Caught Off Guard Novell Forge svn is Gone!


Hi All,

This is a heads up to anyone working from our svn repository. Yesterday afternoon as I tried to do an svn commit I got an error that it could not connect to the server. I figured it was a temporary issue but it was down still this morning so I did a quick google for "novell forge svn is down" and what I found totally caught me off guard. Apparently the service is shut down completely and I was never notified it was coming and did not see the announcement about it. So I had no time to prepare and migrate to another project hosting. Of course I still have the latest version of the code on my machine but all the history of changes is lost as far as I know.

It sure would have been nice if this had been communicated through more channels like an email to project administrators or to the novell forge mailing list.

So, today I have to figure out the go forward plan and execute it as quickly as possible so I can get back to normal development tasks.

The 2 viable choices as I see them are either hosting the code at SourceForge where we can continue using svn and TortoiseSVN for all source control operations or hosting the code at Codeplex. The advantage of Codeplex would be that source code activities would now be captured as project activity and possibly help us get recognized on Codeplex as being a very active project whereas in the past we never got on the list of most active projects partly because they had no tracking of our source code activity when we were hosted on Novell Forge. The downside would be that we would no longer be able to do all source control operations with TortoiseSVN. There is an svn bridge built into the Codeplex service so it would still be possible to do svn checkout and svn update and probably commit would also work, but it does not support merge which is a very important function when you maintain different branches of code and want to merge changes from one branch to another. But the real source code control system behind Codeplex is Team Foundation Server and we would have the option of using Visual Studio Team Explorer. My perception is that branching and merging is a lot different in TFS so there would be a learning curve to get up to speed as compared with continuing to use svn at SourceForge. This would only affect those with commit access though, users just doing checkout and update could use TortoiseSVN to get the code from Codeplex.

Github would also be a possibility but would require a learning curve and different tools for working with source control. I would love to have been able to consider Google Code but they don't support our use of the Common Public License and I don't think we should have to change our license to make Google happy.

At the moment I'm leaning towards using Codeplex. It is the go to place for Microsoft centric open source projects and we already host our download files there and it seems advantageous to consolidate our source code repository there. If anyone has an opinion, feel free to weigh in with comments.

UPDATE: I've completed the initial checkin at Codeplex, you can now get the latest code again, using TortoiseSVN, the url is

It was a fairly smooth migration to Codeplex and it all seems to be working ok and back to business as usual.

UPDATE 2010-05-19: We had some issues where some client machines could not get all the files using TortoiseSVN while other machines had no problems. After trying for several days to figure out why it didn't work on a problem machine we had no success in finding the cause or solution. So yesterday we reset the repository and are now using Mercurial instead of TFS. New instructions for getting the code with TortoiseAG can be found here. At first I was a little hesitant to switch to Mercurial but after reading up on it, it seemed like it might have some advantages. So far I'm really liking it better than svn.

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Gravatar Joe Audette is the founder of the mojoPortal project and was the primary developer until February 2017.