The best place to host your open-source project

Just a few short years ago, there was one open-source hosting service worth considering: It was by no means perfect (Alfresco's analytics, for example, have been down for over a month on Sourceforge, with no apparent urgency to fix the problem), but it was good enough, free, and everyone else used it.

Today, there are multiple options, including Google Code, Microsoft CodePlex, CodeHaus, GitHub, and, interestingly, Canonical's Launchpad.

Yes, Launchpad. Launchpad is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu team, but it has aspirations beyond hosting the Ubuntu code, aspirations that recently attracted MySQL to move its code over to the Launchpad service.

I don't recall Launchpad starting with this third-party code hosting premise in mind, but it certainly has gone there fast. OStatic has an excellent write-up on its new features, and whether they're compelling enough to put your open-source project there.

For a new project, it's definitely an interesting choice. But the larger question is whether an established project - especially commercial projects - gets adequate value from any hosting service to justify hosting with a prefabricated hosting service. SugarCRM moved from Sourceforge to hosting its own project, and other companies have done the same. (My own company is in the process of exploring options.)

Why host your own project? Why take on that cost?… Read more

The 404 126: Where we're going to miss George Carlin (except Wilson)

Today we celebrate the life of George Carlin, whose controversial brand of comedy paved the way for future acts like the 404. We promise to continue pushing the envelope, sir! On today's show, we give it up to Weezer, say bye-bye to Bill Gates, spout out some serious Bakalisms, pimp the greatest Web site on the Internet, and dish out our best advice to our teenage listeners. We also make plans to build a giant pool full of gold coins. The 404: Whoo-ooh! EPISODE 126 Download today's podcast

Ubuntu's Launchpad to go AGPL?

I've written about Launchpad, Ubuntu's software hosting and development website that enables collaboration across multiple projects, but I'm even more excited now that Mark Shuttleworth is strongly considering releasing it under the AGPL (Affero GPL). Launchpad is very cool. Keeping it open in a networked world makes it even cooler.

The choice of AGPL - which specifically covers software offered as a networked service - would be appropriate for Launchpad. It would also add some much-needed credibility to AGPL, which has come in for criticism from Chris DiBona, Google's open source program manager. DiBona has said … Read more

Learning from Mark Shuttleworth: Connecting communities

I am fortunate to count Mark Shuttleworth as a good friend. He's the sort of person who is always genuine. I never get the sense that he's taking shortcuts with me or with the business that he's forming around Ubuntu (i.e., Canonical).

This authenticity in his personality is hugely important for an opportunity looming for him and for Canonical. Like a few big open-source projects and companies, Ubuntu sits at the nexus of various other open-source communities. Unlike perhaps any other, however, Ubuntu has Canonical, a company with a social purpose as much as a corporate purpose.

Herein lies the opportunity, as Mark implies in a conversation he had with Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation:

...(It) seems to be that recognizing that enhancing the productivity of collaboration between different groups is a real way to boost the platform as a whole. And at Ubuntu we feel this very, very keenly because not only do we want to collaborate with other upstream projects like Apache or X or Open Office, but we also very much want to be part of and collaborate with Debian which is a very large project in its own right.… Read more

Canonical to offer personal Launchpad

Canonical continues to push the envelope for ease of development, announcing that it will release its Personal Package Archive (PPA) service. As Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports, PPA makes it easy for developers to modify and publish a package for Ubuntu without a committee group hug to bless the decision. It also means it will be much easier to get software into the hands of users/testers to glean their feedback:

PPA, which has been in beta since July, is a major part of Ubuntu's own development system, Launchpad. Launchpad is a set of integrated tools that support collaboration and community formation. These include a team management tool, a bug tracker, code hosting, translations, a blueprint tracker and an answer tracker. Its best feature, the bug-tracker, works by trying to track separate conversations about the same bug in external project bug trackers, such as Bugzilla, Roundup, SourceForge and the Debian Bug Tracking System.… Read more

Office 2.0 Launchpad rundown

The Office 2.0 Conference is only two days long, and in that time there are dozens of announcements big and small from a wide array of productivity and business companies. Amidst the bevy of panels, and discussions lies the launchpad event, a small 45-minute time slot carved out for product announcements. It's basically everyone's chance to show off their stuff, or as much as they can in the brief three minute allotments. Here's a rundown:

Zoho, mentioned itsits Zoho Business platform, which they launched this morning. We've got a full story on it here.

Veodia, the live broadcasting folks are launching a new portal for the iPhone and iPod touch. The team has been live broadcasting conference coverage all day.

TimeBridge is launching the public beta of its personal scheduling manager. It's a little bit like CircleUp ( coverage) meets Outlook, to lets you sync up your scheduling decision with your Outlook or Google Calendar. Previous Timebridge coverage can be found here.

Pano Logic has a really neat piece of hardware that does "zero client computing." This means with a server setup, you can get little portable computers that run off of these little metal cubes. This is great for small businesses who want to save some cash on desktop hardware, or who want to fool their employees into thinking they're in the future.

OpenSAM discussed creating an open set of standards for sharing online file types and information. ShareOffice is adding calendars from Jotlet, and conferencing from Persony. They've also built an iPhone app for accessing documents on ShareMethods.

Nozbe announced its business service, which features project collaboration for small and medium sized businesses. The team has also put together an iPhone-friendly version of the site for users to access projects on the go.

gOffice has a really nifty service that lets you type a Microsoft Office document on your iPhone. You can type to your heart's content, add a custom signature, and even get gOffice to print it out and send it (via snail mail) to wherever you want for a small fee.

Read more

Mark Shuttleworth: Walking the line between idealism and pragmatism (Economist)

Mark Shuttleworth is on a quest to control the British media. Or maybe he isn't, and it's the British media that is on a quest to give him maximum coverage. Whichever it is, my recent trip to London had Mark on the BBC and in this Economist article about free software, and Ubuntu's role in it.

Mark does an excellent job of balancing idealism and pragmatism in how he approaches open source, which comes across perfectly in the article:

...[O}pen-source software tends to polarise opinion. It has vociferous critics who suspect that software written by idealistic nerds, and made available free to anyone who wants to download it, must be some kind of communist plot. Zealous believers, meanwhile, long for open source to triumph over the evil empires of commercial software. This clash is often depicted as an epic struggle for supremacy between Linux and Microsoft's proprietary Windows operating system. But the truth is that most computer users do not know or care about the politics of open-source software. Mr Shuttleworth says most people simply want to read their e-mail, browse the web and so on.… Read more

Former greenskeeper now about to become the Masters champion

Unlike Carl Spackler's fantasy in Caddyshack, the Golf Launchpad is almost too real. I hit a lot of bad shots in golf, and I hit a lot of bad shots in Tiger Woods golf using the Golf Launchpad. This USB controller from a company called Electric-Spin is not new (see my awful swing in this old product video), and its new feature won't be ready until sometime this summer, but that didn't stop Crave from taking some hacks with it now that spring has sprung.

The Golf Launchpad lets you use your own clubs to hit a … Read more

GrandCentral rolls out handy widgets, voicemail sharing

GrandCentral, the cell phone enhancement service we covered last year, is adding really handy customizable instant call widgets to their service next week. The new widgets work a little bit like Jaxtr's widget we checked out in December. You can create customized voicemail widgets with personalized greetings for your callers. There are three different styles of widgets to choose from, and they can be placed on social networking profiles, blogs, or Web sites.

GrandCentral is also adding a way to share your voicemail with other people by letting you embed it like you would with their call widgets. There'… Read more