Launchpad (website)

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Launchpad logo.png
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Project Hosting Server
Registration Optional
Available in English
Owner Canonical Ltd.
Created by Canonical Ltd.
Launched January 2004
Alexa rank
Negative increase 6,728 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active
Launchpad Suite
Launchpad logo.png
Developer(s) Francis J. Lacoste and 52 others[2]
Initial release 15 June 2005; 13 years ago (2005-06-15)
Stable release 3.0 / 23 September 2009; 9 years ago (2009-09-23)
Preview release 3.1.10
Written in Python
Available in English
Type Project Management
License GNU Affero General Public License
Mark Shuttleworth with other Canonical Ltd. employees discussing Launchpad at a design sprint in Germany

Launchpad is a web application and website that allows users to develop and maintain software, particularly open-source software. It is developed and maintained by Canonical Ltd.

On 21 July 2009, the source code was released publicly under the GNU Affero General Public License.[3] As of January 2013, the Launchpad repository hosts more than 30,000 projects. The domain attracted 1 million visitors by August 2009 according to a survey.[4]


It has several parts:

  • Answers: a community support site and knowledge base.
  • Blueprints: a system for tracking Specifications and new features.
  • Bugs: a bug tracker that allows bugs to be tracked in multiple contexts (e.g. in an Ubuntu package, as an upstream, or in remote bug trackers).
  • Code: source code hosting using the Bazaar version control system.
  • Translations: a site for localising applications into different human languages.

A significant but less visible component is Soyuz, "the distribution management portion of Launchpad." Launchpad is currently primarily used in the development of Ubuntu, an operating system. Launchpad uses the FOSS (free/open source) Zope 3 application server.


Several of Canonical Ltd.'s own projects use Launchpad for development including Ubuntu and Bazaar. Development of Launchpad is itself managed in Launchpad.

Other prominent projects using Launchpad for various aspects of managing their development include:

Transition to Free Software

Launchpad was initially criticized by the Jem Report and other members of the free software community for not being available under a free license, such as the GNU GPL, despite its aims. In response, the developers stated that they aimed to eventually release it under a free software license, but that it could potentially take years.[11] On 9 July 2007, Canonical Ltd. released Storm, the first Launchpad component made available under a free software license.[12]

Founder Mark Shuttleworth's response to this criticism was that Launchpad needed paid programmers to continue the development of the Launchpad platform, and that there would be no point in developing multiple versions of Launchpad due to the probable incompatibility of the forks.[13] However, this still left some members of the open-source movement dissatisfied.[14] On 22 July 2008, Mark Shuttleworth announced at OSCON that the complete source code would be released within the next twelve months.[15]

On 19 December 2008, Canonical Ltd. released the Launchpad component "lazr.config" and "lazr.delegates" under version 3 of the GNU LGPL.[16][17]

An open API is currently[when?] in beta testing, which will allow programs to interact with the website. Calls for an open API to be released were aided by projects like Leonov that resorted to screen scraping to get data from Launchpad.

In December 2008, Canonical announced that the source code to the Launchpad website would be released under a free software license by 21 July 2009.[18][19] It was also announced that two large components of Launchpad, Soyuz (which is responsible for the build system, package management and Ubuntu package publishing) and Codehosting, would not be released under a free software license.[20] Later, the specific date was changed to a more general timeframe of July/August 2009.[21][22] However, on 21 July 2009, the software was released under the AGPLv3 (a fully free license specifically for web services),[23] including the two components (Codehosting and Soyuz) that were initially planned to remain proprietary.[24]

See also


  1. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Canonical Launchpad Engineering in Launchpad". 15 June 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Canonical releases source code for Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 21 July 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "launchpad attracts 1m visitors yearly". Retrieved 1 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Inkscape moving to Launchpad!". 21 November 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "(Inkscape) Source code repository has moved to Launchpad". 9 December 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "". 22 July 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "". Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Arnö, Kaj (19 June 2008). "Version Control: Thanks, BitKeeper - Welcome, Bazaar". Retrieved 19 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Canonical Ltd. (2 April 2007). "Launchpad 1.0 Beta Released" (Press release). Retrieved 20 June 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Launchpad Frequently Asked Questions". Canonical. 5 August 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Canonical Releases Storm as Open Source". 10 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Launchpad should be free software (free as in freedom)". 18 April 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Ubuntu is built with proprietary software". 10 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Launchpad Source-Code Within 12 Months". 22 July 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "lazr.delegates 1.0". Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "lazr.config 1.0". Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Youtube - UDS Jaunty - Graham Binns". 9 December 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19., OpenSourcing
  20., "How we are open sourcing launchpad"
  21. "Open Sourcing Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 4 July 2009. The process should be completed in July / August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Canonical releases source code for Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 21 July 2009. Canonical, the founder of the Ubuntu project, announced today that it has open-sourced the code that runs Launchpad, the software development and collaboration platform used by tens of thousands of developers.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Launchpad License". 25 January 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Launchpad is now open source". 21 July 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links