When the co-founders started-up Google, their main source of funding was their credit cards. Any way they could find to leverage resources was critical. One approach was to use open source software. Basically, this is software that is freely available – so long as all additions to the software is also made free.
In light of this, it makes sense that Google is launching a portal for open source, called Project Hosting.
The leading portal is SourceForge.net, which has built an extensive community over the years. Google said it is not competing against it.
I think, Google does have an interesting view of what "competition" really is. Google is leveraging its powerful search technology. In the programming world – in which projects have endless amounts of lines of code – strong search is a must-have.
Here's the take of Ilan Seyahek, the vice president of engineering at Jitterbit (which develops open source integration software): "Jitterbit uses SourceForge extensively today. We use it as our code repository, bug tracker, feature request repository and we direct all users to SourceForge to download our files. We very much like SourceForge. However, there is always room for improvement. The spirit of Open Source is a community and improves and shares, and with that we welcome Google entering the market to make certain functions that SourceForge provides less cumbersome and to improve the search capabilities provided for open source projects."
In other words, SourceForge has some serious competition. But competition ultimately should mean better software. And, yes, that's yet another good place for Google to be.