Addressing DC++’s service provider, SourceForge

There has been a lot of discussion regarding changes to SourceForge’s hosting practices [1][2][3]. There are two things that SourceForge have done; created an opt-in “revenue program” and begun taking over old or non-updating (or even non-existant) projects.

The opt-in program is DevShare and allow developers (project administrators) to receive revenue based on modified installers. FileZilla is one of the major projects that have done so. The modified installers embed additional programs, thereby acting as ad services. The developers can choose which type of ads/programs are suggested, although they cannot say exactly which may or may not show up. The developers do nothing extra to accomodate this feature. The difference, as noted by Ghacks.net is that SourceForge will change the appearance of the download page to highlight the ad-specific one whilst still having a link to the other one (albiet not as easy to see).

The DC++ administrators were sent an e-mail from SourceForge regarding the DevShare program whether DC++ should or should not also opt-in for the DevShare program. The DC++ administrators declined this offer as the additional revenue was not needed for any basic operation and it felt it might violate the integrety of the installers. This was just as the DevShare program had been announced. No further action for this has been taken and no additional requests from SourceForge have been made.

The second part of SourceForge’s changes are that of modifications to old projects or completely taking over the projects (or even creating them in the first place). This can be seen with e.g. GIMP. As long as DC++ does not become stale or otherwise non-active this will never affect DC++.

All of this have caused us (the developers of DC++) to review our stance with SourceForge. Some facts before I continue:

  • SourceForge have hosted DC++ (and other DC related software) since its inception (i.e. for several years) without any problems in this area.
  • SourceForge provides stable code repositories and website resources. Although the speed of SourceForge network may be questionable, it is able to withstand hard DDoS:ing.
  • DC++ hosts the source code repository, file downloads and website resources on SourceForge.
  • There are other DC related projects that are also hosted on SourceForge.
  • DC++ is considered a “valued projects” in that it has appeared on SourceForge’s project of the month as well as the DevShare offer. DC++ is also among the high-download projects at SourceForge.
  • DC++ will not be directly affected by DevShare as we have not accepted such an offer. (I must stress it is an opt-in offer.)
  • DC++ will not be directly affected by the abondoned projects changes as DC++ continue to be updated and will not qualify for such a change.
  • At least one browser plugin, uBlock, have started to block SourceForge as a whole, thereby potentially restricting users from accessing DC(++) resources.

So, in light of all of this, we have begun to look into other project repositories:

  • Launchpad – Already hosts other features for DC++, such as the bug tracker, but does not provide a sufficient code repository (Bazaar is near-dead), somewhat cumbersome download capabilities and no true website support.
  • Github – No real website support. This is more suited for just the code repository than a full-on project repository. We are more likely to host the source code on Github and proxy that through another service.
  • Bitbucket – Restricts number of contributors, no website support. poy suggests strongly that we do not move to Bitbucket.
  • Google Code – Recently closed registration of new projects. (Lacked anyway certain features.)

There are other project repositories available, although no one of us have experience with most of them.

It is important for us to move forward with this, so here is our plan forward:

  • Move (or at least parts of) source code repositories, websites and download facilities to our own hosting facilities. E.g., Rhodecode is being set up to address this for source code.
  • DC++ will continue to use SourceForge as a minimum as its backup service provider. It is important to note that we have had a relatively pleasant experience with SourceForge – as project administrators.
  • We will continue to monitor any further development in SourceForge management and changes.

We welcome suggestions, both from SourceForge and others, in how we can move forward.

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