Everybody likes to pick on SourceForge. It's slow, CVS is unavailable for days at a time, it took years to add Subversion support, it has an issue tracker not much more advanced than a stone tablet, etc.... A handful of alternatives exist but none have gained much traction. This week, Google announced a new open source hosting service that could finally provide a real choice. I decided to take a closer look by creating my own project (gwtpowered) on the site.
Image Gallery: Google Code hosting close up
Summary: the Google Code project hosting interface is dirt simple and lacks many of the bells and whistles of other source management sites. However it has several things going for it.
- The company's innovative use of search, tags, and labels makes it very flexible and adaptable.
- It works easily with IDEs like Eclipse and NetBeans.
- Google Code leverages other Google properties such as GMail and Google Groups.
- Perhaps most importantly, SourceForge boasts over 100,000 projects and a million users. If anybody has the infrastructure to support that kind of scale, it's Google.
Time will tell, but I predict Google Code hosting will be a big hit. SourceForge isn't going away, but now it faces some serious competition. It's about time.
Update 7/28: Several people have reported problems moving their SourceForge projects to Google Code. Apparently Google reserved all SourceForge project names to prevent name squatting, but the mechanism by which you (as the SF project admin) can give yourself (as the GC project admin) permission to use the name is broken right now. Hopefully it will be cleared up soon. See this thread for more info.