Google Touts Open Source Cred

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 22, 2008

Who's the first company you think of when the words "open source" come up in conversation? Red Hat? Canonical? MySQL? Well, if Google co-founder Larry Page is to be taken seriously, apparently it ought to be Google.

The BBC is reporting on some comments that Page made at a recent round-table meeting with reporters. According to the BBC:

"They are not serious about it from our perspective," said Mr Page about other companies who declare the code behind their products as truly open source but limit access via a "variety of licensing terms".

Now, there's certainly no denying that Google has released a good number of open-source products, from the recent Chrome browser to the operating system for Android phones. And they've been a definite supporter of open source, putting their money where their mouth is with things like Google Code and the Google Summer of Code.

And yet, for all that, I'm skeptical that Google can claim any corporate kudos for being more serious about open source than other large companies in the industry. Even with all their support, they have based their core business (according to widespread reports) on open source software that they've modified, and then taken advantage of the "server loophole" to avoid releasing their changes. It seems that their commitment to open source doesn't extend to their core assets.

Overall, Google is definitely an open source supporter. But their claim to be more open source than other, unnamed companies, has a definite ring of pots and kettles.