yes, in part they are afraid of ubuntu fragmenting if lauchpad code was available and anyone
could run their own launchpad server.
they've said this in the past. they've also said that they expected to hit a 'critical mass'
where it no longer matters, they would be big enough and solid enough that clone would be like
CentOS is to RedHat, there, but not a significant force.
the fact that they are now giving a timeline for when they will release the code indicates
that they are close enough to the critical mass to be comfortable with the announcement.
as for the number of developers hired by canonical, they are a young company who's not making
a profit yet. this isn't the dot-com boom and they are trying to grow the business and address
their priorities first. I fully expect that as they grow they will be hiring more and more
developers, and more of them will be heavily involved with other projects. but I would rather
see them grow slowly and become self-sustaining then to have them hire a few dozen
high-profile developers for a couple of years and then go under due to the costs.
and one question for everyone screaming so much about getting the code for launchpad.
what's the big deal here? the source is all available, the compilers are all available. every
other distro out there runs it's own build farms and scripts. the amount of fuss you are
making over this one tool is such that you are making it sound like the best thing since
sliced bread (while at the same time being sure to proclaim how it's nothing special)