Thursday, July 31, 2008

The best place to host your open-source project

Just a few short years ago, there was one open-source hosting service worth considering: It was by no means perfect (Alfresco's analytics, for example, have been down for over a month on Sourceforge, with no apparent urgency to fix the problem), but it was good enough, free, and everyone else used it.

Today, there are multiple options, including Google Code, Microsoft CodePlex, CodeHaus, GitHub, and, interestingly, Canonical's Launchpad.

Yes, Launchpad. Launchpad is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu team, but it has aspirations beyond hosting the Ubuntu code, aspirations that recently attracted MySQL to move its code over to the Launchpad service.

I don't recall Launchpad starting with this third-party code hosting premise in mind, but it certainly has gone there fast. OStatic has an excellent write-up on its new features, and whether they're compelling enough to put your open-source project there.

For a new project, it's definitely an interesting choice. But the larger question is whether an established project - especially commercial projects - gets adequate value from any hosting service to justify hosting with a prefabricated hosting service. SugarCRM moved from Sourceforge to hosting its own project, and other companies have done the same. (My own company is in the process of exploring options.)

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