Popular Software projects leave Sourceforge

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 15, 2015

The software project hosting website Sourceforge started to offer a new monetization option to projects hosted on the site in mid-2013 when it introduced install-wrappers which enabled projects to add third-party offers to installers on Windows to earn revenue from software installations.

The move back then was controversial but opt-in which meant that only select downloads on the site were wrapped in the installer.

The new monetization option along with advertisement on the site that was sometimes deceptive in nature as it features download links and buttons prominently, turned several projects away from Sourceforge back then.

This changed recently -- briefly -- when Sourceforge started to take over abandoned projects on the site to add download wrappers to project downloads.

Projects that have been abandoned on Sourceforge are not necessarily abandoned completely. This is for instance the case for the popular image editor The Gimp which was simply moved to a host of its own from where files are now served to users.

Mirrors of popular projects that moved away from Sourceforge are kept on the site however and those were then taken over by the company running the site.

Sourceforge quickly stopped the practice after reports emerged on various sites on the Internet about the company's business practice. While Sourceforge reacted quickly, it was clear almost immediately that damage was done not only to the public image of Sourceforge but also in regards to developer relations.

The admin of the popular NotePad++ text editor announced today that the project would leave SourceForge as a response to what happened in past weeks.

Obviously, the paid component per installation system is one of their important income generating scams. I would be fine with that, if they were the actual owners of the legitimate software. The real problem is, they are polluting these open source software installations for the purpose of filling their pockets by this scam, and worst of all, without even notifying the authors/creators of this software, while the creators are struggling against such parasitic software in order to keep their installers cleaner and safer.

Such a shameless policy should be condemned, and the Notepad++ project will move entirely out of SourceForge.

The project will use Github as the development hub for Notepad++ exclusively.

Several other projects, tmux, nmap or VLC for instance try to get Sourceforge to remove projects from the site as well.

What may be even more troubling for Sourceforge is that uBlock -- and all of its spin-offs and forks -- is now blocking access to the site by default.

Users of said extensions may need to update third-party filters before the block becomes active in the browser. This is done on the dashboard under 3rd-party filters with a click on the update now button. The filter that contains the instruction to block SourceForge is uBlock filters.

Closing Words

The decision to take over projects and include download wrappers in downloads was without doubt a bad one. The decision hurt and will continue to hurt SourceForge especially since plenty of project hosting services are available on today's Internet that developers and companies can move to.

Article Name
Popular Software projects leave Sourceforge
Several software projects announced that they will move away from the project hosting site SourceForge due to the site's actions in the recent past.

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  1. peter said on June 19, 2015 at 1:12 am

    wine & elementaryOS leave sourceforge or no yet?

  2. Ryan Jones said on June 16, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I can see why they did it, ad revenue may have been lacking with addins like adblocker cutting out their revenue stream, but adding crap that requires funds to pay for on something they don’t own? That’s just horse crap, I like source forge but their business model seems to be out dated and moving forward they may have already ended themselves.

    I think they need to rebrand themselves and restructure to get out of this hole.

  3. X346 said on June 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Related: The Sourceforge mirror project of Firefox is taken over by sf-editor1.

  4. Oxa said on June 16, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Pale Moon for Linux is also moving from SourceForge:

  5. someone said on June 15, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    SourceForge really shot themselves in the foot with this gaffe. Once you loose trust, you are not going to regain it easily.

  6. Maelish said on June 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Sourceforge was a great site but it’s not staying up with the times. Somebody over there needs to wake up.

    There is no problem trying to make money for your site but the methodology can be a problem. In this instance their technique was flawed. It was like a sucker punch coming from such a previously trusted source.

  7. Tom Hawack said on June 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    SlashdotMedia (parent company), Slashdot and Sourceforge, the Web’s Three Stooges. I’ve never liked either of them, weird little places.
    I wasn’t surprised when Sourceforge’s upstart crow behavior received the Web’s slap. I just hope the hosted applications will all move to other servers. Sites, as individuals, who decide to keep their head out of the water by using others as life belts are rude, plainly rude, and not even worth being remembered. This attitude should be over by now, in 2015.

  8. Earl said on June 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Just GIMP, no “The”. There’s been no “The” for 20 years now. (If SourceForge has “The GIMP”, then it’s a really, really old mirror of a pre-release version.)

  9. Ben said on June 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Sourceforge is way past it’s prime.
    It was always a crappy looking website and I never liked it.
    But credits to them for providing it in the past – it was an important part of history, but they stopped improving and now github is way more better in every point – and looks pleasing to the eye too.

  10. miles l said on June 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I stay away as soon as I see SF
    Unsafe at any speed !

  11. IgHive said on June 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

    VLC were offered money. I wonder how many projects are staying on SF for the money.

  12. IgHive said on June 15, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I will still use Sourceforge with Adblock and ?nowrap.

    1. Froyton said on June 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      It’s not like uBlock forces you to not use sf. It lets you permanently unblock the site with one click.

      1. Tom Hawack said on June 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

        Actually uBlock Origin blocks Sourceforge in a “liberal” way and mentions this in its 3rd-party filters / uBlock filters :

        # Using `other` will cause the whole site to be blocked through strict blocking,
        # yet the site will render properly if a user still decide to go ahead.

        Which means that one can bypass the blocking occasionally with Sourceforge displayed correctly without having to create an exception, hence a reminder of the site’s shameful policy.

    2. Mary said on June 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      What is ?nowrap you mentioned and how does one find it?

      Thank you.

      1. IgHive said on June 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

        Just add ?nowrap to end of the download link. See this page of Filezilla https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type=client . Download link on this page has SF’s installer . Now see the download links on this page https://filezilla-project.org/download.php?show_all=1 . It has ?nowrap in the end.

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