GNU Savannah

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The levitating, meditating, flute-playing gnu logo used by GNU Savannah

GNU Savannah is a project of the Free Software Foundation initiated by Loïc Dachary, which serves as a collaborative software development management system for free Software projects. Savannah currently offers CVS, GNU arch, Subversion, Git, Mercurial,[1] Bazaar, mailing list, web hosting, file hosting, and bug tracking services. Savannah runs Savane, which is based on the same software as that used to run SourceForge portal.

Savannah's website is split into two domain names: for software that is officially part of the GNU Project, and for all other software.

Unlike SourceForge or GitHub, Savannah's focus is for hosting free software projects and has very strict hosting policies, including a ban against the use of non-free formats (such as Macromedia Flash[citation needed]) to ensure that only free software is hosted. When registering a project, project submitters have to state which free software license the project uses.


GNU Savannah was installed by Loïc Dachary on a server located in Boston for the benefit of the GNU Project when, as contributor to SourceForge, he found out the latter was to be turned into proprietary software. People contributing to GNU Savannah were called savannah-hackers from this day, as it was at first more a quick hack than anything else.

CERN took interest in the sourcecode and hired Mathieu Roy, a savannah-hacker, to work in Geneva. It led to the development of Savane (software) starting in 2003.

In 2003, Vincent Caron, friend to Loïc Dachary, found out the security of the server located was compromised. A new server has been bought by the Free Software Foundation to provide a clean reinstall of the software. When this server was put in place, after a four-month outage without any public news, only Free Software Foundation employees had access to it. Notably savannah-hackers had no access [2] and found out that Richard M. Stallman decided to move GNU Savannah to GForge because it was "seriously maintained".[3] In response, Vincent Caron, Loïc Dachary and Mathieu Roy put up an alternative instance of the software called Gna!, with a specific constitution inspired by the Debian Social Contract designed to prevent any unexpected take over.[4]

GNU Savannah was totally or partly offline for months and, ultimately, did not move to GForge, which itself turned into proprietary software.

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