I can’t help but notice that, every time the subject comes up in a conversation with Open-Source geeks, how much everybody seems to hate SourceForge. I’m talking a seriously negative vibe. Anyone out there like them?



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From: Jeremiah Foster (Oct 17 2007, at 06:31)

No. I don't like them. But I am not so fond of Savannah either, which I use. Nor do I like Google code though there are some people who love it.

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From: Niklas Gustavsson (Oct 17 2007, at 08:09)

Used to do a lot on SF but the last couple of years I think they have been getting progressively worse. Since a few months I've started using Google Code instead and must say that I love it. Very slim and limited functionality, but it's on the other hand pretty much what you need. Although Hani does exactly like it :-)

http://www.bileblog.org/?p=23

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From: Edward O'Connor (Oct 17 2007, at 08:19)

The other day, someone sent me a link to some code they'd just hacked up. It was on Sourceforge. Curious, I asked him why he went with Sourceforge for a new project.

"I work there," he replied.

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From: John Minnihan (Oct 17 2007, at 08:24)

You can probably guess where I stand on the topic. I am the founder of Freepository.

Sourceforge (SF) had two defining moments over the years where if one was paying attention (I was for the obvious reason), he would have noticed a marked change in developers' attitudes toward SF.

First was the change in license terms, where the new terms effectively stated that once code had been placed on SF that it could not be removed. Right or wrong, this was widely interpreted as SF making some form of ownership claim on the code, and was met with great skepticism and general alarm.

The second was a series of outages that began occurring, breaking access to the repositories for countless engineers world-wide. This lead to quotes like "CVS [on SF] has been broken for months", and brought about several competing hosting services. These services further diluted SF's perceived value and place in the development ecosystem.

It is believed that when VA's model changed (away from hardware to focus on SF), they began shifting resources away from the free service (sourceforge.net) to the fledgling enterprise offering (SF Enterprise Edition).

After struggling with that model for several years, early in 2007 VA (by now renamed SourceForge, Inc.) sold the assets of SFEE to Collabnet in a nearly non-cash transaction. This was interpreted by some (me included) as a sign of SFEE's failure.

I've had perhaps 1000 messages from engineers over the years in which they call out SF's cluttered interface and poor access. I think the functional issues, as well as the loss of trust from the license change, led to very strong negative opinions of SF.

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From: Paul Hoffman (Oct 17 2007, at 08:56)

When I asked Sam Ruby about where to host a project, he suggested Google Code. It has been very easy and flawless so far for the a2c project.

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From: David Anderson (Oct 17 2007, at 08:59)

I certainly don't *hate* sourceforge ... it's more like I'm running low on reasons to like them, and they occasionally do things that are rather annoying. My experience is limited, but as a project manager I've had various things mysteriously break for days or even weeks at a time. I've also had a few problems with rubyforge, but the admin there has always been so friendly, and so quick to help, I can't but feel much more positively disposed toward rubyforge.

Sourceforge feels somehow ponderous, like an aircraft carrier trying to maneuver in a small harbor full of sailboats. Sourceforge was certainly a pioneer, and has done some wonderful things for the community. But I'm finding it increasingly difficult to be satisfied.

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From: Norman Walsh (Oct 17 2007, at 09:52)

I've had one or two problems with SourceForge, but nothing I haven't been able to get fixed. All the DocBook stuff is hosted there and I've created or contributed to a dozen or so other projects over the years.

It doesn't seem (to me) to suck more than the alternatives.

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From: Joe Cheng [MSFT] (Oct 17 2007, at 10:46)

Anyone else remember when SF project download statistics were broken for like, a *year*? There was an image of a cockroach next to the statistics data and if you clicked on it, it basically said "the statistics are broken, we're working on it." For a year. Awesome.

CodePlex.com is actually very nice, naturally only Windows folks use it though.

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From: Mark (Oct 17 2007, at 10:54)

I tried and failed to upgrade feedparser from SourceForge CVS to SourceForge SVN. Their migration tool failed with no further information available. I tried and failed to get support on this issue. I moved the project to Google Code and had problems migrating the full revision history. I tried and succeeded in getting support for this issue. It probably didn't hurt that I could ask for support on our internal mailing list (I work for Google), but I have seen the team be very responsive to outside requests as well.

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From: Austin Ziegler (Oct 17 2007, at 11:25)

When SourceForge was created, it was rather unique. Now, not so much. The problems with SF are partially SourceForge's fault (all the bling that they've added that makes it harder to see anything useful), partially legacy (it's not flexible enough, it's not secure enough, etc.), and partially user-caused (how many projects don't have webpages; how many projects don't have any releases; etc.). Thus, a negative experience even though SourceForge isn't a bad choice, still.

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From: Assaf (Oct 17 2007, at 13:59)

They deserve credit for being there, when there were few other options available. But they did little to make the site intuitive or usable, and simple tasks are more painful than they should be. I dread going there.

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From: Toby DiPasquale (Oct 17 2007, at 14:53)

John was dead on above: once they changed their licensing they were seen as becoming too "corporate" at a time when FLOSS was still in its we-hate-big-business adolescence. This turned tons of people off that have never thought about going back (myself included). For me, Google Code is way easier and a lot less bullshit than SourceForge. Plus, the search on GC works.

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From: Gordon Watts (Oct 17 2007, at 15:30)

I agree with the poster saying that it isn't hate -- just running out of reasons to like. SF seems to be coasting to a ... well, I'm not sure what. I've got a few projects up there -- but they are small single-user projects; so I've never seen a real outtage.

I like the basic functionality they provide. But:

- Clean up the UI. I often click on the wrong link -- especially if I'm moving quickly! Want to submit a bug? Wow, that's a lot of fields to fill in!

- The constant reposting when you release a file (and why doesn't the browser return to the spot you were working on). There are numerous things like this.

- Getting web pages up there is a pain if you want to do the simplest thing (just copy a few static pages out of cvs, for example).

Mostly it feels like they have the right functionality for a author like myself (smalltime). Heck, we've managed to keep a multi-million line of code project going with just cvs at work. But the interface could be a lot nicer!

I've not tried google code, nor even the Microsoft codeplex (I do mostly stuff oriented towards MS). But I do like having full cvs (branch, tag, etc.).

So, while something else better would be great, I'm on SF now, and don't see a big reason to move away yet.

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From: Michael Norrish (Oct 17 2007, at 16:34)

I have been using Sourceforge for a distributed academic research project since 2001, and it's been fine. The interface to the mailing list archives is awful, but it provides a working Subversion archive, it provided an easy switch from CVS, it provides a check-in mailing list, and that's about all I need.

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From: Corey Goldberg (Oct 18 2007, at 11:25)

I don't like SourceForge at all. I've had a few projects hosted there over the years.

I have been using Google Code lately and it's much better. With google code, you can start a project and be checking code into SVN within a few minutes. SourceForge makes you jump through quite a few hoops to get things going.

over the years, SF has also suffered from bloat (how many services are they hawking??)

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From: Keith Casey (Oct 18 2007, at 15:44)

For the past few years I've considered it "the place where projects go to die"... it just always seemed like the sheer number of alpha or pre-alpha software was 20x the semi-complete stuff. Throw in the things that have had < 3 commits and it gets even worse.

That said, I'm a contributor on a number of projects and have used those aspects without issue for a few years too. If I hit them via the web 1/month, I'd be surprised... everything is via ssh to the developer-only servers.

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From: Bob Aman (Oct 19 2007, at 10:10)

I switched to Google Code and I have no complaints.

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