Google and open source have worked together since the search engine’s inception and it has contributed to its success. Tech Radar hosts an interview with Google’s head of open source Chris DiBona about how Google uses open source, how it has shaped the company, and how Google has changed the face of open source: “How Open Source Changed Google-And How Google Changed Open Source.”
DiBona explains that the open source sector of Google started small, but then rapidly expanded and from the moment he came on board the open source division had been working on over 3,700 projects. Even though one might think he managed the open source compliance part of Android, he does not. DiBona and his team contribute to the Android operating system by keeping it in compliance and help keep it at least three years ahead of the current release. For each project, Google’s approach to open source changes. Android and Chrome are totally different when it comes to compliance. DiBona spends a large portion of his time keeping different projects in compliance, especially when they are competitive.
He even alludes the philosophical difference between the two:
“It’s funny because people say ‘Oh, it’s just software, you shouldn’t worry about it’. Or ‘It’s just business, you shouldn’t worry about it’. But what people seem to forget is that software and business are personal. It’s how we get through our day. It’s an important part of our lives so trying to keep things in perspective is really important. Now, you could say ‘Does that make you a sellout Chris?’ But I don’t feel it does because given that the overall actions of the company have been, in my opinion, really strong and on the side of the angels, I think it’s OK for us to have these discussions, especially internally.”
DiBona is proud of what Google contributes to open source, claiming that Go, Chromium, and Android are its best additions to it. Even without open source DiBona thinks that Google would exist, except the Web and Linux would not be around at all. Then Google would not be around either—so it would not exist. DiBona’s interview cements the importance of open source to Google and vice versa. Google is a big company and supports the open source development. As always, setting a standard for other companies.
Whitney Grace, January 09, 2014