July 21, 2009

Canonical Releases Launchpad Source Code

launchpad.jpgA major advantage of open source software development is the communication between the members of any given project. But what happens when communication must take place between projects? That's where a web-based collaboration service like Launchpad comes in.

Today, over two years after it was launched as a public beta, Canonical, Ltd. has released the source code for Launchpad, which will allow the development community to work on the Launchpad tool itself.

Launchpad not only allows project teams to work with each other, but also facilitates upstream and downstream communications between different projects. The service helps projects collaborate through a set of six integrated tools: team management, bug tracking, code hosting, translating, blueprint tracking, and answer tracking. The service can be examined and used at Launchpad.net.

Using Launchpad, developers host and share code for free--using the Bazaar version control system integrated into Launchpad. Translators can collaborate on translations across many different projects, and end-users identify bugs affecting one or more projects so developers can then triage and resolve those bugs. Contributors can write, propose, and manage software specifications.

In addition, Launchpad erases barriers to collaboration and enables people to support each other’s efforts across different project hosting services--essentially making Launchpad a social network with a purpose. Launchpad has everything software projects, open source or not, need to be successful.

“Launchpad is designed to accelerate collaboration between open source projects,” said Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth in a press release. “Collaboration is the engine of innovation in free software development, and our intent in creating Launchpad is to support one of the key strengths of free software compared with the traditional proprietary development process. Projects that are hosted on Launchpad are immediately connected to every other project hosted there in a way that makes it easy to collaborate on code, translations, bug fixes and feature design across project boundaries. Rather than hosting individual projects, we host a massive and connected community that collaborates together across many projects. Making Launchpad itself open source fulfills a long term intention to give the users of Launchpad the ability to improve the service they use every day.”

Launchpad hosts open source projects for free, but closed source projects use the service for a fee. This means that projects can utilize the features that Launchpad provides but do not need to share code if that is not desirable. The privacy features are currently in beta, and will be added to the commercial service as these become available.

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