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Canonical opens Launchpad


An open-source irony has long been that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, used its own closed-source software development platform, Launchpad, to create Ubuntu and other open-source programs. On July 21st, though, Canonical opened Launchpad’s code under the GPLv3.

Launchpad is a set of integrated tools that support collaboration and community formation. These include a team management tool, a bug tracker, code hosting, translations, a blueprint tracker, and an answer tracker.

Launchpad went public in late 2007. With it, developers have been able to host and share code using its integrated Bazaar version control system. Besides all the usual development goodies that you get with similar projects such as SourceForge Launchpad enables developers to, as Canonical puts it, “support each other’s efforts across different project hosting services – essentially making Launchpad a social network with a purpose.”

From where I sit, Launchpad’s best feature is its bug-tracker. Unlike other bug-trackers, Launchpad’s system lets you track separate conversations about the same bug in external project bug trackers. So, for example, you can easily see if a big has already been reported in another online development or bug-tracking system such as Bugzilla, the Mozilla Foundation’s bug-tracker; Roundup; SourceForge; and the Debian Bug Tracking System.

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