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---
title: "Comparing Confusing Terms in GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab"
date: 2016-01-27
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categories: insights
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author: Heather McNamee
author_twitter: nearlythere
image_title: /images/unsplash/trees-raysoflight.jpg
---

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<i class="fas fa-exclamation-triangle" style="font-size:.85em" aria-hidden="true"></i>&nbsp;&nbsp;
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Please read the [up-to-date version of this article](/2017/09/11/comparing-confusing-terms-in-github-bitbucket-and-gitlab/)!
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&nbsp;&nbsp;<i class="fas fa-exclamation-triangle" style="font-size:.85em" aria-hidden="true"></i>
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Developers rely on multiple platforms to manage repositories, depending on
client and project needs.
They might contribute to a community project on GitHub, while working on one
client's on premises GitLab instance and another client's project in Mercurial
on Bitbucket.
Confusion can arise when you switch between platforms.
In this post, we have a handy reference guide to explain
some potentially confusing terms, especially if you're new
to GitLab.

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With the [8.4 Release][release], GitLab has improved migration support for
those coming from GitHub to GitLab.
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GitLab now [imports][imports] your repositories, wikis, issues and
pull requests from GitHub.
While most terminology is shared
between the platforms, some differences lead to confusion
for users.
Git-specific terms like commits, push, and so forth are the same.
Common features most repository managers have are also the same: such as users, issues, webhooks, etc.

However some features have different names.
For example a “pull request” in GitHub and Bitbucket is called a “merge request” in GitLab.
We figured since you're often making a request to `merge` a feature branch into the master branch, we call this a
"merge request" and you'll hear us talk about MRs and not PRs.

If you’re brand new to GitLab, we’ve made this handy cheat-sheet to help you orient yourself and clear things up.

![The Import Project UI in GitLab showing you can import from GitHub, Bitbucket, etc](/images/blogimages/gitlab-terminology.png)

## Teams, Repositories, Organizations?

From teams to repositories to organizations, there’s a potential for fresh confusion.
In GitHub, *repositories* contain the Git/SVN repository, and the project assets
such as issues, contribution metrics, etc.
However users often refer to repos as *projects* interchangeably.

So in GitLab, we call that container a Project.
That includes the Git repository, issues, MRs, etc.
When you configure a project, you can;

- Choose [project features][projects].
- Set the project avatar.
- Set the visibility level for that project such as Private, Internal or Public.
- Transfer it, remove it or archive it.
- Configure [GitLab CI for a project][gitlabci].
- Add [project-level services][services] for third-party integrations.

It's important to make this distinction because you import *project* in
GitLab, regardless of whether that is called a *repository* elsewhere.

![The Import Project UI in GitLab showing you can import from GitHub, Bitbucket, etc](/images/blogimages/import-project.jpg)

This is where it could get confusing.
Now Bitbucket groups multiple repositories into *Projects*, multiple projects into teams,
and teams in Bitbucket are analogous to an *Organization* in GitHub.

In GitLab, we call this a *Group*.
This allows you to collect several projects together and also have members.
Those members can then configure their own group-level notifications.
Projects can be stored in only one group at once.
However you can share a project with other groups in GitLab Enterprise Edition
([available in GitLab Community Edition from 8.5 onward](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/12831)).
And even those settings can be locked at the group level so you can avoid
someone sharing a private project to other groups, for example.

The confusion is understandable, especially if like many developers,
you work with a number of clients each on different platforms.

I hope this has cleared up confusion. If you have any questions,
you can join us for a [live Q & A in our webcast][webcast] Thursday, January 28, 5pm (17:00) UTC; 12pm EST; 9am PST.

[imports]: http://doc.gitlab.com/ce/workflow/importing/import_projects_from_github.html "Importing from GitHub to GitLab"
[services]: http://doc.gitlab.com/ce/project_services/project_services.html "Configure Services for Projects"
[gitlabci]: http://doc.gitlab.com/ce/ci/yaml/README.html "configure GitLab CI"
[projects]: http://doc.gitlab.com/ce/workflow/project_features.html "Documentation of Project features"
[webcast]: http://page.gitlab.com/Jan282016Webcast.html "Webcast: 8.4 Feature Walk-through"
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[release]: /2016/01/22/gitlab-8-4-released/ "Announcing GitLab's 50th Release: 8.4"
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[bitbucket]: https://blog.bitbucket.org/2016/01/21/distributed-teams-can-now-build-faster-with-bitbucket/ "Bitbucket announces Projects"