New SourceForge owners kill contentious DevShare bloatware program

SourceForge wants to be a trusted repository of open source software. Its first step is killing DevShare, the revenue sharing bundleware program.

sourceforge

After last summer’s bloatware incident, the new owners of Sourceforge hope to improve the site’s image as a haven for trusted open source downloads. Bizx LLC, which also owns Slashdot, recently announced on the SourceForge site that it would halt the download site’s DevShare program effective immediately.

DevShare was a revenue-sharing scheme that allowed developers to bundle other applications with their downloads. It was introduced to SourceForge in 2013 by the site’s previous owners.

“We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that,” said Logan Abbott, SourceForge’s new president, in a blog post. “We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit.”

The story behind the story: Embracing bundleware has been a continuing source of trouble for SourceForge. In mid-2015, SourceForge started bundling software with the GIMP Windows installer without the developers’ permission. Even after the site backed off that move, other notable projects abandoned SourceForge over the incident, including Wine and Notepad++. Before that, popular media player VLC also moved away from SourceForge over misleading advertising that bundled the VLC installer with pre-DevShare bloatware, according to one VLC developer.

What’s next

Although the DevShare program is going away, the new SourceForge still wants to figure out a way to help developers earn money through the site, Abbott recently told LinuxInsider. It’s not clear what the new revenue plan will entail.

Beyond revenue and bloatware, SourceForge will soon institute full HTTPS support for both SourceForge and Slashdot, as well as other unmentioned changes aimed at improving the site for both users and developers.

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