Gitter is an open source chat application for developers, and is the place to connect the open source and software development community.
Gitter is a popular tool for building/supporting open source communities and is well integrated with GitHub. Since GitLab acquired Gitter, the team has open sourced it's web app, iOS app and Android app. We want Gitter to be the best place for building open source communities, particularly when the project is hosted on GitLab, and make it available by default to projects. There are also exciting possibilities to use Gitter to streamline the transition from async communication in issues and merge requests to synchronous forms of communication like real-time chat. And opportunities to transition some of the open source community over to GitLab.
Open source developers: As Gitter was originally highly integrated with GitHub, there is an existing base of developers. This audience is valuable in order to position GitLab as the most popular collaboration tool. Helping people communicate to get their problems solved and questions answered.
Open source project maintainers: Be the place that project maintainers want to setup their community on. This means integrating with their project so the team can talk and reference easily and jump to where they want to go.
In progress: Threaded conversations are the number one request from existing users and is needed in busy rooms so that multiple conversations can happen simultaneously. This feature is critical for retaining existing customers.
Next up: GitLab communities and rooms are needed to grow the user base of Gitter by making it work well with GitLab, which includes making it easy for every project to have a Gitter community. This is step one to making the GitLab transition attractive for an existing project on Gitter.
Our competitors have a lot more polish which makes them attractive. Gitter's competitive advantage is developer friendly and familiar Markdown formatting support, publicly viewable archives, and free without limits.
Gitter is uniquely positioned to introduce open source developers to the GitLab ecosystem. With the existing open source community on Gitter being GitHub centric, any branding, cross-references, or unique features for GitLab communities will make people more familiar with GitLab. The ideal outcome to make the switch over to GitLab obvious.
The GitLab team does not use Gitter for internal communication.