First, you'll recall the original announcement by SourceForge that it was establishing a denial of site list in order to comply with United States legal requirements, banning nations such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria from being able to access any of the open source projects hosted at SourceForge. Of course, that didn't just ban the governments running various totalitarian regimes in these nations, but also every single citizen living in the banned countries. In essence, the United States, and by its legal compliance SourceForge, was restricting people from access to open source projects just because of where they lived.
I didn't blame SourceForge for this (although plenty of people did). When you get a legal order from an entity that has the right to issue and enforce legal orders, if you are law abiding in your nation of residence, you comply with the order. SourceForge had nothing to gain by "bucking the system" and could ultimately do more harm than good to the open source community by telling the U.S. Government to "go pound sand".
Things have now changed. SourceForge has decided to lift its ban according to their announcement last Sunday but that doesn't mean it's "business as usual". SourceForge has put the responsibility to allow or deny access to projects in the hands of the individual project administrators. This makes a lot more sense when you consider that not all projects universally are banned from being disseminated by the U.S to embargoed nations.
Is full access to all the projects at SourceForge completely restored? No. Access is now determined on a project-by-project basis by the project administrators themselves. SourceForge is only involved to the degree that it has allowed project admins this level of control over project access on the SourceForge site. Most of the comments made in response to this action, at least from U.S. developers, are really positive. Non-U.S. folks tend to still slam the U.S. embargo list if not SourceForge, including one German fellow:
I am not an U.S. citizen, so I give a fuck on U.S. laws. We Germans are allowed to export anything to anywhere. Also our encryption mechanisms. So it’s all right for me.I guess you can't please everyone.
For instance, Brockmeier's blog included a link to ArabCrunch.com's take on the SourceForge matter (despite the fact that the embargo list doesn't affect just Arab nations). You can read first hand, the thoughts and particularly the emotions this entire incident has evoked, as written by Abdulrahman Idlbi, who "is computer engineering master’s student at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals", in his guest editorial.
Did SourceForge do the right thing? Yes. The overarching principle of open source is to be accessible to everyone, and I mean everyone. Politics, ethnicity, gender, and any other differences and divisions simply don't matter. Open source, at its finest, functions to unite people, or at least developers, all over the world, in a common and peaceful endeavour. OK, the real world doesn't work that way, but as I said, this is an ideal. I think we found out pretty quickly that political and ideological differences kick in with a vengeance (see the comment from the German fellow and the ArabCrunch article) when you throw a monkey wrench into the machine.
Open source is an ideal but this entire sequence of events has illustrated with great clarity that we human beings, all of us, have a long way to go before we even approach this ideal with how we think, feel, and live.