For years the open source movement has found common ground at SourceFORGE.
SourceFORGE not only hosted all the big open source projects. It gave them a common set of metrics with which to measure success. We have X thousand downloads. We have X hundred people in our community.
But now this center is disappearing. Many big enterprises run their own open source centers, on their Intranets. Other open source enterprises have moved their communities to different .org sites, many of which I've written about here.
And now Google has joined the trend. Google Code Service Hosting is, like many of the .orgs and Intranets, based on Subversion from CollabNet.
So the real father of this trend is is CollabNet CTO Brian Behlendorf. He's making no apologies.
"I personally feel that the big community Sourceforge created didn't build identity or culture amongst those projects. What you see at Apache.org or Java.net is a community feeling you don't see on Sourceforge.
"It will be interesting if Google creates a mainline identity for developers. A belief in the mission matters quite a bit."
It's tough, he adds, because Sourceforge is only now trying to build a business model around a space it has dominated, just as that domination begins to fade. A lot of that fading is down to CollabNet as Behlendorf describes his own business model:
"We at CollabNet have one-fifth of our customers running public sites, like openoffice.org and java.net. We also do developer networks for eBay and BEA and Sybase. It's 25% of our stuff. The rest is doing this stuff internally for companies. Each site is private-labeled. We have richer tools than Google or Sourceforge. But our brand is in the background. Java.Net looks different from BEA Codeshare. We don't see Google going down our path."
In a way SourceFORGE is being sourceforged. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about it. Instead of doing either, I think I'll have a talk with the SourceFORGE folks.