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July 27, 2006

Host Open-Source Projects On Google

Google has just released at OSCON a service for open-source community, Project Hosting, that has some basic features:

* Project workspaces with simple membership controls
* Version control via Subversion
* Issue tracking
* Mailing lists at

"The goal of hosting on Google Code is to promote healthy open source development by offering hosted tools that most open source projects can't afford." This is the reason why Google chose to offer this service only for open-source projects.

An example of project is Chris DiBona's Goopy, a Python library that brings functional programming aspects to Python. You can find many other open-source code from Google on the site. There's also a demo that shows most of the features of the service.

Google Project Hosting doesn't have all the features of SourceForge (no webpage hosting, no download feature), so many developers will use both sites. Each project has 100 MB quota and has to store some metadata (description, tags, links). It's easy to add issues and to search for them using advanced criteria (status, priority, label) - that's one of the strongest points of the service. The code management can be done with Subversion, a version control system similar to CVS.

NewsForge found out more from Google:
Greg Stein says, "We really like SourceForge, and we don't want to hurt SourceForge" or take away projects. Instead, Stein says that the goal is to see what Google can do with the Google infrastructure, to provide an alternative for open source projects.

Chris DiBona says that it's a "direct result of Greg concentrating on what open source projects need. Most bugtrackers are informed by what corporations" and large projects need, whereas Google's offering is just about what open source developers need.

DiBona and Stein describe the project as ideal for smaller open source projects, rather than larger projects with more complex needs, such as Apache or GNOME. However, they also say that larger projects are welcome.


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