A brief history of the Coclico project… (unofficial position from the project, authored by Roland Mas)
In the beginning, there was Sourceforge.net, and pretty much nothing else in the field of software forges. Then several forks appeared, and were maintained over the years, with varying degrees of visibility. The 2007-2008 period in particular saw a decline of interest in the field; GForge and forges in general lost visibility and dynamism during a few years. The community lacked enthusiasm, and development was slow. However, the tools themselves were still useful, and many organisations (companies, non-profits, universities and so on) were maintaining a forge for their internal needs. Many of them were also developing add-ons or new features, but they were kept local, because of the lack of a dynamic community around the software itself, and also probably because of the corporate culture where contributions to external free software projects was not encouraged.
It happened that some of the people using, maintaining or developing a forge in France got in touch with each other, though, and when it became clear that there were several of us, a mailing-list was set up to host discussions on the general subject of forges, and that list slowly gained subscribers as time passed and word-of-mouth spread. At some point (in February 2008), we decided to have a meeting to discuss things more efficiently than on the list. That meeting was held in Paris, since this was still a French-only micro-community, but we already realised that we did have lots in common: there are lots of forges installed in various places, each more or less maintained, with different amount of patching, and so on. What was interesting was that several instances were independently patched to achieve a similar result, and that was duplication of effort that we all agreed was a waste of resources. So the discussions on the mailing-list was strengthened, and we set up a wiki and a feed agregator at planetforge.org shortly after the second meeting (May 2008). We also discussed how concrete collaboration could be set up, and the third meeting (January 2009) held two important decisions: one, the official beginning of FusionForge to maintain a free software forge; two, the decision to start a formal project for exchanging code and contributions, and hopefully getting several of the SourceForge forks to converge.
It took several months of paperwork to actually get started, but the Coclico project officially began in October, 2009. It's a kind of consortium organised between several entities, with a mission and a set of goals that the members have agreed on. Since this mission and these goals will promote free software and competitivity, they match the criteria for some of the “business clusters” that get public funding in France. So the Coclico project was considered eligible for funding, and the work is therefore partly sponsored by the French government. It is not an ivory tower, though, and the links to the open (and international) PlanetForge community are obvious.
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