GitHub is opening up its developer program to developers who do not have paid accounts.

The popular code-sharing service is looking to attract the open source community with the move. “That means if your free account was holding you back, you can join the program no matter which stage of development you’re in,” said Jared Jones, GitHub Developer Program manager.

Launched in 2014, the GitHub Developer Program has featured a community of 17,000 programmers primarily developing software by using the GitHub API. Opening access to developers without paid accounts could dramatically expand that membership number, GitHub’s Joe Wadcan, head of business development, acknowledged.

 The intent of the program is to encourage developers to integrate with GitHub and improve developer workflow, Wadcan said. Participants receive advance notice on API changes and are invited to events. The program also provides services such as licenses to build and test applications against the GitHub Enterprise iteration of the platform.

Along with expanding access to the program, GitHub is introducing participation levels, all of which are accessible free of charge. The first level, for organizations or member applications with one to 499 users, provides tools to learn about GitHub’s API and access the service’s integrator community. (“Member applications” refers to applications built by individual users who are not part of a large team or organization.)

Level 2 is for organizations with 500 to 999  persons or member applications with that amount. It offers all the benefits of Level 1 plus credits and network discounts.

Level 3 is for organizations or member applications with 1,000 or more users, and features all the benefits of the first two levels plus member spotlights, including retweets or preferred placement on GitHub digital platforms. Consulting services for scaling also are featured as part of the third level.

This story, “GitHub free account holders can now join developer program” was originally published by InfoWorld.

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