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File:Sourceforge logo.png
The SourceForge logo
Screenshot of SourceForge main page in 2014
Web address or (redirect)
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Collaborative revision control, software development management system
Registration Optional (required for creating and joining projects)
Owner Dice Holdings, Inc.
Created by VA Software
Launched November 1999
Alexa rank
Negative increase 266 (August 2015)[1]
Current status Online

SourceForge is a web-based service that offers a source code repository, downloads mirrors, bug tracking and other features. It acts as a central location that software developers can use to control and manage free and open-source software development.

SourceForge was one of the first to offer this service for free to open source projects[2][discuss]—but many users and project have now migrated to GitHub, other software hosting facilities, or self-host their software.[3][4] In May 2015, SourceForge took control of pages for 5 projects that had migrated to other hosting sites and replaced the project downloads with adware-laden downloads.[5] Community concerns have triggered a prompt review of SourceForge mirroring program and third-party bundling of mirrored content was discontinued May 27.[5]

As of March 2014, the SourceForge repository claimed to host more than 430,000 projects and had more than 3.7 million registered users.[6] The domain attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a survey.[7]

Since 2012 the website runs on Apache Allura software. SourceForge offers free access to hosting and tools for developers of free / open-source software, competing with other providers such as GitHub, Bitbucket, RubyForge,, BountySource, Launchpad, BerliOS, JavaForge, GNU Savannah, and Gitorious.

On July 1, 2013, SourceForge began a beta test of a program they call DevShare, which offers projects a way to monetize their downloads by having an optional download that includes prompts for the user to download additional software that is not part of the project. Due to community reactions to the partnership program, it was revisited a few months later, but the program was ultimately opened up to all SourceForge projects on February 7, 2014.[8][9]


SourceForge is a web-based source code repository. It acts as a centralized location for free and open-source software projects. It was the first to offer this service for free to open-source projects. Project developers have access to centralized storage and tools for managing projects, though it is best known for providing revision control systems such as CVS, SVN, Bazaar, Git or Mercurial.[10] Major features (amongst others)[11] include project wikis, metrics and analysis, access to a MySQL database, and unique sub-domain URLs (such as

The vast number of users at (over 3 million as of 2013)[7] exposes prominent projects to a variety of developers and can create a positive feedback loop. As a project's activity rises,'s internal ranking system makes it more visible to other developers through SourceForge directory and Enterprise Directory.[12][13] Given that many open-source projects fail due to lack of developer support, exposure to such a large community of developers can continually breathe new life into a project.

Revenue model

Sourceforge's traditional revenue model is through advertising banner sales on their site. In 2006, Sourceforge Inc. reported quarterly takings of US$6.5 million.[14] In 2009, sourceforge reported a gross quarterly income of US$23 million through media and e-commerce streams.[15] In 2011, a revenue of 20 million USD was reported for the combined value of the sourceforge, slashdot and freecode holdings, prior to sourceforge's acquisition.[16]

Since 2013, additional revenue generation schemes, such as bundleware models,[17] have been trialled, with the goal of further improving sourceforge's revenue. The result has in some cases been the appearance of malware bundled with Sourceforge downloads.[18]


SourceForge, founded in 1999 by VA Software, was the first provider of a centralized location for free and open-source software developers to control and manage software development and offering this service for free.[2]

Closing of SourceForge source

The software running the SourceForge site was initially free software. The last release under a free license was made in November, 2001. SourceForge would be powered by the proprietary SourceForge Enterprise Edition until 2012.[19]

Temporary bans in China

In September 2002, was temporarily banned in China.[20] The site was banned again in China, for about a month, in July 2008.[21][22] On August 6, 2012, was banned again. Several days later the ban was lifted.

Attacks and outages of

SourceForge has faced critical attacks on its databases. In 2006, attackers targeted the database and most of its users were advised to change their passwords to remain secure. In December 2007, was offline for a while due to another attack.[23] It is unclear exactly what happened, since there were no reports about the outage.[citation needed]

On January 27, 2011, SourceForge faced another attempt.[24] The attack was mainly against some of the developer infrastructure and resulted in the exploitation of several servers. SourceForge said: "The attack resulted in an exploit of several servers, and we have proactively shut down a handful of developer centric services to safeguard data and protect the majority of our services."

According to a announcement on their blog,[25] as a short term response, they have taken down services such as CVS Hosting, ViewVC (Web-based code browsing), New Release upload capability, and Interactive Shell services. The company is silent about the type of attack and from where those attempts were made.

Suit by SCPP

Société civile des Producteurs de Phonogrammes en France (SCPP) is an umbrella group for a variety of organizations in France. In November 2008, SCPP initiated a failed suit against, Vuze, Limewire, and Morpheus for hosting the P2P file-sharing application Shareaza that "facilitates mass copyright infringement".[26] SourceForge was not sued for hosting copyrighted material, but for hosting Vuze.

Apache relicense

In June 2012, SourceForge released its underlying software, named Allura, under the Apache license, which the Apache foundation accepted for incubation.[27][28][29][30]

Attackers compromise a download mirror server

On September 26, 2012 it was announced that attackers compromised a download mirror server for the SourceForge software repository, rigging the installer package for phpMyAdmin, a web-based MySQL Server interface, with a backdoor.[31]


In September 2012, Dice Holdings acquired SourceForge from its previous owner Geeknet.[32]

2015 Outages

Sourceforge experienced an extended outage in 2015 due to filesystem corruption, lasting from July 16 to 31. Transfer rates from "cloud-based" backups were cited as a factor during the recovery. Services were partially restored over this period, with project websites experiencing outages until July 23, with releases and source repositories gradually restored thereafter.[33]


Some of SourceForge's monetization practices have been met with criticism by developers and end users.

DevShare adware Diagramm.png
Number of hosted projects, 2000-2010 [needs update]

In July 2013, SourceForge announced that it would provide project owners an optional feature called DevShare, which places closed-source ad-supported content into the binary installers and gives the project part of the ad revenue.[34] Opinions of this new feature vary, with some complaining about users not being as aware of what they are getting or being able to trust the downloaded content, whereas others see it as a reasonably harmless option that keeps individual projects and users in control.[35]

In November 2013, GIMP, a free image manipulation program, removed its download from SourceForge, citing misleading download buttons that potentially confuse customers, as well as SourceForge's own Windows installer, which bundles potentially unwanted programs. In a statement, GIMP called SourceForge a once "useful and trustworthy place to develop and host FLOSS applications" that now faces "a problem with the ads they allow on their sites ..."[36][37][38]

Project hijackings and bundled malware

GIMP, who discontinued their use of SourceForge as a download mirror in November 2013,[36][39] reported in May 2015 that SourceForge was hosting infected versions of their Windows binaries on their Open Source Mirror directory,[40][41] which SourceForge claims is a collection of abandoned projects.[42][43] This came despite SourceForge's commitment in November 2013 to never bundle adware with project downloads without developers' consent.[39][40][44]

On June 1, 2015, SourceForge claimed that they stopped coupling "third party offers" with unmaintained SourceForge projects.[45] Since this announcement was made, a number of other developers have reported that their SourceForge projects have been taken over by SourceForge staff accounts (but have not had binaries edited), including nmap,[44][46] and VLC media player.[47] On June 18, 2015, SourceForge announced that SourceForge-maintained mirrored projects were removed, and anticipated the formation of a Community Panel to review their mirroring practices.[48]

Project of the Month

Since 2002 SourceForge features a Project of the Month.[49]

2015 Simutrans, GnuCash, ClamAV, ScummVM, Octave-Forge, TortoiseSVN, JasperReports Server, NAS4Free, gnuplot, PSeInt, TeXstudio, fre:ac, Maxima, FlightGear
2014 SCons, MPC-HC, PortableApps, OpenMediaVault, VASSAL Engine, eXo Platform, Freeplane, ApexDC, Free Pascal Compiler, Universal Media Server, Clover EFI bootloader, Minsky
2013 cpuminer, Password Safe, BleachBit, West Point Bridge Designer and Contest, TeXstudio, winPenPack, ReactOS, FileBot, SuperTuxKart, PostBooks, Kiwix, DOSBox
2012 JStock, Rigs of Rods, ProjectLibre, PeaZip, XOOPS, Liferay Portal, 0 A.D., Luminance HDR, Elastix, Scribus, Boost, HyperSQL
2011 TICO, The Number Race, GCompris, iTALC, Moodle, Tux Paint, OpenPetra, odt2braille, NVDA, eGuideDog, CiviCRM
2010 Snort, Gutenprint, jEdit, Ghostscript, Wireshark, Scintilla, OpenNMS, LAME, Mantis, Arianne, Notepad++, Clonezilla
2009 OpenGTS, Mumble, Sweet Home 3D, Medical, eyeOS, Piwik, Silex, DOSBox, dotProject, Frets on Fire, ZK, TinyMCE
2008 OrangeHRM, shareaza, concrete5, WinSCP, Enomalism, Kablink, PowerFolder, MindTouch, ehcache, Hyperic HQ Enterprise Monitoring
2007 Firebird, Barcode4J, Openbravo, Inkscape, Scorched 3D, Art of Illusion, Zenoss Core, FreeCol, FreeNAS
2006 Rosegarden, Pentaho, Linux NTFS file system support, openQRM, Sahana disaster management system, Stellarium, Filesystem in Userspace, CMU Sphinx, FreeMind, Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
2005 FCKeditor, NHibernate, MediaWiki, MinGW, Gourmet, JasperReports, Nagios, Robosapien Dance Machine, net-snmp, OGRE, ClamWin, RSSOwl
2004 TortoiseCVS, PearPC, SugarCRM, Azureus, Bochs, Audacity, AWStats, eGroupWare, BZFlag, Mailman, Compiere, phpBB
2003 PhpGedView, FileZilla, Gallery, TightVNC, Boa Constructor, Tikiwiki, MegaMek, POPFile, JBoss, TUTOS, Crystal Space, SquirrelMail
2002 phpMyAdmin, Fink, Gaim

Reception - Download Forbidden.png
Error message seen by someone attempting to access SourceForge from an ITAR-restricted country.


As of May 2013, the SourceForge repository hosted more than 300,000 projects and had more than 3 million registered users,[50] although not all were active. The domain attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a survey.[7]

Country restrictions

In its terms of use,[51] SourceForge states that its services are not available to users in countries on the sanction list of the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria). Since 2008, the secure server (used for making contributions to the site) has blocked people from those countries. As of January 2010, the site had blocked all access from those countries, including downloads. Any IP address that appeared to belong to one of those countries could not use the site.[52] A month later, SourceForge relaxed the restrictions so that individual projects could indicate whether or not SourceForge should block their software from download to those countries.[53]

See also


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External links