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Google Announces Open Source Repository 229

NewsForge (also owned by OSTG) has word of Google's newest product: an open-source project repository. Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier sat down for a talk with Greg Stein and Chris DiBona, who say that the product is very similar to sites like SourceForge but is not intended to compete with them. From the article: "Instead, Stein says that the goal is to see what Google can do with the Google infrastructure, to provide an alternative for open source projects. DiBona says that it's a 'direct result of Greg concentrating on what open source projects need. Most bugtrackers are informed by what corporations' and large projects need, whereas Google's offering is just about what open source developers need. Stein says that Google's hosting has a 'brand new look' at issue tracking that may be of interest to open source projects, and says 'nobody else out there is doing anything close to it.'"
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Google Announces Open Source Repository

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  • by telbij ( 465356 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:50PM (#15794518)
    Whether or not they claim to be competing with SourceForge is really beside the point. SourceForge puts all its effort into providing service for its Enterprise customers. Or at least that's my interpretation of why their free services have been plagued with extensive downtime and poor administration. When I did the first release of a personal project last year I didn't even bother to put it on SourceForge. If they can't provide reasonable uptime and notification of changes (such as the infamous CVS root change) then it's worse than nothing.

    If Google provides decent uptime--which seems likely given their infrastructure--then they'll already have SourceForge beat on the most important metric. If the service actually innovates and provides some unique value, well that's just a bonus.
  • Bzzzzttt (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#15794580)

    I disagree.

    SourceForge is one of the best, most reliable hosts, open source or not, that the FOSS community has ever seen. The tools for administration are top notch, and the userbase clearly loves the interfaces.

    Just like that viral ad says "head on, apply directly to the forehead", SourceForge is more along the lines of "my cock, apply directly to your anus. My cock, apply directly to your anus."

    But that's just my take on things. YMMV.

  • What a pity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rorian ( 88503 ) <james,fysh&gmail,com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @04:58PM (#15794595) Homepage Journal
    I was really hoping for something more exciting from google, when they announced that they'd be producing something for the open source community. Sourceforge has the occasional problem (CVS stats has been broken for how long now?), but basically it a fantastic site for open source, and easily provides all the services that any OSS project of any size needs in order to function and flourish.

    I know google has done amazing things with stuff like webmail (gmail DESTROYS any previous webmail I have used in terms of features/functionality/speed/storage space, so much so that I haven't tried another since and doubt I ever will - if google decided to charge $10 a month for the gmail service I'd pay it in a heartbeat - it's that good :)). However, I just cannot see that they can bring any miraculous innovation to the table as far as hosting/supporting OSS projects goes - between forums, IRC and email, collaboration over OSS projects is already working perfectly and as I see it, that is all that google could help with - they can't really step in and do the actual development work required to create every Open source project out there.

    Still, I'm sure it will be all AJAXy and perdy, maybe faster than sf.net and maybe I'll even choose them over sf.net the next time I can be bothered starting an OSS project.
  • Brand new look? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:08PM (#15794674) Journal
    C'mon now. How is this [google.com] better than SourceForge? I mean SF.net has its problems (CVS servers in the gunk babeeee!) but they've been honing this thing for years. How long is it going to take Google to get to the level of domain knowledge SF.net has? The folks at Google are smart, but they're not experts at everything.

    Call me a cynic but I think this is just a way to get more ad revenue. Kudos for them and all, but their offering better be *far* better than Berlios, GNU Savannah and SF.net for people to sign up.

  • by Dan Berlin ( 682091 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:25PM (#15794783)
    So, uh, what makes you think google created that project
  • by delirium28 ( 641609 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:26PM (#15794794) Journal
    I use Sourceforge strictly for the file sharing aspect of it. I use my own provider for my source project (mainly because I use Java Web Start, which isn't allowed by SF's "Terms of Use" for the free hosting) but their issue tracker really, REALLY sucks.

    I use JIRA [atlassian.com] for my issue tracking now, and I couldn't be happier. Looking at Google's current offering, I probably won't be switching anytime soon.

  • pretty spartan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hawkeesk8 ( 682864 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:28PM (#15794801) Homepage
    Google will have to put some serious work into their site for it to catch up to Sourceforge. Their site is *VERY* spartan and lacking in features. They use the default, out-of-the-box subversion webdav so when viewing the source there is no syntax colouring and the bug tracker has no features what so ever. But knowing google and their vast resources it probably won't be long, if the service looks like it will garner interest, until new features start showing up by the dozen all with nifty AJAX interfaces.
  • Alternative Site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LaNMaN2000 ( 173615 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:38PM (#15794869) Homepage
    Like its other non-search offerings, Google is behind the curve on this one. Sourceforge seems to be more feature packed than what Google is proposing, we have already launched a social code sharing site (see our sig) and Koders already searches millions of lines of open source code. Google strategy seems to be releaing me-too sites that are not positioned to be mafrket leaders (Google Finance, Orkut, Google Talk, etc.).
  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:40PM (#15794894) Journal
    would you rather of [sic] seen Google contribute to hotmail or yahoo mail rather than creating gmail? Or maybe they should have contributed to yahoo, msn, or altavista instead of creating their own search engine?

    I investigated using the enterprise version of sourceforge about a year ago. We looked at the source code (from before they closed it) and decided it was a horrible mess and poorly designed. They may have cleaned it up after they closed it, but I wasn't impressed.

    If google can do something better, they should.

  • Re:Brand new look? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wonko42 ( 29194 ) <ryan+slashdot@wo[ ].com ['nko' in gap]> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:44PM (#15794925) Homepage
    By "honing this thing for years", do you mean "ignoring this thing for years"? I began using SourceForge the day it was announced, and I stopped using SourceForge about two years later when it became clear that they had no plans to fix many of the ridiculous bugs and annoying usability problems that have been there from day one.

    * checks SourceForge again

    Yep, same issues still there. SourceForge might get the job done, but it's not exactly getting the job done well, and they don't appear to have any interest in improving things.

    By the way, Google isn't running ads on the Google Code pages. This isn't about ad revenue.
  • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:48PM (#15794945)

    Granted, this is easier said than done, but it seems like reporting a bug or issue, or just providing feedback is a MAJOR hassle. Having to "sign up" and "have an account" just to report a problem is a pain, and then on top of that, having to navigate a labrynthine website to hopefully end up at the right place - I imagine that it turns away a lot of people who just don't have the time or energy to deal with it.
  • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:54PM (#15794991) Homepage
    But we do contribute back to Sourceforge. Thats what all the ads are for.
  • by Excelsior ( 164338 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:00PM (#15795021)
    As a non-project-admin user of SF, my biggest problem with SF was the period of time when their search failed to work 95% of the time due to overload. I'm willing to bet Google Code never has that problem. I could be wrong.

    On a different topic, for all the times that people complain that Slashdot is posting topics that are in their best interest, topics like this show me this isn't the case. Since OSTG owns both Sourceforge and Slashdot, this posting goes against their financial best interest. They have exposed their huge audience to a competitor.
  • by rm69990 ( 885744 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:16PM (#15795117)
    Well, if you would take a moment to read the GPL (or any OSS license for that matter), you would know that Google could just as easily do this with a project on Sourceforge, Freshmeat or a random webserver and it would be completely legal as long as they didn't distribute it as a binary to anyone. So what exactly is your point? How is it any different in this regard using any other hosting service compared to Google?
  • Downloads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:16PM (#15795119)
    Perhaps they'll make it easier to download stuff from than Sourceforge. Maybe it's me, but a `download` button should let you download something, not show you some of the contents of what a working system would let you download.

    At random, look at this project:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/ftimes/ [sourceforge.net]

    You click on download...but you get taken off to some other page where you can download, seperately, some of the source files.
  • Whining (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PGC ( 880972 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:25PM (#15795170)
    People complain that this Google project does not offer the same amount of features/sections as Sourceforge and thus must be worse. How often is it not that half of the sections on Sourceforge are empty (Documents is a nice example)? Resulting in completely confused visitors... Then are those that say it doesn't offer a project page, while most people using sourceforge do not keep their project pages on sourceforge either. As I see it, this Google service offers exactly what I've been looking for recently: a quick and simple method to maintain my small projects online without any application/approval periods.
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:26PM (#15795177)
    I've used sourcrforge for my project for the last four years. I have a small but constant stream of people downloading my project.

    I have had numerous problems with services going offline, each time it's been annoying. recently I couldn't access the web page admin, so I haven't been able to update the site to reflect a new version of my software. As I've been working on the new release for a couple of months, this is a major issue for me.

    Plus you now have to pay to get the very best service. I can't afford this, so I'm stuck with the less able service. They claim the normal free service is unnaffected, but I have my doubts. Even when everythings working it's not especially easy to use, and I don't much like some of the changes to the site they've added of late.

    Their intentions may be good, and I do understand the need for funding, but non paying users are being effected, regardless of their intent. Paying users get better project admin options/tools too, and I'd rather like that. I'm a poor student though, such things are outside of my budget. I must say sourceforge has lost its appeal for me of late because of these things.

    I think I may give google a try, and tramline the two for a while.

    That's the open source way, the superior product survives based on how good it is.

  • by jtwronski ( 465067 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:46PM (#15795291)
    Also, google is a huge beast.What if they started stealing ideas and implement them in house, without ofcourse releasing to public ever

    Ummm, companies do that sort of thing all the time. There's nothing at all stopping Microsoft, Sun, Cisco, the church around the corner, etc, from hitting up sf.net and getting any code they want to use internally. If they turn it into a product and release it to the public, then there might be a problem, depending on the license (read: gpl).
  • by linvir ( 970218 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:47PM (#15795293)
    People would need project page hosting

    http://pages.google.com/ [google.com]

    They have the majority of the code and infrastructure in place in Google Pages. From there, it's a matter of integration.

  • by oxfletch ( 108699 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:41PM (#15795585)
    Yeah, because they'll never modify it again after releasing it ...

    Repeat after me "Sourceforge is a stinking piece of shit".
    You can't even easily link to a download.
  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:49PM (#15795616) Homepage
    Public domain isn't the same as open source, open source means the developers retain rights, public domain means you give them all up, public domain can be taken by a stranger and made proprietary, is that really what you want? I suggest you have a little think on that issue.

    I'm not the poster you were replying to, but yes, that is exactly what I want when I release my software as public domain. I do not envy others their success if they want to use my code. No matter how propietary their use of it is, that does not lessen the value of the existing code one bit, and only reflects positively on myself.

    SQLite is a project that is released completely free into the public domain, and it has been massively successful, and has been taken up in any number of both open source and propietary projects. It's even running in the internals of Mac OS X. This would not have happened if it was encumbered by a GPL license.
  • by jamie ( 78724 ) <jamie@slashdot.org> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:51PM (#15795630) Journal

    Proprietary-loving? OK, just for the record, of Google Code Hosting [google.com] and Slash [slashcode.com], which is open-source? :)

    (That is so not fair of me. Google would probably love to open-source Hosting, but, as described in the session a little while ago, in order to make it as tightly integrated with Bigtable and search and mail and everything, they really can't release it without releasing a ton of their core proprietary code too. Which obviously they can't.)

  • by PingXao ( 153057 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:26PM (#15795762)
    I can't think of any implementation of forums worse than SF. None. The format and organization is horrendous. Google groups is already a better solution and I haven't even tried it yet. The SF public forums could be improved upon by anybody by accident.
  • Re:What a pity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eivind Eklund ( 5161 ) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:18AM (#15797125) Journal
    OSS projects are not working anywhere near to perfect. They are working somewhat adequately, yet they're very far from perfect. SF.net is even less perfect - when you say [sourceforge] "... easily provides all the services that any OSS project of any size needs in order to function and flourish" - why do most of the large OSS projects (Free/Net/Open/DragonflyBSD, KDE, Gnome, X11, Debian, Gentoo, ...) use separate infrastructure? I can only speak for FreeBSD: We do so because Sourceforge services isn't enough, and we get more done by taking the overhead of running our own.

    On to problem areas for open source in general:

    • Problem report to patched, committed source with commit comment. The path is LONG - even if you have a checked out tree, you'll need to save the patch, switch windows, cd to an appropriate directory, run a patch command, run a commit command, and write a commit message.
    • Ability to integrate automated testing on commit. This is possible, yet it's an utter pain in most version control systems. (Aegis gets it mostly right, of course, as this was the original reason for Aegis).
    • Project search is difficult, even including SF.net and Freshmeat and Freshports and pkgsrc and Debian package metadata and CPAN and ...
    • The problem report/issue tracking systems I know of are icky to use for large projects. (They're icky for small, too, but there the ickyness doesn't matter much)
    • There is no way to mark up code with discussions a la a Wiki.
    • There's no easy way to mark up code for high quality UML output, so people can get into projects quickly
    • Every project end up setting up their own infrastructure for archiving chat logs
    • Mailing list archive search is icky, and this is necessary to find why what happened. (This may, unfortunately, always end up being icky.)
    • There's no (perceived as) reliable, scalable version control system that handle distributed branching/development.
    I can write up points for hours - and have. Unfortunately, my last try at dealing with many of these issues (http://www.rubyarchive.org, presently so defunct that the Wiki has been spammed almost out of existence) ended up being sabotaged, and I'm sort of demotivated towards doing any more tries...


  • Re:Brand new look? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstein ( 2577 ) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @10:17PM (#15803555) Homepage
    I'm in charge of the site. We will not place any ads on the project pages.

    In the future, we may allow project owners to *choose* to display AdSense and then revenue-share the proceeds. This could be an interesting way for projects to generate some funds. But even then, I think we will only place them at the *bottom* of the page so as not to interfere with the overall clean look of the page.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.