RealTime IT News

Google Throws More Green Behind Open Source

Not only is the Pacific Northwest home to Microsoft, it is also an active hotbed of open source development.

Google is banking on further developing open source in the region to a tune of $350,000, which is being donated to Oregon State University (OSU) and Portland State University to fund a new open source technology initiative.

The two universities will use Google's funds for a joint project that will see the creation in 2006 of an open source technology center and organization. That organization will provide an open source educational curriculum for the Oregon University System, as well as provide student internships.

The funding will also be geared toward supporting and expanding Oregon's support of leading open source projects.

Oregon State University Open Source Lab in Corvallis currently serves as a host to Mozilla's Firefox Web browser, which recently hit the 100 million download mark; the Apache Web Server, which is now in use by at least 52 million Web sites worldwide; and the Linux kernel (kernel.org).

Chris DiBona, open source program manager at Google, commented that he was very much aware of the open source work that Oregon State University had been doing

"I realized they had kernel.org, they were hosting pretty prominent mirrors for Apache and the Mozilla Foundation and they had helped out in the Summer of Code, as well by hosting a number of students," DiBona told internetnews.com. "So I was like 'wow these guys really have their act together.'"

The OSU, according to DiBona, has also actually helped to build community through its efforts.

"The thing about Free Software is that it's not always so easy to have that much infrastructure handled by one group for another group, because it's very demanding on system resources," DiBona explained.

"But there are a lot of advantages. They've been building this great community around the different projects and they've got this whole thing going on where all the different foundations are talking to each other with them.

"They've been pretty remarkable actually over the last couple of years with how much work they've done and how much code has gotten written because of them," DiBona added.

Google has been helping out a whole lot of open source developers of late.

DiBona's open source group at Google today also posted some of the initial results from its Summer of Code initiative, which provided $2 million of funding for 410 open source development projects spread across 41 different sponsoring organizations, including Google.

According to DiBona, the final tally of successful projects exceeded initial expectations.

"I have to admit going into the Summer of Code I was a little nervous and I had to set my expectations accordingly on how many students would succeed at the end," DiBona said.

He went on to reveal that currently the completion rate, which has not yet been finalized, is hovering around 84 percent of the students.

"I didn't think that 84 percent would make it. I thought it would have been more like 65 percent," he said. "You know life will intrude and sometimes people don't scope things well and that sort of thing. But they completely blew the doors off and I was really happy about it. We all were at Google."