Let's look at github...which by the way is a hosting service which directly competes with launchpad as a for-profit hosting service provider while also providing no-cost services to open source projects.
Github has been up and running for about a year I think. As of right now it appears to have over 70 thousand individual git repositories listed. Over 70,000 projects in just over a year! Here's how I got that number. I searched for all repositories which are themselves forks fork:true (23143) and all repositories which are not a fork fork:false (47952)
70,000 individual repositories... wow! More than half of which are listed as new projects, not code forks of existing projects from somewhere else. Wow! And that's just the public repositories. That's not including the for pay private personal or corporate repositories that customers haven't chosen to make public. Wow! Do I believe that? I'm not sure, I could be doing the search criteria wrong. Please someone double check that.
How does that compare to launchpad? Launchpad has just over 10,300 in what 4+ years? Can anyone dig up an exact date as to when launchpad was open. Put into perspective with github's explosive project growth in one year, Launchpad's 10k in multiple years doesn't seem so impressive. And github isn't even tied directly into a distribution.. it doesn't have a contributor network effect to leverage that blurs the line between code hosting and distribution building. How many of the projects registered with bzr trees in Launchpad only have them to build Ubuntu packages?
That integrated connection to the Ubuntu community via the Launchpad Soyuz component should give Launchpad a marked advantage over other hosting competitors like github. But looking at the project growthrate numbers, you don't see that materializing.
I have to wonder, how much popular a service would Launchpad be if it made the git service available as a primary service for developers? Would it be able to compete with github's growth of new projects?
Can you run a competitive for-profit code hosting service that doesn't offer git as a service moving forward? I'm not sure. I'd like to see trendable graphs of growth rate for both launchpad and github over the last 6 months. I'm going to have to poke around at both apis and see if I can dig up that information.