Long live the open-source community!

Google Code is dead – but today is a good day for open source

Coman Hamilton
Flowers photo via Shutterstock

Google Code is no more. But what may seem like sad news, is in fact a confirmation of how important open-source has become.

Every few months, some unlucky web service finds itself the loser of Google’s ongoing game of discontinuation roulette. This time it’s sadly Google Code that will be joining the likes of Buzz, Reader and Orkut.

Google has disabled all new project creation functions and will completely shut down the service in January 2016. Google is providing migration tools to help current users move their content to other hosts, which can be moved until the site goes read-only on August 24, 2015.

In recent months, the site had become overrun with spam and abuse. Between 2012 and now, Google has discontinued a total of 31 its services, including Google Talk and Google Wave. Google Code is the first of Google’s services to be shuttered this year.

Why today is a good day for open source

Although the news will certainly surprise many in the community, Google had begun to rouse suspicions when it moved its libphonenumber project to GitHub, and began using GitHub for new projects. Google now claims that it has already migrated close to a thousand of its open-source projects to GitHub in order to “meet developers where they are”.

But the news of Google Code’s passing is no reason for despair. The open-source community has never been as vibrant as it is today, meaning that the shuttering of one major hoster is but a flesh wound to open source. Google itself admits that the decision was made in part because the open source community is ‘blooming’.

When we started the Google Code project hosting service in 2006, the world of project hosting was limited. We were worried about reliability and stagnation, so we took action by giving the open source community another option to choose from. Since then, we’ve seen a wide variety of better project hosting services such as GitHub and Bitbucket bloom. Many projects moved away from Google Code to those other systems.

Rather than lament the loss of one significant member of the open-source hosting community, we should rejoice in the fact that there are so many other great open-source hosters, that not even Google can compete.

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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