The FSF Europe recommends: avoid SourceForge

Georg C. F. Greve greve at
Tue Nov 13 16:30:30 UTC 2001

 || On Tue, 13 Nov 2001 14:40:04 +0000
 || MJ Ray <markj at> wrote: 

 >> We posted it to our lists & web site; Loic additionally posted it
 >> to We had no part in posting it anywhere else
 >> although I've seen it featured in other places like slashdot.

 mr> Sorry, Georg, this is not completely true.  The LinuxFR story
 mr> says "Posté par Loic Dachary." I ask again: where else has it
 mr> been submitted?

I didn't know about the submission by Loic Dachary to LinuxFR - but
then I never really asked him not to do it. 

I told you all the submissions I know of, others would have to tell
you where they submitted it themselves.

 mr> What did FSFEurope hope to achieve here?  

When the issue began, we exchanged several emails with the SourceForge
people about the questions we had and got no answers.

Especially since they announced earlier that they would add
proprietary "features," this got us concerned. 

We then tried to resolve these issues with SourceForge by talking to
them, but after initially offering to solve the problems, they created
their "you give us all rights, we make no promises" copyright
assignment and ended the discussion.

Because we could not resolve the problems directly with SourceForge,
it became our goal to create awareness for the problems that are
created by this development for the Free Software community. Since
Loic was the one who was most deeply involved in the matter, he felt
compelled to write a statement about it, so he did.

Given the amount of discussion this has triggered, I guess there is
noone who hasn't heard about it by now, so at least some awareness may
have been created.

 mr> Do they feel that this has been the most effective and efficient
 mr> way to achieve it?

I don't know whether this was the most effective and efficient way,
there may have been a better way that we didn't see. But it certainly
was necessary to raise this issue.

Of course this is uncomfortable and given the amount of admiration
SourceForge is receiving from some, FSF-FUD replies were probably
inevitable. Bashing the messenger has been a favorite reaction of
mankind for centuries.

Although you seem to have a valid point as only few people truly read
the replies. If you carefully read the reply by Patrick McGovern, for
instance, you will find that he says a little bit about side issues,
but totally ignores the big questions.

Although he says that SourceForge is not running on the "Enterprise
Edition" software, this says nothing about whether or not SourceForge
is based on proprietary software.

He completely confuses the Free Software and Open Source definitions
and their relationship and quotes that as a point where "Loic is not

Furthermore he says nothing definitive about the plans SourceForge has
with its software or the reason for the copyright assignments. Also he
offers no opportunity to download the current software although Loic
very clearly asked for it.

Taking this step and making such a statement is painful, not very
popular and prone to create heated discussions. It also is necessary
at times.

In this case we realized that the legal base and future plans of
SourceForge had become so unclear that we could only recommend to use
alternative services. 

Was this necessary? I believe it was. 

Could we have found a better way of doing it? Maybe.


Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (
GNU Business Network                        (
Brave GNU World	                           (
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