GitHub Stops Offering Binary Downloads

Only few month ago, almost anyone would swear by GitHub and curse SourceForge. GitHub was (and probably still) the fastest growing and by now the largest code repository, while SourceForge was the overthrown king. SourceForge looks like an archaic service despite some major facelifts while GitHub is the cool kid on the block. Recently, GitHub showed us why SourceForge is still relevant for the open-source community.

Back in December, GitHub dropped their support for downloading files from outside the code repository. They say that they believe that code should be distributed directly from the git repository. This is probably fine for projects written in dynamic languages (such as python, ruby, javascript) where no binary distribution is expected. However, this seems to me like a blow to any GitHub hosted C/C++ project. No one expects lay users to compile projects directly from source, it a hassle for most people except developers (and possibly Gentoo users :-)).

It might be a good idea on GitHub team, as they promote themselves as a developer collaboration tool, and also most of their projects a indeed in dynamic languages (see the top languages statistics). The GitHub teams offers in their post two solutions: Uploading files to Amazon S3 and switching to SourceForge, and I’ve read at least a few people recommending putting binary releases in the git repository (bad idea).

Overall, I think this move by GitHub, just turned SourceForge into the best code repository (for compiled code) once again.

2 thoughts on “GitHub Stops Offering Binary Downloads

  1. Tord

    Why not using bitbucket instead… they provide download and a gui that is much better than sourceforge

    /t

  2. Guy Post author

    I was under the impression that they only support mercurial, while I prefer using git. Surprisingly, I found out that they support git hosting for some time now. I guess I need to give them a try.

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