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02Jun, 2015

SourceForge vows to stop ad bundling without permission


SourceForge is a website you might have visited a couple of times in your pursuit to get hold of some free software you badly needed for a given use. Unlike other websites that will probably lead you to install malware on your machine instead of what you were actually looking for, SourceForge will get you want you want but with a catch.

You will have to first download their online installer on your machine which will then proceed with the download of the software you wanted as well as a number of other bundled third party applications which you did not request for.

Things got a bit ugly for SourceForge a few day back when they archived the popular photo editing tool called GIMP-Win on one of its mirror sites, since its author didn’t want to use SourceForge for distribution anymore. It was then wrapped with third-party ads which led to SourceForge being accused of hijacking GIMP-Win.

In November 2013, SourceForge launched a program to stop misleading ads that appeared on the site. Some were considered deceptive, featuring a “download” button, which SourceForge said it would clean up by working with its advertising networks.

It also pledged at that time it would never bundle ads into software without the developer’s consent. At the time, it was piloting a program called DevShare where applications could be bundled with advertising in order to bring revenue to developers and SourceForge, which incurs costs for maintaining its site.

Although SourceForge is still offering GIMP-win but now without ads, the project has its own website. On Sunday, GIMP-Win wrote that SourceForge abused the trust placed in it and cited the website’s prior pledge to ask for consent before bundling ads.

SourceForge however said on Monday that it will stop including third-party offers without developers’ consent into projects that are no longer maintained, a practice it briefly tried but was widely criticized.

Let’s hope from now on the SourceForge abides by its new promise, in most cases which might only hold up till new management decides otherwise.

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