BerliOS, and picking up “dead” projects

So, Tomáš also posted on the gentoo-dev mailing list about the BerliOS shut down that I have noted after forking unpaper which is/was hosted on that platform as well.

And yes, I do note the irony that I’m the one talking about forks, after what I wrote on the subject — but there are times when a fork is indeed necessary, at least to continue development on a project. And I should probably consider unpaper more a take over than a fork, given that the original developer seem to be unreachable (he hasn’t answered my mail yet).

Of course nobody expected unpaper to be the only project that was hosted on BerliOS, nor the only one dead. Indeed, back in the days when SF.net interface was obnoxious but still usable, BerliOS was considered a quite decent alternative, at least for the fact that there was Subversion support quite a bit of time before SourceForge supported anything other than CVS. Even I started not one, but two projects using BerliOS. One is the same unieject that I have now mostly abandoned and is available on Gitorious; the other was an Ultima OnLine server emulator, which was, really, my first try at coordinating a Free Software project.

Update (2017-04-22): as you may know, Gitorious was acquired by GitLab in 2015 and turned down the service. My projects previously hosted there are now hosted on GitHub.

Said project, was started by me and a handful of friends, some of whom were players on the same unofficial “shard” as me, while another was a fellow developer in another similar software (NoX-Wizard), was basically a from scratch implementation, in what at the time I considered modern C++ (it might even have been, considering that we just came out of the GCC 2.96 trouble). It was also my first encounter with Python used as a scripting environment within another software. The code was originally developed by me in CVS; then it was moved to SVN on a local repository, then again on BerliOS.. with the result that my commits actually showed up under a long series of names, d’oh!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to import the code to GitHub — and with a bit of help from git svn I was able to also merge back my commits under a single name (and those of another developer as well, not under mine of course). It’s impressive how straightforward is to import a whole repository’s history nowadays. I remember going crazy to do the same thing at the time, when moving from CVS to SVN, and to import the local SVN to BerliOS.

This should actually be considered a stating point: indeed the fact that it’s relatively trivial to import a repository’s history nowadays should make it much easier to preserve the most important repositories of BerliOS itself — I just wonder if there’s hope to save all the content in BerliOS. This becomes quite interesting when you note that it comes not a long time after the Kernel.org KO, which has seen a number of projects migrate here and there, including Linux-PAM which seem to be maintained now on Fedora’s hardware (and in GIT, finally! — this means that the next time I’ll have to patch Linux-PAM, which I hope will be far into the future, I’ll be able to provide proper backports in Gentoo infrastructure, like I do for other packages including quagga).

Changing times?

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