tables to expand on the data from that project1.

This 3TB+ dataset comprises the largest released source of GitHub activity to date. It contains activity data for more than 2.8 million open source GitHub repositories including more than 145 million unique commits, over 2 billion different file paths and the contents of the latest revision for 163 million files, all of which are searchable with regular expressions.

With this new dataset, it's a simple query to find out which are the most commonly used Go packages, which US-schools have the most open source contributors and find all of the things that should never happen.

Just as books capture thoughts and ideas, software encodes human knowledge in a machine-readable form. This dataset is a great start toward the pursuit of documenting the open source community's vast repository of knowledge—but there's more to be done. Over the coming months, you can expect to hear from us on how we hope to make open source data even more available, portable, and useful.

Whether you’re a researcher studying open source communities, an organization looking to monitor the health of your open source projects, or curious about the latest trends in software development, go check out the new dataset hosted on Google Cloud to analyze one of the largest datasets of people collaborating on the planet.

1. If you’d like to hear more about the data release then check out this episode of The Changelog.

GitHub's 2015 Transparency Report

Last year, we wrote up our 2014 Transparency Report, the first report of its kind we've been able to do. It's important to continue to update our community on the kinds of legal requests we receive and respond to, so we're happy to be able to offer our 2015 Transparency Report to follow up.

So What's The Scoop?

The kinds of legal requests we received in 2015 were very similar to the requests we received in 2014. As in 2014, we received subpoenas but no court orders or warrants, and the number of subpoenas we received did not increase significantly. However, the number of gag orders we received nearly doubled in 2015. On a happier note, the number of removal requests we received from foreign governments went down notably: we only received one takedown request from a foreign government in 2015. Other takedown statistics are not as rosy. The number of DMCA takedown notices we received in 2015 nearly doubled, and we processed more than 3.5 times the number of retractions and counter notices we processed in 2014. Many of these notices were either mass removals or notices sent by a few organizations that frequently asked us to take down content. In all, fewer than twenty notice senders asked us to remove more than 90% of the repositories we took down under the DMCA in 2015.

This 2015 report details the types of requests we receive for user accounts, user content, information about our users, and other such information, and how we process those requests. Transparency and trust are essential to GitHub and to the open source community, and giving you access to information about these requests can protect you, protect us, and help you feel safe as you work on GitHub.

Our commitment to our users

We notify our users before sending their information to a third party in response to a legal request, whenever possible. We also provide clear, thorough guidelines to law enforcement that describe how to request information about our users, and what legal process we require to obtain certain user information. We provide these guidelines both for the protection and education of our users and for the benefit of law enforcement.

Types of Requests

This report will discuss the two main categories of legal requests we receive:

  1. Disclosure Requests — requests to disclose user information, which include:

    • Subpoenas, Court Orders, and Search Warrants
    • National Security Orders
  2. Takedown Requests — requests to remove or block user content, which include:

    • Government Takedown Requests
    • DMCA Takedown Notices

Disclosure Requests

Subpoenas, Court Orders, and Search Warrants

As you may have noticed in our guidelines to law enforcement, we require a subpoena for certain kinds of user information, like a name, an email address, or an IP address associated with an account, and a court order or warrant for all other kinds of user information, like access logs or the contents of a private repository. A subpoena is a legal process that does not require review by a judge or magistrate. By contrast, a warrant or court order does require judicial review. These requests may be part of a criminal investigation or a civil dispute, and may come from law enforcement, a government agency, or litigants in a civil trial.

Because some legal processes are part of ongoing criminal investigations, we may receive, along with them, a court order that forbids us from giving notice to the targeted account holder. Even when we do not receive that kind of order, there are often significant privacy concerns involved with these disputes. Therefore, we do not publish subpoenas or other legal requests for user information.

Subpoenas, Court Orders, and Search Warrants Received

In 2015, we received twelve subpoenas for user data. This includes every request we received for user data, regardless of whether we disclosed information or not. Not all of these came from law enforcement; some of these may have come from civil litigants wanting information about another party.

Subpoena Totals

We did not disclose user information in response to every request we received. In some cases, this is because the request was not specific enough, and when we asked for clarification, the requesting party withdrew the subpoena. In some cases, we received very broad requests, and we were able to limit the scope of the information we provided.

This is not a significant increase from 2014, when we received ten requests for user information. However, we have seen an increase in the number of orders preventing us from notifying our users about legal requests, nearly doubling from four to seven in 2015.

Gag Orders - Bar Graph

As in 2014, we did not receive any warrants or court orders.

As noted above, many of the requests we receive pertain to criminal investigations. We may also receive subpoenas from individuals involved in civil litigation or arbitration. We may also receive requests from foreign government agencies through the Department of Justice, via a mutual legal assistance treaty or similar form of cooperation. The following chart shows the sources of the subpoenas we received in 2015 (note that some federal agencies may have issued subpoenas through a grand jury):

Types of Subpoenas

National Security Orders

We are not allowed to say much about this last category of legal disclosure requests, including national security letters from law enforcement and orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. If one of these requests comes with a gag order—and they usually do—that not only prevents us from talking about the specifics of the request, but even the existence of the request itself. The courts are currently reviewing the constitutionality of these prior restraints on free speech, and GitHub supports the efforts to increase transparency in this area. Until such time, we are not even allowed to say if we've received zero of these reports—we can only report information about these types of requests in broad ranges:

National Security Order Totals

Takedown requests

Government Takedown Requests

In 2014, for the first time, we started seeing requests from foreign governments to remove content. These requests continued in 2015, but as in 2014, they were very uncommon and limited to one particular country.

When we receive requests like this, we provide transparency in at least two ways: we notify the affected account holder before removing the content, and we post the notice publicly, to our government takedowns repository. In 2015, we only received one takedown request from a foreign government.

In 2015, other than that takedown request, we did not block content at the request of any foreign government. Because of our commitment to transparency, if we agree to block content under similar circumstances in the future, we intend to follow the same protocol—providing notice to affected account holders and posting the requests publicly.

DMCA Takedown Requests

The most significant number of requests we receive for removal of content are notices submitted under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or the DMCA. The DMCA provides a process by which a copyright holder can request that GitHub take down content the holder believes is infringing, and the user who posted the content can send a counter notice disputing the claim. Each time we receive a complete DMCA takedown notice, we redact any personal information and post it to a public DMCA repository.

DMCA Takedown Notices Received

In 2015, we received significantly more takedown notices, and took down significantly more content, than we did in 2014. Here are the total number of complete notices that we received and processed in 2015. In the case of takedown notices, this is the number of separate notices where we took down content or asked our users to remove content:

DMCA Totals

By contrast, in 2014, we received 258 notices, and only received 17 counter notices or retractions. In late 2014, we changed the way we processed DMCA takedown requests for forked repositories, so our comparison of the number of projects affected by takedown notices in 2014 to the number affected in 2015 is not exact. However, even a rough estimation based on the number of notices we received shows a remarkable increase.

By month, the notices we received, and counter notices or retractions received, looks like this:

2015 DMCA Notice Totals - Bar Graph

Incomplete DMCA Takedown Notices Received

From time to time, we do receive incomplete or insufficient notices regarding copyright infringement. Because these notices don’t result in us taking down content, we don't currently keep track of how many incomplete notices we receive, or how often our users are able to work out their issues without sending a takedown notice.

Projects Affected by DMCA Takedown Requests

Often, a single takedown notice can encompass more than one project. We wanted to look at the total number of projects, such as repositories, Gists, and Pages sites, that we had taken down due to DMCA takedown requests in 2015. By month, the projects we took down, and the projects that remained down after we processed retractions and counter notices, looks like this:

Projects Taken Down - Bar Graph

That large spike in September had us wanting to look more closely. What happened there?

Mass Removals and Frequent Noticers

Usually, the DMCA reports we receive are from people or organizations reporting a single potentially infringing repository. However, every now and then we receive a single notice asking us to take down many repositories. We classified “Mass Removals” as any takedown notice asking us to remove content from more than one hundred repositories, counting each fork separately, in a single takedown notice.

If we look at the same graph as above, of the projects we took down, and the projects that remained down after we processed retractions and counter notices, but exclude all incidents of Mass Removals, the graph looks very different:

Projects Taken Down, Excluding Mass Removals - Bar Graph

The activity over the year normalizes significantly when we don’t consider those anomalous mass removals.

In contrast to the Mass Removals, which are notices that contain many removal requests in one notice, we also noticed that some notice senders spread out their notices: they may send many over time. In some cases, this may be because they maintain projects that are frequently infringed, or in others, it may be because it takes several notices over time to take down all the forks of an infringing repository. For the purposes of our measurements, a “Frequent Noticer” is one notice sender who sends more than four DMCA takedown notices over the course of a year. In one case, a Frequent Noticer also sent us several Mass Removals.

Sources of DMCA Takedowns

Looking at our takedown notices over the year in this light gives us a lot of information. For example, while 83% of our 505 DMCA takedown notices came in from individuals and organizations sending requests to take down small numbers of repositories, the remaining 17% of notices accounted for the overwhelming majority of the content we actually removed. In all, fewer than twenty individual notice senders requested removal of over 90% of the content GitHub took down in 2015.

We can’t draw any conclusions about what this means for GitHub or our users. Additionally, because we did not expect to be doing this kind of analysis on our data this year, there may be some inconsistencies in the data we compiled; we hope to be correcting those as we go forward. We do make all the notices we receive publicly available at and you can also view the data we compiled to create this report in our DMCA repository.


We want to be as open as possible to help you understand how legal requests may affect your projects. We hope that each year we put out a transparency report, we’ll be able to improve it with more thorough analysis and more insight into our processes, so if there's anything you'd like to see us include in next year's report, please let us know.

GitHub Campus Experts - Technology leadership at your school

The student developer community is thriving thanks to hardworking student leaders like Josh Simpson. They organize tech talks, write tutorials, plan meetups, teach workshops, host office hours, produce hackathons, and more.

To encourage more students to become stewards of their campus technology communities we've created the GitHub Campus Experts program.

GitHub Campus Experts Logo

Starting today, we're accepting Campus Expert applications from students. Successful applicants will receive training in public speaking, community leadership, technical writing, and software development from GitHub. As part of a network of technology leaders at universities around the world participants receive training and mentorship from GitHub employees, opportunities to participate in exclusive events, and support to help grow the local student developer community.

Becoming a Campus Expert is a great way to amplify your efforts as a student leader, get training and mentorship with the latest technologies, and gain experience relevant to a career in developer relations.

Learn more and apply to become a GitHub Campus Expert for your school.

Community Partners for CodeConf LA

Since we are only a few days away from CodeConf LA, we’re happy to announce our Community Partners for the next conference in our 2016 lineup.

Community Partners are chosen based on several criteria but the most important questions we ask ourselves when looking for partners are:

  1. Do they have an audience that can benefit from free tickets to our conference?
  2. Are they lowering the barriers for people from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the tech industry?
  3. Are they doing socially impactful work in the community where the conference will be held?

We’re aware that genuine diversity and inclusion doesn’t result from an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. We know that diversity breeds innovation and that bringing people together from disparate backgrounds will not only enrich the conference experience but also the experience of contributing to open source projects. For these reasons and more, we’ve chosen to reach out to the following organizations to help us with our local outreach efforts in Southern California. You can read a bit more about some of our Community Partners below.


Operation Code

Veteran-founded and led, Operation Code is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization on a mission to get active military, citizen-soldiers, veterans, and their families coding and building software to change the world. They help the nation's finest and their families learn to code, network, and transition to careers while filling the nation's technical talent shortage.

"I served in the Marines as an Infantryman for 5 years and I would like to build something that will disrupt how folks in the military transition out into the civilian world." -Jameel Matin

Ticket Details: Scholarship recipients had to apply and meet two criteria: military service and strong interest in software development or open source. Finalists had to demonstrate open source contributions through GitHub and/or personal projects and a strong desire to join the industry as a software developer.

Sabio is an inclusive and diverse community of exceptional software developers that are looking to improve their development skills. They work hard to encourage as many women and people of color to participate in an ever-growing community of software developers and have a proven track record of helping smart and motivated people get into tech roles throughout the country.

"The world is now flat, and all humans are connected via the awesome world wide web that is being created, modified, and improved on a daily basis. We must have diverse web developers to have an even better web." - Liliana Monge

Ticket Details: Scholarship recipients are active members of the Sabio developer community.

Upcoming events: Information Session on on July 13th

Rails Girls LA

Rails Girls helps make technology more approachable for women through technical workshops that aim to teach skills and provide a community for women to connect with technology and build cool things.

"We are different and yet we are the same. We want different things yet we want the same things. Our differences and similarities weigh the same." -Jen Diamond

Ticket Details: Scholarship recipients include women who coached at Rails Girls workshops and who are leaders in the Los Angeles programming community.

Upcoming events: LA Summer of Code: Open Source Pair & Mob Programming on June 28th, 2016

Rails Bridge San Diego

Railsbridge San Diego is a free, 1.5-day workshop set up to increase diversity in the tech community by teaching people Ruby and Rails. The Railsbridge workshop provides a space for newcomers from often under-represented groups in tech to learn, ask questions, and connect to the San Diego tech community.

"People making technology should accurately reflect the diversity of those using it!"
-Railsbridge motto

Ticket Details: We distributed scholarship codes to women from the Railsbridge San Diego community who have continued learning to code. Recipients attended a Rails and Javascript coding school and have remained active in the local tech community. They've joined and contributed to local Ruby and Javascript meetups as well as volunteered at other diversity in tech workshops.

Los Angeles Jenkins Area Meetup The Los Angeles Jenkins Area Meetup connects professionals in the pursuit of sharing practices, networking, open source, and exploring advanced topics such as build automation, virtualization, testing, and CI/CD.

Tech in Motion Tech in Motion is a national event series started with the goal of bringing local tech communities together to meet, learn, and innovate. Tech in Motion topics are broad in the hopes that people of all disciplines and skills sets can come and learn something new each time.

Upcoming Events: Open Source: Shaping the Future of Los Angeles

It's not too late to join us at CodeConf LA next week! Grab your tickets here and chat with these amazing Community Partners in person.

Meet Josh Simpson, student, developer, and hackathon advocate

To highlight the people behind projects we admire, we bring you the GitHub Developer Profile blog series.


Josh Simpson, who is currently pursuing his computer science degree at King’s College in London, proves you don't need decades of programming experience to make an impact. When he’s not hacking away at school, Josh dedicates his time to helping others learn to code — mainly through his involvement in the KCL Tech Society and as a student advocate at HackCampus, which connects students to internship opportunities at startups in the UK. We talked to Josh about these two initiatives and learned more about his other passion: hackathons, and how they bring the tech community together.

Erin: Give us the basics. Who is Josh Simpson and what does he do?

Josh: At the moment I’m a 4th-year computer science student in London. For the past year and a half, I’ve been doing a lot of work with the hackathon community here. I also work with Hack Campus, which helps connect developers with companies and provides a better intern experience.

Erin: How long have you been developing software?

Josh: I’d love to say it has been for the entire time I’ve been doing my degree, but that’s not really true. I’ve really been investing in learning to code for about the past two years.

Erin: There are so many new avenues for learning to code, do you have thoughts about the advantages of going through a traditional program?

Josh: The biggest advantage at the moment is that I have four years of working within safety nets. As a student, you have so much to protect you from what could go wrong in the real world. If something did go horrifically wrong, I’ve got a backup system somewhere. Someone has the job to help me and make sure I don’t fail massively, which is a huge advantage to going the traditional route. But it’s definitely no longer mandatory. You don’t have to get a computer science degree to go into programming. I think it’s fantastic, the amount of people who are self-taught who’ve come out just as good if not so much better than a lot of the programmers who learn at university. It’s inspiring. People who have just sat there at home and thought, ‘I’m going to do this’, while working part-time or full-time jobs. They come home and spend a few hours in the evening every day for a few weeks, and they’ve actually picked up something which I’ve studied for four years to get the same level. So yeah, it’s impressive.

Erin: Were there people who you looked up to when you were getting into programming?

Josh: Yeah, definitely. There are some really fantastic people around the hackathon community. They are so focused on just teaching others. I really admire Joe Nash, who is the developer evangelist for Improbable. When I met him, he was doing a lot of work with MLH, and he brought me along to my first hackathon. It was through him that I actually started getting involved in the hackathon community. He helps me out with job interviews and tells me how I can better myself. He’s one of those people who will tell you what you’re doing is wrong, incessantly, but you argue with him for five minutes and then you go, “you’re right, you’re actually completely right about this.” Which is, I think, an incredible ability.

Erin: What sparked in your mind that development was something you wanted to do.

Josh: Four years ago I enrolled myself in a computer science course thinking that it was a lot lighter — I had no idea it was programming, essentially. I stuck with it for a couple of years, but I was doing my degree for the sake of doing my degree — I wasn’t doing anything on the side, I wasn’t helping myself. At the beginning of my third year, I realized I needed to find other like-minded people and engage with them. I found the KCL Tech Society and joined up with them, started going to workshops, figuring out how people teach, figuring out how they host all of these fantastic community events. Over the year, I got more and more involved, to the point where suddenly I was running workshops on Ruby on Rails. I taught a room full of people to go from zero to web application in two hours! That was the big moment where I thought, ‘hey, I’m pretty good at being a developer.’

I started building school projects and putting together hackathons. I built Dot to Dot with a friend at Hack the Planet. It teaches people how to use APIs and how to build their own. That involved 54 hours of no sleep before we actually started the hack, so the naming was a little bit off. It was a nice feeling that everyone seemed to actually enjoy using it.

Erin: Why should more people get involved with hackathons?

Josh: There’s a massive culture around learning, building, and sharing. People who have never coded before in their life can go to a hackathon and learn how to build a web application in 24 hours. And on the flip side of that, you have a community that is so invested in taking the time to teach other people — it’s 24 hours in a room filled with people who share the same interest of building stuff and teaching each other. There are very few places in the world and very few fields where you can find that same thing.

Erin People say ‘get involved with the community’ but it can be really hard to put yourself out there, especially if you’re shy or don’t have a lot of confidence in your code. Any advice for getting past that?

Josh: It’s…really difficult. One of the pieces of advice we give people who don’t have a lot of confidence in their code is to point to other people in the room, including myself — and this is the nice thing about hackathons — where we can say that we have no specific expertise, no singular experience that makes us better than anybody. We have an interesting idea, and one of us managed to draw together enough code to make it work, and this is the same stuff we do in our workshops. It’s the same as if you went through code academy — it’s just framed differently. It’s difficult to get involved until you realize that you’re just as good as everyone else was at some point. Some people have just had the experience to go ‘oh, I actually know how to apply this in this one specific way’.

Erin: And one might say that you could get that experience to apply your ideas by going to hackathons?

Josh: Yeah, haha, I would encourage people to just find a meetup locally. Find a bunch of people who are interested in something similar; it’s really helpful and they’ll teach you a bunch of stuff that you didn’t know beforehand, which lets you come back and say ‘I know this little bit’, and the cycle continues from there. A new person will come to the meetup and it’s your turn to say, ‘hey, did you know this beforehand?’

Erin: I’d love to talk about Hack Campus — What’s so cool about it?

Josh: We approach startups and advocate for students by encouraging them to hire interns. The startups pay a student’s wages for ten weeks - it’s £350 which is pretty good - and we sort out their accommodations right in the heart of London. So it takes away the issue of having to find and pay for a place to stay, removing a lot of stress out of that situation. And because you’re working at a startup that can’t just throw money away on them, interns are working on production code or getting their hands on something important fairly quickly.

Erin Can you tell me about some of the results of the program?

Josh: Sure. It’s growing very slowly — last summer was actually the first time we’ve run the program. We have a bunch of testimonials from the people who were involved last year. They mainly said it was a badass experience. We had people who said it was so valuable they would have done it for free — that they were pushing code by day 20. And that’s really cool, that students — students — are saying, yeah, I would’ve done that for free. We need to get better and more diverse backing to scale the program. The way it’s run now is as a single arm of Index Ventures, but the idea would be to scale that up so we can go to more places, and new startups, and bring in more students. This model doesn’t seem to exist in America, but I’d love to see something like this take hold there in the future.

Learn more about HackCampus.

The shape of open source

At its core, open source is about collaboration. Whether it's version control, licenses, or issue trackers—everything exists to support people working with each other. Open source embodies a model for people to work together, building something greater than they can create on their own.

Open source projects on GitHub come in all shapes and sizes, many are single-contributor 'solo' projects but others like Homebrew have upwards of 5000 contributors. What does open source look like at these different scales? Let's look at the last 30 days of public activity on GitHub broken down by some key activity types:

Repository activity as a function of contributor count

For projects with just one contributor, pushes (in red) represent the vast majority of all activity. Some issues are being reported but overall it's very much a solo endeavor. As the number of contributors increases however, the fraction of activity in conversational mediums increases rapidly. In fact, while the fraction of activity represented by people creating new pull requests and opening new issues remains relatively constant above ~100 total contributors, the level of activity in response to these events (issue comments, pull request review comments) continues to grow.

The changing shape of open source

By grouping projects by their contributor counts1, the first plot shows us how the shape of projects varies as the contributor pool grows. Rather than looking in aggregate, how does the shape of a single project vary over time, especially if it makes the transition from closed to open source?

A perfect example here is GitHub's own Atom, which saw its first commit by @defunkt in August 2011, but wasn't made open source until May 2014.

First Atom commit

Atom activity

An even more dramatic example of this can be seen in the activity around Roslyn, the .NET Compiler Platform which was made open source by Microsoft in 2014. You can see a steep uptick2 in activity as the project moved from closed to open source.


Some projects such as the popular JavaScript framework EmberJS are open source from the start but the story is largely the same—activity in open source projects is a rich mixture of commits, conversation, support, and review.


Open Source is a community effort

Clearly, open source is more than just code. Successful open source projects include code and documentation contributions together with conversations about these changes. Offering a place for people to report problems, ask questions, and suggest fixes or improvements are also a core part of any project's success.

Interested in joining the community? Check out our guide 'Contributing to Open Source' to learn more about how to find a good project. If open source is more than just code, what will your next contribution be?

1. A contributor is defined here as someone who has produced one of the listed content types (pushes, pull requests etc.)
2. So dramatic that even d3 can't keep the data within the chart :-)

Joining the White House in committing to tech inclusion

In May, we shared a report which measures our progress in the necessary work of diversifying our workforce. As we stated then, “we must create a company where anyone, regardless of what they look like or where they come from, can grow and thrive.” For GitHub to be the best version of itself, a diverse workforce is an imperative.

In the ongoing effort to make good on that promise, GitHub is joining our peers in the tech industry in signing the Tech Inclusion Pledge—an effort spearheaded by President Obama to “take action to make the technology workforce at each of our companies fully representative of the American people, as soon as possible.”

By signing this pledge, we are committing to:

  • Implementing and publishing company-specific goals to recruit, retain, and advance diverse technology talent, and operationalize concrete measures to create and sustain an inclusive culture
  • Annually publishing data and progress metrics on the diversity of our technology workforce across functional areas and seniority levels
  • Investing in partnerships to build a diverse pipeline of technology talent to increase our ability to recognize, develop and support talent from all backgrounds.

As an industry, we will only be able to build products that change the world when we have more of the world at the table, engaged in their creation. We encourage our friends in tech to join in on this important pledge.

Support LGBTQ organizations with the Pridetocat and Transtocat shirts

With the purchase of a Pridetocat or Transtocat shirt or tank top you will be assisting Transgender Law Center, TGI Justice Project, El/La Para TransLatinas, Trans Lifeline, and Alliance Health Project further their work. All proceeds from sales will be donated to these organizations that are helping educate, connect, and empower LGBTQ people.

Pridetocat Transtocat Shirts

These limited edition shirts and tank tops are available in the GitHub Shop until September 30th.

More info about the LGBTQ tech organizations that benefit from the purchase of this shirt:

Transgender Law Center

Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. We envision a future where gender self-determination and authentic expression are seen as basic rights and matters of common human dignity.

TGI Justice Project

TGI Justice Project is a group of transgender, gender variant, and intersex people—inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centers—creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom. We work in collaboration with others to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to strengthen us for the fight against human rights abuses, imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty, and societal pressures. We seek to create a world rooted in self-determination, freedom of expression, and gender justice.

El/La Para TransLatinas

El/La Para TransLatinas is an organization for transgender Latinas (TransLatinas) that works to build collective vision and action to promote our survival and improve our quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. We work to build a world where translatinas feel they deserve to protect, love, and develop themselves. By building this base, we support each other in protecting ourselves against violence, abuse, and illness.

Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline works to end transgender suicide and improve overall mental health of transgender people through education, advocacy, and direct service. We empower trans people to help one another, and to shape our collective efforts by drawing upon our wealth of individual experiences.

Alliance Health Project

The mission of the UCSF Alliance Health Project is to support the mental health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities in constructing healthy and meaningful lives.