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SourceForge Terms of Service Change, Users Unhappy

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the stuff-to-think-about dept.

VA 444

An email fluttering around a few mailing lists has been submitted in various forms here today. It's about changes to the SourceForge terms of service. Some relevant links unclude the old terms, new terms, old privacy statement, new privacy statement and contact for "questions or concerns" (Patrick McGovern, Site Director). Obviously since SF is owned by the same parent company as Slashdot, I'm biased and corrupt and you should ignore my opinions on the subject, but while I don't particularly like this any more then anyone else, I also don't think it's the huge deal that others are making of it. Especially considering projects aren't paying for the free service. You get what you pay for after all. I have attached a summary to this article of the changes that are being called into question if you don't want to do a mental diff on the links above.

This list was submitted by a few different users and was apparently originally posted to several mailing lists, although I don't know who actually originally wrote it. I just quote it here for reference.

  1. They can henceforth change the terms without notice, just by posting the new terms on the website. (Currently they are obliged to give 15 days notice by email, a period that we are currently in for this change.)
  2. They can henceforth remove user accounts without giving a reason. (Currently they are obliged to have a reason, though the set of acceptable reasons is open-ended.)
  3. They're no longer obliged to make the contents of a deleted account available to its owner. (There was previously a "reasonable effort" clause to that effect.)
  4. They're no longer obliged to provide notice of changes to the privacy policy, unless the changes are "substantive". (Currently they are obliged to provide notice of any change.)
  5. The privacy policy is acquiring a disclaimer that amounts to "this is not true". It actually disclaims the entire privacy policy.

cancel ×

444 comments

fp fags (-1, Troll)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001499)

kiss my ass

yo yo yo (-1, Offtopic)

herbert_axelrod (554087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001513)

second po0-st fat biatches

I dunno ... (3, Interesting)

gurensan (259321) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001517)

If they disclaim the privacy policy, why do they bother having one at all?

Re:I dunno ... (3, Informative)

Brawyin_Neytal (469168) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001658)


Having a useless "Privacy Policy" is a common tactic by commercial web sites to decieve users. It fools most users into thinking that there are protections on thier data due to the fact that the policy exists, or if the user bothers to read it the goal is make it worded such that the lack of protections is concealed.

Re:I dunno ... (0)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001690)

I imagine it gives them some wiggle room if they ever end up in court. They can make any issue into one of interpretation.

Thank god we have lawyers to protect us from lawyers.

its free! (-1, Redundant)

Prowl (554277) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001519)

so whats the problem??

Slashdot editors in a randy, drug-fueled romp! (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001523)

A randy, drug-fueled romp in a New York-bound jet's rest room sparked a midair terror scare that sent a pair of F-16 fighter jets scrambling, authorities revealed yesterday.

But the red alert aboard American Airlines Flight 101 from Detroit on Friday gave way to red faces when authorities discovered all the fuss was over two amorous men.

Police said the passengers, Robert Malda and Michael Sims, admitted smoking crack cocaine and having sex in the cramped rest room.

The miles-high ordeal began about 8:15 a.m. Friday on the Detroit-to-New York flight, said an American Airlines spokeswoman.

Flight attendants complained to the pilot that the two men were acting suspiciously, making four or five trips to the rest room together.

"A captain had requested that the local authorities meet the two passengers at the gate at Kennedy," said airline spokeswoman Sonja Whitemon.

Air Force officials overheard the captain's radio dispatch to American Airlines operations and sent two F-16s to intercept the jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean, said Federal Aviation Administration officials.

Whitemon insisted the airplane's crew did not ask for the military escort.

"The captain requested that that not happen because he didn't believe the situation was that serious, but it happened anyway," Whitemon said.

The two passengers were asleep when the plane touched down at JFK and were escorted off by Port Authority, Customs and FAA agents.

No drugs were found on the men, who were not charged with any crimes. Immigration officials decided to deport them from country because they admitted practicing sodomy in the rest room, law enforcement officials said.

The men were put back on a plane bound for Kabul, the gay capital of the world, later Friday, officials said.

Why the change? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001525)

Why couldn't they get it "right" when they started?

I can understand what the controversy is about (5, Funny)

LordOfYourPants (145342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001526)

"Other Notification: In order to implement or enforce the Terms of SourceForge.net, SourceForge.net may use personal information to contact users on an individual basis."

What this basically means is that they reserve the right to call you on the phone at 3 AM and breathe heavily.

Friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001647)

Yeah, baby!

Re:I can understand what the controversy is about (0)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001715)

what's wrong with that? that's the most action some of you will get for a long time

hmm (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001535)

Sounds like they're trying to streamline the administration of the service so as to make it more attractive to a buyer... Wonder if they have any particular company in mind?

Re:hmm (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001741)

Maybe the states who are continuing the anti-trust case plan to buy SourceForge and empty it to host the upcoming Windows source code? [slashdot.org]

Re:hmm (5, Insightful)

technomancerX (86975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001753)

Either that or they're just trying to cut costs in general (not unreasonable considering SourceForge.net isn't exactly cheap to run... the cost of the connections alone has to be monstrous....)

Also, considering SourceForge is their product and SourceForge.net is a great demo of their functionality/scalability they'd have to be looking to sell the whole SourceForge business, not just SourceForge.net for it to make sense... Logical buyers would probably be RedHat or IBM. It would be a PR coo for whoever buys it, and if it's IBM and they move it over to their hardware it'd be a REALLY good marketing point... especially for their new Linux mainframe...

Nothing like fanning the flames of random speculation =)

Re:hmm (1)

kovacsp (113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001796)

Is that like a PR baby cry? Coo...Coo...

Oh, perhaps you meant a sporty car, like a coupe.

Nah, your probably meant a "a brilliant and notable success", or a coup (aka, a sudden change of government by force).

Re:hmm (0, Flamebait)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001801)

It would be a PR coo for whoever buys it

Is that what pigeons in the marketting department do?

The word is coup.

Alternatives (2, Insightful)

GroovBird (209391) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001540)

Somebody should come up with a system that allows you to host your opensource projects on your own server.

Like a combination of CVS/PHP with a saucy bug-reporting and discussion thingie..

I'm sure one already exists.

Dave

Re:Alternatives (5, Insightful)

gte910h (239582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001670)

Check out savannah...here [gnu.org] . Download the software its run on. Put that on your computer. Then you have the project on your own server. That's the idea of free software.

Re:Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001743)

Benefits include the fact that the GNU project isn't going to slowly erode your rights like some failing dotcom looking for a way to make money in its last spams...

I'd use Savannah over SourceForge ANY DAY.

Re:Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001672)

Bugzilla: http://bugzilla.mozilla.org

Sourceforge has yet to compete with Bugzilla (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001794)

After visitng linuxworld and drilling their sales reps we came to the conclusion that Sourceforge can't compete with free alternatives. (by 'we' I mean the software Co. I'm working for)

Bugzilla/bonsai/tinderbox provides a more complete solution. We were even able to modify the trio to deal with java, our many different build scripts (make is rather lacking for java), and our test automation.
What we found was that Sourceforge provided discussion groups which we got using exchange or INND, bug tracking which wasn't nearly as feature rich as bugzilla, and cvs integration which bonsai provided just as well. It was still lacking the automated builds, and by the time they got back to us after linuxworld we had allready deployed the bugzilla solution (partly thanks to some nice debian packages put together by Remi Perrot).

One large drawback is that bonsai relies on glimpse as its fulltext indexer. Glimpse used to be free but since then has gone commercial. We were, however, able to find some old glimpse source (which may have been GPL or artistic license - perhaps we should redistribute the old code as GNUlimpse).
We have made our own tweaks to bugzilla/tinderbox/bonsai and contributed a few of them back to the mozilla developers (in the future probably all will be recycled into the public implementation).

Re:Alternatives (2, Informative)

Lukey Boy (16717) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001737)

You might want to check out the GNU Savannah [gnu.org] project. It's based on the Sourceforge codebase, but it has a nice distributed architecture, so that the main site for your project is mirrored in a read-only format on other servers. It seems like a good solution to me.

Re:Alternatives (1)

gergnz (547809) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001747)

Bugzilla [bugzilla.org]
cvsweb [fh-heilbronn.de] phorums [phorum.org]

Re:Alternatives (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001800)

A saucy bug-report... does that automatically append "Fix it now, bitch." to every bug filed.

Big deal (4, Insightful)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001542)

So they changed their terms of service saying they can change their terms of service in the future (whooopie), and that they can delete user's accounts without needing cause.

I think this is perfectly reasonable; they're running the show, and a lot of the time in communities, there are members you need to deal with. I think the changes listed are more of an administrative streamlining than a major conspiracy.

Now, if they start abusing things, folks will be all over them, and they'll be sorry they did. So that ain't gonna happen.

Not a big deal.

-me

Patrick McGovern (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001544)

He was cool in 'The Prisoner'. I saw the boxed set of all Prisoner episodes at Borders yesterday, but I didn't buy it.
:(

privacy policy (2, Informative)

Brandon T. (167891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001547)

snip

NO GUARANTEES

While this Privacy Statement expresses SourceForge.net's standards for maintenance of private data, SourceForge.net is not in a position to guarantee that the standards will always be met. There may be factors beyond our control that may result in disclosure of data. As a consequence, SourceForge.net disclaims any warranties or representations relating to maintenance or nondisclosure of private information.

/snip

Re:privacy policy (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001572)

In other words if somone shows up with a warrent everything gets handed over and you can't sue them for it.

Seems reasonable.

Re:privacy policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001644)

And the same thing, if somebody breaks into their systems and gets access to their personal info database(s).

Re:privacy policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001719)

Or if they are getting ready to sell the company and the user databases.

Re:privacy policy (1)

Penrod Pooch (466103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001612)

Wonder if this means selling user info to questionable people if VA goes down the tube?

Why Have a Privacy Policy (1)

Defraggle (70799) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001684)

Why even have a privacy policy?

Oh, I know, So people will see link and say
"Well I am glad they have a privacy policy, I will not even bother reading it. It is all standard boiler plate anyway... It is a good thing my rights are being protected."

One thing I do commend them for.... They are honest.

Help, I'm stuck in court! (-1)

Slobodan Milosevic (464581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001548)

Okay, second day of the trial. This is probably the best time for someone to attempt to free me.

Oh yeah, CmdrTaco, "uncluded" isn't a word. Would it seriously hurt you to proofread over what you have written before hitting that submit button? You are such a stupid fuck.

What do you call a Serbian prostitute? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001604)

Slobber down me cock you bitch!

Re:What do you call a Serbian prostitute? (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001637)

Fancy a hard bum-ride on me cream-stick?

Sourceforge reality. (5, Interesting)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001553)


Anyone who's using Sourceforge to host their project, as I am, should be realistic about what they're getting and for how long they'll get it.

First of all, I love sourceforge. It gives me all of the things I want right out of the box and for free. User forums, bug tracking, SSH CVS, and so on.

However, it is free and I think we all know has a pretty slim chance of making money. With that in mind, no matter what their polcies state there seems to be a pretty good chance of them just exploding one fine morning and taking a whole bunch of source down with them. Make backups, I should too.

Other than that, we can be a demanding lot so try to go easy on these guys, let's give them a chance to survive.

Re:Sourceforge reality. (2, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001616)

Make backups, I should too.

Is there a way to sync a private CVS server with theirs? Including all previous versions in the current system? A HOWTO might be nice, possibly attached to that email.

--
Evan "Who really has to get around to uploading a half dozen patches he has for a variety of apps" E.

Archive Sales? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001692)

How about they sell for a low cost archives of current CVS on cdrom/dvd... ? would help generate a bit of revenue and keep the source alive for another day if they implode ' one fine morning' ( or are shut down for 'our protection against terrorism' by a government )

Perhaps related to DOS attacks (2, Interesting)

GMac (103618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001783)

It would seem these types of "ad sponsered" services can only work if they perform "editorial" functions. Otherwise the "dark side" can just flood them with garbage, overloading them with junk and causing them to shutdown in frustration. That's basically another form of DOS attack, it's more subtle though and even sounds like a "free speech issue". Look at the problems of "junk speech" showing up on slashdot to get the idea. It's obviously done to degrade the service and cause harm... In such cases I think a vigorous response is required.

Anyhow let them have the tools to do the job. Personally I think they ought to offer the service for a small fee, something like a web hosting service but tune'd for the software distributor. I already keep a seperate web space and could just as easily host at sourceforge. They should also have shopping cart service for shareware and for developers that do both freeware and commercial software. Finally a small fee based update subscription service would be great for people who don't have the time to track all the different projects. Something that auto-pulls stuff to your system but lets you control install/backup ...

This is round 1, round 2 will sneak by (5, Insightful)

ShmakDown (536071) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001554)

It seems like this is laying the ground work for real changes that can be slipped by when they think no one is paying attention!

Re:This is round 1, round 2 will sneak by (1)

immanis (557955) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001739)

When, exactly, does no one pay attention? Esp in this community. There are at least 3 groups of people as we speak coding little applications that will monitor the policies for changes, and report them automatically to themselves, /., Reuters, Mom, and their local senator.

Substantive? (2, Interesting)

TheMatt (541854) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001555)

If I might ask, who determines what a substantive change to the privacy policy is? I know of a few people on /. that think any change beyond fixing the spelling is a pretty substantive change to a privacy policy.

Oh who cares (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001564)

SourceForge is crap anyway.

Who cares. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001566)

This is such non-news. I feel bad for CmdrTaco for having to post it. It really does not matter one whit. The changes they have made are trivial, and if you don't like it, use a different development arena. Like CmdrTaco hinted: Sourceforge is FREE. If you don't like the service, don't use it. I don't see what is preventing them from doing rm -rf / if they so desire. Sure it would suck, but it's their hardware, and they can do with it what they wish. If you don't have local backups of your files, do we really have to remind you of how much of a dumbass you are?

Anyhow, it does suck that CmdrTaco has to post this crap, but he does, because otherwise it will be "THE GREAT VARESEARCHLINUXSOFTWARE CONSPIRACY REARS ITS UGLY HEAD AGAIN!"

Bah.

third post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001569)

tp!

Privacy disowned? (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001571)

5. The privacy policy is acquiring a disclaimer that amounts to "this is not true". It actually disclaims the entire privacy policy.


Ummm, that seems to be a pretty important change to me, Taco!

My only problem (2, Interesting)

roXet (95005) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001576)

My only problem that I can see with this right off is the "We don't have to notify you of changes to the TOS, you should check it often" crap. This is the type of shit that is ruining the internet and I thought(hoped) VA was above this kind of stuff.

Things change. Thats life (1)

freakyfreak (552976) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001582)

I don't think this is too big a deal either. So they pretty much made it like every other place on the net. Someone will can just write a script to see if new changes are posted at the site.

So they don't have to give you your old data and don't have to tell you why you where removed. Well backup the data(like any sane person) and be a nice person.

Just my 2 cents

Doesn't VA own SF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001583)

Couldn't we get the reasons behind the change from the Taco's mouth?

Taco's mouth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001725)

Gross! Dude you don't want to get ANYTHING from Taco's mouth. Unless you are some kind of deviated prevert.

They're obviously attempting to coopt projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001584)

They've found a loophole in the GNU copyleft and are attempting to claim ownership of all projects hosts there. 'All your base are mine'

Re:They're obviously attempting to coopt projects (2)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001727)

explain what loophole in copyleft would allow a host to claim "ownership" of a project.

and it's 'all your base are belong to us' by the way.

Legalese (1)

NewbieSpaz (172080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001590)

All of the changes seem like big disclaimers aka CYA (Cover your ass) clauses. Since it is their (free!) service, I guess they are the right people to write the guidelines.

It's inevitable (5, Funny)

immanis (557955) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001592)

Anytime you get a wide user base to anything, ranging from a development site to a game site to a bbs or chatroom, if the powers that be add a period to the end of a sentance in thier policies, there will be:

  1. no fewer than 6 users who try to mount an Exodous;
  2. 14 threads or conversations from the angry citizens
  3. at least two campaigns to get the policies changed back, one angry with a lot of swearing, one long and thought out with good reasoning
  4. a spike in usage
  5. at least 12 users who say "it is the end of an age.

Now, watch the comments here, and have your scorecards ready.

I got more than what I paid for (5, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001593)

I host a project [http] at sourceforge, and I've been more than happy with the service I've gotten. I have CVS space, ftp space, mailing lists, discussion boards, and web space. And as far as I can tell, they have nothing from me except for some slightly useful information from my profile.

Big whoop.

There is nothing they can take from me. I have the source code. I update my local cvs daily. The project webpage is garbage, and half of the discussions about development are in email. The greatest benefit is that the package I run has been difficult to find, and now it has a 'permanent' home.

I'd have more problems with, oh, say, Comcast changing the TOS. Or M$. Or AOL. When those guys change things, I always get the "I changed the bargain, just pray I don't alter it any further" impression. With sourceforge, I AM A LEECH. I live at the whim of my host.

If they piss me off, it's off to the FSF hosted site. No problem.

Hey, I don't like the VA Systems->Linux->Software scam. I'm part of the gang whinging about the 'post'. And I often question the integrity of folks. But sourceforge.net never promised anything, and they haven't disappointed me yet.

Nothing to see. Move along.

Re:I got more than what I paid for (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001627)

The one time in a month I don't preview a post, and I screw up the link. Oh well. Here it is again for anyone who cares [sourceforge.net] .

So, you are bitching about the terms of free (-1, Troll)

killmeplease (50275) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001596)

So someone is offering you something valuable and free. You say thank you. They then change the deal a bit and you cry to your momma like a bitch. What a bunch of pussies. Sorry I don't want to give you something free and give you expensive service so you can use my resources. I am all about free stuff, but I am also about people having jobs where they make money and will continue to have a job in the future.

What are the chances ... (5, Interesting)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001598)

of getting Sourceforge to kill off old, inactive projects? Seriously, the tree needs a little trimming. One has to wade through so many unmaintained alpha releases when trying to find a specific thing that it's easier to do a search on Google these days.

SF is a great resource and all, but there needs to be some way to filter out the abandoned stuff.

Re:What are the chances ... (4, Insightful)

DaCool42 (525559) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001636)

On the contrary, i think that it is very good that old projects are not thrown out. They are always there for people to pick up where others left off.

Re:What are the chances ... (5, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001802)

I was thinking the same thing, but the OP has a point. Why not create a "Sourceforge attic" with an option to exclude the attic from searches? A project would go into the attic if it had less than a minimum number of downloads and/or changes for a period of 6 months.

The attic could be hosted on older, slower servers, or on a configuration that worked well under low demand. Or perhaps it could even be archived on CD or DVD and distributed to various mirrors.

Regardless of how it is maintained, old code is a valuable resource, even if it's just there to let people know about methods that have been tried and failed. How can we learn from mistakes if we can't *see* them?

That's open source for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001622)

They suck you in with a good promise, and then WHAM, they change the source on you.

You should have seen this coming.

you get what you pay for (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001625)


You get what you pay for after all.


An ironic quote coming from someone who supports FREE software.

Whoa, hang on a second... (0, Troll)

jargonCCNA (531779) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001626)

1. They can henceforth change the terms without notice, just by posting the new terms on the website. (Currently they are obliged to give 15 days notice by email, a period that we are currently in for this change.)
I was never informed about these changes... And I have two running projects on SF.

Fuckers. I'm gonna write to write them a nasty email about that.

what's the big deal (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001628)

Slashdot (OSDN) lies about their privacy and moderation policies all the time. Nothing to see here.

Its free. (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001633)

But i still feel cheated, because i want more.

Coincidence? (4, Funny)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001635)

After being registered for over two years [sourceforge.net] , about a week ago I started my first project there [sourceforge.net] . And a couple days later they change their policies so they can kick me off, keep all the stuff I put up there, contact me whenever they want and sell my personal information. Coincidence? :-)

Re:Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001756)

about a week ago I started my first project there [...] a couple days later they change their policies

Yeah, dude! They were waiting all this time just for you to upload your Gnutella client!

Damn, I'd sue! :o)

No hassle (1)

halftrack (454203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001639)

Do you keep anything private at SourceForge. No. Do you keep all project info on their servers or are they just a mirror to others. Yes (to the latter.) Would it kill you to reenter your name and wait for a mail? No. Sure, having your account deleted is annoying, but then again; what is time? Free as SourceForge.

Projects (3, Informative)

mystran (545374) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001653)

If they can delete accounts at will, and they don't even need to recover the data you had there, then they can basicly remove all admins from a project if they wish so. This means that you need to have a copy of everything somewhere else just in case. (which you should have anyway but..)

It's a bit questionable if you need a CVS somewhere else, a mailing list archive somewhere else, a patch archive somewhere else, project homepage somewhere else.. whether it's any use to have them a SourceForge at all.. too bad since it really is a great tool, even if sometimes really laggy.

This sure ain't good news for maintainers of small projects.. especially of projects of questionable usefulness..

I'd pay ... (1)

binaryfeed (225333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001660)

I'd pay up to $24 per year for this service. I host my projects [sourceforge.net] on sourceforge and think it's easily worth $2 per month.

For what it's worth, I make no money on any of these projects ... I would just look at it like I look at paying for DSL or web hosting or anything else.

It's true, it's not true (5, Insightful)

bperkins (12056) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001661)

OB IANAL

1. The privacy policy is acquiring a disclaimer that amounts to "this is not true". It actually disclaims the entire privacy policy.

To say that the clause at the end claims the privacy policy is "not true" is pretty simplistic. It attempts to avoid iablility for circumstances beyond their control, which is a far cry from disclaiming the entire thing.

In other words if armed men break into our facilities and steal our database and sell it to spammers, or our daatabase administrator gets a brain tumor and tries to "MAKE MONEY FAST!", we think we shouldn't be sued.

Privacy Statement (5, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001663)

NO GUARANTEES

While this Privacy Statement expresses SourceForge.net's standards for maintenance of private data, SourceForge.net is not in a position to guarantee that the standards will always be met. There may be factors beyond our control that may result in disclosure of data. As a consequence, SourceForge.net disclaims any warranties or representations relating to maintenance or nondisclosure of private information.


Since I don't think we're dealing with an vast evil corporate conspiracy here, I don't think the proper reading of this is "these statements are not true."

Basically they're protecting themselves against crackers. If someone steals the password list, they aren't responsible. I don't think that this means they're going lax on security or forgetting about privacy, it just means that shit happens, and they don't want to be sued.

As to the rest of the changes: this is their perrogative. They don't have to warn you about service changes. And if that fact alone bothers you, you can take your (non-paying) business elsewhere. It's how they use this priviledge that matters, and I don't think that they are going to radically alter their service in an attempt to scam users.

grr (1)

strombrg (62192) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001666)


Wow, I so didn't realize that you get what you pay for. In that case, I think I'll get rid of all my linux machines and commission a port of windows xp to the mainframe and 3270 terminals I'll have to buy - that'd cost plenty, so it must be great stuff.

bah (0)

SigmundK (551485) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001671)

this is a horrrible thing. except for the fact that i'm disgusted, i see the need for a new service. anyone willing to step up to the plate?

"You get what you pay for after all." (-1, Flamebait)

taveren (98720) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001685)

Well, if "You get what you pay for after all." is true, I'm going back to M$.

interests at stake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001688)

I see no problem with protecting the software that VA software owns...............:) its just not knwon by the project managers that VA has their intellectual property

This is very bad (1, Troll)

Animats (122034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001695)

The only reason for doing this would be because some big change is planned, like claiming ownership rights of all code posted.

Note that this follows a previous removal of the tools needed to copy an entire project from SourceForge and move it elsewhere. It's not impossible to do that, but it takes more work now.

So, if your project is important, get it off SourceForge now, before it's too late.

slashdot editors propogating yet another myth (5, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001699)

You get what you pay for after all.

Amazing. Now I understand why the slashdot editors really appear to not "get" a lot of fundamental things, like the ongoing, direct harm the Copyright Cartels (Hollywood and the music industry in particular) are doing to free software.

"You get what you pay for," is demonstrably a myth. (c.f. GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, non-paid sex, love be it familial or romantic, and as a counter example underscoring the very same point, Windows vis-a-vis quality, used cars, enron stock, and so on ad nauseum.). Air is the most valuable substance to any living, breathing human. Don't believe me? Try going ten minutes without it. Yet it costs nothing.

With free software you don't "get what you pay for," you get what many thousands have contributed to a public commons to give themselves and you, with a resulting value far greater than any single enterprise could possibly offer. These contributions are often completely unrelated to any economic value as defined in the traditional market sense, and are only very indirectly related to any sort of free market or monetary value at all.

If you don't understand this (because of your libertarian bent of capitalism ueber alles, perhaps ... and I can relate, as I have some libertarian leanings myself), then I suggest you consider, with an open mind, the implications of applying one set of assumptions (scarcity and greed driving a free, self-organizing market) vs. the actual conditions (a fundamental lack of scarcity in the electronic world) which may well make those assumptions invalid in the context in which you are trying to apply them.

In this particular case the area is more gray ... we are dealing with an area that interfaces the (cyber)world of virtually unlimited abundance (virtually zero-cost copying) and the physical world of scarcity. It is along this interface that the most interesting problems and opportunities are going to arise (and the area the copyright cartels would be concentrating on if they had any intelligence, rather than trying to use authoritarian laws to impose their business model on a world which lacks the scarcity they require).

I should point out that the Free Software Foundation's GNU project offers a similar service to sourceforge called Savannah [gnu.org] , which I highly recommend. Will the laws of supply and demand as created out of scarcity apply, or are there enough willing donars, and enough inexpensive (or free) resources available that the laws of plenty will apply? In this gray area the answer is probably both yes, and no, depending on local circumstances and conditions.

In any event, the notion that "you get what you pay for" has been disproven numerous times in the physical world of scarcity-driven capitalism (ask any number of people who have purchased property or used automobiles, only to have their worth drop to zero, or climb insanely, in no relation to "what they paid for"), and in the abundant sphere of free software is demonstrably inapplicable in nearly every case.

Re:slashdot editors propogating yet another myth (1)

Lord Hugh Toppingham (319381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001755)

You get what you pay for after all


You don't get it do you ? Slashdot is first and foremost a 'Troll' site, much like adequacy [adequacy.org] . You spelled 'propagating' incorrectly too.

Whats the big deal... (5, Insightful)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001701)

These changes are not draconian. What is the hubbub all about?

1. They can henceforth change the terms without notice, just by posting the new terms on the website. (Currently they are obliged to give 15 days notice by email, a period that we are currently in for this change.)
It is a free service... if they want to change something should they be shackled by having to email all the users to change anything?

2. They can henceforth remove user accounts without giving a reason. (Currently they are obliged to have a reason, though the set of acceptable reasons is open-ended.)
They avoid leagle entanglement for said free service... People abuse free systems, they need to be delt with quickly and effectivly.

3. They're no longer obliged to make the contents of a deleted account available to its owner. (There was previously a "reasonable effort" clause to that effect.)
The users should have local backups... this is more then resonable.

4. They're no longer obliged to provide notice of changes to the privacy policy, unless the changes are "substantive". (Currently they are obliged to provide notice of any change.)
Hmmm, some web notice would be nice... but again it is a free service...

5. The privacy policy is acquiring a disclaimer that amounts to "this is not true". It actually disclaims the entire privacy policy.
Well, if you bother to read (and comprehend) the policy you should know what you are in for, again it is a free service...

Have you read Hotmail Terms of Use [msn.com] ?
You know they have your best interest at heart.

~Sean

Re:Whats the big deal... (1)

Penrod Pooch (466103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001768)

Have you read Hotmail Terms of Use?
You know they have your best interest at heart.


If hotmail changed their terms of use this drastically slashdot would be up in arms.

You get what you pay for after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001704)

True dat.

Taco turns Republican (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001710)

I don't particularly like this any more then anyone else, but I also don't think it's the huge deal that others are making of it. Especially considering projects aren't paying for the free service. You get what you pay for after all.

Ain't it always the case? You start making lots of money and the Republicans start making sense.

No terms of service (1)

412-613-8636 (398626) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001716)

The fact is that the TOS is just a reflection of what kinds of decisions the management is going to be making anyhow. So this TOS is just a foreshadowing of what they plan to do in the future. Bad or good, they plan to work much more efficiently...

Sorry, guys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001721)

I use Linux, I love Linux, but let's face it: these guys have been way too cool till now and they _must_ make money.

Not become filthy rich nor put the competition out of market, but they got bills to pay, damn!

This is no different than any hotel or storehouse.

I hope they get by with ads or some kind of sponsorship, club fees or the like... and mainly because for some projects and some poor coders free is all they can afford.

But I can't demand things to be free. Sourceforge has been GREAT till now and I thank them very much.

Linux seems unstoppable; I hope these guys find a way to surf on this wave.

Pot, Kettle, etc. (2, Redundant)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001723)

"You get what you pay for after all."

Hmm, I'm going to say that about Linux now.

Let's see how that get's moderated.

This Just In (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001724)

This Just In -- Rob Malda (known in the Holland Gay Community as CmdrTaco) has been brutally sodomized with a baseball bat and rusty railroad spikes. He is not expected to survive. Please stay tuned for further developments in this terrible tragedy.

You guys are all blind lemming hypocrites (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001742)

OF COURSE THESE CHANGES ARE BAD! Read between the fucking lines. If Microsoft did the same thing with Hotmail, you guys would be all over them.

Look at the privacy statement. No guarantees? What does that mean?

They can cancel your account for no reason? What about open source projects that they don't like for whatever reason? They don't even have to return anything back to you.

This is a disgusting change. Sure it's free, and there's nothing you can do about it, but don't all of a sudden turn your back on common sense.

Taco says "No privacy is not a huge deal" (2, Insightful)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001762)

Taco: "while I don't particularly like this any more then anyone else, but I also don't think it's the huge deal that others are making of it."
5.The privacy policy is acquiring a disclaimer that amounts to "this is not true". It actually disclaims the entire privacy policy.
Well, considering the way /. is run [kuro5hin.org] , Taco calling the total elimination of the privacy policy 'not a huge deal' does not surprise me in the least.

All CYA (2, Insightful)

mikewas (119762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001766)

Looks like a bunch of CYA stuff.

e.g. The term "reasonable effort" is open to a million interpretations. Anything you do would likely disapoint somebody. Promise nothing and you always exceed what was promised.

Use the service to its best advantage, don't rely on SourceForge (or anything else) 100%, and if it doesn't work for you move on. After all, it IS free.

Indemnity is the real issue (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001767)

These new changes are the last straw, and now after thinking it over for a long time I'm finally going to have my SourceForge account cancelled, but the new terms aren't the real problem. The real reason I'm having my account cancelled is that SourceForge's TOS requires that I "indemnify" them for any trouble they get into as a result of my actions on their system.

In other words, if I do something that upsets a corporation with a legal department, and SourceForge gets sued, I have to pay their lawyer's bills.

Because of that clause, I can't do anything that is legally sensitive; and because free software is by definition revolutionary, I can't do anything real or important on SourceForge at all. I respect and admire the Freenet people, who are going ahead and hosting with SourceForge anyway, but I have no wish to emulate that display of courage. I don't blame SourceForge for having the indemnity clause in their TOS, but it means that their service isn't much use to me. The risks are just too great.

Incidentally, y'all have missed the most important new terms in today's revised TOS - the new DMCA compliance terms. Those, too, are perfectly understandable, and I can't blame SourceForge for having them. As a business operating in the U.S.A., SourceForge is legally obligated to have DMCA compliance procedures. But if I had any illusions left that SourceForge was part of the revolution, those illusions are gone now. SourceForge is now just another profit-making business, and I don't need, or have any particular reason to want, to do business with them. I'll be hosting my free software on amateur servers outside the U.S.A. (I'm outside the U.S.A. myself) where I can be assured of its continued freedom.

You get what you pay for? (0, Funny)

thunker (206170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001770)

Lets see...I don't pay for Slashdot. OK now I know what you mean.

"You get what you pay for"?! (4, Insightful)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001771)

CmdrTaco wrote:
but I also don't think it's the huge deal that others are making of it. Especially considering projects aren't paying for the free service. You get what you pay for after all.

What the heck kind of attitude is this for the founder of a pro-Open, pro-Linux website, CmdrTaco?! I took a quick diff of the terms of use changes, and you're right, it's not a big deal. But reinforcing the myth of "you get what you pay for" doesn't help traditionally minded people embrace new paradigms such as Open and Free. Tsk tsk.

Oops, you put your foot in it (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001774)

You get what you pay for after all

Cmdr Taco apparently doesn't believe that Linux or open Source software is worth a shit. Straight from the horse's mouth!

sourceforge alternative (2, Informative)

keeg (541057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001777)

While I don't really think sourceforge will be going down soon, savanna [gnu.org] is a good alternative. It is based on sourceforge source code, (it was GPL after all), and should have most facilities sourceforge users are used to. It is also garantueed to stay Free.

*Update* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001778)

A reason to celebrate in Holland MI this morning as Rob Malda, aka CmdrTaco, has pulled through his brutal sodomization and actually seems to feel better.

"I feel better now" says Malda who attributes his survival to having a rare rectal disorder that allows him to dilate his anus up to 8" wide. "I am a very lucky man," Taco said. He then requested ice cream and a salt water enema.

to state the obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001780)

Nobody has to use them for their project. There are other services like Yahoo Groups which work fine, for small projects at least.

Nice writing CmdrTaco... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001785)

Slashdot, I'm biased and corrupt and you should ignore my opinions on the subject, but while I don't particularly like this any more then anyone else, but I also don't think it's the huge deal that others are making of it. Especially considering projects aren't paying for the free service. You get what you pay for after all.

CmdrTaco massacres the English language like Sourceforge massacres the Open Source movement.

turn about seems fair play (1)

negativethirsty (555244) | more than 12 years ago | (#3001789)

A user can change the focus, methods, or anything else about their projects...
So why can't SF?

Time to say goodbye to Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3001795)

If it is, I'd like to say it was a neat place for awhile. thanks to Taco et tal, perhaps we'll see you again on the 'net in some other shape/form.

Cancelling all promises for any expectation provacy to account holders seems like rolling up ones pantlegs before a shit storm.
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