Google has launched a new site that centralizes information on all of the company’s various open source projects and gives developers details on how it uses, releases and supports open source software.
The new opensource.google.com website also contains a complete directory of all of the company’s open source projects together with information on how the projects are being used inside Google. The directory lists some 2,000 projects that Google’s developers have worked on over the past several years and includes details on some well-known efforts such as TensorFlow and Kubernetes.
“This new site showcases the breadth and depth of our love for open source,” said Will Norris, a member of Google’s Open Source Programs Office in a blog. In addition to details on Google’s various projects, it “also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we 'do' open source,” he said.
The new website and directory are part of broader effort by Google to engage with developers in the open source community and to share best practices with them.
In 2014 for instance, the company helped launch an initiative called the TODO Group that provides a forum for companies that want to collaborate on practices and tools for running open source projects, Norris noted. Members of TODO –which is short for Talk Openly, Develop Openly—currently include Walmart, Yahoo, VMware, PayPal and Microsoft.
Google also runs multiple open source related programs such as its Summer of Code and Google Code-In and sponsors multiple others via initiatives like Apache Software Foundation and Software Freedom Conservancy, he said.
Google’s new site also contains the company’s entire internal documentation for open source projects. The document is broken into three sections. One section covers Google’s process for releasing code, either in the form of a completely new project or as a patch to an existing open source project.
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A second section delves into the details of Google’s processes for bringing new open source code into the company and using it to build products. The section contains a catalog of the tools that Google uses to ensure compliance with license requirements.
The third section of Google’s internal documentation deals with the internal and external programs it runs or manages to support open source initiatives.
The documentation is designed to give companies that are involved in open source projects an idea of the lessons that Google has learned from its own experience in the area so they can learn from it, the company said.
The contents of the new website are not meant to serve as advice for companies seeking help managing open source projects. “Many of the things we do are unique to how Google operates and our engineering culture, so these should not be read as 'how-to' guides.”
The goal instead is to give developers an idea of Google’s approach to addressing open source projects so others can learn from it, Norris said. “We hope that others find value in seeing how we approach and think about open source at Google,” he said.