I said something similar on HN but I figure I’ll repeat it here as you’ve said your Product Team are monitoring feedback
Firstly I’m disappointed Gitlab didn’t send out an email about this. I found out through a friend mentioning it, and I think they’d seen it mentioned on HN. Hiding something this serious in a blog post isn’t a good look from where I’m sat.
I’m heading up a team of volunteers who handle the internal software and infra for a non-profit fan-run event. With the industry we’re in (if you can call it an industry), we have what’s probably best described as an ‘excess of time and a shortage of money’. To give an example of the sums we’re talking - the money available to run the event for a year is around $10,000 after hire fees for the venue. From that we have to pay for everything to run the event, plus some to pay the bills until next year.
Our team is 10 people, so Gitlab is asking us to find $19 x 10 x 12 months = almost $2300 per year (actually probably pretty close to that with VAT added). You’re asking us for nearly a quarter of our total takings, for one product, for ten people.
If I took that to our Secretary, he’d tell me to go see a doctor and get my head examined.
The next thing he’d ask is “what other options are there” – and I’d have to tell him that Github is $48 per user per year (so already about a quarter of the price per seat), does everything we need, and would cost us $480 per year. I could probably get approval for that.
This is the same price as the Starter plan which was axed last year.
The SaaS and self-hosted packages being the same price is also a bit perplexing to me. I appreciate you’ll have additional support costs for installation, but those go away after the product is installed. The costs for hosting and CI minutes would be my responsibility. When Atlassian offered self-hosted products, they were at slightly reduced prices compared to SaaS (or perhaps SaaS cost more to reflect the hosting costs). It’s common practice in the industry, or at least seems to be.
If you gave me the option of buying 5 more seats on the Free tier at maybe a few dollars per user per month, I’d gladly take you up on that with that.
I’d also be happy with paying a few dollars per user if that got me a few extra features (Epics and Promote Issue To Epic would be nice).
You could even tell me that comes with zero CI runner minutes – I’d happily set up a VPS to serve as a CI runner.
But asking for four times the cost of Github for a very similar product and a whole pile of features I won’t use is a very big ask, even as much as I like Gitlab as a product.
I’d probably have a very similar outcome if I asked for Gitlab in a larger business. “Hey, why do you want Gitlab for $19/user/month when Github does almost the same thing for only $4?”
I get that you need to bring money in, but it feels like you don’t want the custom of small enterprises. Seems like the mantra of ‘today’s acorn is tomorrow’s oak’ has been forgotten.