An anonymous reader writes: "I've observed the development of the SourceForge software and documentation during the past four months and I'm amazed to see that it's developped in a closed fashion, opposite to all of the open source ecology standards.
About the only thing related to open source is the publication of a tarball containing the php scripts used to run sourceforge. It has been published in a as-is fashion, no packaging effort was made. The only documentation included was apparently provided by volunteers and is outdated since it refers to the previous version. This documentation only covers a small part of the software.
There is no CVS tree for the project, not even read-only. Given the fact that three months elapsed between the last releases, there is no way contributors can do a proper job. At the same time VA Linux evangelists attend conferences repeating the golden rule of open source colaborative development: release often.
The only way for contributors to participate to the SourceForge development effort is to submit patches using the patch manager. The SourceForge guys will then decide if it should be integrated or not. Well, this could work if they were careful. But the situation is pathetic : patches sit in the queue during weeks and some of them even don't have a followup. It does not matter much anyway since there has been only nine patches since the beginning.
The SourceForge site documentation shows another remarkable mistake. It is maintained by volunteers. It's far more accurate and complete than the default site documentation but is not easily accessed. When clicking on the Site Documentation link it first shows the outdated documentation and a link to the volunteers work is only included at the bottom of the page. This is a minor issue. Much more annoying is what apparently occurred last week. All the volunteer work was trashed and replaced by a new system without notice. The volunteers protested but the SourceForge staff didn't care to reply ( the thread). The guy who did the mistake didn't even care to commit his changes to the CVS tree of the documentation project. The CVS tree does not match the content of the documentation anymore.
Behaving this way, the SourceForge staff does a big mistake. First it frustrates potential contributors, second it does not allow them to scale well. It's pretty obvious that they are completly overloaded with work and that they really need help.
What kind of conclusion can we draw ? The worst would be that the SourceForge staff is a bunch of talented programmers who do not believe in open source, even though they provide tools to help its development. The best would be that they need the open source community to kick their ass to go back in the path :-)
I sincerly hope that SlashDot will publish this bit. But VA Linux now owns Slashdot and may be immune to this kind of news ... "
CT:Technically VA Linux doesn't own Slashdot. Andover.Net does: the deal hasn't closed yet. And nobody is immune to 'nuthin, however I have slightly different opinions: releasing and maintaining a good open source package is hard and time consuming, as I learned firsthand with Slashcode. The vast majority of users don't contribute back (unless you count complaining). Don't get me wrong, I obviously love open-source development, but when the bitchers get to a critical mass, those who can actually add something positive get drowned out, get bored, and do other things.
It wasn't until Andover.Net came along and hired Pudge and Patg that it became feasible to bring Slashcode to a solid 1.0 release. Now, for the ultimate irony: Slashdot itself is a release behind the latest code ... at least for another 48 hours or so. For the year between the 0.3-0.4 tarballs, and the 0.9-1.0 Slashcode tarballs, I committed virtually every sin listed up there. My point is that its hard to maintain open source packages. Especially when the negative comments outweigh the patches fixing the problems, and on top of that, you have another job (like running a Web site for example ;) It's often a case of the best of intentions being bogged down in the most mundane of details.
Of course, since I obviously am simply a mouthpiece for various corporate entities my opinions are irrelevant and discardable, have a nice day ;)