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Has Google Become a Good Open Source Citizen?

Nov 06, 2009, 17:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joel West)

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"Sure, Google has released other code before. Some of it has been experimental (beta quality) examples. Much consists of libraries (or example code) to get at Google's APIs and thus provide complementary products that increase the value of Google's services. Even Android would fit in the latter category — albeit at a larger scale — since it helps make handsets that access Google services.

"However, the Closure Compiler, Closure Library and Closure Template are production level code that's been used for years. These are the same tools that Google uses to implement gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps. Theoretically, a competitor could use these tools to make web-based services that compete with Google: Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO) are unlikely to do so, but I would be surprised if some of the foreign portals (without large internal R&D staffs) don't quickly adopt the technology.

"Of course, Google's not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, and the ultra-secretive company has not said why this release now of this code."

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