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Alternatives To SF.net's CompileFarm?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the in-search-of-iron dept.

Programming 186

cronie writes "Not long ago, SourceForge.net announced the shutdown of the Compile Farm — a collection of computers running a wide variety of OSes, available for compiling and testing open source projects. SF.net stated their resources 'are best used at this time in improving other parts' of the service. I consider this sad news for the OSS community, because portability is one of the strengths of OSS, and not many of us have access to such a variety of platforms to compile and test our software on. As a consequence, I expect many projects dropping support for some of the platforms they can't get access to. Are there any sound alternatives with at least some popular OS/hardware combinations? Any plans to create one? (Perhaps Google or IBM might come up with something?)"

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not to be a jerk but... (3, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306004)

I consider this sad news for the OSS community, because portability is one of the strengths of OSS, and not many of us have access to such a variety of platforms to compile and test our software on.

Maybe the project has ended because that's not where the future of computing is headed. Maybe the future is something more like "write once, run anywhere".

Vendor support... (4, Interesting)

Lord Prox (521892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306024)

Naaahhhhh. Nice thought, but no computational utopia yet.
How about vendors supply compile farm gateways linked from SF.NET for use by SF members. Great way for hardware vendors to show off their new stuff to folks that might be inclined to buy or have influence in the purchase decision.

Kinda like a hands-on remote(?!) demo.

SciTechPulse. Geek News Netcast. Hot Polynesian Geek Chick Host Silulu. [scitechpulse.com]

Re:Vendor support... (2, Insightful)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306202)

The only problem is that the people compiling aren't the same as the people who are buying.

Re:Vendor support... (2, Insightful)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306460)

The only problem is that the people compiling aren't the same as the people who are buying.


True, but remember that the more software that eventually runs on your platform, the more people who are likely to adopt it.

Dont use sparc,alpha,power,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306446)

Buy a cheap PC in Walmart for your needs.

Re:Vendor support... (2, Insightful)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306624)

I don't know if it would be suitable for the sort of thing you're talking about, but HP has (or atleast they had it a year or so ago), a thing where you can telnet into a variety of different systems they had. Mostly OpenVMS and HP-UX running a a few different architectures. I know that you didn't have network access from the box that you telnetted into, but I don't know what other restrictions there were. It might be something to check out if you're interested in making software for some of HP's higher-end stuff, but don't have the hardware to run OpenVMS or HP-UX.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306032)

"We feel that our resources are best used at this time in improving other parts of our existing SourceForge.net service offering, and in introducing other high-demand features."

..and not because some people are too stupid to learn a proper language and have to use shitty pseudo-solutions like .SHIT or Jashit.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306042)

I think thats kind of the point. Its more like write once, debug everywhere.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (5, Interesting)

remahl (698283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306046)

Hardly. The future is and has long been one of "write once, test anywhere". And that's the need the compile farm filled. Writing once and expecting it to automatically run everywhere without modifications is a pipe dream.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (1)

mike_sucks (55259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306052)

"Maybe the future is something more like "write once, run anywhere"."

LOL! You crack me up! No, really!

Re:not to be a jerk but... (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306082)

S/he is obviously somebody in marketing, not engineering. (the GP poster)

It's no big deal (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306180)

Compiling is only half the fun. The compile farm cannot test most of the applications. Thus the compile farm only does half the job needed to release a package.

Most projects are staffed by people using multiple platforms anyway and anyone coming along with a requirement to support some odd-ball OS might just get pulled in to do compiles and tests. For example, the SF project I work on is mainly staffed by Linux people with a few Windows and this project does not use the compile farm. Those using OSX just need to recompile and it works for them.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306346)

Not to be a jerk, but even if the future of computing is "write once, run anywhere," doesn't it still stand to reason that the code should be tested to make sure it can indeed run anywhere? I tend to agree that languages like Java which abstract away much of the OS and hardware specifics will become suitable for more and more tasks as system performance increases, but 1)There will always be applications in which hardware and/or OS-specific optimization will be necessary, and 2) Even without considering this, only a fool would trust such abstraction layers (i.e. the JVM) implicitly, claiming multiplatform support without ever having testes on the platforms in question.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (2)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306508)

How did he get marked interesting? I'm pretty sure he was trying to be funny by quoting a popular Java phrase. Truth is, Java is pretty popular, but never got the market share they wanted. Still way to many platforms out there.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306590)

"write once, run anywhere"

LISP, you mean?

Works for emacs.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306708)

Works for emacs.
Where you only have to test your code on GNU emacs and xemacs. Uh, by which I mean "all the versions of GNU emacs and xemacs you care about", since some platforms come with GNU emacs 20.x as standard, while others use a wide variety of unofficial 21.x builds, and still others are still stuck with 19.x, and I have no idea what the situation is like with xemacs.

Nope, even Emacs Lisp ain't utopia.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (2, Informative)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306688)

I think the project ended because it wasn't enough. Compiling some C++ program in some platform is not as hard as making it work correctly in that platform...

And on that insight you have: Not even Java or .NET really work that way, so we are kind of far, far away from that.

Re:not to be a jerk but... (5, Informative)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306884)

sourceforge has been having increasing numbers of problems recently. Their shell service for instance was down for weeks not too long back. That's happened many times over the last few years, and it's been a source of real problems, since its the only way to get access to update projects.

Their entire service was off-line for a while last week, not fun.

I've moved my project to google code project hosting. Their service is simpler, but reliable. The addition of a wiki is really helpful, and uploading new releases is trivially easy.

google could offer a compile farm with ease. I expect it won't be long now that sourceforge have removed theirs.

When I first started using sourceforge four years ago I liked the service, but when they moved to having paying customers, everything started to decline for the free hosted projects. They said it wouldn't but it still occurred.

I'm of the opinion that sourceforge got too complex, and now they can't manage all the aspects they wanted to include. No doubt if everyone paid it would be easier, but not many open source developers have free funds for such things. If people had to pay then small incomplete projects might not even get off the ground. Mine certainly wouldn't have, since I was a student, and financially limited.

Obvious (1)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306012)

Gee, you'd think if a project was interesting/useful enough to be valuable on a second or nth platform, the users of that platform could supply some patches.

I've been porting things between win32 and linux for years with some BeOS and MacOS ports along the way. Not exactly rocket science, get a grip.

Re:Obvious (4, Informative)

tiocsti (160794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306264)

It's rarely about getting stuff going on a platform, but rather making sure nothing regresses. Compile farms are useful for doing the following:

- compiling the software on all platforms

- running automated test suite

- automatically building packages periodically

- determining what percentage of the code your test suite covers

- verifying the built package works

Patches from users cant reproduce all of these things, and this is where compile farms come in handy. Whether it makes sense for something like sourceforge is another matter.

Re:Obvious (1, Insightful)

fromvap (995894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306358)

You seem to have mixed up "users" and "developers." For most people, anything that involves a command line IS rocket science. When a techie comes along and ports something and makes it available, it can be a huge gift to the normal users. When everyone figures it is too easy and not worth doing it for the newbies, you end up in a situation where an essential program like GimpShop for Windows ends up with the Linux version lagging far behind the latest release of Gimp, and the Windows version being even more lagged behind Linux GimpShop.

Emulation? (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306040)

I wonder if emulation of other hardware architectures would allow developers to try things out on their commodity machines? VMWare and Virtual PC do a good job for x86 emulation and there are many emulators for obsolete machines available so the question comes down to the time and effort required to implement new architectures. Maybe what could be practical is something along the lines of Transmeta's morphable instruction sets technology but with an extra layer of associated hardware (video, sound) emulation/translation.

Re:Emulation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306386)

Sure - if you prefer to spend your time in with setting up operating systems and build environments. I have been told some people have that fetish.

I, on the other hand, prefer to use my time to write code.

Re:Emulation? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306716)

Sure - if you prefer to spend your time in with setting up operating systems and build environments.
Clicking a download link for a prebuilt virtual machine image hardly requires a massive time investment.

Cost of obtaining the operating systems? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307092)

Clicking a download link for a prebuilt virtual machine image hardly requires a massive time investment.

This doesn't solve the problem facing developers of ports to Windows OS. For development of ports of free software to proprietary operating systems that are not freeware, performing a day job for several hours of overtime in order to buy an OS license for each developer does require a massive time investment. How many hours of flipping burgers is Windows Vista Ultimate (or an MSDN subscription) worth to you? Besides, a lot of proprietary operating systems have EULA restrictions against virtualization at all, such as Mac OS X. Furthermore, virtual machines for CPU architectures other than Intel x86 tend to run unacceptably slow on some machines because fewer Free or freeware emulators tend to use dynamic recompilation.

[1] Throughout this comment, "freeware" means "lawfully obtainable at marginal cost", including popular free software.

VMs (4, Interesting)

krakass (935403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306050)

With the availability of VMWare, Xen, etc. you can have your own CompileFarm. Obviously it's not a good choice if you're trying to render an animated movie or similar, but for testing or compiling it should fulfill most of your needs.

Re:VMs (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306650)

Um, since when does VMWare or Xen emulate a different architecture?

Re:VMs (1)

GringoCroco (889095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306692)

ok .. then use qemu [wikipedia.org] :)

QEMU is free software written by Fabrice Bellard that implements a fast processor emulator, allowing full virtualization of a PC system within another one.

Re:VMs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307108)

Um, since when does VMWare or Xen emulate a different architecture?
ok .. then use qemu
QEMU still emulates only an x86 PC, not other architectures. Even with QEMU, how do I obtain lawful copies of said proprietary operating systems?

Re:VMs (1)

GringoCroco (889095) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307206)

About qemu ... I haven't tested any of these features, just quiting Wikipedia:

"QEMU emulates a full computer system, including a processor and various peripherals. It can be used to provide virtual hosting of several virtual computers on a single computer."
...
"Supports emulating IA-32 (x86) PCs, AMD64 PCs, MIPS R4000, Sun's SPARC sun4m, Sun's SPARC sun4u, ARM development boards (Integrator/CP and Versatile/PB), SH4 SHIX board, and PowerPC (PReP and Power Macintosh) architectures."

Yes, proprietary OSes are still a problem even with QEMU, but this way with and a few GiB of VMs you can have emulation for a bunch of free OSes on a number of somewhat popular architectures.
Still better than nothing, and also better than x86-only.

Re:VMs (1)

pitpe (647079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307208)

QEMU still emulates only an x86 PC, not other architectures.
Qemu can emulate other architectures [bellard.free.fr] too, it's just not as fast as when running as a virtual machine on x86 cpus.

Re:VMs (3, Informative)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306740)

That would only work on all x86 platforms.. so like, four.

QEMU won't do POWER, and it certainly won't run anything other then the normal OS configurations.

VMware is excellent for development, but has nothing to do with a render farm.

Re:VMs (-1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306968)

The SF.net CompileFarm was not there to provide 'power'. It was there to provide access to different systems for compilation of your project. Anyone using it for 'power' was abusing it. It also had nothing to do with a render farm.

Re:VMs (3, Insightful)

Curtman (556920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307084)

The SF.net CompileFarm was not there to provide 'power'.

I believe he meant this [ibm.com] kind of power. ;)

Power != POWER; Sparc != SPARC (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307132)

QEMU won't do POWER
The SF.net CompileFarm was not there to provide 'power'. It was there to provide access to different systems for compilation of your project. Anyone using it for 'power' was abusing it.
cbreaker said POWER; you said "power". There is a difference between "power" and the POWER architecture [wikipedia.org] , and QEMU doesn't emulate the 64-bit POWER architecture. There is also a difference between "spark" and the SPARC architecture [wikipedia.org] , and QEMU's support for SPARC is still very immmature. (Source: QEMU Status [bellard.free.fr] )

Re:VMs (0)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307182)

Hahaha, okay. I stand corrected on the 'power' statement. It still has nothing to do with a renderfarm, though.

Re:VMs (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307116)

That would only work on all x86 platforms.. so like, four.

Ideal for testing the portability of Windows applications!

Re:VMs (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307106)

So tell me, how do I test PPC compilation on an X86 machine with VMware ? How do I test 64 bit compilation on a 32 bit machine with VMWare ? How do I test compilation under OSX/Darwin on a standard intel machine with VMWare ?

You see, VM is not a solution for most cross compilation.

Virtualisation negates the need for a compile farm (4, Interesting)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306068)

I use VMWare Workstation and Virtual PC to do testing and whatnot, negating the need for multiple systems in my home office. I have, for example, Windows XP Pro, Windows 2000 Pro, OpenBSD, FreeBSD 5.5 and FreeBSD 6.2 all set up as seperate virtual systems on a single computer.

Who needs a compile farm when most of what we need can be run from a single moderately decent workstation?

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306158)

That's not much use for testing compiling on Solaris on SPARC64, or Tru64 on Alpha, etc...

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306516)

This is true.. how many operating systems are in wide use for most applications these days?

We have... Windows, MacOS, Linux, and BSD.

Anyone else?

I spose there's still people working with Sun/Solaris and HP/UX and AIX, but for the most part, open source devs care that it works on their stuff, and to heck with whatever else.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306724)

You talk about BSD as if there's only one BSD. And there are other Unixes apart from linux and BSD, such as the proprietory from big-name vendors such as Sun, IBM, and HP.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (2, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306726)

This is true.. how many operating systems are in wide use for most applications these days?

We have... Windows, MacOS, Linux, and BSD.
All of them in numerous different versions, and in the case of OS X, Linux, and BSD, running on a variety of hardware. (There's still PLENTY of PPC-based Macs around, for one.)

I spose there's still people working with Sun/Solaris and HP/UX and AIX
Damn right. More than you'd think, in fact.

but for the most part, open source devs care that it works on their stuff, and to heck with whatever else.
Do you consider this an attitude to be encouraged?

And even if you don't see a problem with it, what about those OS devs who do actually kind of like the idea of testing on a variety of hardware? There aren't many hobbyists who can afford to buy servers from HP and IBM.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (2, Insightful)

vrai (521708) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306800)

I spose there's still people working with Sun/Solaris
Yes, such as the entire banking industry and almost all it's associated software vendors. Admittedly there's been a move towards Solaris/x86 but there's still a huge market for UltraSparc machines; not all jobs can efficiently distributed across multiple machines and Intel architecture can't provide more than 16 cores. The Cell processor is attracting a lot of attention as a potential replacement for Sparc and requires specialist development machines. You can't really test your new Cell optimised uber-parallel pricing model on a four core Intel.

For most open source software you're completely correct - it'll never run on anything more exotic than a Core Duo. But if you're developing something other than desktop applications (e.g. programming languages, libraries, frameworks, etc) and you want your software to be used by the widest possible audience; you need to test it on as many architectures and operating systems as possible.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306804)

Big deal. My advice to people is to start moving off those platforms ASAP and not bother trying to get new stuff to work on it.

SPARC's on death row and HP buried the Alpha (poor thing was still kicking and screaming ;) ).

People who pick "one vendor" platforms should be well used to paying lots of money for anything.

Anyway, the only one who should build an expensive SPARC compile farm should be Sun. It's crazy for anyone else to do so. Are people going to suggest some company/organization buys lots of _expensive_ Intel "Itanic" servers just so people making _free_ software can test their software for _free_?

That's almost like expecting someone to buy a bunch of Bugatti Veyrons so that people around the world can learn to make 3rd party add ons for it for free.

Face it, if you buy a "Bugatti Veyron", don't complain when you have to go back to the vendor and their bunch of "approved partners" for practically everything.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306320)

Well, I am happy to test my compilations on ppc-linux, ppc-darwin, i386-darwin, alpha-linux, hppa-hpux, mips-irix, ppc-aix, just to name of few. I can't do that with virtualization. (and yes, for large projects, the amount of porting to different platforms is non-trivial, and regular testing is required)

Anyway, the Compile Farm SF service was crappy and never realiably worked, so it's not a real loss.

Re:Virtualisation negates the need for a compile f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306334)

Virtualisation can help you with different OSs on one platform. If you want to do multiplatform-compilation on software, than you have to emulate, and that will be a real pain, slow, and it will be the project developer who has to maintain all the target platforms. So, should every project admin on sourceforge get qemu, set up 15 diskimages and install operating systems for x86, ppc, sparc, cell, alpha, mips, ...? I think people will be quite busy installing operating systems and working around emulation trouble, but not develop any more than.

You can say, ok, Apple moved away from PPC, so we do not need anything but x86. Great. But wasn't the right to choose between alternatives one of Linux' key ideas? And wasn't the multiplatform-approach the main reason that the big money came to open-software from companies like e.g. IBM, who develop more than one platform and have been searching for a way to get their solutions work on all of them? I think if OSS looses its multiplatform idea, there won't be much left of the dynamic we saw during last years.

So, if sourceforge doesn't want, maybe a specialized project is needed? May be Debian, who is already bundling porting to all kinds of platforms? Maybe a Porting Group that hardware vendors could become member of, with the sole purpose to offer best possible build and testing environments to distribute clean binaries?

Lars.

They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306098)

Posted By: wdavison
Date: 2007-02-16 00:13
Summary: Compile Farm News

As of 2007-02-08, SourceForge.net Compile Farm service has been officially discontinued.

Shutdown on Feb. 8, announcement on Feb. 16th?

With behavior like that, SourceForge can't be considered a safe location for important code. I'd suggest that it's time to get projects off SourceForge. Make offsite backups of anything important now.

Latest announcement from VA Software [yahoo.com] , which owns SourceForge:

VA Software Corp., whose software and online media are targeted for the open-source software community, said Thursday it named Scott E. Howe to its board of directors.

Howe is president of a division of digital marketing company aQuantive Inc.

"Scott's extensive knowledge of the media markets will be invaluable as we continue to focus on our core media assets and strive to secure alliances in the global competitive landscape," VA Software President and Chief Executive Ali Jenab said in a statement.

VA Software slipped a penny to close at $4.24 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

If VA Software thinks they're now a "media company", it's time to get off SourceForge.

Dummy - Slashdot IS VA Software (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306164)

Animats wrote:

If VA Software thinks they're now a "media company", it's time to get off SourceForge.


VA Software owns Slashdot:

http://www.ostg.com/about/index.htm [ostg.com] :

OSTG (Open Source Technology Group), formerly Open Source Development Network (OSDN), has had its roots in the technology community since its early days as the ground-breaking tech network Andover.net. Founded in 1996 with the mission to provide unbiased content, community, and commerce for the Linux and Open Source communities, Andover.net grew in community relevance and popularity by adding the provocative community-centric sites Slashdot and freshmeat.net to its technology group, and ThinkGeek and AnimationFactory.com to its e-commerce division. After its acquisition by VA Software Corp. (NASDAQ: LNUX) in early 2000 and the introduction of SourceForge.net and Linux.com, the network cemented its position as the Internet's leading destination for the Linux and Open Source community.


Ergo, VA Software is a media company.

Time to get off Slashdot.

Re:Dummy - Slashdot IS VA Software (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306556)

Ergo, VA Software is a media company.
Well, that's true. As a long time reader, I can confirm that Slashdot has helped me talk with BSD (dead :-) people on more than one occasion.

Re:Dummy - Slashdot IS VA Software (1)

dacut (243842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306602)

VA Software owns Slashdot: [...] Ergo, VA Software is a media company.

Media company? I always figured their specialty was data storage and online backups. How else can you explain the nice stream of duplicate articles?

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306216)

It was announced afterwards for a reason. They're not really taking it down because nobody wants it or anything, it's because they lack manpower to keep it working. It basically needs a lot of work to get it back in a usable state, and it's not widely used, so they're just dropping it. (At least for now. I've heard third-hand that it may come back later.)
  And yeah, you can do lots of os testing just using vmware or qemu, but the compile farm was useful if you wanted to test PowerPC builds, ARM builds, or other different architectures. So it isn't something that projects can just replace with virtualization.

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306242)

It was announced afterwards for a reason. They're not really taking it down because nobody wants it or anything, it's because they lack manpower to keep it working. It basically needs a lot of work to get it back in a usable state, and it's not widely used, so they're just dropping it.

This is the classic downside of "software as a service".

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (1)

athmanb (100367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306850)

It's economically unrealistic to have a single company to maintain dozens of different architectures, some of which are in use maybe minutes a month. It would be nice of course by VA Software to take the cost but you can't really expect it from them.

I see it more that if someone likes a certain fringe platform so much that he wants to see Linux software ported to it, he should maintain a compiler/test machine with the help of standardized deployment software. Sourceforge could release the tools they were using on their machines to the public, then other people could step in and take over the job of actually running the machines it runs on.

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (1)

blake182 (619410) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306270)

With behavior like that, SourceForge can't be considered a safe location for important code. I'd suggest that it's time to get projects off SourceForge. Make offsite backups of anything important now.

I'd probably have suggested this long ago. Last year they had at least a four day outage where there was no CVS access, which prompted at least one developer [racoonfink.com] to pack up and leave.

I do appreciate the complexity of system uptime -- I really do. But if you can't have at least "one nine" uptime, you're not much good to anyone. I'm not sure if I care if this was an isolated incident or not, it should never happen for a service that's in such wide use. And yeah, I get that it's community supported and what do I expect for my $0. So I guess that's an excuse to do a poor job. So I guess I'll go pay money to Dreamhost and use their one nine uptime service instead. At least they'll apologize [dreamhost.com] in a tongue in cheek kind of way when you bitch about it, since no amount of money will bring your little Billy back.

So I guess I've argued myself into a corner here. I started out being mad that SourceForge doesn't offer the quality of service I might like, and that you should go pick somewhere else to put your code. And then I realized that for the most part, no one offers any kind of service guarantee unless you run it yourself, in which case you can be pissed, but you're pissed at yourself. So you didn't fix the service problem, but at least you know where the bastard lives and can TP his house.

So never mind, no one does a good job. SourceForge is as good as any. Knock yourself out and turn the other cheek when CVS is down for four days or when they yank a part of the service that you liked.

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306534)

I'd guess if the service in question were used by any largish number of people, that they probably would've found a way to turn it into a profit instead of a drain. But, if not many people are interested in your free product, you're going to kill it entirely if you have to make money with it.

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306540)

I do appreciate the complexity of system uptime -- I really do. But if you can't have at least "one nine" uptime, you're not much good to anyone.
One 9 uptime would be if they were only up a little over a month for each year.
Two 9's means they can be down about 4 days total in a year.

Just for some context...

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306608)

One nine means one nine after the decimal (99.9%)

Re:They announced this AFTER the shutdown? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306760)

According to processor.com http://www.processor.com/editorial/article.asp?art icle=articles%2Fp2633%2F06cp33%2F06cp33.asp [processor.com] , "one nine" uptime means that you can have up to 876 hours downtime per year.

That's more than a month of downtime, slightly more than sourceforge's 4 days..

One Nine? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307052)

you do realize, one nine allows 36.5 days of downtime a year?

Industry moving forward (2, Insightful)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306220)

Personally, I see less and less need for compiled and distributed software as broadband internet becomes ubiquitous and rich internet applications become more sophisticated. As it stands now, there is very little that traditional software does that can't be replicated on the web using the right technology. Software as a service is slowly becoming a reality and compiled software is soon to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Re:Industry moving forward (4, Funny)

ZenShadow (101870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306244)

Yes, because all those rich web applications will run on... rich web applications?

--S

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306256)

I didn't say "everything" could be replicated on the web. I said very little couldn't be. That said, I would assume that web applications would probably run on a machine with an OS, web server, etc. That would fall into that "very little" part :-)

Re:Industry moving forward (4, Insightful)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306464)

And what is the client running? A web browser running on machine with an OS. So, you need compiler, programming, and testing infrastructure for:
  • The application provider's OS
  • The application provider's network services
  • The application
  • The client's OS
  • The client's network client
And this is supposed to be a less complicated system to write, distribute, and debug than traditional systems that you can do away with traditional compile-farms? Software is a service, no need to install anything. Unless, of course, you want to print something. Or is that a service too? Burning a DVD is a service? Put your DVD-R in the drive, connect to your favourite DVD authoring service, and... go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow your disc will be done. Unless DVD or HD-DVD quality video is something you expect to get solely off broadband.

There are so many exceptions to what software-as-a-service can reasonably do that the majority of people who are reading this do on a daily basis that I just have to laugh when people bring this up. Beyond a wet dream for Microsoft where they lovingly sit back and watch the monthly subscription dollars roll in, this is never going to happen.

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306580)

Beyond a wet dream for Microsoft where they lovingly sit back and watch the monthly subscription dollars roll in, this is never going to happen.

Your post is mostly in the bullseye, but I'd replace Microsoft with Google on that sentence ;)

Re:Industry moving forward (2, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306572)

Implement a media player on the "software as a service" model.

Now implement a cryptography library on the "software as a service" model. Oops, you're sending plain text data through the cables...

Now implement a real time application on the "software as a service" model.

Now implement an application which requires near-100% availability on the "software as a service" model.

Now implement a high-end game on the "software as a service" model.

Are you done? Do you like the results?

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306644)

> Now implement a high-end game on the "software as a service" model.

Like World of Warcraft? I'm as sceptical of Software-as-a-Service as the next man, but that was a pretty poor example. Just because SaaS gives Salesforce and Google a hard-on doesn't mean that local storage and local processing power will disappear in the future.

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306736)

Well, the discussion was about web-based software. Of course it's possible to have a software-as-service component in many kinds of applications, but, even in that case, the client-side software is still very important.

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306802)

Like World of Warcraft?
You are correct, of course, that WoW is software-as-a-service in a sense. However, it relies on a rich client application built in a low-level programming language compiled to platform-specific binaries, so it's very, very different from the kind of thing the originator of this thread had in mind.

WoW is also different because its design is dictated by the type of software it is. You simply can't have an massively multiplayer game that doesn't rely on network connectivity. But there's nothing in the nature of a word processor that requires it to be delivered as a service.

Another interesting example might be the Half-Life 2 type of thing, which is moving in the direction of online delivery of gaming content that isn't in any way inherently online. But even that is reliant on low-level platform-specific code, and only uses the online component to deliver that code to your computer. So, arguably software-as-a-service, but a world away from web applications.

Re:Industry moving forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306480)

Software as a service is slowly becoming a reality and compiled software is soon to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Looks like you've got ways to go before you can call yourself a computer professional if you think the above is true.

All the high performance stuff is still being written in C (and in some cases even assembler with conditional compilation via -DMACROs), and that isn't going to go away. Not for a veeery long time. Because Javashit and .NETcrap just don't cut it. They're a crutch for "X-mas tree experts" that somehow found their way into Informatics... but those people can't even hold a candle to a computer professional. And before you start typing away... NO, cranking out .NET and Java "code" does not make you a computer professional. It makes you an "X-mas tree expert". Who didn't know enough C or assembler to be able to crank out fast code in a short amount of time.
Which is really, really bad.

Re:Industry moving forward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306482)

Well, for starters, a DDoS attack won't affect any of my traditional software. Nor will my cheap-ass ISP going bust. Or road construction outside my house cutting through the cable/phone lines.

It wasn't so long ago that a whole COUNTRY (Pakistan) lost its internet access because one cable was damaged.

Traditional software ain't going away anytime soon.

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306552)

Exactly. See how I simply upload this audio file to a server which then decodes it and sends it back to my speakers...

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306754)

As it stands now, there is very little that traditional software does that can't be replicated on the web using the right technology.
So why isn't it being done?

Where is the web-based Word? (Google Docs is a web-based Wordpad which lacks even basic features like search-and-replace.)

Where is the web-based Photoshop?

Where are the modern web-based games? (Flash is just about capable of replicating the high points of the late 1980s.)

Where is the web-based web browser? :P

Face it... you might be able to do anything with the right technology. But for most things, the web is the wrong technology. Rich client apps are certainly here to stay, and you can bet your life most of them will be compiled in some way.

Software as a service is slowly becoming a reality and compiled software is soon to go the way of the dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years. I suspect you are right, and compiled software will, indeed, do much the same thing. (Particularly if that Skynet project gets off the ground.)

As for software-as-a-service - no thanks. I like my software free, not rented or ad-supported.

Re:Industry moving forward (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307076)

Broadband isn't that ubiquitous yet. As a consultant spending most of my time on the road around Europe, whenever I find myself within reach of an affordable broadband connection I jump at it. That's usually back at my hotel in the evening because when I'm at work I'm not allowed access to my customers' broadband systems because of security. If I were dependent on web services then I would only be able to work when I wasn't at work! (GPRS doesn't help not only because I don't consider it affordable but because I'm not allowed a mobile phone in many work locations).

Can we start a replacement project (4, Interesting)

the100rabh (947158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306246)

Can we start a community driven project similar to Compile Farm where people with systems contribute their system time in an anonymous fashion. Something like a p2p compilation.

Re:Can we start a replacement project (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306468)

It's expensive: power, cooling, rent on the building with the rackspace, and bandwidth all add up to a considerable chunk of change. And the professional skills to run such a farm are unusual and expensive to hire, or to contribute. Even a modest Q/A testing and evaluation farm can cost a few hundred thousand dollars a year when you add up all the costs.

Re:Can we start a replacement project (1)

XO (250276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306546)

no, you just have people who have spare computers or lots of spare processing time, offer up free accounts on said computers. No big deal at all, and in fact, something that goes back to the beginnings of Open Source, when everyone in the world could login to RMS's MIT account.

Re:Can we start a replacement project (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306822)

no, you just have people who have spare computers or lots of spare processing time, offer up free accounts on said computers.
"Hey, hackers! Wanna try out your 0-day privilege escalation attacks? Here's a username and password to my computer on this IP address! Don't worry about brute-forcing the root password, I've got plenty of spare processing time!"

The world has changed since RMS let people use his MIT account. Sorry, but in this day and age, unless you're a security expert, you'd be asking for trouble donating any kind of access to a project like this.

Re:Can we start a replacement project (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307058)

Not unless they're running virtual environments, not just spare accounts. Build and testing environments *cannot* have random pieces of other people's software and build environments lying around, or you don't know what you're actually testing.

Remember, various sourceforge tools have various dependencies: compiler, web server, glibc and gcc PHP and perl and regexp and make, all of which may affect compilation and proper behavior. That's a nightmare to predict on someone's private server. If folks were willing to run VMware or Xen or something like to provide defined build environments, OK. That makes sense. But to simply open up user accounts to other sourceforge developers randomly is begging for massive trouble.

It's not even just a security problem. A simple bug in PHP can blow away the rest of the Apache owned user space, or overflow any partition on the system that the web server can write to. And it can suck down all the CPU resources, the memory resource, or the inodes on the partition even without using up the disk space. I've seen all of these happen in debugging. Maintaining a reliable build environment and protecting the other build environments from the inevitable errors in one build environment takes work and understanding of security and building scalable infrastructure for auto-testing and autobuilding.

I've done things like this professionally. But my time is not cheap: even if I'm willing to contribute my time (and I might be!), is my free source development time better spent elsewhere? Modesty and a desire for privacy preclude my listing them, but I'm currently involved in active development of 3 notable projects. Should I give up my involvement in those, especially because I'm getting paid for one of them, to work on this?

Would "mock" help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306764)

There's a tool from RedHat (at least, available for fedora) called mock which makes the build environemnt completely separate from the local system (as long as the binaries are compatible of course) that might help considerably in separating the build environment from the local system.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Projects/Mock [fedoraproject.org]

Re:Can we start a replacement project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306880)

Something like a p2p compilation.

Yeah, and then everyone could introduce whatever code they want in the compiled binaries... such as trojans, viruses, botnets... Great idea.

Debian build daemons (4, Informative)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306258)

Get your software packaged by Debian (which you probably want to do anyway), and it will get built on (currently) 15 architectures of GNU/Linux, along with 3 non-Linux architectures (kfreebsd-i386, kfreebsd-amd64, hurd-i386), with more popping up occasionally.

Re:Debian build daemons (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306762)

Get your software packaged by Debian

How? I have two floss projects that I would like to do that with. Got a link?

Solution: Rent some zombies from some hax0rz! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306276)

Finally a legit use......

Re:Solution: Rent some zombies from some hax0rz! (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306806)

But we know all the zombies are Windows/x86, because that's the only insecure platform, right?

CPAN Testers (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306292)

Just upload your code to CPAN, and the CPAN Testers [cpan.org] will test it for you. Easy!

http://www.testdrive.hp.com/ (5, Informative)

Harry8 (664596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306368)

http://www.testdrive.hp.com/ [hp.com]
HP dude Bdale Garbee has said HP is delighted if people use testdrive to test their code on different architecture and OS combinations.

HP's TestDrive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306392)

Hewlett-Packard provides a program called TestDrive, which allows you to access for free some interesting systems like HP-UX, Tru64 Unix, SuSE Linux, FreeBSD, and even OpenVMS! They also just integrated a Windows 2003 box ;-)
Link: http://www.testdrive.hp.com/ [hp.com]

Solaris compile farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306430)

If you want to test/port code for (Open)Solaris, become a member of the Blastwave [blastwave.org] community.

Dennis maintains a farm of both i86pc and sparc platforms from Solaris 8 up to the latest Nevada build, and the membership is free to all interested parties.

In fact, I encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience.

Short of doing that, the best solution is to snag a 19" rack from ebay (they can be had for cheap these days), stick it in the basement if you have one, and load it up with cheap hardware from ebay (and Sun and hp systems are (*very* cheap nowdays, especially on ebay).

I'll do it. (5, Informative)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306566)

I can donate hardware and sysadmin man-hours, but I need either space, electricity, and bandwidth or money (which can obviously get me space, power, and bandwidth). I have lots of platforms just sitting in storage, and I plan to ebay most of it unless someone can get help for an interesting and useful project like this. The architectures I can provide are as follows:

4x Sgi o2 (MIPS both R10k and r5k) currently running IRIX, but I could install Linux, NetBSD or OpenBSD
Compaq with Xeons (eight way SMP 4GB RAM) Debian or FreeBSD
Sun (four way SPARC64 SMP 2GB RAM) running Solaris, but I could install Linux
Sgi octane2 (MIPS R14k 1GB RAM) IRIX
HP visualize J6700 (dual SMP PA-RISC64 4GB RAM) running Debian, could install HP-UX
HP precision book (PA-RISC32) running HP-UX, could install Linux or OpenBSD
Sun (SPARC64) running OpenBSD, could install Linux or Solaris
Plenty of boring x86 machines, some older PA-RISC32 junk, and probably other RISC boxen that I forgot about....

Send an email to
unixclan
REMOVE THIS IF YOU ARE NOT A BOT
@
gmail.com
If you think you can help me host an alternative compile farm.

unixclan@gmail.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306730)

unixclan@gmail.com

Re:unixclan@gmail.com (1)

aysa (452184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307112)

This malicious post should not be modded down but DELETED.
Bots do not care if the poster was a troll.

OMG (1)

aysa (452184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307188)

The anonymous coward also posted the email address in the title.
Now also my previous post should be deleted. Funny and sad.

Apple Mac OS X??? (1)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306728)


I used the Compile Farm for Apple Mac OS X.

Now where do I go?

Hello, this is 2007, you know? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306734)

In 2007 everyone (except Slashdot journalists) uses VMware.

If you support platforms not supported by VMware the closing of the compile farm is your smallest problem anyways.

You can even use the working(!) NFS client included in "Services for Unix" http://www.microsoft.com/technet/interopmigration/ unix/sfu/default.mspx [microsoft.com] to reliably communicate between a virtualized Windows and the host Linux system. You work with Linux switch to VMware running Windows and access the same code in Visual Studio without any problem.

Welcome to 2007...

End of story, Nothing to see... Good night!

HP TestDrive has many of the platforms (1)

gagravarr (148765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306768)

You might want to look into HP's TestDrive [hp.com] program. You get access to wide range of OS's, on x86, Itanium and PA-RISC. Sign up, log in, and play.

IIRC, it's not quite such a range of hardware as SF provided, but it is a wider range of OS's on the hardware they do provide.

The openSUSE Build Service (4, Informative)

apokryphos (869208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306794)

The openSUSE Build Service: http://opensuse.org/Build_Service [opensuse.org] (supporting Mandriva, Debian, openSUSE, SLED, SLES, Ubuntu, Fedora...).

Usage stats? (2, Insightful)

Orlando (12257) | more than 7 years ago | (#18306826)

As a consequence, I expect many projects dropping support for some of the platforms they can't get access to.

Do we have any actual data on how popular the service was? I think this was a neat idea, but if it wasn't being used it won't be missed...

what portability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18306868)

portability a strength in oss? don't make me laugh.. most of it is linux specific.
it still sucks that that compile farm gets shutdown - i didn't even know it existed until now :-/

I'm no expert but... (1)

Sylvene (1074330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18307014)

Considering how much interest SourceForge's CompileFarm project had generated up until now, it seems likely that a larger company, like Google for instance, would very soon become aware of the wide ranging attractiveness of such a cross-platform testing service. Keeping in mind the broad readership Slashdot enjoys, I find myself wondering how far away we might now be from a larger company, with the processing power and bandwidth to spare, offering us a free cross-compatibility testing forum that obeys the majority of different OS coding factions' general acceptance.
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