Popular open-source software development site SourceForge.net hosted the equivalent of the open-source Oscars on Thursday evening, billing the event as a big party, not a painfully long and formal awards ceremony.

File archiver 7-Zip won the top award as all-over best project and also picked up the prize for best technical design. The Firebird relational database was another double winner, being voted both best project for the enterprise and the project providing the best user support.

It was the second time SourceForge.net has asked its community to vote for their favorite open-source projects after debuting its Community Choice Awards last year.

The awards are one way SourceForge.net has discovered to highlight strong and popular performers among the more than 150,000 open-source projects the site hosts, according to Ross Turk, SourceForge.net’s community manager. “Last year, there was a really good response,” he said.

“I think people really value being a winner.” SourceForge.net has around 1.6 million registered users, around 80 percent of whom are based outside of the U.S.

The community first nominated 10 finalists for each of the 11 awards and then voted for the winner in each category.

One surprise for the organizers was eMule, a peer-to-peer file sharing client, winning as best new project, since the project was first published on SourceForge.net in 2002.

Because of that, Turk said, they decided to have two winners of the best new project award, also recognizing runner-up Launchy, an application launcher for Windows and a more recent project on SourceForge.net.

The plan for the three-hour party in a hotel in Portland, Oregon, celebrating the awards was to run it as a lively event with food and drink and small five-minute video presentations about the winners occurring throughout the evening, Turk said.

There was also a raffle for an Apple iPhone, along with the t-shirt Turk received when waiting in line to buy one of the coveted mobile devices when they first went on sale at the end of last month. SourceForge.net was hoping that between 300 and 500 people would attend the party.

Each winning project also received a Thingamagoop from Bleep Labs. The devices that look like rather demented robots are analog type synthesizers, which can be controlled in a variety of ways to emit different and often high-pitched tones.

When he initially came across one, Turk saw it as a must-have, but now that he’s familiar with the device, his pet name for the Thingamagoop has become the Annoyatron.

Each device is handmade and the winners received Thingamagoops in SourceForge.net’s signature colors of orange and gray. “They really fit the awards,” Turk said. “They’re kind of techie and kitschy.”

The other SourceForge.net 2007 Community Choice Award winners were:

Audacity as best project for multimedia

Azureus as most collaborative project

phpBB as best project for communications

phpMyAdmin as best tool or utility for system administrators;

ScummVM as best project for gamers;

TortoiseSVN for best tool or utility for developers.