The SourceForge logo
Screenshot of SourceForge main page in 2014
Type of site
|Collaborative revision control, software development management system|
|Registration||Optional (required for creating and joining projects)|
|Owner||BIZX, LLC |
|Created by||VA Software|
|266 (August 2015[update])|
SourceForge is a web-based service that offers a source code repository, downloads mirrors, bug tracking and other features. It acts as a central location that software developers can use to control and manage free and open-source software development.
SourceForge was one of the first to offer this service for free to open source projects[discuss]—but many users and project have now migrated to GitHub, other software hosting facilities, or self-host their software. In May 2015, SourceForge took control of pages for 5 projects that had migrated to other hosting sites and replaced the project downloads with adware-laden downloads. Community concerns have triggered a prompt review of SourceForge mirroring program and third-party bundling of mirrored content was discontinued May 27.
As of March 2014[update], the SourceForge repository claimed to host more than 430,000 projects and had more than 3.7 million registered users. The domain sourceforge.net attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a Compete.com survey.
Since 2012 the website runs on Apache Allura software. SourceForge offers free access to hosting and tools for developers of free / open-source software, competing with other providers such as GitHub, Bitbucket, RubyForge, Tigris.org, BountySource, Launchpad, BerliOS, JavaForge, GNU Savannah, and Gitorious.
On July 1, 2013, SourceForge began a beta test of a program they call DevShare, which offers projects a way to monetize their downloads by having an optional download that includes prompts for the user to download additional software that is not part of the project. Due to community reactions to the partnership program, it was revisited a few months later, but the program was ultimately opened up to all SourceForge projects on February 7, 2014. The program was cancelled by new owners BIZX in February 2016.
SourceForge is a web-based source code repository. It acts as a centralized location for free and open-source software projects. It was the first to offer this service for free to open-source projects. Project developers have access to centralized storage and tools for managing projects, though it is best known for providing revision control systems such as CVS, SVN, Bazaar, Git or Mercurial. Major features (amongst others) include project wikis, metrics and analysis, access to a MySQL database, and unique sub-domain URLs (such as http://project-name.sourceforge.net).
The vast number of users at SourceForge.net (over 3 million as of 2013) exposes prominent projects to a variety of developers and can create a positive feedback loop. As a project's activity rises, SourceForge.net's internal ranking system makes it more visible to other developers through SourceForge directory and Enterprise Directory. Given that many open-source projects fail due to lack of developer support, exposure to such a large community of developers can continually breathe new life into a project.
Sourceforge's traditional revenue model is through advertising banner sales on their site. In 2006, Sourceforge Inc. reported quarterly takings of US$6.5 million. In 2009, sourceforge reported a gross quarterly income of US$23 million through media and e-commerce streams. In 2011, a revenue of 20 million USD was reported for the combined value of the sourceforge, slashdot and freecode holdings, prior to sourceforge's acquisition.
Since 2013, additional revenue generation schemes, such as bundleware models, have been trialled, with the goal of further improving sourceforge's revenue. The result has in some cases been the appearance of malware bundled with Sourceforge downloads. On February 9th, 2016, SourceForge announced they had eliminated their DevShare program practice of bundling installers with project downloads.
SourceForge, founded in 1999 by VA Software, was the first provider of a centralized location for free and open-source software developers to control and manage software development and offering this service for free. The software running the SourceForge site was initially free software. The last release under a free license was made in November, 2001. SourceForge would be powered by the proprietary SourceForge Enterprise Edition.
In September 2002, SourceForge was temporarily banned in China. The site was banned again in China, for about a month, in July 2008. On August 6, 2012, SourceForge.net was banned again. Several days later the ban was lifted.
In November 2008, SourceForge was sued by the French collection society Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SCPP) for hosting downloads of the file sharing application Shareaza.
In 2009, SourceForge announced a new site platform known as Allura, which would be an extensible, open source forge platform licensed under the Apache License, utilizing components such as Python and MongoDB, and offering REST APIs.  In June 2012, the Allura project was donated to the Apache Software Foundation as Apache Allura
In September 2012, SourceForge, Slashdot, and Freecode were acquired from Geeknet by the online job site Dice.com for $20 million, and incorporated into a subsidiary known as Slashdot Media. On September 26, 2012, it was reported that attackers had compromised a SourceForge mirror, and modified a download of phpMyAdmin to add security exploits.
Some of SourceForge's monetization practices have been met with criticism by developers and end users.
In July 2013, SourceForge announced that it would provide project owners an optional feature called DevShare, which places closed-source ad-supported content into the binary installers and gives the project part of the ad revenue. Opinions of this new feature vary, with some complaining about users not being as aware of what they are getting or being able to trust the downloaded content, whereas others see it as a reasonably harmless option that keeps individual projects and users in control.
In November 2013, GIMP, a free image manipulation program, removed its download from SourceForge, citing misleading download buttons that potentially confuse customers, as well as SourceForge's own Windows installer, which bundles potentially unwanted programs. In a statement, GIMP called SourceForge a once "useful and trustworthy place to develop and host FLOSS applications" that now faces "a problem with the ads they allow on their sites ..."
Project hijackings and bundled malware
GIMP, who discontinued their use of SourceForge as a download mirror in November 2013, reported in May 2015 that SourceForge was hosting infected versions of their Windows binaries on their Open Source Mirror directory, which SourceForge claims is a collection of abandoned projects. This came despite SourceForge's commitment in November 2013 to never bundle adware with project downloads without developers' consent.
On June 1, 2015, SourceForge claimed that they stopped coupling "third party offers" with unmaintained SourceForge projects. Since this announcement was made, a number of other developers have reported that their SourceForge projects have been taken over by SourceForge staff accounts (but have not had binaries edited), including nmap, and VLC media player. On June 18, 2015, SourceForge announced that SourceForge-maintained mirrored projects were removed, and anticipated the formation of a Community Panel to review their mirroring practices.
Project of the Month
Since 2002 SourceForge features a Project of the Month.
As of May 2013[update], the SourceForge repository hosted more than 300,000 projects and had more than 3 million registered users, although not all were active. The domain sourceforge.net attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a Compete.com survey.
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Software Corp., late Thursday reported third-quarter net earnings of $6.49 million, or 9 cents a share, up from $997,000, or 2 cents a share, during the year-ago period. Pro forma earnings from continuing operations were $2.1 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with $1.2 million, or 2 cents a share, last year. The Fremont, Calif.-based maker of computer servers and storage systems said revenue for the three months ended April 30 rose to $10.3 million from $7.9 million. Analysts, on average, had forecast a per-share profit of 2 cents on revenue of $12 million.
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