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About this program

We are providing this (Open Source) beacon program to help collect accurate data about our site's performance so we can take appropriate measures to improve performance. Your experience with SourceForge.net may be different from what other users see, based on your location, proxies, ISP, browser, OS, etc. We welcome your feedback about the performance of our site.

To participate in this program, you will need to install Firefox, Firebug, and a custom plugin as detailed below. Once installed, you can easily transmit performance data back to the SourceForge.net team.

Thanks for helping us improve SourceForge.net performance! If you have any questions about this program, please contact Daniel Hinojosa.


Supported (and tested) Operating Systems:

  • Mac OS X 10.5.7
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 3
  • CentOS 5.3

Supported (and tested) browser and plugin versions:

  • Firefox 3.5.x or Firefox 3.6
  • Firebug Add-on 1.4.1 or greater


  1. Install the Firefox 3.5+ browser.
  2. Install the Firebug plugin.
  3. Download the latest .xpi release of the SourceForge.net beacon plugin (at the time of this writing, 0.7.01).
  4. Open Firefox. Drag and drop the .xpi on to the web page area of Firefox to initiate install. Click on the "Install Now" button. Once the install is complete, restart Firefox.

Optional Configuration

You should perform the following steps if you are one of our official testers or need your beacon data attributed to your SourceForge.net user account for support/follow-up reasons.

  1. To modify Firefox's settings, access the following URL (type this in the location bar and press enter): about:config
  2. Click the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button.
  3. In the Filter bar type Geeknet and press enter, to show only Geeknet-specific settings.
  4. Set the extensions.firebug.Geeknet.beaconURL to: https://sourceforge.net/beacon/cgi-bin/beacon.cgi?username=YOUR_USERNAME_HERE (replacing YOUR_USERNAME_HERE with your SourceForge.net username)
  5. Close the Firefox window. Installation and config is now complete.

What pages should I beacon?

Users are welcome to beacon data to us to help us fill in our picture of how the site performs internationally. We don't place any limits on which of our pages you beacon data about (unless you are one of our official testers, in which case we ask that you follow the instructions we provide). Common pages like the front page, software map, and project pages will likely be beaconed most prevalently, giving us data we can compare worldwide, and hence are very good choices to show general performance from your location. We also encourage you to beacon data when you hit bad performance on the site.

How do I beacon?

To beacon performance data to us:

  1. If you have AdBlock Plus or other such tools running, stop them for this testing.
  2. Close down any network-intensive things you have running (downloads, P2P, etc.) as these will skew the results.
  3. Open Firebug (bug icon in lower right (status bar) of browser)
  4. You may need to right click the Firebug icon to Enable All Panels.
  5. In the Firebug console, click on the Net tab.
  6. In Firefox, navigate to the desired page. Do a shift+reload of the page, so browser-cached data is not a factor in the performance data you send us.
  7. Once the pageload has finished completely, click the "Send to SF.net" button in the Firebug menu bar.

SourceForge.net staff will receive and analyze the data. Thanks for your help!

Program History, Contacts, Code

  • With this performance testing program, we have opened participation to our staff, to a select group of official international testers (which we hand pick based on their location as a representative sample of our user base), and to the SourceForge.net user base.
  • Daniel Hinojosa is the Support Manager for SourceForge.net and is handling the logistics of managing participation in this performance data collection program. Daniel ran a prior version of this program which relied on manual data collection and collation. With the new beacon, we've eliminated most of the manual process around the program. Program questions may be directed to Daniel at daniel@…
  • Jacob Moorman is the Director of Operations (SOG) for SourceForge.net. He identified automatic beaconing as the right solve for the issues we encountered with the original performance data collection program, and scoped the design for the plugin (including domain-limited beaconing). He co-authored the perl beacon receiving code.
  • Mark Stinson joined the SourceForge.net team recently as a Systems Programmer/Analyst and caught this as his first major project. Mark conducted the technical analysis of the ySlow beaconing code and identified the netExport code as being a viable solve for our needs. He handled all of our code implementation around the Firefox plugin and co-authored the perl beacon receiving code.
  • Our total time to implement, test and deploy this code is in the ballpark of 60 man-hours; a worthy investment for a proof of concept.
  • The ongoing maintenance of this code and the associated infrastructure is handled by the SourceForge.net Service Operations team (SOG). The SOG team can be reached at staff@…
  • The bulk of the beacon plugin code came from the netExport example in the Firebug code. The author has posted a tutorial of how this code can be used.
  • The code produced for this program has been released as Open Source. Our modified Firebug net panel listener code has been released under the BSD License (as the original was licensed). Our original perl beacon receiving code and basic reporting code has been released under the Apache License. Both releases are available for download via the 'sourceforge' project on SourceForge.net.