Google Launches SourceForge Competitor

    July 28, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Even though Google said it is not competing with the SourceForge project hosting site, it’s difficult to view it otherwise considering Google’s features and other services that can complement it.

The Project Hosting section of Google Code debuted yesterday during Greg Stein’s talk at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention. Stein works for Google as an open source engineer, and is known for his role as chairman of the Apache Software Foundation.

Before the announcement, NewsForge’s Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier and Stein talked about Project Hosting. Stein said in the report that Google just wanted to see what they can do with their infrastructure to provide an alternative service for hosting open source projects.

Google is taking care not to overtly stomp on SourceForge with Project Hosting, which will not have some features that are present at SourceForge and similar sites.

That’s a careful statement, in that Google doesn’t say whether or not it finds those particular features desirable. Stein goes on to tell Brockmeier that Google was able to “cut out a lot of heavy structure” in creating Project Hosting.

Google will disallow attempts to duplicate namespaces that already exist on SourceForge. This will prevent someone from placing code on Project Hosting and naming it after an established project on SourceForge.

Project Hosting has a couple of main features. One is the full-text search across projects using Google’s vaunted technology in that area. The other is version control. Google rebuilt the open source Subversion project to work with Google’s storage technology, called BigTable.

Stein also said Project Hosting will not include website hosting for projects, as SourceForge does. That doesn’t mean Google couldn’t suggest its Base or Pages services as options for developers. Not to mention Gmail and the newly updated Google Talk for communication, or Google Groups for discussions about a project.

ZDNet’s Google blogger Garett Rogers had guessed Stein would announce a SourceForge-like service with Subversion during his talk. He noted that while code search, as opposed to project search, isn’t available yet, it should be something Google unveils soon.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.