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.

Earlier this year SourceForge embedded Krugle's search mechanism, which is designed to specifically search for code, into its site to make for easier developers searching for similar projects. Has this been successful?

Adding search code search functionalities was a response to user requests, and I think it's been quite successful. It's quite a job to have to look for specific snippets of code within a certain language or set of documentation. General text search doesn't always get the right answers, due to syntax or embedded loops or other things specific to code. The easier and more efficient the search mechanism on the site becomes, the more efficient the open source developers can be.

Is this SourceForge/Krugle partnership indicative of a broader phenomenon in search, where it is getting increasingly specialised in order to deal with the growing amount of information online?

Yes, absolutely. There is so much data out there and search is the natural entry point. Generalized search misses a lot of what's important or ranks it poorly. Krugle is one great example of focusing on a core type of data and providing extremely useful results. I think this trend will continue into the future.

Have you seen a change in the type of projects hosted on SourceForge?

We are seeing more commercial open source applications, absolutely. It's been quite noticeable. Part of the reason is definitely that open source is now being more widely adopted in enterprise environments. This is a major movement within open source software.

Zimbra, which was acquired by Yahoo for US$350 million and JBoss now owned by RedHat both started out on SourceForge. What are some other examples of SourceForge hosted projects that have made it into the big league, and how many of these "success" stories have you seen?

It is a point of pride for us that a lot of alumni have done very well for themselves as commercial companies built around open source products that originated on SourceForge. We think this is a fabulous model of development and are proud to play a part. Others include SugarCRM, Zenoss, JasperSoft, Hyperic, Alfresco, SourceFire, dimdim, OpenNMS and more.

What drives SourceForge's success?

We exist to enable the community to be successful, whether that is developing, distributing, or using OSS. Our position as a platform allows the OSS community to interact and be successful, and we stay out of the way as much as possible. This may be what makes us popular.

Will SourceForge.net utilise Web.2.0?

We've added wiki capabilities this year and we'll continue to improve functionality of the site over time based on user demand.

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Dahna McConnachie

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