SourceForge Sucks

I know what I just said is considered blasphemy, but it’s the truth.  SourceForge is the undisputed king of Open Source project hosting.  They provide Free and Open Source (FOSS) projects much needed tools like bug tracking, mailing lists, forums, and download mirrors.  They also collect activity statistics so that project managers know how many people are visiting the project page, downloading the software, etc.

Being hosted on SourceForge is great from a marketing perspective as well.  Having your project listed on SourceForge gives it a sense of legitimacy in the open source community.  Project managers can publish press releases and news articles to appear in SourceForge’s main news site.  Also the projects with the most activity get listed on the home page.  Sounds good,  right?

Well, the feature list is excelent, but SourceForge has a lot of technical problems.  I haven’t been able to check any project statistics for 3 days now.  There were 2 full days this week where the site was completely down, and then when it came back up no one could log in.  The tools themselves (with the exception of the download mirrors) are all pretty weak.  There are much better (free) alternatives to the SourceForge provided tools.

Having said all that, I realize that we will probably stay with SourceForge.  Brand loyalty is very strong even in the open source community.  There are better services out there now, but SourceForge was there first, and that’s why they have over 100,000 open source projects hosted with them.  I can deal with some sub-par admin features, I just hope they can become more reliable.

Working on an Open Source Project

The past few weeks have been very interesting at work. It has been frustrating to be without my website because I’ve had many things I wanted to write about. It’s been about two weeks since we released ThinWire under the GNU General Public License. Since then, it has been a new experience watching the project slowly grow. Every day we look to see if someone has reviewed it. So far only this Japanese site has written a review. Since I don’t speak Japanese, and the Google Translator is less than helpful, we’re not really sure if they like it or not.

This past week, we joined the thousands of open source projects on SourceForge. We’re now able to accurately track downloads, which are growing by the day. SourceForge does a good job with download mirrors. Their other services are lacking. (I’ll probably have more to say/rant about this later)

This is a new experience for me and for my company. I’ll continue to chronicle the open source journey here. If you haven’t checked out ThinWire, you should go download it. It has the potential to change the status of web applications.