We have been talking about leaving SourceForge for awhile now,
and the plan is to move to Savannah (http://savannah.gnu.org).
The reasons have been building for about a year now, and its
finally time to get the ball rolling.
We want to thank VA Software for the tremendous gift you have
given the Free Software community and us in particular. I have said
many times that phpGroupWare wouldn't have gotten so far so fast if
it weren't for the tools SourceForge provided to us. Departing is a
sad process... I have made a few friends with some of the staff and
I want to wish them and the entire company the best of luck. We
have been a very popular project on SourceForge and was the first
project to beat SourceForge itself in the week to week most active.
We are the #3 all time most active project to this day. Thats a
pretty great accomplishment that we are proud of and sad to have to
leave behind as we start working our ranks up on Savannah.
Now on to the plan! We are going to do this in phases, so I will
explain how it will work.
Phase 1: The mailing lists
We are switching to use the mailing lists on Savannah. This will be
the last email from any of the leadership team should be sending to
this list, other than to remind people that this list is no longer
active. To subscribe to the new mailing list please visit http://savannah.gnu.org/mail/?group_id=509
Phase 2: Forums
Shortly after Phase 1, we will start posting onto the Forums we
have on SourceForge that the forums have been moved to to our new
project page on Savannah.
Phase 3: Bug tracking/Patch Manager
This is a big one. We are able to export the data from SourceForge,
but don't yet have the ability to import this into our Savannah
project. We will be working with Loic (the Savannah adman) on this
issue. Once we are able to import our data we will make the
Phase 4: CVS
Another big task. Actually the technical side it quite easy. We
simply grab our cvs repository from SourceForge and drop it onto
the Savannah cvs server. The real problem is that this will mean
that everyone will either need to do a fresh checkout, or we need
to figure out how to edit the files in the CVS folders so that we
can point it to the new location. So this is not a technical
problem, just a hassle for the users and developers who checkout
These Phases may not go in order. For example, we may end up
moving CVS before we move the bugs and patches. The reason would be
that it may take awhile to be able to port our data, whereas moving
CVS is pretty straight forward.
*** PHASE 1 STARTS RIGHT NOW ***
*** PHASE 1 STARTS RIGHT NOW ***
We plan to move as swiftly as possible... but we are going to do
everything we can to make the move as smooth as possible.
Now for those interested in the reasons we are going to leave
1: Not enough control - We need more control over various
aspects of the project management tools that we use.
2: CVS security - We have no way to control which developers are
able to commit changes to the API and core apps.
3: Stability - although SourceForge has gotten better, we have
had to deal with various downtimes and hassles. Our biggest problem
is that we could do nothing. With Savannah we will have more power
to jump in and help fix the problems so that we can get back to
real work faster.
5: Long term reliability - VA Linux is a corporation, and one
that is having plenty of hard times over the last year. VA started
out as a hardware company, and did fairly well. Then they started
SoureForge which has been a tremendous benefit to the
Free/Open_Source Software communities, for that we thank them. Then
after they IPO'd as a Linux hardware company and had an insane
stock valuation the bubble burst. The stock market started to slow
down and DotComs everywhere fell it, including VA who's stock
plummeted (quite unfairly I might add). They have since dropped
their hardware business and have decided to become a software and
services company. The foundation of which is SourceForge
OnSite/Enterprise which is a special version that they setup for
med/large companies internal development needs. This means that
their paychecks now depend on being able to sell the SourceForge
software. They have made it clear that many of the new things they
are doing will not be under the GPL. All of this makes me
what happens if their business model doesn't work, and they run
out of money? What happens to SourceForge and all of the data on
there? Would we want to face that situation and have to deal with
the flood of other projects that are also in a panic to find a new
home? A situation like this will have sites like Savanna up to
their eyeballs in work, and it could be weeks for everything to get
sorted out. The leaders of the phpGroupWare project don't think it
is wise to wait for such a problem. We need to think ahead and make
sure that this project has what it needs to always keep moving and
The benefits for the move are many, so I will try and explain
the ones that are off the top of my head
1: More control - With SF we have very little control. We have
been a major project on SF and although it has given us some
influence, we are still having to deal with a corporation which
makes the decisions on how and when features will be implemented,
changed, or taken away. With Savannah we have much more influence,
and will have more power to implement custom features where
2: CVS security - Currently there is very little security of our
CVS tree. Once granted developer access, a developer can commit
changes to any file in the entire tree, including the API. Of
course we monitor changes to the API and all the core apps, but we
are human and may overlook something that we wouldn't want. With
Savannah we will have more control over our CVS tree and will be
able to have a limited number of users be allowed to commit changes
to the API and core applications. How robust and flexible we will
be able to do with better CVS security is yet unknown, but even
just that one start will be very important. Its my hopes that we
will be able to have subgroups for each application, so that the
maintainer of each app will be able to control which of the
developers has rights to commit changes to his project. Thats the
ultimate goal, but at this point we are not sure it will be
possible anytime soon.
3: Promote Freedom - This is a crucial issue. We want to move to
Savannah in part because Savannah is a GNU project and as such will
help promote the values of Freedom that the GNU project stands for.
Since phpGroupWare is a large project with many many users and
people watching us, we have some power to bring more exposure to
Savannah and GNU. We want to take the opportunity. Additionally, we
are now an official GNU Project and I want to start promoting that
fact much more.
4: phpGroupWare version of SourceForge - As some of you may
know, Savannah is working to re-write the same kind of
functionality of SourceForge but this time on top of phpGroupWare.
You can see something of a start on this concept at http://picolibre.eu.org We think it
is going to be important for us to be there while this is
happening, so that we will be able to "eat our own dogfood" as they
say. Imagine being able to go to Savannah and being able to review
all the bugs and patch submissions, join the forum discussions, as
you would on SourceForge, but then in addition also be able to look
at your own todo list, check your calendar, your email, maybe check
the weather report and read a few comic strips... all from a single
location. The tools will be in place to do all of this... and it
will be done with phpGroupWare in the middle of it all. How
exciting is that!
5: CoopX - CoopX is an effort to define a standard for
importing/exporting/sync all of a projects data. This way there
will be a standard for being able to move our project to another
host/solution in the future... It will allow for us to mirror the
project to another service as well. Overall this will give us more
peace of mind just knowing that we can easily pick up and leave
Savannah (unlikely as that may be) if we need to for some reason.
Loic is very involved in this effort and it will be an important
standard as more and more of these development environments pop
I hope you all understand why we are making this move, and for
those that don't... we are doing it anyway ;-p
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