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The SourceForge Hegemony

By pongo in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 10:36:38 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

Recently, a project I have been sharing co-admin responsiblities for was hijacked. I won't mention the name of the project because the actual hijacking isn't the subject of this rant, but I will go so far as to say said project has been around for several years, and appears in several Linux distros. Why do I call this a hijacking? Because I was removed from both admin and developer lists without my consent. Because the developers of the project were removed, and replaced with two developers who later confirmed in separate e-mails that they did not request to be put on the project, have no knowledge of the project, and were not asked if they wanted to join the project. I might also add I have been the major contributor to this project for the last three years, and while the project hasn't seen much in the way of activity over the last year or so, it was by no means an abandoned project.

I'm sure there are those of you who are thinking, "Hey, you shared the admin privileges with someone; it's your fault and no one else's." And that's fine by me--I blame no one but myself for trusting someone who obviously wasn't as trustworthy as I first thought. Believe me, in the future I will think very hard about inviting admin help.

But what really chaps my ass, and this is the subject of my rant, is the response, or lack thereof, by SourceForge. I dutifully searched the docs for variants of "hijacked project appeal procedures," and, finding none, posted to the Support team tracker. I explained the reasons why I felt this was a malicious action on the part of one of their subscribers, citing evidence I mentioned previously. The response I received was a canned response that advised me to go through the APT (abandoned project) procedure to "reclaim" the project.

I wrote back, explaining that I think there was a misunderstanding: I'm not trying to pick up an abandoned project; I simply would like some support in trying to iron out the issues involved. The response I received was curt: Go through the APT procedures, or fork the project.

This (in)action got me thinking about SourceForge. I and others have made no bones about the fact that SourceForge holds almost all the eggs in the open source basket, and that there is not much that separates VA Software from the fate of many other dot coms (VA Software's explosive increase in advertising on most of their sites bears witness to the fact that funds are being depleted). If VA Software decide to shut down SourceForge today, what would be the effects on the open source movement?

I believe the effects would be extremely damaging to the open source community. How many projects are hosted, in their entirety, on servers other than those controlled by VA Software? Even if 10% of the 80,000+ projects hosted by SourceForge are active, what would be the cost in time and effort to bring 8,000 projects back on-line? Don't count on Freshmeat being there to point users to your new site: I would imagine whatever financial calamity warranted the shutdown of SourceForge would also bring down Freshmeat and all the other non-revenue-bearing sites of the VA Software corporate machine.

For many developers and open source supporters, SourceForge boils down to convenience: Free hosting, free utilities, secure access, one-stop shopping, and well-known presence. But what will be ultimate price paid by the open source community for this convenience?

This incident has really opened my eyes to the dangers of a VA Software hegemony over open source. Up to this point, like many of you, I've simply been too lazy to do anything about it. Now that I've been forced into action, I see that I should have heeded my own advice. Again, no one to blame but myself. The question is, who will you blame when the money runs out and SourceForge is history?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Do you believe SourceForge is a threat or an asset to the open source community?
o An asset 36%
o A threat 19%
o Quit your bitching, you ungrateful SOB 43%

Votes: 141
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Freshmeat
o Also by pongo

Display: Sort:
The SourceForge Hegemony | 91 comments (68 topical, 23 editorial, 3 hidden)
Open source nerds will be open source nerds. (2.44 / 34) (#1)
by qpt on Mon Apr 26, 2004 at 10:33:20 PM EST

You knew, or should've known, that you were diving into a world of petty political games, giant egos, and childish bickering.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Ooh! Ooh! I know! I know! (2.58 / 17) (#2)
by regeya on Mon Apr 26, 2004 at 10:34:18 PM EST

We'll go back to people hosting projects in their university-provided space, or setting up a rogue machine in a closet at work, or some other stupid thing like that.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Open Source Development HOW-TO (2.51 / 60) (#7)
by Penrod Pooch on Mon Apr 26, 2004 at 11:01:10 PM EST

  1. Introduction

    As everyone knows, Open Source software is the wave of the future. With the market share of GNU/Linux and *BSD increasing every day, interest in Open Source Software is at an all time high.

    Developing software within the Open Source model benefits everyone. People can take your code, improve it and then release it back to the community. This cycle continues and leads to the creation of far more stable software than the 'Closed Source' shops can ever hope to create.

    So you're itching to create that Doom 3 killer but don't know where to start? Read on!

  2. First Steps

    The most important thing that any Open Source project needs is a Sourceforge page. There are tens of thousands of successful Open Source projects on Sourceforge; the support you receive here will be invaluable.

    OK, so you've registered your Sourceforge project and set the status to '0: Pre-Thinking About It', what's next?

  3. Don't Waste Time!

    Now you need to set up your SourceForge homepage. Keep it plain and simple - don't use too many HTML tags, just knock something up in VI. Website editors like FrontPage and DreamWeaver just create bloated eye-candy - you need to get your message to the masses!

  4. Ask For Help

    Since you probably can't program at all you'll need to try and find some people who think they can. If your project is a game you'll probably need an artist too. Ask for help on your new Sourceforge pages. Here is an example to get you started:

    "Hi there! Welcom to my SorceForge page! I am planing to create a Fisrt Person Shooter game for Linux that is going to kick Doom 3's ass! I have loads of awesome ideas, like giant robotic spiders! I need some help thouh as I cant program or draw. If you can program or draw the tekstures please get in touch! K thx bye!"

    Thousands of talented programmers and artists hang out at Sourceforge ready to devote their time to projects so you should get a team together in no time!

  5. The A-Team

    So now you have your team together you are ready to change your projects status to '1: Pre-Bickering'. You will need to discuss your ideas with your team mates and see what value they can add to the project. You could use an Instant Messaging program like MSN for this, but since you run Linux you'll have to stick to e-mail.

    Don't forget that YOU are in charge! If your team doesn't like the idea of giant robotic spiders just delete them from the project and move on. Someone else can fill their place and this is the beauty of Open Source development. The code might end up a bit messy and the graphics inconsistant - but it's still 'Free as in Speech'!

  6. Getting Down To It

    Now that you've found a team of right thinking people you're ready to start development. Be prepared for some delays though. Programming is a craft and can take years to learn. Your programmer may be a bit rusty but will probably be writing "hello world" programs after school in no time.

    Closed Source games like Doom 3 use the graphics card to do all the hard stuff anyhow, so your programmer will just have to get the NVidia 'API' and it will be plain sailing! Giant robot spiders, here we come!

  7. The Outcome

    So it's been a few years, you still have no files released or in CVS. Your programmer can't get enough time on the PC because his mother won't let him use it after 8pm. Your artist has run off with a Thai She-Male. Your project is still at '1: Pre-Bickering'...

    Congratulations! You now have a successful Open Source project on Sourceforge! Pat yourself on the back, think up another idea and do it all again! See how simple it is?

+1FP (2.22 / 9) (#11)
by undermyne on Mon Apr 26, 2004 at 11:48:46 PM EST

Far better than the snoozefest you were commenting on.

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

[ Parent ]
giant robotic spiders (none / 3) (#20)
by the77x42 on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:38:34 AM EST

i remember hearing about this at a kevin smith lecture regarding a 'wild wild west' producer

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
One step left out! (none / 0) (#74)
by haroldmarshall on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 10:39:50 PM EST

While your how-to to is ALMOST perfect, there is an important step you left out: Come up with a really cool name. Names are what attract users, not concepts or useability.

[ Parent ]
This petty infighting will be the end of (1.06 / 66) (#9)
by sellison on Mon Apr 26, 2004 at 11:03:40 PM EST

you open sores fanatics.

And good riddence, too. Your projects fork up all over the place, you have no long term strategy, you fight constantly with eachother over who is Gnulier than who, and who has gone without bathing longest.

In the end, the Christian Capitalist world has no reason nor room for you, your little site will get sold to the highest bidder and soon will be selling porn and then shut down by John Ashcroft.

While the rest of us will be happily supporting good honest American start-ups like Microsoft and laughing at all you hippies and your pathetic command lines from behind clean, attractive, Windows XP interfaces!

But like good Christians, we will welcome you back to the fold of easy and productive computing when you are ready to get a real job so you can afford real software (to buy it this time, not to steal it!).

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

Just curious (1.28 / 7) (#17)
by baseball on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:58:18 AM EST

Is the bad typing part of your act or are you just a really bad typist? I think some of your trolls are funny, but the typos are really annoying.
* * *
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
You are grossly offensive. (2.00 / 6) (#19)
by gordonjcp on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:33:55 AM EST

Particularly to Christians. Don't worry, we'll all pray for you.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.

[ Parent ]
It was the Christian Church (1.41 / 12) (#23)
by sellison on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:49:00 AM EST

 more than any other agency that put in place what Weber called the preconditions of capitalism: the rule of law and a bureaucracy for resolving disputes rationally; a specialized and mobile labor force; the institutional permanence that allows for transgenerational investment and sustained intellectual and physical efforts, together with the accumulation of long-term capital; and a zest for discovery, enterprise, wealth creation, and new undertakings.

In defending the rights of the new Franciscan and the Dominican communities against the secular clergy and lay professors at the University of Paris, Thomas Aquinas wrote one of the first defenses of the role of free associations in "civil society" and the inherent right of people to form corporations.

The Catholic Church's role helped jump-start a millennium of impressive economic progress. In ad 1000, there were barely two hundred million people in the world, most of whom were living in desperate poverty, under various tyrannies, and subject to the unchecked ravages of disease and much civic disorder. Economic development has made possible the sustenance now of more than six billion people-at a vastly higher level than one thousand years ago, and with an average lifespan almost three times as long.

As the world enters the third millennium,the Church is, after some generations of loss of nerve, rediscovering its old confidence in the economic order. Few things would help more in raising up all the world's poor out of poverty. The Church will lead the way in setting forth a religious and moral vision worthy of a global world, in which all live under a universally recognizable rule of Law.

You really should heal yourself of your infection with socialism, no real Christian would say such things as you say to another. Come into the Light, where Capitalism and Christianity are leading the way to a new World where the Rule of Law and the Love of the Lord are our twin Lights guiding out of this valley of tears into happy future!

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

"Go and sell all you possess and give.." (none / 1) (#66)
by gizzlon on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 05:29:54 PM EST

Based on your previous comments, I'm going to assume that you are not joking, therefor I got some links for you (kind of off topic though :)


[ Parent ]
Should we assume... (none / 0) (#79)
by The Solitaire on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 03:44:16 PM EST

... that you're Michael Nowak?

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Heaven forbid sourceforge go down (2.47 / 17) (#12)
by Perpetual Newbie on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:06:45 AM EST

If we lose cshoot, the open source movement will surely die.

Hah (2.45 / 11) (#14)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:27:49 AM EST

I can't believe they peddle this filth to children. The 'B' can clearly be seen bludgeoning a prostitute to death after receiving sexual favors from her. Meanwhile the 'F' appears to be menacing the Haitians.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
The politics of the co-op (2.90 / 22) (#13)
by turtleshadow on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:15:01 AM EST

Sourceforge is a quasi co-op with all the internal bickering and in-fighting and intrique that goes with co-ops.

I would be impressed that it would lead to the best lesson for programmers around the world regarding their work. Has nothing been learned from the MP3.com shutdown? Has nothing been learned of Google slurping up dejanews and the bulk of historical newsnet posts?

Sourceforge is the largest repository of code that I can think of the planet. That's one heck of a chunk of IP wealth/repository in one egg-basket.

I can't wait till VA strapped for cash rents out access what ever code is found in abandoned AND active projects as data for code plagarism comparison databases or something akin to a DRM defense database.

If I were Google I'd buy VA just for that ability to google over any suspect line of code in over 80k+ projects to provide legal defense and offense with similar or exact matches for IP law cases. Just like Google did for dejanews. See Section 22 of the T&C's of sourceforge. When validly contacted and compelled they say they will act.

You think your project hasn't released files its "safe"? Yea. talk to the host with the physical to the disks holding the projects. Re-Read section 6 of the T&C's

In the end your only recourse for dispute are covered in Section 23.

you should be so lucky.. (2.60 / 10) (#16)
by Suppafly on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:56:07 AM EST

I've been trying to remove myself from a project for sometime.. First it complains that I can't delete myself since I'm an admin of the project, so I go and delete my admin status and try to unjoin.. then the admin status comes back..
Playstation Sucks.
Multihoming (2.92 / 13) (#22)
by Highlander on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:41:40 AM EST

I suggest multi-homing your projects to guard against the traps of sourceforge. A separate homepage is a good start.

Also, the suggestion to go through the procedure for abandoned projects seems to be the correct approach, since you suggest no one is really working on it now.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

Maybe +1 section (2.23 / 13) (#24)
by Fredrick Doulton on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 03:49:13 AM EST

But only because your whiny rant points out a fundamental flaw in open source software. It's too easy for someone to hijack your work and exclude you altogether. And seeing how it has never been tested in court, you're facing an uphill battle should you ever decide to pursue legal means against your software thief.

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

OPEN source (none / 1) (#68)
by garlic on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 07:19:58 PM EST

There is no hijacking, only forking.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Forking is a nice way of saying 'hijack' (nt) (none / 1) (#75)
by Fredrick Doulton on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 11:51:59 PM EST

Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"
[ Parent ]

this is silly (2.94 / 18) (#26)
by martingale on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 05:45:38 AM EST

Sourceforge isn't as important as you make out. Most large projects like Linux, XFree etc. have their own hosting sites. Most smallish projects which are at all usable are also distributed by the distros. SF is more like a portal, but not the only one at that. The GNU project has its own hosting offering, etc.

What's good about SF is that it's a central place to look for the small minority of users who like to compile their own software. And for developers, it has some nice features such as the compile farm. But overall, that's nowhere near all eggs in one basket.

that and... (none / 2) (#42)
by ShadowNode on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:10:56 PM EST

Most people who like to compile their own software can get it with less hassle from various sunsite-like ftp mirrors.

[ Parent ]
Let me see if I understand the situation correctly (2.68 / 25) (#27)
by big fat idiot on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 07:39:45 AM EST

You got shafted.

You asked how to resolved the problem.

The answer was to use the APT process.

You don't want to use the APT process.

You don't even try to use the APT process.

Therefore, SourceForge is evil.

Holy Leaps of Logic!

Not to mention that the large numbers of competitors to SourceForge and the advent of wide-spread broadband mean that if SourceForge does die the net impact will be more on the level of temporary annoyance than anything.

As always in life, (2.07 / 13) (#28)
by komet on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 07:42:28 AM EST

you get what you pay for.


capitalist pig! <nt> (2.00 / 4) (#41)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 01:20:21 PM EST

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]
plz nigga, (1.81 / 22) (#29)
by DJ Google on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 08:14:36 AM EST

I was banned from their site (and cvs, etc) in the middle of January when they killed the whole floodmt thing. Somewhere in Feb, after mailing them several times to clear the shit up, they started redirecting me (ie, when I tried to access sf.net it always popped up) to a "please mail ipblocked@sf.net asap", which I did, SEVERAL FUCKING TIMES.

Nobody ever responded. Eventually I had enough. I CC'ed an angry mail to every goddamn OSDN mailto: I could find on their sites.

This, for some reason, got me unbanned the very next day.

I fucking hate OSDN.

Thank you.

Join me on irc.slashnet.org #Kuro5hin.org - the official Kuro5hin IRC channel.

haha (2.83 / 6) (#39)
by phred on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 01:19:15 PM EST


Sheesh I thought I was easily amused.

[ Parent ]

-1 Pointless. (2.57 / 14) (#30)
by Korimyr the Rat on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 08:43:55 AM EST

SourceForge can be replaced, if necessary, and open source existed before it had even been invented.

Also, as previously noted, the core of your complaint seems to be that they were inactive in following up a complaint after they had given you, twice, the correct procedure for solving your problem.

"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'

Ranting for the sake of ranting, are we? (2.83 / 24) (#33)
by nkyad on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 09:13:43 AM EST

You make absolutely no sense - first you describe a non-problem, then you blame SourceForge for doing nothing when nothing could be done and then you finish by throwing in an "what-if" out of the blue. It speaks tons about the lowering of K5 quality threshold that you are being voted up.

Let us see:

a) You state the project in question "appears in several Linux distros". Besides it is hosted in SourceForge. So it is an open source/free software project. Please enlighten me, how does one "hijack" such a thing? The code is there, the developers (if any) are there, an experienced coordinator (namely, you, a "major contributor" and former admin) is there. What exactly prevents you from forking the said software? You can even host it under the same name on Savanah (and start a major list and forum flame war about which is the "real" X) or even keep it in SF under a slightly different name.

b) What would you have SourceForge do? Reinstate you as admin and kick the usurper out? How could they do that, if as a co-admin he could claim exactly the same rights you do, including the right to kick you and a bunch of developers out? How can the carrier/host be responsible for sorting out your own mess?

c) What if Microsoft bought VA? What if the Congrees of the US declared open-source software a  threat to national security? What if all open source developers got jobs in Hollywood? All this are also serious matters needing our consideration, and you fail to mention them.

(By the way, fear not. Savanah is just the most well-finnanced of the SFs look-alikes - there are many others. If VA suddenly turned the servers off the impact, while major for a while, wouldn't get anywhere near being "the end of the open source movement).

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run

An ignorant buffoon, indeed! (none / 1) (#37)
by sllort on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 12:36:40 PM EST

Perhaps there are more like him. We should vote this up, just for them.

Scurry back now.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

OSDN is counter-revolutionary. (2.09 / 33) (#44)
by rmg on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 02:50:36 PM EST

When Stallman started the GNU project, it was a revolution. It was a whole new way of thinking about software production. Like the lion who muscles a pack of hyenas out of their kill, though, Transmeta, Red Hat, and OSDN moved into commercialize and capitalize this breakthrough.

Since then, they have commoditized and bastardized open source. They have created glitzy user interfaces and installers that obscure the blood and sweat of which open source is wrought. They have created consumerist news outlets like Slashdot which serve primarily as a marketing platform for the various electronic shackles (cell phones, PDAs, miniture hard drives, and other devices intended to extend the work day beyond its lawful limits) perpetrated upon the IT working masses by their corporate overlords. Finally, they have created a single repository for all open source software over which they rule with an iron fist, wresting once and for all the means of production from the hands of hacker -- the hero of the revolution.

But this is all just descriptive, nothing new. Now is the time for action: What must be done?

First: We must turn our backs on Sourceforge. It is the tool of the corporate establishment, their chief means of control over our work product. It is the physical embodiment of alienation from our labor. We must move to those facilities, like Savannah, created by revolutionaries like Richard Stallman to advance the revolution, not corporate interests.

Second: We must reject Slashdot and the rest of the media shills who would force advertisements down our throats under the guise of news. We must turn to democratic alternatives like this site so that the people's voices are heard and not called (-1, Troll.)

Third: We must oppose the efforts of Red Hat and Mandrake and other commercial distributors to obscure the roots of Linux. Linux is a system born of the earth, not of Madison Avenue. It must be utilitarian and pastoral, not decadent and lavish as it has become.

It is only through these steps that a counterinsurgence can be affected. We must act immediately.


dave dean

quite a (1.42 / 7) (#45)
by vivelame on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 04:50:04 PM EST

good troll, keep them coming!

Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Also counter-revolutionary. (2.16 / 6) (#54)
by rmg on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 09:27:05 PM EST

Slashdot moderators and Kuro5hin "troll spotters" are also counter-revolutionary. They suppress those who try to give voice to the people and applaud those who shill for Apple and Red Hat.

Real trolls, and there are very few, are invariably corporate shills themselves, arguing against vanguards of the proletariat like Linyos Torvaldez and Eric Raymond in favor of oppressors like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. Often they are on the payrolls of some corporate entity. They are the single most counter-revolutionary force on the internet.


dave dean
[ Parent ]

so what? (none / 2) (#57)
by CAIMLAS on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 05:13:39 AM EST

When the revolutionaries become the majority, they become the establishment. There is no crossing over, they simply become the beast called "the establishment.", The ideals have polarized to a small subset of the original philosophy due to the girth of the movement. Nothing to see here, really. Move along.

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

You are competing with John Asscroft (1.57 / 7) (#58)
by cam on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 06:51:22 AM EST

... for the worst troll on the internet evar. Your comments are more painful to see than retarded kids playing catch with medicene balls. You are a terrible troll. Give up.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

No way, that would be awesome to see [n/t] (none / 2) (#69)
by Handyman on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 07:34:31 PM EST

[ Parent ]
teach me. (none / 1) (#73)
by rmg on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 10:33:42 PM EST

i want to get better. im smart. i know i can learn.

people tell me they suck, but they don't know how to make me better. maybe you do. plz help me!


dave dean
[ Parent ]

You know, as much as I hate rmg (none / 1) (#76)
by Mutually Assured Destruction on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 12:44:42 AM EST

That was pretty fucking funny.

[ Parent ]
Stop teh insanity (2.11 / 18) (#47)
by egg troll on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 05:58:28 PM EST

Recently, a project I have been sharing co-admin responsiblities for was hijacked.

If only our gov't would mandate secure cockpit doors on open source projects, they would be impossible to hijack.

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

You fool! (2.66 / 12) (#52)
by it certainly is on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 07:58:34 PM EST

Don't you read your ESR? All participants in open source projects should have guns. If only the users of pongo's project had guns, they could rise up against the hijackers. We must all carry guns. Eric Raymond says so.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Your project is now VA's project (2.20 / 10) (#48)
by svampa on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 06:01:29 PM EST

Besides your strange history, I think that sourceforge is a danger for your project:

This Article in fsfeurope (2001) sourceforge changes its policy. Abstract:

  • You transfer your licence to them. They don't asure in the future your software will still be GPL
  • You can't remove your proyect, if you want to continue your project elsewhere, it's you who makes a fork, they hold the original project.
  • Scripts for exporting all the files of your project have been removed.
  • Your project is not your project anymore. But in exchange they give you storage, bandwidth and the intetface to play with, from now on, VA's project... at least until now.... tomorrow nobody knows. Perhaps the treat is not so bad, just be aware that those are the real conditions.

    Misinformation. (3.00 / 9) (#51)
    by it certainly is on Tue Apr 27, 2004 at 07:34:43 PM EST

    If you work on the sourceforge project, i.e. the scripts and database code that VA originally wrote, you transfer your copyright to them. This is the same if you work on one of FSF's GNU projects -- you transfer your copyright to the FSF. This is just good legal planning, allowing VA or the FSF to go after copyright infringers as the sole owner of the copyrighted work.

    The projects hosted on SF that aren't SourceForge itself do not require copyright assignment to VA. You continue to own the copyright on all the code in your regular projects hosted on SourgeForge. You do give VA the unrevokable right to hold your project indefinitely, just like you give Yahoo or MSN the right to host your posts on Yahoo! or MSN groups indefinitely.

    It's just standard operation. Can you imagine running a mail service where you didn't get users permission to backup their mail? They could sue you for copyright infringement, as they never agreed to let you copy their mail.

    kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

    Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
    [ Parent ]

    Difference (none / 1) (#64)
    by svampa on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 03:09:36 PM EST

    Quoting the article I linked:"

    I received a request from VA Linux to assign copyright to them.I was not surprised or unhappy with this; many Free Software projects ask contributors to assign copyright of their changes to the main author. Assigning copyright to a single holder is a strategy for defending the GNU GPL more effectively, and I would have been happy to cooperate in that regard.

    That's what you mean, and you are right but..."

    The assignment was not limited to my contribution to the SourceForge code, it potentially covered all my past and future work if it was of some interest to SourceForge.
    I was also expecting a promise that my work would be released under the GNU GPL, but the assignment said nothing about Free Software. VA Linux would be allowed to release the software I wrote under a non-free software license and not let the community have it at all.
    VA Linux told me that they only sent the assignment to two people, in the hope to refine it. We started a long discussion that lasted two months(...) Finally I was sent the version of the copyright...
    ...This was even more of a power grab than the first draft. "You give us total control; we promise nothing". At this point, I knew that the attempts to clarify the copyright assignment were a waste of time; VA Linux clearly wasn't collecting copyright assignments in order to enforce the GNU GPL.

    [ Parent ]
    dude. (1.50 / 8) (#55)
    by conthefol on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 04:15:45 AM EST


    kuro5hin is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E!!!

    Did you even use APT? (3.00 / 11) (#56)
    by anno1602 on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 05:00:11 AM EST

    Perhaps, despite all appearances, that actually *is* the correct way to get your project back.
    "Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
    Yes.. (none / 3) (#59)
    by sono on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 08:31:21 AM EST

    I voted FP a bit prematurely (forgive the newb), but after reading the comments, i have to agree that some redigation wouldn't hurt.

    note (none / 0) (#78)
    by emmons on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 03:07:01 PM EST

    You're a newb and all, so it's not a big deal, but next time make something like this an editorial comment. That way it goes away when the article gets posted.

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    Reenactment of who's *always* to blame (2.71 / 21) (#62)
    by K5 ASCII reenactment players on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 11:42:16 AM EST

         ----    Whuh..?
       _///\\\    /
      / ======\  /
     /  #  o o
    /__/|    _\
        |   o

    Best. Post. Ever. (none / 1) (#80)
    by r0b on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 06:49:18 PM EST

    yes, absolutely, i wouldn't mind telling you the story. erm...i went to court today for a speeding ticket, and i told the judge, erm..."let me tell you something, and you listen and you listen good, i'm only gonna say this one time and one time only, i don't repeat myself for nobody," i said. i says..."i'm here to pay a speeding ticket, not to listen to your lectures and hear you run your mouth for an hour." i says "i'm here to pay off my speeding ticket...and i'm here to get my fines out of the way and get the fuck to work." the judge says "you can't talk like that in my courtroom, you're in contempt of court." then i said...i told the judge, "if that's the best you can do, i feel sorry for you." i said "why don't you just shut your fucking mouth for once and listen." i said "i'm not gonna take any shit." i said "i'm gonna pay my speeding ticket like i said." i walked up to the god damn judge and i hand him my 25 dollars and i says "here's my money, now i am leaving." and i left it at that...

    [ Parent ]
    Use Gna! (2.90 / 10) (#63)
    by sab39 on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 01:21:06 PM EST

    Gna! is a SourceForge competitor that, from what I've seen so far, is much, much better.

    Savannah used to be a competitor, but they closed it to new projects after a hack attempt - it seems unlikely to reopen in the near future.

    If you're working on a Debian project, Alioth is another option. They don't say anywhere on the site that it's specific to Debian projects, but (as I found out the hard way) your project will be rejected if it isn't, citing a TOS document that's 404.

    There's also Berlios, but I don't know much about that one.

    In short, you have options other than SourceForge - albeit not many (unless you're a Debian project that already had a Savannah account before the hack ;) ). Avoid SourceForge like the plague.

    "Forty-two" -- Deep Thought
    "Quinze" -- Amélie

    What we need is a SourceForge infrastructure... (none / 2) (#65)
    by israfil on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 03:46:49 PM EST

    ...project that would allow anyone with a web-server and a PHP?/JSP?/??? back-end.  The key is the enveloped system all packaged up, so if someone put together a set of tools that used SVN, web-interface to svn, and some sort of back-end colabration tools, but that could be (say) dropped into an apache sub-dir and mapped.  If I want to host three projects, I just replicate the template in three folders.

    It's a dream, I know, but something like this would effect a distributed sourceforge.  Indeed if the systems could do some sort of peer-to-peer project linking, then the other advantages of sourceforge could be shared out among the proles.
    i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.

    Actually... (none / 2) (#72)
    by KrispyKringle on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 10:27:54 PM EST

    SourceForge itself is open source, and available on Freshmeat. You can run your own sourceforge. You can even apt-get it on Debian.

    [ Parent ]
    Life sucks, buy a helmet (3.00 / 15) (#67)
    by carlfish on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 07:07:03 PM EST

    For about six months I was a DALnet IRCop (don't worry, I washed my hands afterwards), and this was pretty much exactly what I'd get if I ever made the mistake of being (a) opered, and (b) visible:

    "I gave my password to Bob so he could look after my nick/channel, and now he stole it! Heeelp meeeee!"

    I had no sympathy then, and I have no sympathy now. The simple facts are that the Sourceforge admins don't have time (or inclination) to get involved in project politics to determine who really owns any particular project, and would get in orders of magnitude more shit if they mistakenly handed a project over as a result of a mistaken dispute resolution. So by necessity, they have to hide behind an unfriendly resolution procedure or be swamped with having to get involved in the petty politics of every single Sourceforge project that isn't past "1: Planning" stage anyway.

    Sourceforge has no "Hegemony" but that we give it. What we forget is that "for no charge" does not mean "free". Like that whole thing with Linux only being free if your time has no value, Sourceforge is only free if you discount the service's TOS, potential for being abused, and annoyingly frequent downtime. Entrust your project to Sourceforge, pay Sourceforge's prices. If you don't want to, there are thousands of hosting providers on which you could put your own CVS, webserver, and issue-tracking system.

    If you do decide to use Sourceforge for your project: host the project's main website on your own domain, and make that the canonical URL for the project instead of http://whatever.sf.net/. That way, at least, you're able to hedge your bets a little.

    Charles Miller

    The more I learn about the Internet, the more amazed I am that it works at all.

    alternatives ... (none / 3) (#70)
    by gliptak on Wed Apr 28, 2004 at 09:21:46 PM EST

    there is a list of alternatives at


    forgot some (none / 0) (#91)
    by treetops on Fri May 07, 2004 at 10:50:51 PM EST

  • gna.org - sort of like Savannah, has nothing to do with similarly-named GNAA
  • common-lisp.net - SF.net-alike for Common Lisp prjects
    [ Parent ]
  • When counter-culture becomes monoculture (none / 1) (#77)
    by xL on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 12:40:25 PM EST

    I think there are similarities between goth or rap culture and a majority of the F/OSS movement. Both rose as a counter-culture, made up of people who wanted to be different. Then they went ahead and started all being different in exactly the same way. Then came the wholesale t-shirts and assorted paraphernalia. Then the movement forked in weird ways allowing people to regain some of their uniqueness, again all in mostly the same way.

    Face it, people are cows with opposable thumbs and a slightly faster brain, but with an equally strong herding instinct. It is hard for most people to be original in the first place, but near impossible to do so if they are not sure whether it will gain them herd approval.

    The few people that are truly original, they were not after approval, they were merely following themselves to wherever they wanted to be. Something original cannot be 'culture'; The term already implies that many people are sharing things like idiom, morality and methodology.

    For me it is amazing how people can be so embedded in counter-cultures, feeling all different from the world, while at the same time they never stop and think to themselves: "OMG, we all wear black t-shirts and listen to the same band, speak the same language and make the same moves, I am not even close to different or original!".

    What is even more amazing is how sometimes people do wake up to that, then blame it on the counter-culture and move to another, again feeling comfortably original in their new herd. WTF?

    So, my point is: Either feel comfortable that you are part of a monoculture, or, if you don't like it, join another! If that doesn't do it for you, do your own damn thing. But don't try to draw the attention of your former herd to the fact that they are a herd. They either don't want to know it or they like their herd and adapted to the doublethink.

    Counter-counter culturists (none / 0) (#89)
    by jynx on Tue May 04, 2004 at 09:27:41 AM EST

    One of the most interesting things about counter-culture is the way it is viewed by people external to the "movement" or group.

    Yours is a very typical response - you see people who behave differently from what you consider the norm, and assume those people behave that way simply because they want to be different.

    But that is a gross oversimplification of the sitation, and very often is just plain wrong.

    Sure, some small minority of people, to use your own examples, like rap music or use OS software just because they want to be "different".

    But these people are in the minority. Did it occur to you that many people use free software because they believe it is better, either technically or socially?  Or that many people listen rap music because they enjoy it?

    Counter-culture is far more about community than it is about seperatism or being original.  To take the example of people who like certain genres of music choosing a particular style of clothing, these people don't do this because they believe it makes them unique, they do it because they want to identify themselves as part of a group.  If you like rap music, and your stood at a bar, and the stranger on your right is wearing the t-shirt of a rap band, and the stranger on your left is wearing a business suit, you can quite reasonably assume that sparking up a conversation with the stranger on your right is going to be more rewarding that trying the same with the stanger on your left.

    Similarly, people who host projects on sourceforge aren't thinking "Haha, we are all so original because we use sourceforge whereas the rest of the sheep in the industry sell closed-source software from their own sites."  They are on sourceforge because they want to be part of a community that is more likely to appreciate their software.

    Your closing comments seem quite contrary to the spirit of the rest of your comment.  You seem to be saying "Don't ever complain about the community you are in, just start your own community instead".  But then, if they were to do that, you would presumably say that the are just kidding themselves that they are any different from the the community they have left.

    Just because you are part of a group, doesn't mean you lose the right to express an opinion about what it wrong with that group.


    [ Parent ]

    What the hell are you talking about? (2.00 / 4) (#81)
    by Run4YourLives on Thu Apr 29, 2004 at 11:08:53 PM EST

    Because really, you never really say. Perhaps if you did, I'd have a comment here.

    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    An alternative to SF (none / 1) (#82)
    by Filip on Fri Apr 30, 2004 at 05:10:07 AM EST

    I'm probably making a mistake giving a technical response to an op-ed, but here we go:

    If we're looking for a solution to the all-eggs-in-one-basket problem of SF, it will not be another basket to put the eggs in. But would it be possible to host projects on freenet? Or an OSS-repository equivalent of it?

    That kind of solution would kinda make the decss/fairplay/playfair problem go away too. IIRC the protocol of freenet gives less bandwidth/storage too projects that no-one is interested in - so abandoned/unstarted projects get what they deserve too.

    Am I overlooking anything obvious?

    -- I'm just a figment of your imagination.

    There are other baskets available (none / 0) (#87)
    by jbuck on Mon May 03, 2004 at 06:35:03 PM EST

    You can get your project hosted at GNU's Savannah if you don't like SourceForge; there are other alternatives available as well.

    [ Parent ]
    So, we have two baskets... (none / 0) (#90)
    by Filip on Wed May 05, 2004 at 05:03:55 AM EST

    ...and it is as easy to register a new user on Savannah as it is on K5.

    Going with an encrypted and distributed effort like freenet would make it substantially harder for any entity to take any project down, willfully of because of cash shortage.

    IMHO hosting free projects will never be free, unless you have a p2p solution. (Gee, sounds like RMS, doesn't it? ;) But with a p2p solution, the actual users can chip with their measly DSL connection - and actually make a difference.
    -- I'm just a figment of your imagination.
    [ Parent ]

    Fork the project (none / 0) (#83)
    by drquick on Fri Apr 30, 2004 at 01:37:27 PM EST

    I don't know what dark motives lies behind the hi-jacking. Maybe the software is turned into someting you consider amoral? One sollution is to use the possibility to fork the project that GPL offers you. Just continue where you dropped of on your own, on another site, maybe with a new name for the project. You have the source...

    Trademark (none / 0) (#84)
    by Quila on Sat May 01, 2004 at 12:12:24 PM EST

    It might be a good idea for anyone putting software up on SourceForge to trademark the name of the software. If you ever need to fork, you could sue the hijacker for violation of trademark in using the name of the software in their fork.

    Note this is completely separate from the copyright issues laid out nicely in the GPL. The hijacker can can continue to develop his fork of the software under the GPL, but AFAIK nothing gives him the right to use the trademarked name of the software.

    That way you maintain identity, especially if your software is somewhat famous.

    trademarks (none / 0) (#86)
    by dougmc on Sun May 02, 2004 at 05:04:14 PM EST

    It might be a good idea for anyone putting software up on SourceForge to trademark the name of the software.
    It's not a bad idea for any substantial software package, on Sourceforge or not. Probably more important than being able to sue somebody else is the protection it could provide from somebody suing you, after they trademark the name you've been using for years.

    It's not free, however. I think the actual filing fees are $355, plus additional costs for having an attorney go over your application, make sure it's not too similar to something else, etc. Certainly cheaper than a patent, but more money than many people may want to spend.

    [ Parent ]

    Counter-culture this, revolution that (none / 0) (#85)
    by coljac on Sat May 01, 2004 at 01:38:25 PM EST

    I'm a little bit bemused by a lot of the hyperbole that goes along with the discussion of open source - or should I say "the open source Movement". It always seems couched in revolutionary terms and small issues of technology, legality or politics are often decried as threats to the Movement, etc. It all seems a bit strange. Are most of you really fanatics like Stallman?

    Personally, I contribute to several open source projects, I'm a member of the EFF, and I am deeply interested in these issues. But it's just writing software and sharing, and while this is important, it's also such a simple thing that nothing can wreck it or make it go away. I really like SourceForge, the tools they provide are great. If something happened, they can never take away my right to the source files or hide them from the public, so I'm happy. The code will always be available to work with and share. That's what's important. (The same is of course true in this case.) If the point was about who owns what, it wouldn't be open source - and as far as getting the credit goes, that just comes naturally.

    Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

    Archives (none / 0) (#88)
    by BobRobertson on Mon May 03, 2004 at 08:51:18 PM EST

    Fear not, your source code still exists and can be continued by you at will. Just check the Debian source archive. Or the Gentoo archive. Or any of the "several" distributions that carry your code. Sourceforge is a tool, nothing more. Bob-
    September 11, 2001. The most successful day for gun control and central planning in American history.
    The SourceForge Hegemony | 91 comments (68 topical, 23 editorial, 3 hidden)
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