The slow and ugly death of SourceForge
SourceForge has been in the news a lot lately, and not for any positive reasons. The site seems to stumble from one bad situation to the next, and some think that SourceForge is making a long, slow and ugly exit.
Christine Hall at FOSS Force has an overview of the slow death of SourceForge:
If SourceForge were a person and I were the New York Times, I’d make certain I had an obituary on file right about now. It’s obvious that the once essential code repository for open source projects is terminally ill, although it’s just as obvious that Dice Holdings, which took over ownership of the site nearly three years ago, has no plans of letting SourceForge go gently into the good night, so we’ll probably see more kicking and noise-making until the lights are inevitably extinguished.
Newer converts to open source probably don’t know much about the site, but it wasn’t long ago when Linux users were very aware of SourceForge and how to use the service, at least well enough to download software — perhaps more aware than they wanted to be. It was the go-to site when looking for a program not available in a particular distro’s repository. Not anymore. Not for a while. These days, the more important projects have either migrated to GitHub or are hosting their own.
It’s time for developers and software users alike to abandon this platform. Softpedia reported yesterday that WINE is planning an exit. Other projects are sure to follow. If I were a developer, I’d be moving, if for no other reason than I’d be afraid I’d wake up one morning to find the site shuttered.
Simon Phipps at InfoWorld notes that SourceForge has been caught red-handed too many times for the site's denials and promises of better behavior to be taken seriously:
SourceForge flirted with principled respectability a short while ago. Last year, I wrote an article about its efforts to introduce new monetization options for open source developers that treated projects very respectfully. I had given advice the organization had used, so I felt quite positive about its future. It seemed SourceForge was reversing a slide into dubious practices and had committed to working with communities to generate revenue ethically with their cooperation and consent.
So I was very disappointed indeed to hear the news about SourceForge's decision to take control of the deprecated hosting project for the Windows build of GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) and use it as a vehicle to ship adware to unsuspecting users. I was even more distressed by the disingenuous self-justification with which SourceForge responded -- and finally, angry when I heard the facts and the full story from GIMP insiders.
My conclusion: It's time to move on from SourceForge. It's no longer a trustworthy source for downloads; users should avoid projects whose downloads are hosted there. Open source projects hosted on it should devise migration strategies.