Sourcegraph CEO on indexing all open source code

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  • $ 2.6 billion Sourcegraph has a new plan to index all open source code on the web.
  • Sourcegraph is already helping 800,000 programmers at Amazon and Uber be more productive.
  • Its co-founder says he can help open source maintainers avoid the exhaustion plaguing the industry.

Open source programmers are grappling with their workload, and Sourcegraph, a $ 2.6 billion code collaboration startup, wants to help them.

Sourcegraph started out as a collaboration platform that has helped companies like Amazon, Cloudflare, and Uber index their internal code, with what it says as 54 million lines of code in total searchable through its software. Now the startup has more ambitious plans as it seeks to expand its reach by making more than five million public databases of open source code searchable by any programmer.

By making all that code “as accessible as a Google search,” in the words of CTO and co-founder Beyang Liu, Sourcegraph not only plans to make programming easier for newbies and seasoned developers, but he thinks being able to help its community of 800,000 open source coders avoid burnout.

Liu says it’s always been in the cards for Sourcegraph, but its recent $ 125 million Series D, led by Andreessen Horowitz, gave the startup the resources to make it a reality.

“What we’ve always wanted to do is broaden Sourcegraph’s horizon so that it’s not just the code inside a company, but all the code developers care about.” Liu said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time now, but our recent fundraiser has taken us on this bigger and more difficult challenge of all the code on the web.”

Liu notes that open source maintainers – the people who write the code, build the community, and solve problems with open source projects that even big companies like Intel, Facebook, and Nintendo rely on – feel stressed and underpaid. .

“One of the biggest issues the open source community is grappling with right now is finding a sustainable funding model for open source projects,” Liu said. “The vast majority of project maintainers work largely for free.”

By making all this open source code searchable, Liu says, it can lighten the load on those maintainers: the index can automatically help programmers find the answers they need, without needing to loop through a real human.

“When different people want to use your code, they can’t go that far without debugging – maintainers are also human beings and they only have a limited number of hours in the day when they work for free”, Liu said.

Even at Sourcegraph’s corporate clients, Liu boasts that the startup is saving engineering teams $ 50 million a year by helping developers manage their workload. Indeed, Sourcegraph currently has one million repositories in its search index. By the end of the year, he hopes to reach 5 million.

“I think the state of the world as we see it now, it’s amazing that all of this code is available in open source,” Liu said. “But we don’t think it’s really accessible until there is a tool that makes it very easy to dive in and understand what a given piece of code does.”



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