SourceForge turns to virtualization for hosted apps

SourceForge remains an important part of the open-source ecosystem. Its move to provide virtualized instances of applications is a new way for people to consume software.

SourceForge is trying to get development and collaboration tools in the hands of their users more quickly these days. They are announcing on Monday a new service for developers that provides fast, virtualized access to popular open-source apps. This is not a perfect solution, but a good quick way to answer some developer needs.

SourceForge isn't trying to reinvent the wheel. If there's an open-source tool out there that already works, it can now provide it easier to developers. That's smart. The first three being announced are LimeSurvey (survey app), MediaWiki, and phpBB (forum app). These were chosen based on usage patterns across the site, and there is a mechanism for requesting ones you want. There's plenty of Twitter chatter about it this morning, most of it very positive.

But that suggests a downside. SourceForge does all the provisioning and patching. That makes it quick and probably more secure, but also means you depend on SourceForge for all the updating. Yeah, infrastructure issues are taken off your shoulders, but sometimes being able to tinker is what it's all about. This is sure to rub some SourceForge developers the wrong way.

Still, it's good to see SourceForge pushing to get good tools in the hands of the developers. It's not the first time that tools have been provided this way, but it's on a large scale, and it directly benefits open-source developers. If they build on this by adding more and more useful apps, it could turn into a really useful toolbox.

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