Team collaboration software tool Gitter announced a recent acquisition by GitLab on its March 15 blog. The tool considers itself a “chat and networking platform” that is comparable to competitors such as Slack and Yammer, with one major difference: With this acquisition, the software intends to become open-source.
Unlike other tools that focus more on enterprise communication, Gitter has remained true to its developer focus. The acquisition is reflective of that, as GitLab itself is a platform for developers. These changes highlight the company’s desire to keep the tool malleable, allowing changes from users who understand their own needs best.
The open-source environment will allow users to edit the processes according to what they think is best, as opposed to crossing their fingers and hoping for changes in the tool’s upcoming iteration.
Additionally, Gitter is adding a feature that allows users to sort conversations into topics. This adds to a company’s knowledge base, giving employees and others who are curious access to information from experts and other knowledgeable sources.
Users should be aware that this information put in certain channels is publicly available to anyone with internet access.
“All of Gitter’s public conversation history is completely unlimited, open, archived and indexed by popular search engines, contributing the public knowledge base of the internet,” reads GitLab’s blog announcement.
Those who wish to keep their information private for internal use can still use Mattermost, a collaboration and chat tool that can be protected behind personal firewalls.
Gitter was built to be used in the open. We’ve always seen Gitter as a network, or a place where people can come to connect to one another. Team collaboration, whilst possible, has never been a core aspect of the Gitter experience.
Mattermost is a powerful, integrated messaging product for team collaboration – we will continue to ship and recommend using Mattermost for internal team communication.GitLab blog announcement, on how Gitter differs from Mattermost
An open-source format, with free and unlimited conversations, reinforces the tool’s use as a public network as opposed to a private collaboration tool. It’s a way for people to share knowledge openly. Users can create an account on desktop and immediately jump into certain discussions.
“Next piece of wow: we will be open sourcing all of the Gitter,” Gitter’s blog announcement reads. “That’s right, the web application, the mobile apps, the whole nine yards, free and open.”
These changes are sure to affect user experience and satisfaction. One reviewer on G2 Crowd lamented the difficulty of trying to get a question answered timely with the barrier of separate time zones.
“That’s a hard problem, when you are in a rush and want to ask a small question and want an answer,” Medet Tleukabiluly said.
Perhaps with the changes, more sources will have access to the software, meaning more voices can participate in all hours of the world clock.
What excites you most about the prospects of open-source technology? Let us know if you plan to use Gitter in addition to a private team collaboration tool.