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SourceForge is a web-based source code repository. It acts as a centralized location for software developers to control and manage open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 software development. The website runs a version of SourceForge Enterprise Edition, forked
Fork (software development)
In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a legal copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software...

 from the last open-source version available. , the SourceForge repository hosts more than 300,000 projects and has more than 2 million registered users, although not all are active. The domain sourceforge.net attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a Compete.com
Compete.com is a web traffic analysis service of Compete, Inc. which operates in the United States and publishes the approximate number of global visitors to the top 1,000,000 web sites in the world...


SourceForge offers free access to hosting and tools for developers of free
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

 / open source software, competing with other providers such as RubyForge
RubyForge is a collaborative software development management system dedicated to projects related to the Ruby programming language. It was started in 2003 by Ruby Central in an effort to help the Ruby community by providing a home for open source Ruby projects....

, Tigris.org
Tigris.org is an open source software development community. It hosts software development services such as web hosting, mailing lists, issue tracking, wiki, download, and revision control with Subversion or Concurrent Versions System . It is hosted by CollabNet, the initiators and stewards of...

, BountySource
BountySource is a collaborative project management service for use by any open-source software with an OSI-approved license. Like other free services and products , BountySource allows for developers to track bugs and feature requests. Unlike the others, BountySource also allows for "bounties" and...

, Launchpad
Launchpad (website)
Launchpad is a web application and website that allow users to develop and maintain software, particularly free software. Launchpad is developed and maintained by Canonical Ltd....

, BerliOS
BerliOS is a project founded by FOKUS, a Fraunhofer Institute located in Berlin, to coordinate the different interest groups in the field of open source software and to assume a neutral coordinator function...

, JavaForge
JavaForge.com is a non profit and free open source software development community with a hosting portal for open source projects. It hosts software development services such as Project related Web hosting, Document Management, Wiki, Forum, Online chat, Issue tracking integrated with optional Git,...

, GNU Savannah
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, Bazaar, mailing list, web hosting, file...

, Github
GitHub is a web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system. GitHub offers both commercial plans and free accounts for open source projects...

 and Gitorious
Gitorious is a Web site hosting collaborative open source projects using the Git distributed revision control system. The name also refers to the server software that the Web site is developed and hosted on...



Project developers have access to centralized storage and tools for managing projects, although it is best known for providing revision control
Revision control
Revision control, also known as version control and source control , is the management of changes to documents, programs, and other information stored as computer files. It is most commonly used in software development, where a team of people may change the same files...

 systems such as CVS
Concurrent Versions System
The Concurrent Versions System , also known as the Concurrent Versioning System, is a client-server free software revision control system in the field of software development. Version control system software keeps track of all work and all changes in a set of files, and allows several developers ...

, SVN, Bazaar, Git
Git (software)
Git is a distributed revision control system with an emphasis on speed. Git was initially designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development. Every Git working directory is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full revision tracking capabilities, not dependent on...

 or Mercurial
Mercurial (software)
Mercurial is a cross-platform, distributed revision control tool for software developers. It is mainly implemented using the Python programming language, but includes a binary diff implementation written in C. It is supported on Windows and Unix-like systems, such as FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Linux...

. Major features (amongst others) include project wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

s, metrics and analysis, access to a MySQL
MySQL officially, but also commonly "My Sequel") is a relational database management system that runs as a server providing multi-user access to a number of databases. It is named after developer Michael Widenius' daughter, My...

A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

, and unique sub-domain URLs
Uniform Resource Locator
In computing, a uniform resource locator or universal resource locator is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource....

 (such as http://project-name.sourceforge.net).

The vast number of users at SourceForge.net (over 2,000,000 as of 2009) 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 who may join and contribute to it. 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.

Banned countries and controversy

In its terms of use, SourceForge states that its services are not available to users in countries on the sanction list of the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Office of Foreign Assets Control
Office of Foreign Assets Control
The Office of Foreign Assets Control is an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury under the auspices of the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S...

 (including Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 and Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

). Since 2008, access to the secure server (used for making contributions to the site) was blocked for people from those countries. , all access including downloads is blocked for those users. This means that all people whose IP addresses appear to belong to those countries are prevented from using the site.

These restrictions have drawn criticism as being counter to the free software movement, the open source software movement and the principles of making software available to all without discrimination.

Temporary bans in China

SourceForge.net was banned in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 around 2002, though the ban was later lifted in 2003.

In 2008, SourceForge.net website was banned again in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 for about a month (June 26, 2008 – July 24, 2008). It is probable that the ban was a result of the "Boycott Beijing 2008" banner placed on Notepad++
Notepad++ is a text editor and source code editor for Windows. One advantage of Notepad++ over the built-in Windows text editor, Notepad, is tabbed editing, which allows working with multiple open files.Notepad++ is distributed as free software...

's SourceForge.net homepage to point out the human rights problem in China.

Attacks on SourceForge.net

SourceForge has faced critical attacks on its databases. In 2006, attackers targeted the SourceForge.net database and most of its users were advised to change their passwords in order to remain secure. In December 2007, SourceForge.net was offline for a while due to another attack. Nobody knew exactly what had happened, since there were no reports about the outage.

On January 27, 2011, SourceForge faced another attempt. The attack was mainly against some of the developer infrastructure and resulted in the exploitation of several SourceForge.net servers.
SourceForge said, "The attack resulted in an exploit of several SourceForge.net servers, and we have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to safeguard data and protect the majority of our services"

According to a SourceForge.net announcement on their blog, as a short term response, they have taken down services such as CVS Hosting, ViewVC (web-based code browsing), New Release upload capability, and Interactive Shell services. The company is silent about the type of attack and from where those attempts were made.

Suit by SCPP

Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SCPP) is an umbrella group for a variety of organizations in France. In November, 2008, SCPP initiated a suit against Sourceforge.net, Vuze
Vuze is a BitTorrent client used to transfer files via the BitTorrent protocol. Vuze is written in Java, and uses the Azureus Engine. In addition to downloading data linked to by .torrent files, Azureus allows users to view, publish and share original DVD and HD quality video content...

, Limewire
LimeWire is a free peer-to-peer file sharing client program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems supported by the Java software platform. LimeWire uses the gnutella network as well as the BitTorrent protocol. A free software version and a purchasable "enhanced"...

, and Morpheus
Morpheus (computer program)
Morpheus was a file sharing and searching peer-to-peer client for Microsoft Windows, developed and distributed by the company StreamCast, that originally used the Opennap protocol, but later supported many different peer-to-peer protocols...

 for hosting P2P file-sharing application Shareaza
Shareaza is a peer-to-peer file sharing client running under Microsoft Windows which supports the gnutella, Gnutella2 , eDonkey, BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP and HTTPS network protocols and handles magnet links, ed2k links, and the now deprecated gnutella and Piolet links...

 that "facilitates mass copyright infringement". SourceForge is not sued for hosting copyrighted material itself, but for hosting Vuze.

See also

  • Comparison of open source software hosting facilities
  • CodePlex
  • Google Code Project hosting
  • GitHub
    GitHub is a web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system. GitHub offers both commercial plans and free accounts for open source projects...

External links