Wednesday, December 3, 2008

OSDC liveblogging -- Keynote by Chris DeBona

Chris DeBona oversees open-source license compliance at Google CA.

This presentation talks about how useful OS is to Google. Starts presentation with hardware history of Google, showing Linux ancestry. Current systems are big rack systems, but still running customised linux software with heaps of OS libraries involved.

Google has found about 3.5 billion lines of OS code in unique files, which is more than any of the big players individually have written.

In 2000, asked 10k sourceforge developers about their motivations:
* Intellectual curiosity / stimulation
* skills improvement
* work needs
* non-work functionality
* professional status
* reputation building
* distrust / dislike of proprietary software

Means that OSS developers understand OSS licenses

How does Google use open source?
* Linux kernel
* Apache
* Languages & compilers
* Engineers who run linux (Goobuntu)

Also, when releasing code:
* Android, Gears, apps

Does this to maintain independence from external software company
Allows you as a software company to do something out of the ordinary without showing your hand / without external dependencies

How does Google take part?
--------------------------

8.5 million lines of code released in Android
Release about 1 million lines of code outside of that
Important for engineers to be able to interact with peers in the community, not get out of touch
Provides good code hosting with version control, issue tracking, wiki
Hires some people directly because they are seen as important
Sponsors GSOC -- create new OS developers

Questions
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Why didn't Google create their own open source license?
* Don't trust licenses that arent's used much
* Real combination problems when integrating projects
* Not everyone trusts Google, so using well-understood licenses is good for this
* Obvious what Google means by using a license as people are familiar with them
* Developers don't need to understand new legal terms, familiar with known licenses
* Uses Apache a lot because it has specific things to say about patents (personal comment -- helps avoid patent issues -- not exactly sure how but seems to provide some end-user protection against patent infringement through using the software)

Now running out of battery, so posting now...