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Apache Allura Becomes Top-Level Project!

feather-smallThe Apache Software Foundation just announced Apache™ Allura™ as a Top-Level Project.

We are excited to see Allura finally put in the Olympus of Apache Top-Level projects. It has been an amazing journey, we launched the Allura project four years ago and just two years ago Allura was incubated at the ASF.

It has been an honor and a great pleasure to work with the Apache community, and we look forward to engage more and more with all developers interested in using and enhancing Apache Allura! Below a collection of quotes from people who have been participating, sponsoring and supporting the graduation process.

“The journey through the Apache Incubator made Allura a project for the community by the community,” said Dave Brondsema, Vice President of Apache Allura. “I can’t wait to see other Apache projects start using Allura, and hope to catch up with other Apache projects at the upcoming ApacheCon 2014 in Denver!”

“SourceForge has demonstrated their dedication to Open Source by putting their crown jewels into the custodianship of the Apache Software Foundation, and I’m excited to see where the project goes next as it embraces a larger community of users and developers,” said Rich Bowen, Executive Vice President, Apache Software Foundation.

“BerliOS recommends the SourceForge platform for migrating projects currently hosted on BerliOS. We value the fact that the SourceForge platform was first accepted as an Apache Incubator project and we are glad to see it now graduated,” said Lutz Henckel, berliOS project leader. “This achievement means SourceForge platform –now known as Apache Allura– is backed by a diverse and well-structured community. For projects hosted on SourceForge it also reduces the risk of vendor lock-in, as developing projects can get their data and software directly from the platform.”

“Apache Allura is an Open Source modular forge platform using a scalable architecture and with well-known technologies around Python,” says Alvaro del Castillo, Apache Allura committer and CTO of Bitergia. “It is easy to install and configure, a good bet for the future of collaborative software development around forges.”

“We entered the Allura community to suggest the introduction of new functionalities to improve awareness of people and projects. We found that the community was open to our ideas,” said Elisabetta Di Nitto, Associate professor of the University of Milan. “As a researcher I think this was a very interesting experience. We are glad we could influence the development of the forge and that the Allura community found our suggestions useful.”

“SourceForge is very happy that Apache Allura, already used by 431,000 projects, will now be extended and available to an even wider developer community,” said Gaurav Kuchhal, General Manager of SourceForge and Slashdot. “We stay committed to promoting open source projects by providing free marketing and global distribution, no matter where projects are developed.”

Read the full press-release at the Apache blog. See you there!

DevShare Relaunch: Power to end-users!

Back in July 2013 SourceForge launched the beta version of the DevShare program, a partnership offered to SourceForge developers to turn project downloads into a source of recurring monthly revenue by presenting relevant offers for user consideration during the installation process.

Today, we are proud to announce that DevShare is open to everyone. After spending nearly a  year listening to developers and end users about what they wanted to see in a public release of this offering, we’re ready to give our community an overview to the changes we’ve made to DevShare.

Direct Download Links

Filezilla Project Page - Download optionsProjects that are participating in the DevShare program will now provide two options for download. They will offer:

1) The installer Enabled version which presents optional third-party offers at installation time.

2) A Direct Download link to the original application that does not include offers.

Filezilla File Page - Download options
By giving end users a choice  we will strengthen our ability to help open source projects earn revenue, in order to continue developing, while giving end users the freedom to control their user experience. These options are offered at every stage of the download process, so whether you are downloading from the project page or from the file page end users will always have the choice.

Clear Messaging to End-users

The download page now clearly states when projects include an additional offer. Clear Messaging messaging alerts you that downloading the custom installer may present you with additional offers.

We have also created a FAQ page to ensure that everyone understands how the program works and has the option to learn more.

By giving power to end-users and making the DevShare program parameters clear, we believe we have significantly improved the DevShare program. SourceForge users, developers and the whole open source community have been key to the changes in this program. Thank you for your feedback and for being a partner in growing this community.

Opening the Program to Everyone

In re-launching the program we are going to open it to all our open source developers who wish to monetize their downloads. As always only projects who opt-in will get into the program. Every project owner has the choice to participate in DevShare or to not participate.

If you want to know more about the program read the Developers FAQ, and feel free to drop us an email at devshare@sourceforge.net.

Want to Pitch a Silicon Valley VC? It’s Your Time to Shine!

Tim Draper by JD LasicaIf you are a startupper and a fan of the role of open source in startup development, it is your time to get a feedback on your pitch from noted Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper. Thanks to the editors at Dice News, Draper will sit down with three startup founders on Jan. 23, 2014, at his Draper University in San Mateo.

SourceForge developers are invited to take a chance to try out their latest and greatest idea.

Here’s how it works:

  • Email your business plan, a brief founder’s bio and a paragraph on what level of funding you’re seeking.
  • Make your subject line “VC Pitch.”
  • The Dice News editors will develop a short list of entrepreneurs and send them to Draper. He’ll make the final selection of who’ll pitch to him.
  • The closing date for submissions is Jan. 10, 2014.
  • Those who’ll pitch will be notified on Jan. 17.

We’ll be recording each presentation for stories to be posted on Dice News. Once your pitch is done, we’ll interview both you and Draper to find out what went well, and where you need improvement. While no one’s promising any funding, everyone will come away with valuable tips on how to improve your pitch when soliciting angels and VCs. If you’re looking for some inspiration about how to shape your business model, make sure to read Brent C. William’s slides.

Some fine print: If selected, you’re responsible for your own transportation to Draper University.

Best of luck!

SourceForge BlockThis Initiative Update

Last week, we launched an initiative aimed at removing misleading ads that display a download button without disclosing the name of the product and we want to update you on how this program is progressing.

A task force of people working in the AdOps, Community and Product departments reviews daily the notices sent in from the community, in addition to the work we do on our own.  We process requests by following these steps:

1. Reviewing the advertisement to confirm they are misleading;
2. Identifying the advertising network partner/s displaying those ads;
3. Removing those ads; and
4. Proactively reviewing all additional partner networks to find similar ads.

In a week, we received a handful of community notifications and we found 90% of them legitimate. Thank you!  We took action accordingly, eventually communicating back our findings and actions.  This has resulted in SourceForge blocking +20% of misleading ads, with more work ongoing.

This is just the beginning and we are fully commitment to improving our site and removing misleading ads.  We continue to ask for your patience and assistance, as this is a continuous process.  If you see what you think is a confusing ad, please send a screenshot of the ad itself and the URL of the site where the ad leads. Send to: blockthis@sourceforge.net.

Advertising, Bundling, Community and Criticism

Over the last days, we heard a number of concerns around how our business practices affect the community sentiment. A few concerns were expressed by several developers, included the GIMP community, about confusing ads on SourceForge pages. Along with that, we also heard complaints about the DevShare program. We want you to be assured that we are always listening to you, learning from you, and taking action on your feedback.

1. About the Confusing Ads

We work with several different Ad Network partners like Google to show ads on our site, and from time to time, a few confusing ads show up. Just like all of you, we do not like these ads, and last month, we asked our Ad Network partners to remove over 200 deceptive ads; however, it’s an ongoing process and we need your help.

In order to eliminate these sometimes misleading ads from SourceForge pages, we’re asking you to drop us an email at blockthis@sourceforge.net providing the screenshot and, more importantly, the full link to the confusing ads [to copy it right click on the link, and choose “Copy Link Location” in FireFox; “Copy Shortcut” in Internet Explorer; “Copy Link” in Safari and “Copy Link Address” in Chrome]. We will make sure to review all such requests, and if we agree with you, take immediate action. Please help us to make SourceForge a better place. Your input is material to help mitigate this issue.

2. About Bundling Open Source with Additional Offers

In July 2013, we launched a pilot version of an opt-in revenue-sharing program called DevShare. DevShare is a partnership program offered to SourceForge developers to turn downloads into a source of revenue for them, by bundling their applications with third parties’ offers. This revenue will help these projects grow, help the developers keep contributing to the Open Source community, and help us keep offering free hosting, distribution, and other services.

Let’s start by providing some context around this issue first.

We started the DevShare program for two reasons:

  1. Some projects were already using the SourceForge infrastructure to deliver bundled offers to monetize their downloads, and most of them were complaining about the lack of control on the quality of the offers and user experience. In addition, many other open source projects expressed interest in monetizing their downloads by bundling relevant offers, but the lack of control with Installer Partners was a key concern for them.
  2. SourceForge also makes a small amount of revenue from this program to continue offer free hosting, distribution, support and ultimately to keep enhancing Allura, it’s fully open source platform now in incubation at Apache.

Therefore, we evaluated a few Installer Partners to help us address end-users’ complaints related to one or more of the following reasons:

a) opaque installation flows providing little or no choice about secondary offering installations;

b) undocumented and difficult to uninstall procedures for those secondary offerings;

c) secondary offerings that are not always safe, trusted and secure applications.

We addressed points a) to c), and our approach was highly appreciated by eminent members of different open source communities.

What DevShare Means to You

End-users are provided with a clear and transparent installer behavior, all programs are malware-free and clearly described. All uninstall procedures are extensively tested, so that if end-users install it by mistake they can easily remove it.

Developers aren’t just compensated in money, but they are in full control of both the installer behavior and what sort of secondary offerings will be presented to their users.

Where are We and Where are We Going

Currently in the Pilot phase, we only have 3 projects participating in the DevShare program all of which explicitly opted-in. This represents 3 out of 300,000+ projects in our entire catalog. This is a 100% opt-in program for the developer, and we want to reassure you that we will NEVER bundle offers with any project without the developers consent.

The DevShare program has been designed to be fully transparent. The installation flow has no deceptive steps, all offers are fully disclosed, and the clear option to completely decline the offer is always available. All uninstallation procedures are exhaustively documented, and all third party offers go through a comprehensive compliance process to make sure they are virus and malware free.

Having said that, we believe we should do more to make sure all our stakeholders are pleased with the program and how it works.

In the near future, we’ll share a blueprint of how we believe this program can be improved, and we’ll ask the community for feedback. We will not be accepting any new projects into this pilot until the community has vetted possible changes and improvements to the program.

In Closing

You are welcome to join the conversation at the DevShare forum on SourceForge, your opinion rules.