Google and Open Source

Like Apple, Google has profited immensely from the availability and use of Open Source code. LAMP in modified form is the crux of Google SuperComputing which is the companys distinct competitive advantage ->the ability to use massive, grid computing at extremely low cost to support operations like its search engine, Google Mail, Google Maps, and other tools which beat it competitors hands down in speed and simplicity/ease of operation. So you would expect Google to giveback commensurately to the Open Source community.

True , Google sponsors the Summer of code to Support dozens of other Open Source projects (and 900 students for Summer 2007)to the tune of about $10-20 million a year (my estimate). That takes two days of Googles earnings($1.2Billion for the March 2007 quarter) to pay for a Summer of Coding fun. Googles own list of Open Source Projects can be found here. The most impressive project in this list is AjaXSLT – which is an implementation of XSLT in JavaScript, intended for use in fat web pages, which are nowadays referred to as AJAX applications. Because XSLT uses XPath, it is also an implementation of XPath that can be used independently of XSLT. Impressive but not on the order of IBMs Eclipse or Suns NFS and now ZFS. All the other Google Open Source Projects are smaller or more specific contributions to Open Source.

Again, Google just provided to MySQL large chunks of code that would improve its replications functionas , backup and performance tuning but for very specific engines and circumstances. So if you consider Apple, which uses less Open Source code, to be remiss in contributing back to the community, the inevitable conclusion is that Google is even further behind. Perhaps because Apple and Google are not in the business of attacking Open Source like Redmond is currently doing, they consider themselves excused from proportionately supporting the software communities they so actively depend on.

(c)JBSurveyer 2007 If you liked this, let others know:
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