I visit SourceForge.net and Microsoft’s CodePlex.com once or twice a month to see what’s new and the most downloaded projects lists. The different natures of the top 10 most downloaded projects on each site always struck me as interesting. Let’s take a look at the what the lists looked like recently.
|AJAX Control Toolkit||eMule|
|Microsoft SQL Server Product Samples: Database||Azureus|
|Live Hits Finder||BitTorrent|
|Vista/XP Virtual Desktop Manager||GTK+ and the GIMP installers for Windows|
|.NET Reflector Add-Ins||Shareaza|
|Microsoft SQL Server Community & Samples||Audacity|
|Community Kit for SharePoint||FileZilla|
Three of the top 10 on CodePlex are product samples for SQL Server and SharePoint. The, there’s a couple of developer kits like AJAX Control Toolkit or .NET Reflector Add-Ins. There are only three rather narrow applications that can be used out-of-the-box as standalone projects: Rawr (for World of Warcraft players), Live Hits Finder, and Vista/XP Virtual Desktop Manager.
The top 10 on SourceForge have completely different complexion. All 10 projects provide out-of-the-box ready-to-use applications that most for end users.
There are, of course, many Open Source projects with end-user ready applications for Microsoft Windows (FileZilla, TrueCrypt, and 7-Zip come to mind) and are, in fact, often hosted on SourceForge. But, it seems to me that CodePlex’s real value will emerge if it became a destination site for both end-users and developers to go to for Open Source projects for Microsoft Windows. The samples and toolkits are fine. But, they don’t generate much interest or provide much value to the vast majority of Microsoft Windows users.