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SourceForge Acquisition and Future Plans

At the end of January, SourceForge and Slashdot were sold to BIZX, LLC by DHI Group, Inc. As the new owners of two iconic sites, we are excited about the future and what we can do together. We’ve already started to take action, and are developing further plans for the site. We encourage your feedback to help us shape the future direction for the site.

Our first order of business was to terminate the “DevShare” program. As of last week, the DevShare program was completely eliminated. The DevShare program delivered installer bundles as part of the download for participating projects. We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit. As we move forward, we will be focusing on the needs of our developers and visitors by building out site features and establishing community trust. Eliminating the DevShare program was just the first step of many more to come. Plans for the near future include full https support for both SourceForge and Slashdot, and a lot more changes we think developers and end-users will embrace.

Stay tuned for future announcements about how we’re making SourceForge better for everyone.

Logan Abbott

President

SourceForge Media, LLC

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20 Responses to “SourceForge Acquisition and Future Plans”

  1. Joey Kelly Feb 9, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

    Your reputation is already shot, thanks to Dice. No open source developer I know will ever use sourceforge again. Trojan us once, shame on you. Trojan us twice? We’re not going to give you the satisfaction, we’re going to route around you, and that’s that.

  2. Joey Kelly Feb 9, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    You want to prove you’re legit? Resurrect Freshmeat, make everyone’s account work again (forcing password resets, of course). Then maybe, just maybe we might believe you. Or not.

  3. Alberto Ferrer Feb 9, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

    Kinda late, SF is dead, dunno if you check what you just buy. Its alive because is indexed on search engines, nothing else.

  4. Mike Smith Feb 9, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    Good on you, looking forward to the future of SourceForge.

  5. Ben Feb 10, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    Dear “Community Team”, First, thank you for finally recognizing the damage that DevShare program did to the trust that developers and users put into SourceForge. However, if you are serious about regaining the trust then you need to better understand all the way that Roberto Galoppini destroyed that trust. For example, take a look at the Galoppini blog post from November 14, 2013 titled “Advertising, Bundling, Community and Criticism” Soureforge commonly had double download button issues where one was the real SourceForge project download and the other was an ad. Most websites learned that ads need to be put into a box labelled ad. The acceptable ads rules from Ad Block Plus even requires this. However, the Galoppini “solution” was a little known and poorly communicated “blockthis” email address. This selected method by SourceForge does not encourage reporting of shady ads the same as having a “Report” or “Feedback” link as part of an ad box. Also, when people discovered that “blockthis” reports would be ignored for over a week, it just killed all incentive to try to “work” with SourceForge on the issue. Even today there still is no “Report” or “Feedback” links next to SourceForge ads. And you better believe that hell will freeze over before I bother wasting time with a “reportthis” email address ever again! It should have been called the “devnull” email address instead. Next, there wasn’t just problems with the DevShare program. This program also open the door that close source was now considered by SourceForge as transparent. If Roberto Galoppini said it was transparent then by redefinition of the word it must really be transparent. SourceForge wasn’t just out to make a quick buck, it was out to promote close source methods of doing business as well and relabel it as “transparent.” To date, SourceForge has never taken responsibility of proving there was nothing shady in the DevShare installer by releasing the full source code. Galoppini’s last major offense was the empty offer to listen to the community. He sure knew how to lay the lie on thick with “you are welcome to join the conversation at the DevShare forum on SourceForge, your opinion rules.” Our opinion rules what exactly?! The opinion of the community got blown off left and right. Please do not promise more than you are actually willing to give! we do not need any more of that crap. Lastly, it is unclear what niche SourceForge would fill for the community even if it does seriously attempt to recover from it’s badly mutilated image. For source code hosting, Github is doing a perfect job. For binary hosting, it is preferable to go through an “App Store” or application repository since not only does this make it easier to find and install an application but also to keep it up to date. SourceForge had plenty of opportunities to create an appstore like application for Windows and Android along with making it easier to publish to an apt-get/yum/dnf repo but never followed through on it. SourceForge could have provided a compiler cloud similar to the PhoneGap site. A package build cloud would also fit in well with providing a apt-get/yum/dnf repo. But SF has not bothered going in that direction. SourceForge could have taken on stackoverflow and expertsexchange by attempting to provide a better system of programming knowledgebase. But instead that has not been the case. SourceForge could have provided a method to encourage more discussion about programming code snip-its similar to pastebin or jsfiddle. But again that was not to be. SourceForge could have provided an online IDE, but left that to Cloud9. So what direction is SF going to go which we either don’t already have or SF is going to do better than what the community already has? SF had so much potential and the DevShare program was just one way SF ran in the opposite direction. Bottom line: Even if we choose to trust SF after Galoppini kicked our teeth in while claiming to be “listening to us,” what is there going to be that makes it worth coming back??

    • nhnb Feb 10, 2016 at 4:45 am #

      I agree with a lot of your points. But SF does have it good sides: For example the experience for end users (with ad blockers). On Github, the project front page is a directory listing of source code. Don’t get me wrong: That’s cool for libraries and other software, targeted at developers. But for end users, a project front page with screenshots and a description is so much better.

  6. DomDom Feb 10, 2016 at 3:48 am #

    A lot of “SF has been bad – we will never trust SF again” replies. I don’t quite get that. If it were the same owner/management, sure, I’d get that. But this is something new and they at least seem to take the right steps. Benefit of doubt. I hold grudges on DICE not the SF NAME. Welcome oumr new overlords!!!

  7. nhnb Feb 10, 2016 at 4:40 am #

    Yay! Finally an announcement. We have grown anxious on IRC about the lack of communication and the absence of staff since the day, on which reports of SourceForge being sold showed up on the media. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Stopping the practice of tricking users into installing unwanted software is very good news. It has taken a toll on the reputation of all projects hosted on SourceForge. And it is impressive that you have done that within two weeks. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— As Ben has pointed out, misleading ads (most notable fake download buttons) are the second big issue after the Sourceforge installer. Google has announced that they will block affected sites using their safe browsing technology. I assume this also means that they will work on preventing the distribution of such ads using their own ad-network. If Sourceforge pulls ads from other networks, I think this issue got urgent. We really don’t need another round of bad PR because Sourceforge got blocked by safe browsing. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— I am excited of complete https support. That’s something I have been lobbing for on IRC for years. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— If may be cheeky to invite you to your own IRC channel, but if you like to chat with long time Sourceforge users, feel free to pop in. We can share stories of the past with lessons for today, discuss new and old ideas, or just hang out.

  8. Auzy Feb 10, 2016 at 5:07 am #

    I have projects from years ago I wanted to delete. Some of them empty, and some of them I realised were actually wrong. If you want to regain my trust, make it possible for projects to be deleted, otherwise, it feels like SF has seized my projects, for their own profit.

    • nhnb Feb 10, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      SF has given up on the “we preserve open source projects as archive, even if the developer goes close source” policy a long time ago. And after the retirement of Freshmeat and the Gimp incident, they gave up mirroring of external projects, too. Just open a support ticket https://sourceforge.net/p/forge/site-support/new/ to request project deletion. Usually the project gets deleted within one business day. But there have been rumours that the new owners let a lot of staff go, so it might take a bit longer. Oh, and please let us know, if they ignore or refuse deletion.

    • dinsdale Feb 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      I agree 100%. Without the ability to remove my projects, it feels like they’ve been hijacked. If you really are about serving Open Source users, then allow me to “remove” the project and add a re-direct link. I think if you brought back a “freashmeat” service that tracks dependancies I would be willing to pay for a build server service that notifies me of build status. Just my 2 cents.

  9. Prahlad Yeri Feb 10, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    Lost trust is hard to gain, be it any field of endeavor. It could be gained, but you will have to prove your worth by offering something “extra” now. Its not like devs are desperate to host their source code on SF anymore. As another commenter said, Github and Bitbucket works perfectly fine for lots of code hosting and for the enterprisey user, they also allow static web-sites for the project. Forget Github and Bitbucket, a lot many devs are equipped with FOSS stuff like Gitlab and have started to do self-hosting now. Of course, earlier SF had the advantage of being a market place where both enterprisey users and devs collaborated and a sort of “eco-system” was created between them. But your DevShare crapware program just destroyed that eco-system. To re-gain our trust, you will have to re-establish that trust now. Here is what I would do if I were you: 1. Firstly, come out and make a community promise (something like the Debian DFSG) that you will keep everything open source and ad-free (no more DevShare like proprietary crap). 2. Second, start rewarding genuine FOSS projects by way of providing web-hosting and/or other incentives. One area I can suggest is to provide dynamic hosting (like php/mysql/postgres/etc.). This will be a competitive advantage over GH/Bitbucket who only provide static hosting. 3. Another advantage I can think of is to provide more free tools for FOSS projects. I know there is already a bug-reporter and documentation tool. How about a project management suite (similar to basecamp)? I know, it seems like asking of too much, but if it can help you recoup the damage done to the brand and to establish a new foothold in the industry, it is not much to ask. I won’t trust you blindly, but I’ll watch how you go forward from here and what positive steps you’ll take (such as the one I mentioned). If you can deliver it, I’ll surely consider hosting my next FOSS project on SF.

  10. X Feb 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    The archive opensource projects that go closed source is a good thing. Don’t allow projects to be deleted.

  11. Pillow Feb 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    First of all, I’m happy to hear somebody is trying to breathe life back into SourceForge. Not because I’m interested in its future existence as a developer, but because I realise that a lot of projects are still hosted on SourceForge and may never move due to inactivity. A lot of these projects are still perfectly good code, an example would be pngnq-s9. So SourceForge continuing to live, and hopefully getting rid of all the bad business decisions the previous owners made, is something that I am very relieved to hear. Secondly, I’m also happy to hear you’re acknowledging the mistakes that have been made in the past. Of course, it’s easier to acknowledge mistakes made by somebody else than ones you make yourself, but I’m cautously optimistic. Gaining trust is way harder than losing it, and re-gaining trust is even harder than that. I hope that one day I will be able to trust SourceForge again, not because I’m attached to the brand or the people working here, but because of the responsibility the site still has with regards to old projects. As an aside note, thanks for announcing that you will offer HTTPS soon. It’s shocking people have downloaded and executed programs and other code from SourceForge without cryptographic trust for decades. TL;DR: Don’t fuck this up please

  12. Jim Feb 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Too late! How do you plan to compete with github, fosshub and a dozen of other sites? SF was the greatest a long time ago but each owner had its own monetization idea. What guarantees are that you won’t try to monetize SF again? How do you plan to recover your investment, by removing the ads?

  13. Dmanitoba Feb 10, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    I love reading comments such as “SF is dead” Throughout all of the whinging, I have noticed one, simple, common occurrence. All claims of “we will not use sourceforge” are largely lone, singular viewss in a sea of developers who continually use it, in spite of the very real, and yes, very damaging events that have transpired. There are very few software dev/distro portals that can even come close. So instead of having this “Sorry, new owners… Go and &*# yourselves”, stick to the comments, such as Ben’s.

  14. zaskar Feb 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Better late than never. There are many negative comments here, and I totally understand them, I’ve also felt betrayed even when my own projects weren’t directly affected by all those past mistakes. But I hope the best for the new people trying to regain our trust. This surely won’t be easy for them, but I really hope to see it done. So, to all other devs complaining here, let’s give them a break to see if they are up to the challenge. Terminating the devshare program is a very concrete first step, and if they finally manage to bring some peace again, the whole community will benefit, even from the healthy competition with the other alternatives forges that have emerged or grown in part due to these errors.

  15. J. A. Feb 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    One perspective, from someone who has been a Sourceforge user for both project hosting and finding other projects from the earliest days of the site: Two of the comments prior to this one gave you the situation in a nutshell, but they also contain the seeds of the answer. The trust *is* lost, and it will be a long, hard road to regain it — something of which you are undoubtedly aware. And while not as harmful, time has also been lost… or rather, opportunities to get (and then keep) an early lead in new facets of the industry. In terms of regaining my *trust*, it is a matter of time, but *just* time is unlikely to be sufficient. It will also require going “above and beyond” what I would normally expect from a company with a neutral record; the words I have heard used to phrase it for at least one other company are “above reproach.” That said, I’m a realist; I understand that it is a for-profit corporation, not a charity, and I am not suggesting that it should be one. The single most profound step I can think of would be to reincorporate as a public benefit corporation, or in some other way arrange for “the interests of the shareholders” to not be the absolute top of the pile — otherwise, no matter how good you may be, there will always be good reason to fear that it won’t last. Failing that — or, for that matter, even given that — I can think of only one other company that was so infamous in their business sector for “badness”, but managed to turn that around: take several pages from the playbook of Jack in the Box. Not the advertisements, as amusing as those are (although having that sense of perspective would certainly help). The things they did *before* the advertising, and then continued to do, right up through today. That list of eight or nine things that were missed opportunities? That is, itself, an opportunity *not* yet missed — nobody has managed to integrate enough of those into a cohesive whole that it has become a true “one-stop shop”. Once upon a time, when the world was a lot simpler, Sourceforge *was* that shop. If you really want to draw people back, you have to convince them not only that you *might* be trustworthy again, but that there is some reason that they should bother to extend you enough of their trust that you can *show* that you’re worthy of it. Maybe you’ve got something in the wings already that will make me wonder what this hurricane-force wind is, and where my socks have gotten off to. But proving that you have something *new* that is worth my trouble is going to be a much harder sell than showing me that you’ve managed to recover something that you, as a company, have actually had in the past. It isn’t any particular widget or gizmo or frob; this industry knows damn well those will all be old news tomorrow. It is a commitment to providing a place where both creators and consumers of software can find what they need with a minimum of fuss, whatever those needs are. And to keeping pace with those needs as they change. A near-fanatical devotion to the quality of the product you provide, but without losing track of how it fits into the rest of the world. A company who’s business model means that they benefit from the satisfaction of their customers, rather than at their expense. It won’t be instant. Even if you announced everything I can think of, tomorrow, it would take time. But showing me that you’re in this to fix it for the long haul is, in fact, a big part of what will help regain my trust. You have an uncommon opportunity: the chance to rise from rock bottom and surpass anything you’ve ever done. Show me that you not only *mean* it, but can *do* it. Give me a reason to someday say “Yeah, I remember how they used to be. They learned the hard way. But man, did they ever take those lessons to heart.”

  16. Stefan Feb 10, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    This is fantastic news! Looking forward to keeping working on my little projects here on SF.

  17. dex otaku Feb 24, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    Glad to hear this news. Also happy to see this comment thread full of rational, civil discussion rather than being pure vitriol. So many good points are brought up.