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InfoQ Homepage News JRuby Leaves SourceForge for Greener Pastures at Codehaus

JRuby Leaves SourceForge for Greener Pastures at Codehaus

JRuby is the latest, and possibly highest-profile open-source project, to migrate from SourceForge to Codehaus, where it joins its close cousin, fellow dynamic language on the JVM, Groovy. (Learn more about JRuby in the LinuxWorld interview published today.)

InfoQ asked JRuby leads Charles Nutter and Tom Enebo why they moved and their answers shed light on some of the recent problems plaguing SourceForge.

According to Charles, "SourceForge's downtime the week before JavaOne really burned me. CVS for both anon AND developers was completely down for several days right when we were trying to wrap up our changes for the conference. It took us a couple weeks to untangle what was good change and what was bad and get things settled down again."

Charles then added, "SourceForge is enormously big; we don't get the kind of support we need there. The Codehaus guys have been really helpful and responsive to problems", and most damning of all, "It was all downhill after the CVS downtimes. I don't care what great new servers they've got up; if the servers completely died once there's some serious mismanagement (or perhaps more likely, underfunding) going on and they're just treating a symptom."

Tom expounded on the CVS downtime, saying: "The developer downtime was right before JavaOne and was close to a week. The anonymous access was down around a month if I remember right."

Commenting on the reliability of SourceForge's offering, Tom added, "I was pretty shocked that SourceForge did not have high-availability for revision control (and seemingly had only one piece of hardware as a single point of failure somewhere in the chain). I made a bunch of assumptions about SourceForge that were not true and now my confidence in them has waned."

Charles also vented frustration about periodic outages plaguing SourceForge's mailing lists, which have been down for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance often lately. The move was more than just about reliability though, feature sets also proved to be a factor in the decision. Charles described SourceForge's bug tracker as "pretty primitive" whereas Codehaus offers a suite of tools including Confluence, Jira and Fisheye. Other differences? Codehaus allows project managers to set the structure and content of their project page, but SourceForge projects all have generic project homepages and no content authoring tools.

Charles and Tom were not entirely negative about SourceForge, and Tom expressed appreciation for the service along with some amount of regret that he was complaining about a free service. He told us, "I wish SF the best of luck. They provided a free place for us to host JRuby and they host many many many other projects. Hopefully, they have worked through their operational issues and also hopefully they continue to update their tools to provide a better service. It would truly be horrible if SourceForge went away since I think it would be tough to fill that gap in the near term."

A SourceForge representative told InfoQ that they are aware of the issues and working on improvements, but did not elaborate further.

Bob McWhirter, lead "despot" at Codehaus, expressed enthusiasm about the move and mentioned that Xircles, Codehaus' community management platform, is a Ruby on Rails application. That said, Codehaus is primarily for Java-related projects and the vast majority of open-source Ruby projects are hosted at RubyForge.

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