SourceForge exec on the open source breeding ground

With more staff, improvements to its website, new infrastructure and an increased enterprise take-up of open source, it’s full steam ahead.

We hear from SourceForge and SourceForge.net Marketplace Vice President Mike Rudolph about the world's largest Open Source software development web site, which, as of today, claims 162,855 registered projects and 1,732,552 registered users.

In Feb last year, SourceForge (then VA Software), which owns SourceForge.net, reported its first profitable quarter. Do you expect it is all up from here?

Our network of web sites serves an average of 32 million unique visitors per month. Our full 2007 fiscal year was strong. We achieved our second consecutive year of profitability, putting up 35 percent revenue growth year over year. We're quite pleased with these results.

How many new projects, on average, are added to SourceForge.net a day?

Approximately 75 - 100 per day.

SourceForge.net competes with RubyForge, Tigris.org, BountySource, BerliOS, JavaForge and GNU Savannah. How does it differentiate itself from these other services?

It's not that we all compete, the reality is: each of these sites are there to help developers. Some of these that you mention are focused on narrow corners of the market. We're different in that we tend to be the custodian of open source development. We're the largest. We've been around the longest. It's a proven and trusted development platform.

We're very broad plus quite international, with reach into almost every country on the planet. US-based projects only account for fewer than 20 percent of the projects on the site. We think this is a real strength as international participation is a fundamental strength of OSS. SourceForge.net reflects that.

SourceForge's Ross Turk said that the site's staff was 'beefed up from about 5 to 30 early last year. How many staff does it now employ?

About 100 employees.

After Feb 2006, SourceForge replaced a lot of its infrastructure. What changes were made?

We're always working on making the site better. Due to security concerns, I don't really want to comment on too many specifics about our infrastructure. We've been doing a lot of work modernizing our CVS - Subversion - and our main web site components, in addition to major updates to our central database infrastructure. This is to insure a fast, scalable environment for SourceForge.net projects.

What are the storage and bandwidth requirements for keeping SourceForge running?

Obviously we've got some very hefty storage and bandwidth requirements. During the month of September this year, we served almost 63 million files for a total of over 647 terabytes through our worldwide mirror network. When new mirrors petition to be included in our rotation, we require a minimum of 3TB of storage and 100Mbps of dedicated bandwidth.

What has been the most significant recent improvement to the site?

SourceForge.net has really seen regular improvement over the past several years, and this year was particularly active. There have been quite a few new features added including: code search, wikis, a community hub, improved navigation and, of course, the soon-to-be-announced SourceForge.net Marketplace.

What differences has it made?

I believe that it's a consensus within the community that SourceForge.net is bigger, faster, and just plain better than ever.

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Dahna McConnachie

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