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URL Shortener tr.im To Go Community-Owned, Open Source

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the keeping-up-with-the-twitses dept.

The Internet 145

Death Metal sends word that the owners of URL-shortening service tr.im are in the process of releasing the project's source code and moving it into the public domain. This comes after reports that the service may shut down and that they were entertaining offers from prospective buyers. From a post on the site's blog: "It is our hope that tr.im, being an excellent URL shortener in its own right, can now begin to stand in contrast to the closed twitter/bit.ly walled garden: it will become a completely open solution owned and operated by the community for the benefit of the entire community." They plan to complete the transition by September 15th, and the code will be released under the MIT license. In addition, "tr.im will offer all link-map data associated with tr.im URLs to anyone that wants it in real-time. This will involve a variety of time-based snapshots of aggregated destination URLs, the number of tr.im URLs created for any given destination URL, and aggregate click data."

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.im Isle of Man (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117545)

I thought it was interesting and thought I'd do a little karma slutting - I'm AC so I any mod points do go to any account therefore - slutting as opposed to whoring. Get it?

Re:.im Isle of Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117635)

Isle of Man [wikipedia.org] An island in the British Isles that is self-governed, officially not part of the UK, but is dependent and the responsibility of the Crown.

Re:.im Isle of Man (4, Informative)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 years ago | (#29117837)

I used to live there it is a Protectorate of The Crown pretty much like Jersey, Guernsey & Gibraltar except the weather is not as good

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29117953)

In addition, "tr.im will offer all link-map data associated with tr.im URLs to anyone that wants it in real-time. This will involve a variety of time-based snapshots of aggregated destination URLs, the number of tr.im URLs created for any given destination URL, and aggregate click data."

Am I the only one who this sounds scary? Open source is great, but open data like that not. I sure as hell wont be using tr.im to shorten my urls if they intend to make it all public. When I use tinyurl and such I kind of can know that all the destination urls wont be open data to everyone. Yeah, I know you shouldn't paste personals url via other sites, but people still do. Some privacy, please?

Re:.im Isle of Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118311)

Why so scared? From the story I understand that a) they release the source code under MIT license, and b) they report aggregate data associated with shortened URLs.
You don't know the shortened URLs? You can't associate them with the aggregated data, then.

They will be giving the same privacy as the rest of URL-shortening services.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#29118673)

When I use tinyurl and such I kind of can know that all the destination urls wont be open data to everyone. Yeah, I know you shouldn't paste personals url via other sites, but people still do. Some privacy, please?

Go read Tiny URL's privacy policy [www.tiny.cc] . Go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back.

Read it? Great! Now show me where it said they won't display a list of links to anyone who asks.

Think about this for a minute. What information could anyone glean from knowing that a particular URL has been mapped, especially since you don't have to use an account to create the shortened URL so there's no way of showing who originally created it? Also, given that a given shortened URL is trivially resolvable to the original address, what privacy did you incorrectly think it was granting you?

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29118905)

Think about this for a minute. What information could anyone glean from knowing that a particular URL has been mapped, especially since you don't have to use an account to create the shortened URL so there's no way of showing who originally created it? Also, given that a given shortened URL is trivially resolvable to the original address, what privacy did you incorrectly think it was granting you?

What about if you linked to your private pictures? Or maybe something even more personal. Such can give out lots of personal privacy info to everyone, and I dont really agree with that. Even if its the open source way to go. People use these services to short url links they give to people they know; they sure as hell shouldn't be available to everyone.

Re:.im Isle of Man (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#29119081)

What about if you linked to your private pictures?

What are you doing with those links? If you're sending them via email, why not send the whole link? If you're posting them to Twitter or Facebook, then they're effectively public anyway and anyone could see your private pictures just by clinking the shortened links. It's not like they're password protected.

Help me understand this. What's a plausible use case where a shortened URL could potentially increase privacy?

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29119171)

I understand your point, and I know this very well aswell. But my point is that "normal users" aren't going to see it, but just trust these short url services and then they spread those links to everyone who want to see them. I would never use these for giving personal stuff to friends, but people who dont know that good about the issues do - which is what i'm worried about.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#29119353)

If people haven't figure out by now that posting private information to the Internet isn't a good idea, then this probably won't hurt them any more than any of the other goofy things they're likely to do.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

kyofunikushimi (769712) | about 5 years ago | (#29118709)

Source code will be available... Grab it, remove all click-through and other aggregates, throw your own 'private' URL shortener out there (public domain, please).

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29118787)

I'm a little confused as to why you'd expect privacy from a public service that you can submit URLs to. It's not like someone says "Hey, yeah, sopssa gave us this URL! And thePowerOfGrayskull clicked on this one!" -- hence the word "aggregate". If you don't want the information you post publicly to be used, don't post it.

Secondarily I'm a little confused as to what you're replying to, since this has nothing to do with the GP post, but that's a whole separate issue.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29118807)

I can already get the destination URL of any TinyURL identifier using their "preview" feature. Getting that data in list form just saves a little time. If you're concerned about privacy, you can either a.) not use URL-shortening services, or b.) keep private information off the Internet.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29118997)

Yes, you can get the specific url from tinyurl. But thats not the point. If you have free access to the complete database *without knowing the url*, its gonna break privacy. People use these services to post personal images/information with short urls, and they shouldn't be available for everyone.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29119059)

If they're private, they shouldn't be on the Internet. At the very least, they should be password protected. Depending on URL-shortening services to provide privacy when they were never designed nor intended to do that is simply foolish.

Re:.im Isle of Man (1)

SBrach (1073190) | about 5 years ago | (#29119453)

With a really badass motorcycle race [iomtt.com] every year.

Step 1 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117591)

Stop abusing the Isle of Man's domain. If you don't have legitimate business in a country, don't claim that you do with our domain.

Re:Step 1 (3, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 years ago | (#29117895)

Damn that blows out the Cook Islands then [Insert Inuendo].co.ck

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117593)

I could go for some community trim. Bring back free love and all that.

URL Shortners Are Bad (3, Insightful)

Bruha (412869) | about 5 years ago | (#29117601)

They serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links. The Idea was to save some bandwidth, but now it uses more because people are having to write scripts that allow mouseovers to see where the link actually goes which now just causes a few lookups of the same url to happen anyways per person rather than just sitting on a post somewhere.

In most cases the URL itself is less than 1% of the size of the content of a web page so exactly who or what they're saving is unclear.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 5 years ago | (#29117653)

Or, you can just use tinyurl. This gives someone the option to use the preview.tinyurl.com subdomain, which will put you on a landing page and not automatically redirect.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#29117825)

do they have a patent on that? Because it shouldn't be much work for tr.im to add that feature.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (3, Insightful)

Deag (250823) | about 5 years ago | (#29117661)

I agree that they break the internet, but the 150 or whatever character limit in Twitter makes it necessary.

So blame Twitter it is their fault.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#29117823)

1. Twitter can fuck off

2. With a bit of sensible design, the sites can manage this functionality themselves.

Redirect short to long. No need for the tinyurl hack.
http://example.com/123 [example.com]
http://example.com/123/arguably-really-long-urls-stuffed-with-keywords-are-good-for-seo [example.com]

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117921)

A note on your example. Usually it is good to have a description of the content than just a hash.

A person can form an expectation from something like
http://tech.slashdot.org/tr.im_To_Go_Community-Owned [slashdot.org]
Against something with less sense:
http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/08/19/120206 [slashdot.org]

1. Twitter can fuck off

2. With a bit of sensible design, the sites can manage this functionality themselves.

Redirect short to long. No need for the tinyurl hack.
http://example.com/123 [example.com]
http://example.com/123/arguably-really-long-urls-stuffed-with-keywords-are-good-for-seo [example.com]

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118193)

you know that link tag could have a description in html?

really long description with seo keywords [example.com]

sidenote: I use tinyurl as to send link over SMS and to make something easy to remember http://tinyurl.com/higwaytraffic [tinyurl.com]

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 5 years ago | (#29118581)

How would I paste that in IRC, IM, email, etc.?

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119569)

the second way.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (3, Interesting)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29117949)

Doesn't work if your domain name is long. There's no way to compete with something like tr.im.

There are some who call me... (5, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | about 5 years ago | (#29118139)

t.im

?

Re:There are some who call me... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 5 years ago | (#29119985)

My favorite is w.tf. But it's apparently not the page you're looking for.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 5 years ago | (#29119885)

Yeah, because thisisareallyreallyreallyfreakingdomainnamethatissouttterlydescriptive.com is really a popular site.

Give me a break and learn to copypaste.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | about 5 years ago | (#29118037)

2. With a bit of sensible design, the sites can manage this functionality themselves.

Yep, and this is the sensible solution. People at least have some idea to what site they'll be redirected to when they see the short URL.

deviantART already does this with their "fav.me" URL shortening service. If I see a fav.me URL, I know it goes to something that was posted on dA. And we can somewhat assume that dA will keep automagically maintaining it.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 5 years ago | (#29117729)

They serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links

Just because some people abuse something doesn't mean that everyone does. I use tr.im all the time, and find it extremely useful, especially since it allows me to send the URL's straight to Twitter. tr.im URL's are only 17 characters long (ex. http://tr.im/aaaa [tr.im] ) as opposed to tinyurl's 25 character minimum. When you only have 140 characters to work with, the extra 8 characters to spare can help a lot. I really can't figure out why anybody would use bit.ly or tinyurl over tr.im, at least for Twitter.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117779)

You could instead use a messaging service that allows you to write messages that are long enough to convey real meaning, and not have to worry about the length of your links.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117849)

http://th.is/

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 5 years ago | (#29118573)

You could instead use a messaging service that allows you to write messages that are long enough to convey real meaning, and not have to worry about the length of your links.

Yeah but some times Twitter is extremely handy, and some times 140 characters is enough.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

CxDoo (918501) | about 5 years ago | (#29119011)

When exactly is Twitter extremely handy? I fail to see any advantage to it, ever.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 5 years ago | (#29119973)

I fail...

Just because you fail doesn't mean it's not useful.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

PybusJ (30549) | about 5 years ago | (#29119585)

I do, in fact I don't use twitter (or any other microblog) at all.

I do frequently make use of a recent piece of communications equipment called the telephone (popularised by that chap Bell). For real time conversation I've found it provides a much better experience than email/text chat and "conveys real meaning" well. I can actually hear the voice of a person from a distance -- amazing. Unfortunately it doesn't offer a text side channel so the only means of communicating URLs is to dictate them letter by letter while the recipient makes a note.

I also have occasion to distribute information by totally non-electronic means. I often achieve this by a technique of printing words and graphics onto plain paper. The only means recipients have of using a URL is to manually type it into their browser (ignoring various bar-code schemes which almost no-one is setup to use).

In both these cases (and in the case of distributing links in plain text emails going to mailling lists) if the URL is long or complex, then a URL shortening service is useful. I don't use them everyday but they're a useful trade-off on occasion.

Twitter isn't everything and tinyurl has been around for a long time.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117859)

I really can't figure out why anybody would actually use twitter...

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Informative)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29118041)

Like most social networking websites, it's because other people are already using the site.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Funny)

bmckeever (224043) | about 5 years ago | (#29119387)

Initially, URL shorteners were a solution to a problem nobody had. Fortunately, Twitter came along and created a problem!

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Interesting)

Z34107 (925136) | about 5 years ago | (#29117737)

URL shorteners are amazing whenever you have to write down a URL by hand, or read a web address to someone over the phone, or copying it between two computers (maps-dot-google-dot-com-slash-fivethousandlinesoftypoinducinggibberish).

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29119669)

This.

Granted, in most cases, it should be reasonable to copy between two computers -- you're on a damn network (the Internet, if nothing else), so you should be able to use some sort of messaging service. You've got even less excuse if they're both your own computer -- I haven't tried in awhile, but surely someone picked up Google Browser Sync.

But sometimes, it is useful -- for example, on the phone, talking someone through installing an IM client so you can do this the normal way. That, or relaying links in other media -- Internet Radio, podcasts, screencasts, etc.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (5, Informative)

nstrom (152310) | about 5 years ago | (#29117749)

The original use of URL shortening services was to prevent link breakage in e-mail and nntp clients that linebreak after 80 characters. They still work great for this. http://tr.im/wGhA [tr.im] works a lot better in e-mail than http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=1600+pennsylvania+ave,+dc&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.624204,58.359375&ie=UTF8&ll=38.898732,-77.038515&spn=0.012007,0.014248&z=16 [google.com] . I've also heard shortened links used to good effect on internet radio, where it's easier to direct listeners to a tinyurl than a long forum URL, when there's discussion about a certain thread.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 5 years ago | (#29117755)

For one thing, they are saving a lot of space on IRC chat windows.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29117853)

"They serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links."

Have you ever tried to tell someone, in a conversation, to go to "tech dot slashdot dot org slash story slash zero nine slash zero eight slash nineteen slash one two zero two zero six slash u-r-l dash shortener dash trim dash to dash go dash community dash owned dash open dash source slash? Ever tried to write it down? In that situation, I use tinyurl to change it to something like "tinyurl dot com slash slashdot no space trim". If URLs were human-readable, human-sharable references to documents like they were meant to be, services like tr.im wouldn't exist, but they do.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (3, Insightful)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29118181)

Have you ever tried to tell someone, in a conversation, to go to "tech dot slashdot dot org slash story slash zero nine slash zero eight slash nineteen slash one two zero two zero six slash u-r-l dash shortener dash trim dash to dash go dash community dash owned dash open dash source slash?

"I'll e-mail you the address."

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#29118301)

Not everyone who uses computers has email (or a cell phone for that matter.)

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118379)

Then probably they have MSN

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29118393)

OK, you got me. It won't work with that 0.01% of Internet users.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118749)

They have web access, but they don't have email?

*scratches head*

How?

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118769)

Really? I'd bet there are more people who have email addresses and don't use computers than there are computer users who don't have email addresses.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29118913)

You do realize this is 2009, and not 1989, right?

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29119723)

If they have a web browser, but not email, the first site you could send them to would be gmail dot com -- or, if you're security-conscious, h-t-t-p-s colon slash slash mail dot google dot com. It doesn't have to be email, either -- at that point, they'll also have a nice web-based chat client.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118725)

You'll first need to e-mail me and ask for my e-mail address, though, because if I put it in a public forum, It'll be harvested by a spam bot in a couple of seconds.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 5 years ago | (#29118835)

email isn't exactly great for timely delivery, some places have pretty slow email systems and then there is the issue of greylisting. Plus some peoples email addresses are almost as bad as a lot of urls.

IM can be an option but a lot of people are banned from using that at work.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29119035)

me: "Go to slashdot-dot-org and look for the story about tee-arr-dot-eye-em."

friend: "That's 'T' as in 'Thomas'?"

me: "Yep."

friend: "Cool."

[Assumes only that friend knows what a little textbox labelled "Search" is used for.]

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | about 5 years ago | (#29119215)

"I'll e-mail you the address"

Their email client mangled the url and they don't know how to play "turn this character soup back into a valid url".

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29119733)

So you use HTML email and send it as a link.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

Logic and Reason (952833) | about 5 years ago | (#29118187)

Have you ever tried to tell someone, in a conversation, to go to "tech dot slashdot dot org slash story slash zero nine slash zero eight slash nineteen slash one two zero two zero six slash u-r-l dash shortener dash trim dash to dash go dash community dash owned dash open dash source slash? Ever tried to write it down?

No.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (4, Insightful)

EddyPearson (901263) | about 5 years ago | (#29117945)

"The Idea was to save some bandwidth"

No. It wasn't, and that's a really daft suggestion because the short URL redirects you to the target url, so actually you're adding a tiny overhead.

They were created to turn extrmemly long links (eg. google maps with lon+lat+cruft in the querystring) into easy to remember and easy to transfer short links. A job they do very well.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Interesting)

iamflimflam1 (1369141) | about 5 years ago | (#29118005)

Ever had to get someone on a mobile phone to type in a link?

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | about 5 years ago | (#29118145)

They serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links.

I get around this by using the TinyURL Decoder [userscripts.org] script for Greasemonkey. It's explicitly designed to dynamically change shortened links back to the full-length originals, telling you exactly where they go without you having to visit the page itself.

There are only two disadvantages I've found. First, there is a marked delay before it actually decodes the URL, but that's unavoidable. I found the second when visiting the Katawa Shoujo Dev Blog [blogspot.com] . It seems for reasons related to limitations of Blogspot the link to the IRC server was encoded with TinyURL, because Blogspot wasn't happy with an irc:// link. Unfortunately, the decoder script decoded the URL producing a prompt from Firefox to open the link in an IRC client, then it somehow got re-encoded, the decoder script decoded it again, and I ended up in an infinite loop with Firefox opening up a new prompt every 10 seconds or so.

I managed to fix the second problem by blacklisting the site in TinyURL Decoder's preferences, and they seem to have since fixed the code on their end. But still, that was pretty fucking annoying.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 5 years ago | (#29118305)

The Idea was to save some bandwidth

I thought it was to make URLs easier to read or pass around. Didn't tinyurl exist before twitter?

Which would you rather give someone over the telephone:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=Pier+5,+San+Francisco,+California+94111&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.527387,65.830078&ie=UTF8&cd=2&geocode=FcvBQAIdZmG0-A&split=0&ll=37.800239,-122.396085&spn=0.007918,0.016072&t=h&z=16&iwloc=A [google.com]

OR:

http://tinyurl.com/mf5htb [tinyurl.com]

If you'd prefer not to use html in your email, the tinyurl link makes your email a lot cleaner too.

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (0, Flamebait)

AP31R0N (723649) | about 5 years ago | (#29118587)

"Guns serve no other purpose than to murder people."

"Cars serve no other purpose than to run over people and pollute the air."

"VCR record buttons serve no other purpose than to make illegal copies of movies."

"The internet serves no other purpose than to rip off people and distribute child pornography."

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (2, Interesting)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29118805)

URL Shortners Are Bad....They serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links.

And in other news, GOTO's considered harmful?

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

mrdoogee (1179081) | about 5 years ago | (#29119355)

Agree wholeheartedly. I am incredibly wary of any shortened URLs.
I know what with Twitter and all they may be important to some, but I see them more and more used in forums and message boards. Why use a shortened url when posting from a computer? Is it really harder to (ctrl+c ctrl+v) a full url than to ctrl+c, open a new tab, type tinyurl.com (or click a bookmark), ctrl+v, click "make tinyurl", highlight the new URL, ctrl+c again, and finally ctrl+v it into the post? Seems like more work to me.

My AV protection is always current and up to date, but I don't open any shortened URL, even from friends unless there is some way to preview the link before following it. I've seen below that tinyurl does make a preview link, which is good, but isn't that still creating more work for everyone?

my $0.02

Re:URL Shortners Are Bad (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 5 years ago | (#29119721)

[URL shorteners] serve no purpose other than giving people a way to distribute malicious links.

I only use them to distribute long URLs by e-mail since some popular e-mail/web-mail clients (still!) break long URLs by wrapping them funny.

Really? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#29117613)

I mean I like OSS and all, but I wrote my own redirected for my domain it can't be more than 30 lines of PHP

http://example.com/index.php?url=http://example.org/long+url/

SQL lookup, return the url if it exists, increment last number if it doesn't. Return: http://example.org/10/ [example.org]

Mod Rewrite to assist in the redirect and tada.

Added benefit of not scaring off friends with an odd domain.

Re:Really? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 years ago | (#29117793)

I was thinking the same sort of thing.

For their next attention-getting trick, they are going to open source Hello World.

Re:Really? (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29117969)

For their next attention-getting trick, they are going to open source Hello World.

No need [gnu.org] .

Re:Really? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 5 years ago | (#29118049)

But that's GPLed. I disagree with the GPL on [insert random reason here] grounds. If only they'd used the BSD license then I could take all of their work and incorporate it in to [insert proprietary program here] without having to pay anything back to the community. ;)

open URL shorteners? (5, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 5 years ago | (#29117633)

So, they are going open. How is this going to solve issues that make shorteners evil ( http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/06/are-url-shorteners-a-necessary-evil-or-just-evil/ [techcrunch.com] )?

transparency loss (great, there is db that can resolve links. Are browsers supposed to querry 'shortener like' urls and display proper ones?)

rot & reliability loss (tr.im claims they will be forever open and totally not sell domain to highest bidder and whatnot, but domain is still weakest link - it goes broken and tons of links get broken too)

pointless proxy (great, so it is now pointless 'open' proxy. yay).

Re:open URL shorteners? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#29117733)

Standards for defining "evil" have slipped in the past few years, I see.

If they're "going open" then I'd say that it's a good start on an open "shortened URL" standard that could, some day, solve those issues while providing a similar function. I can see the use for such a system, if only to provide a way to share links away from a computer, and I'll take short URLs over 2D codes any day.

Re:open URL shorteners? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 5 years ago | (#29118161)

(tr.im claims they will be forever open and totally not sell domain to highest bidder and whatnot, but domain is still weakest link - it goes broken and tons of links get broken too)

But he said it, and it is now reported on the Internet, so surely it must be true? How can anyone have ever said anything that was then reported on the Internet that wasn't true or that they knew couldn't last? I'm sure that if he does move ownership of the domain to a company or organisation then that company would never sell out for large amounts of money, and that they'll never run short of funds to fund the domain or the service, leaving it dead in the water.

As for the proxies, I wonder how many drive-by downloads are protected by multiple layers of shortener? It'd stop a simple "preview.tinyurl.com" system revealing the bad link that you're taking people to, and there's more than enough shorteners for most people to get discouraged before they get to the end, even if they all do it.

Slow news day? (3, Funny)

ashtophoenix (929197) | about 5 years ago | (#29117637)

Death Metal sends word that the owners of URL-shortening service tr.im are in the process of releasing the project's source code and moving it into the public domain.

So?

Re:Slow news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29117957)

Also writing such a service takes like what, 10 minutes?

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#29117975)

Newsflash: Dying Service Fails To Sell Itself, Gives Itself Away.

-yawn-

Open Source eh? phurl will be pleased (1)

phonewebcam (446772) | about 5 years ago | (#29117777)

http://code.google.com/p/phurl/

"MIT license" != "public domain" (4, Interesting)

TimHunter (174406) | about 5 years ago | (#29117985)

FTFA:

Starting today, tr.im will begin its migration into the public domain

The source code for tr.im will be released under the MIT open-source license.

Maybe I'm being too literal here, but MIT-licensed source code is not in the public domain.

Re:"MIT license" != "public domain" (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 5 years ago | (#29118277)

begin its migration into the public domain

Though I can't see why they need an intermediate step at "open source" between "proprietary" and "public domain".

These Guys are Masters of PR (0, Flamebait)

ergo98 (9391) | about 5 years ago | (#29118103)

It's yet another shortening service, among a field of hundreds, few of which have any legitimate reason for existing beyond shock-links. They cried like little children because Twitter (a dumb, artificially restricted service) had a "preferred" service, so after stomping their feet for a while, pulling a little tantrum (did they *really* think there was a business model behind this garbage?) they then came back with this "we'll show them!" response. Cheap.

Why do they keep getting this attention?

Re:These Guys are Masters of PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29118409)

I admit that I haven't followed any of the shortener battles, nor do I use twitter. But they did talk about this on last week's TWiT, and it was mentioned that bit.ly offers a search service and tracks stats for the sites it shortens. That in itself makes their service far more valuable than just a simple shortener, and is probably why they were chosen by twitter. So complaining that a competitor that offers a whole lot more than them is succeeding is just them being babies.

Re:These Guys are Masters of PR (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | about 5 years ago | (#29119591)

... Twitter (a dumb, artificially restricted service) ...

Twitter restricts its message size because SMS messages limit their message size to 140 characters. So it is restricted for a reason.

Re:These Guys are Masters of PR (2, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | about 5 years ago | (#29119805)

Oh I entirely understand the absurd niche that it started through. However not only do most people use Twitter through mechanisms not at all bound by the SMS limit, are we to believe that someone posting a tweet from SMS first went to a URL shortener on their mobile device, got a shortened URL, and tweeted that? It doesn't happen.

URL shortening + SMS = a ridiculous combination.

rel=shortlink could eradicate URL shorteners (5, Interesting)

samj (115984) | about 5 years ago | (#29118119)

I've had a beef with URL shorteners for a long while now for reasons that have been covered ad nauseam (not the least of which being that in addition to adding significant overhead [techcrunch.com] - typically hundreds of milliseconds per request - they are just plain evil [techcrunch.com] ). IMO the best solution is to let webmasters create and advertise their own short links using the "shortlink" link relation (e.g. rel="shortlink" in the HTTP headers and/or HTML HEAD) such that they can be auto-detected by clients who then no longer need to generate their own using 3rd party services. I wrote the shortlink specification [purl.org] a few months ago (based on similar work done by others), released it into the public domain using CC Zero and went about soliciting feedback. The standard got a big shot in the arm last week when WordPress.com announced support for rel=shortlink [wordpress.com] on over 100 million pages. I've since requested support be introduced into the top 20 Twitter clients (representing over 80% of Twitter usage) and have had only positive feedback so far. A number of other high profile sites like PHP.net and Ars Technica have also jumped on board. Anyway if you, like me, are sick of URL shorteners then you're welcome to give me a hand making them go away...

Sam

Re:rel=shortlink could eradicate URL shorteners (1)

dkf (304284) | about 5 years ago | (#29118789)

I wrote the shortlink specification [purl.org] a few months ago (based on similar work done by others), released it into the public domain using CC Zero and went about soliciting feedback.

So, are you going to just put it on a random website out there or are you going to do the proper thing and get it on a standards track somewhere? (Maybe IETF or W3C.) That's the only way to get it really trusted by the bulk of users, since they trust those organizations to keep on what they've been doing for years.

Re:rel=shortlink could eradicate URL shorteners (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29118985)

Oh no - not hundreds of milliseconds! Anything but that, for a site I will use a shortener to visit one time in my life! Sounds to me like another case of "I don't understand why people want this, so nobody should have it".

Shortlink is a good idea for what it does - but it still puts the onus on the web site owner to create and permanently save a shortlink for every piece of content that can differ based on "get" parameters. When you're a google, that's a lot of latitudes and longitudes to have to retain forever.

The only argument I've heard against shorteners so far boils down to "but people can misuse it!" -- which in the end boils down to "this is For Your Own Good". Never something I've been particularly fond of - especially on the Internet.

Firefox crawling to a halt on tr.im? (1)

STFS (671004) | about 5 years ago | (#29118121)

Ok, I know this isn't technically on topic and I'm sorry about that... but I'm having this problem with Firefox on a few sites and since I haven't found anyone else that suffers from this problem I haven't been able to isolate it properly.

I just tried submitting a URL to tr.im and after doing so my browser bogged down and slowed to a crawl. My CPU usage jumps to 50% (so 100% of one of the two cores I have) and my whole system becomes ill-responsive. Meanwhile the "answer" section of tr.im is "fading in". So the problem seems to have something to do with opacity in HTML rendering.

Slashdot crowd: please help me... is anyone else experiencing this problem?

I'm running Firefox 3.5.2 on Kubuntu 8.04 with an NVIDIA graphics card and my XServer version is 7.3.

so cute (2, Funny)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 5 years ago | (#29118189)

I prefer www.socuteurl.com [socuteurl.com] . It's just, irresistable. There. I said it. I've made the first step toward recovery.

Not the first open URL shortener (1)

afranke (1400099) | about 5 years ago | (#29118273)

There's already at least another one: ur1.ca It's from the same guys that made the open competitor to twitter called identi.ca / laconi.ca

Not nesc evil (1)

3ryon (415000) | about 5 years ago | (#29118381)

Actually, I am thinking of creating a URL shortener inside my intranet. Here's a purpose that no one's thought of, or at least mentioned: it gives a layer of abstraction. Inside the company they can send emails, or put links on web pages that point to my URL shortener, let's say, "Company Policies". That link will always work no matter if the target web page stays on our legacy ASP system or gets moved to our shiny new Sharepoint. All they have to do to fix thousands of links is update the target in the shortener.

Does anyone know what language this one is in?

Tubegirl and goatse (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | about 5 years ago | (#29118405)

I always wondered how these haven't taken twitter so far, with all the URLs being shortened. I am not a huge fan of twitter, but it serves me well as a means of getting information quickly from a plethora of sources. But I realy have a bad feeling about people clicking without a second thought in all those shortened URLs. All it takes is to subvert a popular tweeter and bang.

The Solution: (1)

poiu (106484) | about 5 years ago | (#29119187)

http://hugeurl.com/ [hugeurl.com]

Walled garden? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29119879)

I'm sorry...

Twitter is a walled garden. To @reply someone, you have to go through Twitter.

Facebook is even more of a walled garden. There's a large number of things you can only do with other people on facebook, once you have a facebook account. And, facebook may keep your data forever.

But URL shorteners? I'm all for making things open source and interoperable, but all this does is make a long URL into a short one. What would opening it up accomplish compared to, say, making Facebook work with OpenID and XFN, or have Skype adopt SIP, or have MSN, AIM, and Yahoo messenger adopt Jabber?

Those are some walled gardens that could be torn down -- but really, I don't need an account with TinyURL to make a TinyURL, nor do I need one to follow a TinyURL, nor is there any way TinyURL is locking me in to using it instead of bit.ly or tr.im.

So, I'm all for tearing the walls down around these gardens, but I'd rather not see the "walled garden" metaphor abused until it's no longer useful.

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