Google Inc. is offering to host open source software developmentprojects in a move that has been met with mixed reaction from thedeveloper community online.
As part of the new offering, launched on Thursday, developersget 100M bytes of disk space to store and share their open sourceproject, and can use tools such as issue tracking and mailing listsupport. Google said it is making the offer, which can be found athttp://code.google.com/hosting,in an effort to encourage healthy, productive open sourcecommunities.
Developers must have a Gmail account to use the service, whichwon’t feature advertisements and doesn’t allow developers toinclude advertisements within their project pages, at least fornow.
Google will only support single-license projects. Developers canhost their projects under limited types of licenses as part of aneffort by Google to encourage developers to standardize on popular,strong licenses.
On the site’s frequently asked questions page (http://code.google.com/hosting/faq.html),Google admits that the service has a few shortcomings compared toothers. For example, while many issue tracking systems alreadyexist, Google created a new one that includes a minimal set offields plus Google’s search technology to simplify use, Googlesaid.
Google suggests that if it doesn’t offer some tools that arerequired, developers can use tools that are hosted by other sites,including links within their project to direct users to the othertools.
The new service is similar to one offered by collaborative opensource development site SourceForge.net, which last May announcedit had hosted 100,000 projects since its inception.
People posting comments about the new Google service indiscussions on Slashdot.org, the technology news site that, alongwith SourceForge, is owned by Open Source Technology Group Inc.,had varied reactions to how the service might compare toSourceForge. Some complained of poor performance on SourceForge andexpressed hope that the Google offering would deliver improvedspeed and support. Others complained of shortcomings to the Googleservice, such as lack of support for certain tools andlicenses.
One comment, signed by Ross Turk, engineering manager forSourceForge, said that the new Google service would be good for theopen source community. Although currently Google isn’t allowingdevelopers to import SourceForge projects to the new hosting site,SourceForge is discussing ways to better integrate SourceForge withGoogle, he wrote. “I expect there will be a much more substantialintegration as the community makes its needs known,” hewrote.