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In FLOSS development communities, a forge is a web-based collaborative software platform for both developing and sharing computer applications. A forge platform is generally able to host multiple independent projects.
For software developers it is a place to host, among others, source code (often version-controlled), bug database and documentation for their projects. For users, a forge is a repository of computer applications.
Software forges have become popular, and have proven successful as a software development model for a large number of software projects.
The term forge refers to a common prefix or suffix adopted by various platforms created after the example of SourceForge (such as GForge and FusionForge). This usage of the word stems from the metalworking forge, used for shaping metal parts.
Two different kinds of concepts are commonly referred to by the term forge:
- a service offered on a Web platform to host software development projects;
- an integrated set of software elements which produce such platforms, ready for deployment.
All these platforms provide similar tools helpful to software developers working in the hosted projects:
Examples of software used to set up a forge:
- Gitorious (deprecated, superseded by GitLab)
- Savane (powering GNU Savannah and merged with FusionForge)
Examples of forge services:
- BerliOS (disbanded in 2014, some projects have been moved to *Joinup collaboration platform)
- GNU Savannah
- Google Code
- Joinup collaboration platform
- OATS: Open Source Assistive Technology Software
- Project Kenai : Sun Microsystems
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