Google Inc. is offering to host open source software development projects in a move that has been met with mixed reaction from the developer community online.

As part of the recently launched offering, developers get 100M bytes of disk space to store and share their open source project, and can use tools such as issue tracking and mailing list support. Google said it is making the offer, which can be found at http:// code.google.com/hosting, in an effort to encourage healthy, productive open source communities.

Developers must have a Gmail account to use the service, which won’t feature advertisements and doesn’t allow developers to include advertisements within their project pages, at least for now.

Google will only support single-license projects. Developers can host their projects under limited types of licenses as part of an effort 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 to others. For example, while many issue tracking systems already exist, Google created a new one that includes a minimal set of fields plus Google’s search technology to simplify use.

Google suggests that if it doesn’t offer some tools that are required, developers can use tools that are hosted by other sites, including links within their project to direct users to the other tools.