If you're interested in using GitLab, we recommend you download and install GitLab Enterprise Edition.. The Enterprise Edition is available for free and includes all of the features available in the Community Edition, without the need to register or obtain a license. If you decide to upgrade to a paid tier and unlock additional features, you will be able to do this more easily if you are already on the Enterprise Edition.
GitLab is built on an open core model. That means there are two versions of GitLab: Community Edition and Enterprise Edition.
GitLab Community Edition is open source, with an MIT Expat license. GitLab Enterprise Edition is built on top of Community Edition: it uses the same core, but adds additional features and functionality on top of that. This is under a proprietary license.
Why use Enterprise Edition
If you have installed GitLab Enterprise Edition without a license, you will get all the same features that are in a typical Community Edition instance, but you have additional advantages:
If at any point in time you'd like to trial paid features, you can do this without setting up a new instance or upgrading your existing instance. You simply enable the trial from within GitLab. If you're not satisfied with the paid features, your instance will automatically revert back to the free features after the trial has expired.
To upgrade from Community Edition to Enterprise Edition you will have to make sure you're on the same version and follow specific steps, which often require downtime. If you are using Enterprise Edition, upgrading to paid features is a matter of a single click.
Why use Community Edition
If you only want to download open source software, Community Edition is the best choice. This distribution does not contain proprietary code. Functionally it will behave the same as Enterprise Edition without a license.
Note that in the future if you decide to move to Enterprise Edition, an upgrade is required and may require downtime.