Facebook's TODO project is a big push to evolve the world of open source

The project aims to improve how open source software is developed and consumed

Facebook's Jay Parikh at the @Scale conference Monday

Facebook's Jay Parikh at the @Scale conference Monday

Facebook has partnered with several large companies to kick off a new project called TODO that aims to improve the way open source software is developed and consumed.

Facebook, Google and many other big businesses have come to rely on open source projects, such as the MySQL database, to run their businesses, and particularly their online operations.

But they apparently feel there's room to improve how open source projects are managed and organized, and even room to improve the software itself. The TODO project -- which stands for Talk Openly, Develop Openly -- addresses those goals.

"We want to figure out how we can raise the bar on the quality of open-source software projects in the world," Jay Parikh, the head of Facebook's infrastructure group, said at a conference in San Francisco Monday.

The TODO project aims to make it easier for a company or organization to get started with using an open source package, and also make it easier to kick off new open source development projects.

The group consists mainly of the biggest online service providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Box. It also includes Walmart Labs, Dropbox, Khan Academy, Stripe, Square and the open source software repository GitHub and others.

"TODO is a new open source collaboration formed to address the challenges that companies have encountered in consuming open source software and running open source programs," Facebook said in a statement.

Separately on Monday, Facebook said it will open-source mcrouter, a memcached protocol router that Facebook uses to handle all traffic between its caching servers.

"At peak massive scale, mcrouter handles close to five billion requests per second," the company said. More information can be found in the blog post here.

Facebook made its announcements at its @Scale conference, which brings together companies that operate at Web scale to talk about how they run their operations.

Serving more than a billion users, Facebook operates at massive scale and it wasn't immediately clear how relevant TODO will be for smaller organizations. The project is in its early days and there are many details to be worked out, Parikh said.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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