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April 14 Repo Blitz: Free unlimited SVN and GIT, and much more

Posted by Andy Singleton on Wed, Apr 14, 2010

This is a huge day for Assembla repository users. We are now offering free, privately permissioned, encryption enabled, unlimited user, full gigabyte, commercial quality subversion and git repositories, and that is just the beginning.

Our free private repository spaces have only the Source/svn or Source/git tool. If you want more tools, like tickets, collaboration, ftp, etc you'll have to add your space to a paid subscription plan.  

To grab your free private repository select the free svn or git entries from the catalog, or by forking an existing repository. You can get the free repository without a subscription, or add an unlimited number to your existing subscription.

Why did we do it?

  1. Because we love you and we want you to give you free unlimited commercial-quality repositories, and it's the right thing to do.  Now there is no excuse for not using a professional quality repository to handle any software work.

  2. Because repositories have become so inexpensive on some other sites, that the next logical step is free, even for a best-of-breed provider like Assembla.

  3. Because most users start with repositories, and we want more commercial quality users.

  4. Because we have more and better features to sell. We make our money by selling our advanced ticketing, collaboration, publishing, and management features. We have been adding and improving those features.

  5. Because we have help from our sponsors. Owners of free repositories will see special offers for hosting services that we negotiated with leading cloud hosting vendors.  If they accept these offers, they will get a great deal, AND Assembla will get a referral fee that helps pay for the free services. We hope to expand this advertising and referral program to pay for even more free services.

You can see from points four and five above that we have been working hard to build a solid business model around free repositories. We call it "code in the cloud". You bring your code out to our cloud, and we wrap all sorts of great stuff around it:  Tools- our premium tools; Talent- your own global teams plus new candidates; Compute power- on-demand hosting, preconfigured servers, etc.

If you bring your code to Assembla and then use the other tools, we help you manage a project in one place, where you can capture all of the information that you will need for delivery to colleagues, clients, and future maintainers.  It's a best practice if you have to deliver software to clients, because only Assembla give you a way to reassign the entire project to a new owner.

We removed the "Metered" plan from our list of subscription plans for new users. If you already have a metered plan, you can keep it as long as you like. Although metered was our most popular option, it was also our cheapest, with most subscribers only paying for a few users. And, about half of those use only the repositories. They get free services now.

But wait... There's more!

You can now add multiple Subversion and Git tools to one workspace. This was the top request on with over 300 votes. These voters want a project where they can keep one ticket list, and one team list, but maintain code in multiple repositories. Now they can just go to the Admin/tools page, add a new Source/svn or Source/git tool, and get another tab.

Effortlessly publish any repository as a Web site!

You can now select a directory out of any repository and show it on the Web at, or even your own domain! This will change lives here at Assembla.

Before, when we wanted to make a new site like, or even just publish some landing pages, we had to configure a Web server, and configure the ftp publisher.

Now, it's so easy that you can use it just to publish documentation.  Two clicks and you have a site.  It leaves us feeling sort of cheated out of all that extra hassle.  A lot of our users are Web design and marketing firms that save client Web sites in Assembla spaces, and I am sure they will put this feature to good use.

Visit the "sites" link from any GIT or Subversion source tab in your Space to check it out. 

We raised the limit on Enterprise packages from 100 spaces to 200 spaces.  We were getting calls from Web design firms that maintain more than 100 sites.  Amazing.  We will do what we can to make life easy for them. 

Assign Billing for a space to another Assembla user

We also made it easier for project managers to create new workspaces, and assign them to the company subscription.  This should make life a lot easier for those of you who have multiple project managers. 


When you go to create a space, if you do not have your own plan, you will see a field with the prompt "If another subscriber will pay for this space please, provide his email or login".  Enter the information for the subscriber.  We will assign the new space to the subscriber, and that person will get a note with the option to decline.

The Wiki Gets a Makeover

Our Wiki tool has a new layout that makes it easier to understand the controls. The page layout has tabs across the top, like in Mediawiki. We broke from our tradition and moved the page menu to the left side, because we found that wide wiki pages overrun the right side menu, and some elements show through. The left-menu layout will work better when you paste in wide pages.


Upgrades to Repository Architecture and Security

We made another round of improvements to our repository architecture, including putting subversion servers behind a proxy that helps us scale and failover. We rebuilt the git authentication with custom SSH and git agents to authenticate users directly from our central database.  I would like to thank guest developer Luciano Bello for a clever modification to OpenSSH that makes this possible.  We added multiple public keys to the profile, another top user request. You won't see most of these improvements, but they will make you feel good.

What's Next?  

Now that we have finished a lot of repo upgrades and packaging changes, we will turn our attention to management features - ticket / issue management, portfolios, and branded portals.

Tags: , , ,


That's awesome but why do you include git and exclude mercurial. I favor mercurial but I favor choice even more :-).

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:21 AM by holger

Excellent stuff! Multiple repositories in a space is absolutely perfect for us, and with these multiple SSH keys you are really spoiling us :) 
Of course, now you've added new features, I have to ask for changes to them, because customers are never satisfied ;) 
For the "publishing a repository as a website feature" (which is awesome), is it possible to have the same permission checking as the main repository on the visited pages? At the moment, the published sites appear to be publicly visible, which means we can't really use it for any private work, not even documentation. 
Great release!

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:54 AM by David Wagner

"We rebuilt the git authentication with custom SSH and git agents to authenticate users directly from our central database." 
Hm. As of today, our repository is unavailable: 
$ git pull 
E, [2010-04-14T14:03:23.477959 #8540] ERROR -- : git command not recognized 
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:05 AM by Antares Meketa

Cool new features, but the loss of the metered plan saddens me, I'm glad I paid for it before it was removed. Free private repositories are nice, but tickets are a must for me, and 24$/month is too costly for the size of my project. If I have to choose, I'll have to revert to free public repository to keep my tickets. 
Anyways, I don't want to be too negative, I really appreciate the work you do.

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:00 AM by Tristan Labelle

Great work! Especially the multiple repositories per space feature. Thanks! 

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:28 AM by Koen Tanghe

I am having the same issue with Git as Antares.  
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly 

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:47 AM by Sami Hoda

Great news - had spun up a mercurial repository but will be switching to git because of this.

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 12:23 PM by Jeff V

That's all nice, but what I miss is a yearly plans with more spaces and less users.  
5s, 3u - 10 / mo 
10s, 6u - 15 / mo 
and then to other plans. I

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 2:09 PM by alen

I'm happy you decided to provide free git & svn hosting. I've been your customer once, back in the days when you were providing free svn (and later git) hosting. But then one day you shut down the free service and I have to move all my repositories somewhere else. This can happen again so why take the risk? 
Best wishes though!

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 2:34 PM by Lenart

Great work guys!

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 2:46 PM by DarkNSF

Thanks for the explanation Andy! I understand what you were going through and Yes! you did offer a lot of things for free (trac, wiki, ...). I believe your new business model is much better and I hope you'll attract enough free & premium to cover expenses. It's just that I was really disappointed and frustrated when I had to look for alternative solution - ending up in setting up my own git server. We're all human beings after all and we all make mistakes :) as I already said I wish you good luck with your service. And who knows - maybe I'll return one day!

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 3:19 PM by Lenart

It's great that we could have many SVN repositories now! 
But could we create a separate passwords for all repositories? 

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 3:30 PM by

Hey Andy, nice to see you back with a nice free repository offering. Thanks and good luck! 
I have some questions: 
How do I convert a Pro/Private metered plan to a free repository? 
Can I combine several now seperate repositories into one workspace?

posted @ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:34 PM by Jan

While you're working on the tickets section, it would be great if you'd add a kanban board.

posted @ Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:39 PM by Steve

I've tried to create "Free Private Subversion Repository", but I've got an error at the last step:  
"There was an error saving your space: Please, select a plan to continue 
Go to your money page first" 

posted @ Thursday, April 15, 2010 4:20 PM by Strannik

It's Git or git, never GIT. Git isn't an initialism, it's a word.

posted @ Thursday, April 15, 2010 5:36 PM by David

And words aren't allowed to be written in capital letters?

posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 7:24 AM by Mick

Yes, i really think taht assembla need some tools for bug tracking.

posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 9:49 AM by Rodrigod

Git access has been broken for me for two days. The claim that the problem was matching (or not) git urls that ended with .git or that I just need to re-upload my ssh key is the extent of the problem is totally false. The inability to resolve my support ticket, and seeming disregard for the responses I've made for the suggested fixes offered, is totally unacceptable.

posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 11:42 AM by Ian Kallen

Well done. I'm a fan of your service. Nice gesture the free repos.

posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 12:39 PM by Dolai Lama

Can anyone tell me if you can attach multiple github repositories to one Assembla space now? It looks like you can't, but maybe I'm missing something. 
Otherwise - awesome upgrade!

posted @ Friday, April 16, 2010 6:31 PM by Thomas Ashelford

"We will support Mercurial with the same plan when we are ready.
Any plan for Bazaar? :-)

posted @ Saturday, April 17, 2010 4:17 AM by PhiLho

Fantastic! My favorite assembla now goes free for source control! Thank you guys for your services!!

posted @ Monday, April 19, 2010 5:30 AM by Dimitri

This is really a great service you offer, i thank you and all the sponsors. 
I'm already thinking about upgrading... but being free to choose is really a must!

posted @ Wednesday, April 28, 2010 10:01 AM by Matteo

I'm happy that you guys are offering free hosting again. However, I was a previous user and i'm weary to trust that it will stay free. You mentioned that there's a revenue model in place but how can we be sure it will work. Assembla is great but what can they offer that other more established and stable sites can't on their free accounts? I posted those sites but my comment was removed.

posted @ Tuesday, August 10, 2010 6:44 PM by Jack smith

That's what I was referring to: "All existing users will get to keep their repositories under the original terms, in this case, free." is this in your terms?  
A successful business needs revenue and consistency. Your hosting may have high uptimes but it had poor "marketing" policies - "bait and switch". If you offer a free service to entice new users, then try to make sure to keep the offered service. There are many companies that offer high quality management tools like yours. Granted you were the first to offer free, well, hosted solutions.  

posted @ Thursday, August 12, 2010 7:16 AM by Jack Smith

Comments have been closed for this article.

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