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SourceForge: An Open Source Tale - page 3

The Future's So Bright

  • October 22, 2007
  • By James Maguire

Something profound happened in February 2006: SourceForge's parent company celebrated its first ever profitable quarter. This infusion of cash must have boosted corporate morale; at the very least, SourceForge saw a funding boost.

"The funding went through the roof and we got a lot more head count," Turk says, noting that the staff was beefed up to about 30. "When we started getting additional funding and staff, one of the first things we focused on was, 'Wow, our infrastructure is really aging.'" In response, "We've replaced almost every piece of our infrastructure, systematically. And I don't think we see nearly the reliability problems we used to see."

Mazzoni noticed the change as he continued to lead Audacity's development team. "They've really come back. They fixed the statistics problem, they've scaled things up, they started making major improvements to the Web site," he says.

He's pleased that SourceForge inked a deal with Google to allow developers to place AdSense ads on SourceForge pages. "That's been great because there have been a lot of people who had to chose between SourceForge, which means taking in no ad revenue, or doing everything themselves and taking in ad revenue. And now they don't have to make the choice. They can essentially share that revenue with SourceForge and become part of the community."

The biggest site improvement: in early 2006, SourceForge enabled Subversion support for all projects. This robust replacement for the aging CVS system was a breath of fresh air for developers. "When we launched Subversion, a lot of the developers using CVS jumped over to Subversion," Turk says. "It's a more intelligent work flow."

Gallery's Mediratta hails the upgrade: "Subversion's great... In the last 6 months, we've had practically no problems." The Subversion launch was accompanied by a number of infrastructure build outs: new Web servers, enhanced uptime and service monitoring capabilities, and search improvements.

While the site's technical infrastructure made great strides in 2006, it's not technology alone that has enabled SourceForge to continue flourishing. The real SourceForge story--the secret sauce, you might say--transcends servers and uptime connectivity rates. Underneath it all, the true fuel for SourceForge is, well, essentially a pretty human thing.

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