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Unmaintained Free Software Projects

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the now-that-is-a-cool-idea dept.

Announcements 83

DAldredge sent us linkage to the unmaintained free software project list (if you can't figure this one out based on the name, seek help quickly). A very good idea that I'm pleased to see implemented. There's a lot of orphaned software out there... some of it because it's pretty useless, but others just because people move on. Hopefully a site like this can help us breath life back into the good ones.

cancel ×

83 comments

Done already (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#990419)

Posted by 11223:

There's already another site on sourceforge that does this - slashdot article here [slashdot.org] . How is this project different from the UFO project (which looks like the same thing)?

There's a better way to do this... (1)

DG (989) | more than 14 years ago | (#990420)

Besides the environmentally friendly interface, there's something else here that needs changing. This page has been set up as kind of an "adoption agency" for unmaintained projects - as if natural selection was somehow bad.

A much more useful nice for this sort of page would be more like a code/project archive or library - a place to steal code, get ideas, and act as a sort of museum for software.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 14 years ago | (#990421)

Sometimes projects fail not because of lack of coders but because the original programmers don't have the time to finish the projects. Jobs and school can end a project quickly. And, there areprojects that fall apart becuase of mismanagement.

The projects, though, might still have good code attached to them.

Re:Done already (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 14 years ago | (#990422)

Better organized? UFO looks like you'd never find anything in it if it actually managed to get a decent number of projects listed. At least this new site divides things into categories so you can go looking for Internet software or Games or whatever...

--

comp.emulators.mswindows.wine (1)

Zippy the Pinhead (3531) | more than 14 years ago | (#990423)

Yeah, post to comp.emulators.mswindows.wine [mswindows.wine] about it.

Also, check WineHQ [winehq.com] for info.

Many folks have complained about TKWine being unmaintained; your changes would be quite welcome.

Re:This site is unnecessary. (1)

IdiotBoy (5883) | more than 14 years ago | (#990424)

After seeing this, I'm motivated to pitch in and make sure it doesn't die.

So if you have great ideas for how to improve the program, why haven't you already been working on it? If you don't have great ideas, what makes you think you'll be a valuable contributor in the future?

You had no idea the code was going unmaintained. Maybe there's a reason for that? Perhaps it doesn't need more feeping creaturism?

The GPL makes it hellish to find a _for-profit organization_ willing to take on project management and maintenance.

Re:More Information Desirable (1)

knuth (6137) | about 14 years ago | (#990425)

uh1763 said, "I guess you only viewed the index-page."

You would be wrong. I looked at already categorized and archived categories. For example, this category for e-mail [sourceforge.net] , which does not always let people know about programming language(s) and/or dependencies.

More Information Desirable (1)

knuth (6137) | more than 14 years ago | (#990426)

This list would be more helpful if it stated which programming language is used, and possibly dependencies as well.

Not everyone is adept in every programming language. The relative newbie could then avoid projects in an unfamiliar language. The person who can code in a few languages might suspect that the "wrong" language used is what is bogging down the project and be able to recast it in a more suitable language.

How does software get treated accountingwise? (1)

LL (20038) | more than 14 years ago | (#990428)

Just curious as to how companies amortise the cost of software as I suspect this influences why new projects are much more interesting than old ones. Is software seen as a durable capital item to be written off over x years? Or more as an on-going variable cost which carries hidden overheads in requiring hiring of maintenance software programmers? For a company living on the edge of bankrupcy, I can see the appeal of degrading infrastructure (ie using the same old stuff) in the hopes of surviving another year. So is the best strategy just to buy the biggest/baddest in the hope that it lasts a decent period or is it better to go cheap and nasty in the expectation that it will be replaced by generation+1 after a short interval? Or has the maintenance complexity gotten the best of us and we're just giving up and hopes of keeping the feeping creatures under control (a la software tribbles)?

LL

Re:Adopt-a-coder (1)

aphrael (20058) | more than 14 years ago | (#990429)

After many long hours debugging why their program segfaults when given an input of 64910 characters long, but only if it doesn't contain the letter a and it's an even-numbered day, some programmers understandably... lose it.

That's the reason why modern bug tracking systems have an "I don't care, fix it yourself" option for the developer to check. :)

Re:Won't happen (1)

aphrael (20058) | more than 14 years ago | (#990430)

As a developer, I find the basic architecture and startup-phase of a new project very important - and also the most enjoyable.

I'm a bit different --- I enjoy taking systems that I don't understand and analyzing them until I do understand them. Bug fixing is fun --- until I understand the system, then it becomes boring ...

Deja vu? (1)

jfrisby (21563) | more than 14 years ago | (#990431)

I could have *sworn* that this story showed up on Slashdot not too long ago! In fact, the link showed up as having been visited and I remember having visited the site...

This isn't the first time I've had this Deja-Vu experience on Slashdot... It's happened several times recently. Am I just nuts, or is Slashdot reposting old stories??

-JF

10,000 job listings, news and info for web application developers:

Painfull (1)

slurry47 (27097) | more than 14 years ago | (#990432)

Soilent, kelly, forest, grass, Coke bottle, lime, parrot. . .

I'm an idiot.

Fabooo idea (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 14 years ago | (#990433)

Been done before but, still a good idea.

Perhaps some of these orphans will be adopted. Any cracker wannabe should look here for ideas.

Good software without a home -- DFM! (1)

kjj (32549) | more than 14 years ago | (#990434)

I always liked a file manager called DFM or the Desktop File Manager. This was an excellect complement to lite window managers like WM and Ice. Now the project doesn't seem to have a home anymore. It had been hosted on on Linuxbox with something like dfm.linuxbox.com but now linuxbox is gone and has been replaced by linuxave. AFAIK there is no dfm.linuxave.com or linuxave.com/dfm or an account on sourceforge. Does anyone have any info on what happened to DFM? This one should probably have an entry to, but I haven't tried to contact the author yet. He may still be interested, who knows. A question about this site, is it only the author who can sumbit these projects or can anyone list an unmaintained project?

Why so many with status "Maintained"? (1)

VP (32928) | more than 14 years ago | (#990435)

For a site of "orphaned" projects, why so many of them have a status of maintained?

Re:Why so many with status "Maintained"? (1)

VP (32928) | more than 14 years ago | (#990436)

Then I would suggest that once the status becomes Maintained, they are moved to a different list, so that we don't need to look through all of them to find out which are still orphaned. Of course, I think that this is lower priority than getting all the different lists of non-maintained projects in one place...

Re:This site is unnecessary. (1)

leshert (40509) | more than 14 years ago | (#990437)

I heartily disagree--from personal experience! I was surprised to see on this list a great program I use, and have used, on a day-to-day basis. I had no idea it had gone unmaintained. After seeing this, I'm motivated to pitch in and make sure it doesn't die.

This seems like a pretty good result, don't you think?

Re:Damn moderators! (1)

Fleet Admiral Ackbar (57723) | more than 14 years ago | (#990438)

Time to get that karma back.


Entering karma whore mode...


Linux fux0ring r0x0rs, d00d. Everybody should
be friends. All software is good. Let's not start
a flame war. I have some lame opinions which I would like to state as meeeeeeeekly as possible.

Re:Unmaintained code in the Linux kernel as well. (1)

Milican (58140) | more than 14 years ago | (#990439)

Good job. Every little bit helps out. There are some *rude* people who are posting here, but who cares there are pricks everywhere. In any case, good job on taking the initiative when specs were scarce.

JOhn

UFO ? (1)

mbyte (65875) | more than 14 years ago | (#990440)

What happened to the "ufo" project ? It was here on slashdot a while ago.
Is it the same ?
Samba Information HQ

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

jhittner (66567) | more than 14 years ago | (#990441)

Yes secure ftp. Are clients rely on it very heavly, and the lack of a grphical client is the only thing holding them back from migrating to linux. There are alot of very nice GUI FTP programs out there, but im not a developer, and would not be able to bring them up to speed even if where easy.

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

jhittner (66567) | more than 14 years ago | (#990442)

Great link... someone moderate this guy up. A web page like that is 100x more usefull then unmaintained free software project list. The projects on the UFSPL where abandoned for a reason(at least most of them). Lets look into the future, and start gathering a list of the apps that are keeping people from migrating, and get people to port those. Im sure im not the only one looking for an SFTP-GUI, or something that can open visio documents

NEW opensource project (1)

jhittner (66567) | more than 14 years ago | (#990443)

I wish there was a place where non-developers such as myself could go to subject new ideas for open source projects. Stuff that using linux all day, I feel are missing. For example, a graphical sftp client on linux would rock. windows has datafellows, but there is nothing for linux. I could think of at least a dozzen more

No... (1)

MostlyHarmless (75501) | more than 14 years ago | (#990444)

Or it could mean that BSD has a much smaller user base. Being generous, let's call it 50%. However, note that many of the programs for BSD are just ports from Linux (unlike the kernel, which has much the other way around). So maybe BSD has 10% of the programs originating from it. Therefore, we would expect maybe 1 BSD program there. The lack of only one program is not statistically significant. Also note that software rarely remains BSD-only. If it is good, it will be ported to other Unixen.

These numbers are just rough guesswork, but you get the idea.
nuclear cia fbi spy password code encrypt president bomb

How about guidlines for starting/contributing? (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 14 years ago | (#990445)

Any faqs or guidlines of starting your own project
or contributing to ongoing ones?

Re:Old ideas....new page? (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 14 years ago | (#990446)

Quite the opposite - old page, new idea. The page looks quite similar to freshmeat, except the ugly colors; the idea is to get people to work on projects that have been abandoned. Freshmeat just shows you what projects exist.

Re:This site is unnecessary. (1)

osguzzler (101944) | more than 14 years ago | (#990447)

Oh come on now, give the human race a little bit of credit! Where did cynicism last get you?

Adam:What kept you?.

Yawn, i'll go back to sleep now (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 14 years ago | (#990448)

O.K, so the site has it's heart in the right place, but i didn't see anything on there that wasn't either at a very early (Pre Alpha) version, or anything that even looked that interesting. Most of it is either going to have a limited userbase, or is just pretty useless. Maybe the fact that these projects are now unmaintained is because they simply weren't a good idea?

Isn't that the point... (1)

gaudior (113467) | more than 14 years ago | (#990449)

of Open Source Software? If I need something fixed, I fix it, and then let others have my fix as well, on the reasonable premise that if I have a need, others will also.
--

It's been done... (1)

gaudior (113467) | more than 14 years ago | (#990450)

A much more useful nice for this sort of page would be more like a code/project archive or library - a place to steal code, get ideas, and act as a sort of museum for software.

Freshmeat [freshmeat.net]
--

Didnt someone allready make this? (1)

The Madpostal Worker (122489) | more than 14 years ago | (#990451)

bero (of redhat fame made somthing very like this, to the point where the names were the same). Its at ufo.sourceforge.net.

IMHO, bero's had some significant shortcomings(namley, no one but him ever got a project) but i know that the two sites overlap(i.e. bero is listed as mainainting a package on his, while the package is open on the other.)

These two need to become one.

/*
*Not a Sermon, Just a Thought
*/

Deja Vue (1)

lintux (125434) | more than 14 years ago | (#990452)

Hey things like this have been on SlashDot at least twice already. Please choose/post original things next time.

I love green but... (1)

Iron_Slinger (126682) | more than 14 years ago | (#990453)

I just checked it out. In the process my retina's exploded from way TOO much green.

Ceeripes that was loud

I don't understand (1)

Digitalia (127982) | more than 14 years ago | (#990454)

I really don't understand. Isn't the purpose behind an open-source project to develop the best possible product based on community involvement? Is it possible, gasp, for an open-source project to be ignored by the people? Then, what makes it better than a closed-source solution? Bah. Who cares. I just want more DOS abandonware!

Re:DeadMeat (1)

non (130182) | more than 14 years ago | (#990455)

its here

crack.com/golgotha [crack.com]

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

gwalla (130286) | more than 14 years ago | (#990456)

It might be a good idea to check that What We Need site against the Unmaintained Projects site. That way, useful but unmaintained projects could be easily identified and reopened, so a little effort is wasted as possible.


---
Zardoz has spoken!

Re:I love green but... (1)

Bad_CRC (137146) | more than 14 years ago | (#990457)

I'm still seeing green boxes in front of my eyes. ouch. hopefully the maintainer of that site (which is a great idea, and could be very useful) will see this, and make it a little less painful to view.

________
1995: Microsoft - "Resistance is futile"

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

Andreas Rueckert (138510) | more than 14 years ago | (#990458)

You know I wrote some FTP sources and tried to find people interested in SFTP for months, but it seems that noone wants to use it. I spoke to so many companies, but all I heard was FTP over IPsec is what we use. Do you have a SFTP server? Maybe we could make a deal, if you are really interested in a SFTP client on linux. If so, drop me a mail at a_rueckert@gmx.net

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

Andreas Rueckert (138510) | more than 14 years ago | (#990459)

Are you talking about secure FTP (RFC 2228) ? AFAIK there are some GUI FTP clients, so it should be feasable to bring one up to this...

Re:No unmaintained BSD licensed software (1)

driehuis (138692) | more than 14 years ago | (#990460)

Awww, bogus. Eric Raymonds paper "Homesteading the noosphere" expands on the unwritten protocol for taking over a software project when the original author fades out. The license (provided it allows redistribution in modified form) is entirely immaterial.

What is important is that (a) the software is useful to somebody, (b) that somebody wants to go the extra mile to wrest control from the original author, and (c) that this somebody thinks it should be used by a wider audience.

A lot of code ends up unmaintained because people don't dare climb up a soapbox and shout: "hey, I want to take over maintenance".

Case in point: there's PERL code to access DBaseIII files. I'm sitting on a patch to make it work with Clipper .DBT files. The original author disappeared off the face of the earth. Back when I discovered this, I did not want to invest a whole lot of time in figuring out the protocol to "own" that thing (in ESR's terms). So, it sits gathering dust.

Re:Why so many with status "Maintained"? (1)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990461)

Because they have already found a new maintainer. All of them started with a status of 'Unmaintained.' when I entered them to the index.

Re:Good software without a home -- DFM! (1)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990462)

Anyone can make a submission [sourceforge.net] . But there should be a note on the previous project page of the package that it is unmaintained. I don't want to accidentally add projects to the site which aren't unmaintained.

Re:Why so many with status "Maintained"? (1)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990463)

I already had the idea to give maintained apps a different-coloured box or differ between maintained/unmaintained apps some way or the other... But you're right. Maybe they should be moved to some sort of 'Attic', so you still can view them if you really want to, but they aren't shown in the normal index.

Re:More Information Desirable (1)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990464)

This list would be more helpful if it stated which programming language is used,

Which it does.

and possibly dependencies as well.

Which it does aswell.

I guess you only viewed the index-page. Click on the "Index-record"-button in the upper-right of the box of the respective application to see the details.

Re:No unmaintained BSD licensed software (1)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990465)

Interesting to note that there is no unmaintained BSD software.. What does that tell us about the BSDL?

Not very much, yet. There's only a small amount of applications in the index, as of now.

Re:I don't understand (1)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 14 years ago | (#990466)

Normally if you make a change you submit a patch to the maintainer. If he doesn't respond and you think he has abandoned it you can fork the code. But generally this is not done quickly and certainly not for small patches.

By selecting a new maintainer there is again a central point for submitting patches.

Jeroen

Is it just me or .. ? (1)

Stskeeps (161864) | more than 14 years ago | (#990467)

Wasn't http://ufo.sourceforge.net something of the same kind? I think it was slashdotted too.

Re:Isn't that the point... (1)

shippo (166521) | more than 14 years ago | (#990468)

In respect for kernel code, a maintainer of a project is someone who collates the amendments to code, merges the patches together, and forwards them onto Linus or whoever. They also control style and namespace pollution.

Check the /usr/src/linux/MAINTAINERS for a full list.

In the case of my sound card driver, there was no maintainer. As the driver at the time supported at least 4 different chipsets, and I was adding support for another, I had no means to verify that my changes were indeed correct, as I was unable to locate any of the other models of that card. I did have the specs for the other chipsets, but I've been burnt by incorrect specs in the past. Luckily so far no-one has reported that my changes have broken things. But 2.4.0 hasn't gone live yet!

Maintainers are useful when multiple changes are being made to the same code, and the changes are incompatable with each other. There are many active maintainers within Linux, but still vast ranges of code without anyone to oversee it.

Re:This site is unnecessary. (1)

vanix (177445) | more than 14 years ago | (#990469)

The projects which are unmaintained are generally projects which have died for a good reason. Please let sleeping dogs lie.
If you really think these projects are totally worthless, all of the comments you made in the first paragraph are totally irrelevant! How (and why) would a "glory hunter" get any cred working on such a project? More to the point, if you really believe what you wrote, who is harmed if a "glory hunter" works on one of these projects, anyway?

In fact this idea could end up harming the project if an inept project manager refuses to step down as the official leader of the project, if and when a more suitable project manager comes along.
I see, so some other, more competent person is going to come along and try to take over this worthless project from the glory hunter? Why would this happen unless the project was doing well? And if the project does do well, then what does that say about your "glory hunter" theory?

Re:But what happens when... (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 14 years ago | (#990470)


I guess you have to add it to its own list. But then you must remove it, since you just maintained it.

Re:Heh heh... (1)

java_sucks (197921) | more than 14 years ago | (#990471)

Here's where software projects go when they die...

Yep.. some of these are dead for a reason. If you do a quick look around freshmeat you will see many other projects which are doomed for death. There are many very specific itch's being scratched.. uh like..

BWtoRW: The new program to convert blue widgets to red widgets..

uh..okay... cuhl.. uh maybe a dozen people will find that handy for a week or so. On any single day the signal to noise ratio on freshmeat can be pretty bad.

Re:There's a better way to do this... (1)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#990472)


Don't forget, natural selection only has meaning in the context of a particular environment. Some of this code may become useful again in the future, and may be useful now for people who otherwise wouldn't have heard of it. It puts stuff in one place which you would otherwise have to hunt for all over the web.

Which is not incompatible with your idea, of course...but I think calling it a museum would tend to reinforce the idea that this stuff is dead, useless, only good for study and salvage. I don't think we should discourage people from trying to breathe life into them.

------

Evolution in action (1)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#990473)


In fact this idea could end up harming the project if an inept project manager refuses to step down as the official leader of the project, if and when a more suitable project manager comes along.

So, what is to stop the second person from announcing that he/she is maintaining a code base and accepting patches? There would be a short period while developers decide who they want to work with, then the project would fork. The most clueful developers gradually fall into the new camp while the clueless remain in the old. And before long, one branch has all the credibility and the other becomes irrelevant.

An oversimplification? Certainly. But that's essentially how it would fall out when all the shouting was over. I can't think of any examples, but I bet it's happened before.

------

Re:NEW opensource project (1)

YASD (199639) | more than 14 years ago | (#990474)


For those who want a tool enough to pay something for it, there are a couple of sites where you can propose a project and make an offer for it: Cosource.com [cosource.com] and The Free Software Bazaar [csustan.edu] .

------

The Software Engineering Community (1)

herve76 (200897) | more than 14 years ago | (#990475)

The Software Engineering Community website is dedicated to the FREE information sharing about software engineering disciplines between software engineers (i.e. industrials, faculty members and students).

http://www.software-engineer.org [software-engineer.org]

The website is now available online, and already 130 software engineers worldwide have become contributors and share their expertise every day by posting links, news, articles, and messages.
We also discuss the topic of how to maintain good softwares, so come now to join the software engineering community.

Heh heh... (2)

pb (1020) | more than 14 years ago | (#990476)

Here's where software projects go when they die...

Most of these don't look too impressive, which is good, because I'd hope the decent software projects could find maintainers. (i.e. Everybody loves Mozilla, DOSEmu 1.0 is finally out now, and Wine got some more developers, thanks to Corel...)

Also, all the games are rogue or nethack based; please add Angband-Tk for Unix to that list, 'cause I want it! ;)
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

Re:Not So Good Idea... (2)

aleksey (1519) | more than 14 years ago | (#990477)

It would be far better if people concentrated on creating new, innovative, software rather than simply maintaining age-old software.
I disagree with this for two reasons:
  1. Code reuse is good. Rather than reinventing the wheel, it's beneficial to at least look at other's wheel-like designs.
  2. People will work on a project if it scratches an itch that they have. And just because the original author is no longer there to scratch the itch doesn't mean others don't want it scratched.
Just my $0.02

Re:This site is unnecessary. (2)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 14 years ago | (#990478)

In fact this idea could end up harming the project

The project is dead in the water! How can any new development harm it further?

if an inept project manager refuses to step down as the official leader of the project, if and when a more suitable project manager comes along.

I fail to see how this can be a problem for an open source project. If a better project manager comes along, nothing stops him from leading development (it's not like he doesn't have access to the source code or anything). If he truly is better, and the other manager truly is inept, guess how long people are going to continue working with the inept guy?

Let me see if I understand your position correctly. Because there's the possibility that the people reviving a dead project might not maintain it as well as it could be maintained, it's better for the project to leave it unmaintained. Where's the benefit in that! Even if the new maintainer is inept, at least the project gets some exposure, making it more likely to be noticed and adopted by competent people.

A project can die for many reasons, and it's odds of being picked up by someone else have less to do with how good of a project it is than with how much exposure it got. If the original team were not "glory hunters", the project may simply have escaped notice by many people. Especially in early phases, good coders don't spend much time on marketting, and other good coders aren't attracted by the smell of good code alone. They need to know the project exists before they can get excited about it.

The fact that some projects aren't worth picking up and some people aren't going to be good maintainers is a pretty silly reason to call this a bad idea. Unless you can confidently state both of those some's should be all's, your arguments are simply invalid.

--

How about netatalk? (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 14 years ago | (#990479)

I haven't seen much significant life in the netatalk code, apart from the asun patches (and when was the last one of those? :( )


Your Working Boy,

Here's my wish list (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#990480)

Two projects that died that I wish would be revived:

FreeDCE
tn3270

Finkployd

what constitutes "unmaintained?" (2)

Tim Pierce (19033) | more than 14 years ago | (#990481)

Who decides when a package is "unmaintained" or "orphaned?"

For example, in January 1998 I converted Columbia MM [columbia.edu] (the best mailer I have ever used) to an autoconf framework for improved portability. I wrote to the MM maintainers and asked for permission to release my modified source, but was told only that they would be happy to incorporate my patches. I submitted my patches, but no new release has been issued.

I do not mean to denigrate the maintainers. It is extremely difficult to hold down a full-time job and maintain an open-source project on your personal time. I hold no animosity for anyone who cannot give 100% to both jobs.

But it still leaves me in a quandary. The official Columbia MM maintainers are still alive, are reachable, are responsive, but they don't seem to do anything. I would love to release my source, but cannot.

If anything, this has persuaded me, more than anything else, about the fundamental importance of the the right to fork that the GPL/BSD licenses guarantee.

This exists already (2)

RPoet (20693) | more than 14 years ago | (#990482)

Go here [bero.org] for UFO - Unmaintained Free software and Open source projects. It's hosted by Bernhard Rosenkraenzer [bero.org] of Red Hat [redhat.com] , who is also a contributor to the KDE project [kde.org] , which is the reason why /. [slashdot.org] ignores UFO [bero.org] (yes I'm joking).
--

But what happens when... (2)

Elyas (59360) | more than 14 years ago | (#990483)

The site for unmaintained Free Software Projects becomes unmaintained...
I wonder how many of these lists there are out there that are unmaintained themselves

Old code never dies.... Unfortunately... (2)

deefer (82630) | more than 14 years ago | (#990484)

I wonder how old some of these projects are.
Because I'm sure one or two of them have been subsumed into other projects along the way; they have been obviated by newer, more integrated projects.
Besides which, programmers don't get that "my baby" feeling from solely developing code. What _really_ makes us buzz is writing from scratch.
Still, there might be one or two projects still in there that aren't being redeveloped or implemented in other projects. And these may benefit from looking at how old they are, and whether or nor better technology (compilers, window managers etc) exists so these projects can be reimplemented with a more modern approach.

Strong data typing is for those with weak minds.

Nice (2)

linuxonceleron (87032) | more than 14 years ago | (#990485)

It seems similar to FreshMeat in its interface, but this seems like a really good idea for finding a project to work on. I think that working on an existing project may be easier for a beginning developer then starting from scrach in some cases. However, you have to think about why the project was abandoned; Was it too difficult? Was it just not feasible? Also, working on an existing project may be more difficut from starting from scratch since you have to read through and understand all the original author's code

Re:Is it just me or .. ? (2)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 14 years ago | (#990486)

They're very similar indeed, but not exactly the same.
unmaintained.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net] wants to create a list (probably with the purpose of someone just taking the initiative and releasing a new version), UFO (which has moved on to ufo.bero.org [bero.org] ) wants to keep the stuff alive while trying to look for new maintainers and requires the consent of the original maintainer. So far, it hasn't really started off (largely my fault; I started it, didn't have enough time to work a lot on it myself, and didn't manage to start a real community effort). Contributors are welcome...

Re:This site is unnecessary. (2)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 14 years ago | (#990487)

I can see that this page is going to be attract
free software wannabees, who see the opportunity to take responsibility for an already partially complete codebase in order to try to get kudos as the project manager. In reality though, this is likely to be bad for the project. I doubt that these newcomers will see the project as little more than an ego boost and a nice addition to their curriculum vitae, and many of these new 'project managers' will lack the ability or dedication to put the project back on track.


I agree that this is a potential problem - At ufo.bero.org [bero.org] , I'm trying to solve it by requiring that a new maintainer sends in a couple of patches before taking it over officially.

Where We Failed (2)

cburley (105664) | more than 14 years ago | (#990488)

One use of such information is to keep track of "failures" in a public, open way, just like Open Source itself.

Such information can be useful for more than just people searching for projects to work on.

For example, someone researching the abilities of various software-licensing paradigms to quickly recognize and cut losses on failing (e.g. not useful enough) projects might find the information on such a site quite useful.

The upshot is while some might judge projects listed on such a site to be "failures", careful examination of the goals of such projects, and the costs of their failing (the costs to end users), compared to the opportunities to move to newer projects that might "subsume" them, could paint a picture of Open Source as being quite a successful way to develop and deploy software (which I happen to think it is anyway, but welcome any and all opportunities for objective analysis to be brought to bear on the subject -- which requires the sort of data posted on this site).

Won't happen (2)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 14 years ago | (#990489)

As a developer, I find the basic architecture and startup-phase of a new project very important - and also the most enjoyable. So I doubt it'll be easy to find new maintainers for projects like these - the only reason someone would take over the maintainance of an on-going project is probably because it's famous and widely-used. But you don't stop maintaining a famous and widely-used opensource project you originally created (even if you do, you won't need this because people will probably be lining up to take over.)

So what's left? Not much I guess...

Maintenance (2)

Dungeon Dweller (134014) | more than 14 years ago | (#990490)

Wow, maintaining a list of unmaintained things in hopes that someone else will maintain them. I wonder if the author will maintain the list when the unmaintained projects are maintained again. MAINTAINENCE, I JUST BLEW A FUSE IN MY BRAIN!

Re:Not So Good Idea... (2)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 14 years ago | (#990491)

It would be far better if people concentrated on creating new, innovative, software rather than simply maintaining age-old

Old doesn't mean bad.....

By maintaining an existing project you don't have to reinvent the wheel. As for potential: the new maintainers might take the project on an entirely different road than the original one.

Jeroen

Not So Good Idea... (2)

LaNMaN2000 (173615) | more than 14 years ago | (#990492)

It would be far better if people concentrated on creating new, innovative, software rather than simply maintaining age-old software. The only major benefit of a service like this is that the authors can have the satisfaction of seeing others work on their projects when they no longer want to. Nonetheless, I see little potential for the projects that will come out of this.

This site is unnecessary. (2)

Lita Juarez (201217) | more than 14 years ago | (#990493)

The only point of the "Unmaintained Free Software" projects page seems to be a shopping list for glory hunters. I can see that this page is going to be attract free software wannabees, who see the opportunity to take responsibility for an already partially complete codebase in order to try to get kudos as the project manager. In reality though, this is likely to be bad for the project. I doubt that these newcomers will see the project as little more than an ego boost and a nice addition to their curriculum vitae, and many of these new 'project managers' will lack the ability or dedication to put the project back on track. In fact this idea could end up harming the project if an inept project manager refuses to step down as the official leader of the project, if and when a more suitable project manager comes along.

I think that a parallel can be drawn between free software projects and the natural selection process which affects biological organisms - those projects which are redundant or poorly conceived (for example, the Java based word processor on the unmaintained projects page) will receive a lack of interest from the community, causing the developer(s) to lose interest and give up. Hence, the project dies by natural selection. On the other hand, good projects will have a natural vibrancy to them and should the main developers begin to lose interest, other developers will come forward to continue the development effort. The projects which are unmaintained are generally projects which have died for a good reason. Please let sleeping dogs lie.

Re:This site is unnecessary. (3)

Samrobb (12731) | more than 14 years ago | (#990494)

I can see that this page is going to be attract free software wannabees, who see the opportunity to take responsibility for an already partially complete codebase in order to try to get kudos as the project manager.

Actually, my first thought was that here's a place I can get my feet wet in *nix development without screwing anything up too badly :-)

I'm sure there may end up being some glory-seekers who jump in and adopt a project just to be in charge of something; but there are probably just as many people like me, who want to contribute, but don't have the skills or knowledge to contribute to a high-profile "live" project like Apache or BSD or Linux. Think of it as a chance at an open-source development internship.

Re:Won't happen (3)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 14 years ago | (#990495)

There's quite some interesting stuff left - drivers that manage old hardware the original programmer doesn't have access to anymore and some niche software some people rely on, but that doesn't have a use for the general public.
I'd say there are a number of umaintained packages out there that are being worked on in 1000 places (ported to new systems) because the original maintainer isn't around anymore. This sort of duplicated work can be avoided by finding a new maintainer...

Re:UFO ? (3)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 14 years ago | (#990496)

It's not the same, though in the long run merging them will probably make sense.

They're very similar, but not exactly the same.
unmaintained.sourceforge.net [slashdot.org] wants to create a list (probably with the purpose of someone just taking the initiative and releasing a new version), UFO [bero.org] wants to keep the stuff alive while trying to look for new maintainers and requires the consent of the original maintainer. So far, it hasn't really started off (largely my fault; I started it, didn't have enough time to work a lot on it myself, and didn't manage to start a real community effort). Contributors are VERY welcome...

Re:NEW opensource project (4)

uh1763 (138735) | more than 14 years ago | (#990497)

Try this: http://whatweneed.de/ [whatweneed.de] .

Unmaintained code in the Linux kernel as well. (4)

shippo (166521) | more than 14 years ago | (#990498)

There is a lot of unmaintained code in the Linux kernel as well. Device drivers for obsolete hardware, seldom used filesystems, that kind of thing.

Usually this is due to the original author no longer having access to working hardware, or a platform that the hardware will work in.

Last year I tried to investigate why my sound card's Midi port wouldn't work with the drivers in the kernel. My sound card was on a weird daughterboard and not easy to remove without a hacksaw. Once I finally pulled the thing out, I dicovered that the main chips model number was later than any of those listed in the driver.

An email to the Linux Kernel mailing list received one reply, from Alan Cox, stating that no-one was now maintaining that code. In the end I amended the code myself after reverse engineering a DOS device driver. It didn't help that no specs for this particular chip were available.

Simillary the UMSDOS filesystem was broken in the 2.1.x kernel code for over 50 revisions, as the addition of dentries broke it big style. Once someone else took over the code things started to work, but it wasn't really reliable until very recently.

DeadMeat (5)

smartin (942) | more than 14 years ago | (#990499)

They should have called the site DeadMeat!
Does anyone know what happend to crackdot's game Golgatha (sp?)

Wrong (5)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 14 years ago | (#990500)

The people who claim that no one will maintain old projects is simply wrong. For instance, I've been looking for the author of TkWine, a TCL utility that helps you update and maintain a WINE installation. Why? This is a utility I find useful, and it is nearly fully functional,and I'd hate to have to start from the beginning to get to where he/she has it now. The point is to get a system set up with the least amount of pain possible, and this is a useful tool to do it with. If I had to go and write the software from scratch, it would be just as easy to do the wine installation by hand.

As it stands though, TkWine has fallen into a state of disrepair. There is no one to contribute the bug fixes I've made to. So I fix them on my system and no one else gets to benefit from my debugging efforts.

If we, as a community, are going to simply let projects die when the original author moves on, then we might as well use closed source solutions. M$,et.al., put end user in this situation. They basically say, "We've moved on, so you're stuck with what you have, the way it is."

Note: If anyone knows how to contact the author of TkWine, can you tell him drop a line to echristley@hotmail.com so that I can ask him for permission to put the package on this sight?

Adopt-a-coder (5)

froz (69551) | more than 14 years ago | (#990501)

I take no credit for this, I just feel it's appropriate. If the owner is reading, feel free to take all credit for it.

"I'd like to announce the adopt-a-coder program. After many long hours debugging why their program segfaults when given an input of 64910 characters long, but only if it doesn't contain the letter a and it's an even-numbered day, some programmers understandably... lose it.

You see, this is where the adopt-a-program comes in... after these poor souls go mad, somebody else needs to work on the code... and then they go mad, and so on. Eventually the program will be put into a usable state, but there's an excess number of insane programmers out there.

Here's what I suggest: Adopt-a-coder. For $10 per day, you can help feed an insane coder. All you need is a 12 pack of cola and cold pizza and/or ramen noodles. Provide him/her with a dedicated DSL liine, and rehabilitate him. It's a hard job, but it's also rewarding. You see, most people don't know that programming has little to do with computers, and more to do with large quantities of caffeine and memory loss. Unfortunately, the fallout from this is very serious.

PLEASE, help an insane coder. It's the least you can do."

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