FOSS Force News Wire

January 28th, 2016

SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold

Slashdot Media, which owns the popular websites SourceForge and Slashdot, has been sold to SourceForge Media, LLC, a subsidiary of web publisher BIZX, LLC. Financial terms of the sale were not revealed in the press release announcing the sale, which was published today on the website EIN News.

This afternoon I exchanged a few emails with Logan Abbott who is one of the owners of BIZX and the president of the SourceForge Media subsidiary which he said “was formed for the purposes of this transaction.”

“We’re excited about the synergies this acquisition brings and see both our existing operation and the Slashdot Media business benefiting significantly as a combined entity,” he said. “We’re also excited about the prospects of better serving our customers, developers, enthusiasts, and user communities.”

I asked Abbott about the company’s plans for the sites going forward. Slashdot, of course, has a rich history in all areas of tech, including FOSS, and continues to be surrounded by a sizable community, although in recent years that community seems to have shrunk somewhat. Slashdot regulars will be relieved to know that according to Abbott, no drastic changes are immediately in the works.

“Our plans for Slashdot include supporting the mission of Slashdot’s slogan, ‘news for nerds, stuff that matters,'” he said. “The site has millions of loyal users that visit and engage on the site each month, and we want to do the things necessary to keep Slashdot positioned as the best technology-centric news and discussion site on the web. We do not plan any radical changes, and will keep the opinions of the Slashdot user base in mind at all times.”

When I mentioned the perception held by some that Slashdot’s online importance seems to be on the wane and suggested that the site perhaps has “lost its luster,” Abbott disagreed. “Well, I’m not sure I completely agree that Slashdot is less vital these days or has lost its luster,” he replied. “It serves millions of unique viewers each month, which we think is pretty significant.

“We see the Slashdot community as a vibrant community made up of industry professionals and enthusiasts that are extremely passionate about tech, tech news and discussion, many of which have been active and engaged for over a decade,” he added.

“What impressed us about Slashdot was the quality of the typical community member and how truly informed and educated they were on a wide variety of discussion topics that directly relate to today’s relevant tech news. There’s a lot more noise on the Internet now than there was when Slashdot was created, but we think the Slashdot user base is one of the most knowledgeable and informed communities anywhere on the web. We ultimately plan to listen to the community.”

All this goodwill towards the user community might be coming at a cost, however. I’ve heard reports from credible sources of layoffs at Slashdot, with many longtime employees being shown the door, with their jobs either eliminated or handed over to less costly and relatively inexperienced staff. Goodwill or no, this can’t have a positive effect on the site’s users’ experience. We can expect that the same cost cutting is probably happening at SourceForge, which is already struggling.

SourceForge, of course, was once the go-to code repository for FOSS projects. In recent years, however, the site has been having problems keeping projects — open source and otherwise — on board. This has partly been due to the rise of competition, specifically GitHub, but the site’s owners have also made some missteps along the way which have hurt Sourceforge’s reputation. Onsite advertising seen as deceptive and the inclusion of proprietary “free trial” software in Windows downloads of FOSS software has led many projects such as GIMP to leave the site and find other means of distribution.

Although some might think that SourceForge’s reputation has been too tarnished to continue as a viable code repository, Abbott said he sees it differently. “We absolutely plan to keep SourceForge as code repository,” he said, “but in more general terms, as a trusted destination for open source software discovery, development, collaboration and distribution.

“When I say trusted – I mean trusted,” he went on. “We disagree with some of the previous monetization strategies from an industry and business perspective, and have immediate plans to discontinue programs inconsistent with our being a trusted and reliable resource for the entire open source community. I think large and small project developers will quickly see that we are very serious about supporting their long term needs and that the industry will see we’re more interested in doing the right thing than making a few extra short term dollars.”

When I asked how he planned to compete with GitHub, now pretty much the industry standard and competition that didn’t exist back when SourceForge was on top of the heap, he replied without mentioning the competition by name: “We’re going to focus on the needs of our developers and site visitors by enhancing the SourceForge feature set while taking steps to ensure both developers and users see SourceForge as a trusted destination.”

Indeed, he promised to return SourceForge to its glory days, not only by undoing the harm that’s been done, but by bringing rapid development and much needed improvements to the site’s infrastructure.

“With SourceForge, our plans all surround returning the site to being the ‘gold standard’ and most trusted destination for open source software discovery, development, collaboration and distribution on the web. We will improve and accelerate development of useful open source software developer tools in addition to rekindling the original spirit of open source that made SourceForge an industry leader.”

That might be a big bite to chew. One thing is certain: Both the users at Slashdot and the open source developer communities will be keeping a close eye on developments around this sale. So will we at FOSS Force.

We’re currently in the midst of our 2016 Indiegogo fundraising drive. Your support is crucial. Won’t you please visit our fundraising page and make a contribution to support FOSS Force?

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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33 comments to SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold

  • EvaC

    Way too late. The ship sailed when they started out their malicious practice and even lied about it. Pissing on your customers is something you simply not do – EVER!

  • Games

    ChaosEsque Anthology has always stayed. The reason is simple: GitHub etc want money once you go beyond 1GB. SF is still the only opensource repo for 3d game projects.

  • Villo

    EvaC: only feminists, SJWs, etc are allowed on github.

    Males opposed to feminism, women’s rights, or infavor of old testament ideas such as marrying young girls are not welcomed on github.

    GitHub is not about OpenSource, it is about Women In Tech.
    When it is MEN who work on opensource in their spare time.

    Old ways Git Hub opposes:
    >In the United States, as late as the 1880s most States set the minimum age at 10-12, (in Delaware it was 7 in 1895).[8] Inspired by the “Maiden Tribute” female reformers in the US initiated their own campaign[9] which petitioned legislators to raise the legal minimum age to at least 16, with the ultimate goal to raise the age to 18. The campaign was successful, with almost all states raising the minimum age to 16-18 years by 1920.

    >Also: see: Deuteronomy chapter 22 verses 28-29, hebrew allows men to rape girl children and keep them: thus man + girl is obviously fine.

  • wtf

    @Villo – what in the actual fuck are you talking about?

  • BWC

    Not so sure the ship can’t return to port under new management. GitHub is having its own little controversies. But the forge will definitely have to put its money where its mouth is.

  • Hz23

    Fuck SystemD
    Fuck poettering

  • Jake

    Too late! FossHub is now the place to go for those who dislike GitHub. It is one of the best websites and without a greedy corporation behind that wants money. CodePlex? Sure, wait until they change the strategy (e.g. Google Code).

  • Concerned

    @Villo, @X: Wow, you are seriously messed up, dude. It’s a scary world that contains you in it.

  • @Concerned Needless to say, I agree.The main reason we haven’t removed their comments from this thread, other than our belief in free speech, is because we think it’s important for people to see that people like this really exist. Hopefully neither of these dangerous clowns is ever left alone with children.

  • Steve Baker

    In these days of cheap webhosting and good search – I’m not sure we need either GitHub or SourceForge for large, mature projects. Their main benefit is for initial scratchings, tiny projects that don’t have long-term growth.

    I pay $10/month for webhosting with ungodly numbers of gigabytes of storage. I can set up a Git repository of my own (Git != GitHub) and if someone needs my project – it’s at – and if you forget that…Google.

    So – I don’t need those other places. They’ve outgrown their usefulness.

  • Clark

    @Steve Baker I agree with you but it’s not hosting alone for tiny or large projects, especially those with large binaries – might not sound like a big deal for you but try to download a large file from an US server to a country that doesn’t have a great network. Let’s take a look: GitHub uses Amazon S3, SourceForge has contracts with Universities and a few hosting providers, CodePlex use Microsoft infrastructure and FossHub relies on CacheFly. Looking at all CDNs, in terms of speed and reliability I would say FossHub is the winner.
    @EvaC I agree, SourceForge has shown us what is capable of, it is now at the third sale, just think about it as a car that had so many owners – it is no longer reliable or trustworthy.
    @Games so true, GitHub is a clever commercial bait. They created a great product which has its limit. If you cross a line you pay, simple as that.
    @Jake I also see FossHub as being the most trustworthy place for free projects but people often don’t see it that way. They might jump from SourceForge to GitHub and end up with FossHub because they are more popular.

  • Azuma Hazuki

    Villo and “X” are aliases of someone better known as MikeeUSA, sometimes as FizzBuzz, and properly as Mikhail Kvaratskhelia.

    I recognize his rants from Slashdot and from Soylent. He has also made death threats against me for being against child rape 🙂 Classier than a long, wet fart in St. Basil’s during the liturgy, eh, Mikhail?

  • Steve Baker

    @Clark: Bandwidth from the server isn’t too much of an issue for developers while the project is being actively worked on because most of the time people are just downloading the files that changed since the last time they checked (yeah…Git!)…it’s a larger problem when you get into deployment though. But neither GitHub nor SourceForge are very friendly to non-developers who just want to hit “INSTALL” or do an “apt-get”.

    @Azuma: Don’t feed the troll. Ignoring these people completely is the best way to deal with them.

  • Azuma Hazuki

    @Steve: Oh, I know, just wanted to make sure people know exactly who they’re dealing with. More details can be found on that font of unbiased and levelheaded reporting known as Encyclopedia Dramatica.

  • Hunkah

    X, how about you actually man-up and use your real name. I’m sure people want to know who you really are.

    …and you shouldn’t be quoting scriptures of any kind with a mind like yours. You could twist a 6 ton steel cube with it.

    How can you profess to love open source, when the whole concept is about sharing and making a better world for everyone when all you’re doing is hating women and people that live a different lifestyle than you choose to be a part of.

  • Azuma Hazuki


    I already said what his real name is a couple of posts up: Mikhail Kvaratskhelia, aka MikeeUSA, aka FizzBuzz. His slime trail is all over the ‘net; just google for him.

    As to you, Mikhail: you will die in obscurity, unloved and unmourned, known only by a few anonymous strangers on the internet who universally pity and loathe you. No one likes you; YOU don’t even like you. What a sad existence.

  • @Azuma Please don’t feed the trolls. We don’t bait what we don’t wish to catch.

    Z and X, which is the same person BTW, has been quarantined and any posts by him will now go to an admin for approval.

  • I really hope that SourceForge will learn on its mistakes and will make free open-source hosting on SVN a thing. Just because Apache Subversion they use is a GREAT system. SVN haas its problems but not as bad as Git apologists (fans) say. Distributed VCS are not better than Subversion! They are different:

  • Illy

    Isn’t it systemd and not SystemD?

  • SysV


  • Chamot

    “”Because we have fed the trolls and they’re now bypassing our means of blocking them on an individual level, we have now had to put our shields up and block all users site wide from posting without going through a moderator. Again, please do not feed the trolls. It’s like giving water to a grimlin.””

    It was the future you chose.

  • Cliff Jones

    In case folks haven’t noticed, this ain’t the 90’s anymore. It’s either try to monetize, or hope for a benevolent billionaire on a white horse to keep the bills paid and the jackals at bay.

    SF apparently made a mistake by pointing the cash vector at themselves on The GIMP’s windows downloads without the latter’s “opt-in”… or so it seems from what we can read about it. (I have to believe the GIMPdevs this time, though) But who hasn’t made an honest, however egregious mistake five or three times that they didn’t wish they could walk back?

    The real issue is when do you conclude trust is truly broken? Do I have enough to go on to cast SF aside? I don’t know. Someone would have to dig up internal memos or the like to get into the mind of anyone behind the ‘bad moves’ before I could toss SF in the bin.

    It looks to me like things are moving in the right direction at SF at the moment. I’ll stay tuned.

  • @Cliff With reservations, I’m of a similar mind. New owners wipe the erase board and can make a good site bad or a bad site good. At present, I’m ready to take a wait and see attitude.

    I am concerned, however, about the slash and burn I’m hearing they’re doing with the staff at Slashdot. That kind of heartless cost cutting doesn’t bode well for either site. But, again, we’ll see.

  • Er

    >In case folks haven\u2019t noticed, this ain\u2019t the 90\u2019s anymore. It\u2019s either try to monetize, or hope for a benevolent billionaire on a white horse to keep the bills paid and the jackals at bay.

    >SF apparently made a mistake by pointing the cash vector at themselves on The GIMP\u2019s windows downloads without the latter\u2019s \u201copt-in\u201d\u2026 or so it seems from what we can read about it. (I have to believe the GIMPdevs this time, though) But who hasn\u2019t made an honest, however egregious mistake five or three times that they didn\u2019t wish they could walk back?”””

    Nice way of saying that opensource is not trustworthy anymore and is no better than the shareware that it replaced. (Systemd (aka backdoor to root) being forced on all of us wasn’t a hint enough…)

    Go shill somewhere else: you’ve sold out. Plenty of us have not.

    And really, there is NO REASON to sell out: no matter how much money you are given you will never be allowed to marry young girls, so it’s worthless. Men used to work so they could get the young girls, that was before women had it banned in the late 1800 and early 1900s.

    It’s like some idiot normie that doesn’t understand what free/opensource software was about just walked right in and, after running the facts through his ‘gibs me money so I can…. uhhhh…. get dah hot wimmin’ mind… (actual white men want cute girls, not “hot wimmen” which is why the “hot wimmen” had to ban men from marrying QT young gurls in the first place)… came up with this SHIT to plop down:

    “It aint be duh 90s any more, the rap game has chaannged, ngz need to make tha PAPAH TO GET DUH HUNNIES!!!”

    That is not what free software /opensource is about.
    Get out.
    Get the fk out.
    Normie scum.

  • Mike

    > “That is not what free software /opensource is about.
    Get out.”

    It’s pretty obvious the poster above doesn’t understand what free software is about.

  • mitch

    Another fossforce article this week talks about developing a community. I don’t have time nor interest to read bible tripe comments. Participants need ability to downvote/hide or report nonsense comments or staff must skip dinner and holidays to spend time moderating, or deputize volunteer moderators.

  • mitch

    I’m a new visitor. The post above is my first ever here. What’s up with the CAPTCHA? It times out, need to refresh the page (hopefully you remembered to copy to clipboard before the refresh or what you typed might be lost. sigh.)

    Doesn’t the timer aspect PUNISH the thoughtful commentors who take the time to draft (and spellcheck/proofreed) a substantial commentary, and allow the quick potshot wiseacres to slip right through?

  • mitch

    Intentional typo above. Nope, no ability to edit one’s comment here (as seen at article comments, for instance).

    This site begs a more featureful platform than what you’re now running if you truly intend to pursue “building a community”.

  • Cliff Jones

    @mitch The wiseacre is a known entity. It’s best to just skip over comments like that.

    I agree with you about the captcha timeout. For that and other reasons (eg not wanting to inadvertently send an incomplete/unedited message) whenever I want to post at length I open a text editor, write it there, copy, paste into the reply window then spell check.

    If you are running GNU/Linux there’s dozens of editors available, some having spell check. (like bluefish) I use kwrite or gedit, depending on the environment I’m using.

    I also have gotten into the habit of copying my posts into the clipboard before clicking “send,” some sites (like tech republic) can lose your post if someone else is posting at the exact same time.

  • @Cliff @mitch You can also refresh the Captcha before you send.

  • Cliff Jones

    Never noticed the little button… old eyes. :\ Still, other sites have burned me enough that I’ve adopted the above MO. I remember a few years ago writing for over an hour once, probably the most thoughtful, informational post I’d have ever made. It just evaporated when I posted. Nothing in the clipboard. Hit the back button, no text.

    I didn’t bother to recreate the post.

    BTW are you perchance related to SARTRE?

  • @Cliff SARTRE? Do you mean Jean-Paul, the French writer/philosopher?

    Oh, BTW, you can avoid the CAPTCHA by going to our Indiegogo campaign, choosing the perk “Frequent Commenters Membership” and making a much needed $25 contribution. You’ll get your on login, no CAPTCHA, access to polls a day early — and future goodies that’ll be added after we’ve added enough of a membership base.

  • S Chatterjee

    SF helped to bring together lot of open source developers. Not sure if change of management will continue it.