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Open source is top of Facebook 'TODO' list

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Facebook is launching a new project called TODO in partnership with a number of other large companies.

The TODO Project aims to improve the quality of open source software, making it easier for consumers to use.

"We want to run better, more impactful open source programs in our own companies; we want to make it easier for people to consume the technologies we open source; and we want to help create a road map for companies that want to create their open source programs but aren't sure how to proceed," said James Pearce, head of Open Source at Facebook.

TODO has two main goals. The first is to make it easier for companies to find reliable and mature open source projects to be deployed at scale. The second goal is for Facebook and other large companies to share tips about deploying open source packages.

Among the companies involved in the project are DropBox, GitHub, Google, Square and Twitter, among others. More companies are invited to join the forum, however, with the goal of "turn[ing] this into something amazing," according to Pearce.

"We are committed to helping companies develop a common set of tools and streamlined processes for releasing open source software," said Sam Schillace, head of engineering at Box.

Open source software is a type of software in which anyone can access and change the code. It is this kind of software that makes up a lot of the world's mobile and computer server operating systems, among other things.

"There is a problem here we all feel is not getting better anytime soon," said Jay Parikh, global head of engineering at Facebook. "We feel there is a speed at which things have to move."

TODO stands for "talk openly, develop openly" and is a sign of how important open source software has become in the world. Not only that, but since the group's formation was announced, more than 30 companies have joined.

Another important part of the project will be keeping track of who is working on which versions of software. For example, Facebook may update its software up to twice a day, which is much faster than things would have been updated when companies first started working with open source software around 20 years ago.

More details about the types of code that the group will be working on have yet to be released, as well as details about the criteria for a company to join. It is presumed that companies that want to join the group will need to have dedicated open source teams on staff.

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