Inside the making of the social network for programmers—which now has 1.3 million users and more than 2 million source code repositories:

At first, GitHub was a side project. Wanstrath and Preston-Werner would meet on Saturdays to brainstorm, while coding during their free time and working their day jobs. “GitHub wasn’t supposed to be a startup or a company. GitHub was just a tool that we needed,” Wanstrath says. But — inspired by Gmail — they made the project a private beta and opened it up to others. Soon it caught on with the outside world.

By January of 2008, Hyett was on board. And three months after that night in the sports bar, Wanstrath got a message from Geoffrey Grosenbach, the founder of PeepCode, a online learning site that had started using GitHub. “I’m hosting my company’s code here,” Grosenbach said. “I don’t feel comfortable not-paying you guys. Can I just send a check?”

“Lord of the Files: How GitHub Tamed Free Software.” — Robert McMillan, Wired

See also: “Why Software is Eating the World.” — Marc Andreessen, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20, 2011