Launchpad is set up to make it easy for groups to come together spontaneously around tasks big or small. Take this bug as an example: it affects three projects that share the same code. Launchpad brings them together to find a fix.
But there are times when collaboration needs to be done privately. It could be because of security concerns, or confidentiality obligations to a client, or to coordinate the timing of events for marketing purposes, etc.
Launchpad already enables individual bugs to be marked as private but, until now, that’s been all. However, we’re running an interesting beta program at the moment that allows projects to default to both private bugs and private branches. As this will be of most interest to projects who aren’t ready to share their code, we’ll offer it by commercial subscription.
We’ve already been offering basic commercial subscriptions for a few months now. While Launchpad is always free of charge for free software projects, it also hosts some projects with non-free licenses, and charges them a fee to offset the costs of running the site. Until now, these commercial subscriptions have just meant access to Launchpad with no extra features. But following our beta of private branches and private bugs, we hope to offer a wider range of features to commercial subscribers, as they are likely to have different privacy needs from free software projects. If you’re a commercial subscriber and want to take part in the beta, or if you’re considering a commercial subscription, please contact us.
Of course, commercial subscriptions don’t take anything away from the free software projects that use Launchpad. They remain the focus of our development work, particularly as we move to open sourcing Launchpad itself.