Google's ode for open source

Google Open Source: New zip code for open source initiatives

Gabriela Motroc
Google Open Source

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Google decided to take matters into its own hands. The tech giant has launched, a website which ties together all of Google’s initiatives with information on how they use, release, and support open source.

Will Norris, Open Source Programs Office at Google announced via a blog post that the tech titan has launched, a website for Google Open Source that ties together all of their initiatives with information on how they use, release, and support open source.

According to Norris, the tech giant has released millions of lines of open source code, runs programs like Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in, and sponsors open source projects and communities through organizations like Software Freedom Conservancy and the Apache Software Foundation, to name a few.

Now, they want to bring all of their initiatives under one roof. And this brings us to Google Open Source, their very own ode for open source. Norris revealed that the website “will contain the expected things: our programs, organizations we support, and a comprehensive list of open source projects we’ve released.”

But it also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we “do” open source.

They are launching a directory of their open source projects which will be expanded over time. For many of the projects featured, Google is also adding information about how they are used inside the company.

Do as the Googlers do

In addition to the directory of their open source projects, the company is also launching their internal documentation for how open source is done at Google.

Aside from those few cases, this is the same documentation seen by Google employees. As a result, there is some Google lingo throughout, as well as references to internal tools and systems.

These docs explain the process Googlers follow for releasing new open source projects, submitting patches to others’ projects, and how they manage the open source code that they bring into the company and use themselves.

Last but not least, the internal documentation outlines why they do things the way they do. For example, you will find out why they only use code under certain licenses or why they require contributor license agreements for all patches received.

We want to share the lessons we’ve learned from many years of experience. By being as transparent as we can about how we do open source, we hope to help others do the same.

If you want to hear more about the Google Open Source website, check out the latest episode from The Changelog.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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