Collaborative Software Development Using R-Forge

Stefan Theußl, Achim Zeileis

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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Open source software (OSS) is typically created in a decentralized self-organizing process by a community of developers having the same or similar interests. A key factor for the success of OSS over the last two decades is the internet: Developers who rarely meet face-to-face can employ new means of communication, both for rapidly writing and deploying software. Therefore, many tools emerged that assist a collaborative software development process, including in particular tools for source code management (SCM) and version control. In the R world, SCM is not a new idea, in fact, the R Development Core Team has always been using SCM tools for the R sources; first by means of Concurrent Versions System (CVS), and then via Subversion (SVN). A central repository is hosted by ETH Zürich mainly for managing the development of the base R system. Mailing lists like R-help, R-devel and many others are currently the main communication channels in the R community. Also beyond the base system, many R contributors employ SCM tools for managing their R packages, e.g., via web-based SVN repositories like SourceForge ( or Google Code ( However, there has been no central SCM repository providing services suited to the specific needs of R package developers. Since early 2007, the R-project offers such a central platform to the R community. R-Forge ( provides a set of tools for source code management and various web-based features. It aims to provide a platform for collaborative development of R packages, R-related software or further projects.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008

Publication series

SeriesResearch Report Series / Department of Statistics and Mathematics

WU Working Paper Series

  • Research Report Series / Department of Statistics and Mathematics

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