The OSS Forge Ecosystem: Today and Tomorrow
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The OSS Forge Ecosystem: Today and Tomorrow



My keynote speech from OSS2010 on the future of forges

My keynote speech from OSS2010 on the future of forges



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The OSS Forge Ecosystem: Today and Tomorrow Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The OSS Forge Ecosystem: Today and Tomorrow Nathan Oostendorp SourceForge | Slashdot | ThinkGeek | Ohloh | freshmeat
  • 2. The Forge Ecosystem What are the core functions of a Forge? What was the OSS world like before Forges? What does the greater ecosystem look like? Who are the Forge types and what are their goals? What are some of the challenges facing Forge vendors? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Forges? What is in store for the future of Forges? Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 3. Generalized Forge Functions Online Tools for Collaborative Software Development • Source code control (1st order Developer collaboration) • Documentation management (Producer -> Consumer communication) • Issue management (Artifacts for organizing/requesting work) • Discussion tools (Free-form communication among all players) Archive of Software and Project Resources • Data custodian • Directory of projects • Comparative Statistics – gives signal of position in the project space Distribution Outlet • Safe boundary between developer and consumer • Free hosting and bandwidth Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 4. The Pre-Forge OSS Environment Usenet • One to many communication • File distribution Web Servers • Promotion, Documentation, Distribution Source Code Control • Collaboration with many developers Email and Mailing Lists • Bugs/Suggestions, User facing communication Linux Distributions are Primary Channel Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 5. A Comparison of Open Source Hosting (2006) Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 6. A Comparison of Open Source Hosting (2007) Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 7. A Comparison of Open Source Hosting (2008) Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 8. A Comparison of Open Source Hosting (2009) Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 9. A Comparison of Open Source Hosting (2010) Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 10. Forges in Existence per Year Forges 24 21 18 19 14 12 12 13 8 8 6 6 6 5 4 0 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 Year Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 11. Trends in the Ecosystem Forge options are increasing + Features are increasing Consumers • More potential value • Higher search costs • Higher costs for learning different platforms Forge Vendors • in an arms race to attract developers • need to both keep existing projects, and get new projects Researchers • harder to get “the full picture” of OSS development • much more variation in data types and communication channels Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 12. Forge Archetype: The Freemium Forge Business Model: Forge as Tool Marketing • “Closed” projects are subscription • Reselling software for internal corporate use • Forge as a software product Defining Attributes • Focus on a few highly developed tools • Low barriers for adoption • Limits on free use cases Example Sites • GitHub • BitBucket • CodebaseHQ • LaunchPad Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 13. Forge Archetype: The Purebred Forge Business Model: Technology-invested Patron • Promote specific technology • Dual purpose as directory and Forge • Descendant of Perl’s CPAN model Defining Attributes • Small, homogenous population • Technology-specific features (ie RubyGems) Example Sites • RubyForge • LuaForge • JavaForge • MozDev • Codeplex Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 14. Forge Archetype: The Hearts and Minds Forge Business Model: Strengthen and promote OSS • Build influence and clout in the OSS world • Provide parameters for license selection • Publish own OSS works Defining Attributes • Powerful Brand • No direct monetization • Build presence in OSS community Example Sites • Google Code • Savannah Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 15. What about SourceForge? Business Models: • Ads -- indirect monetization of consumption • Lead generation • Market for developer services • Enterprise Software • Help companies build their own forge (Open @ Adobe) Defining Attributes • Focus on publishing -> downloads • Producer/Consumer social structure enforced • Divided into distribution / directory / forge • Offer many “external services” Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 16. Forge Vendor Challenges Software technology moves fast Having established user-base is a mixed blessing Business models are fragile Competition is increasing Self hosting costs are plummeting OSS Collaboration Tools are improving Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 17. Forge vs Self Hosting Forge Advantages • Low effort cost for initialization/maintenance • Data management is S.E.P. • Visibility / Traffic Forge Disadvantages • Risks of “Forge Failure” • Changes of environment • No data portability Self Hosting • Control over environment • More flexibility in tool configuration • Many customizable OSS tools available • Signal project is done with “incubation” • Rapidly falling costs Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 18. Nate’s Forge Utopia Namespace coordination • Collisions should be known, but (maybe) not enforced • Syndicated DOAP records Data portability • Moving between Forges or to Self Host • Standardized formats for different artifacts Ala Carte Access • Best of each Forge • Integrate other web collaboration tools Lower costs to entry as vendor • Better OSS Forge platforms • Facilitate self hosting Confidential Geeknet, page
  • 19. Forges Beyond Software Music (AudioDraft) DIY (Instructables) Graphics (Tango) Stuff (Thingiverse) Electronics (Arduino) Products (Makerbot) Confidential Geeknet, page