Sourceforge download page gone from bad to worse

If you’re not a geek you probably don’t know SourceForge. It is a very useful website for computer programmers (or developers, as we like to call ourselves), because it provides an aggregation point for people, code and knowledge, and it does so for free. It unfortunately was built by a certain sub-type of geek that thinks they automatically understand the internet, simply because internet uses technology, and technology is something they understand.

A result of this is that for a long time SourceForge used link texts that looked like package.zip or program.exe that promised to lead you to a downloadable file. The only correct expectation that a visitor could have is that if you right-clicked the link and selected Save As in your web browser, the browser would store the promised file on your hard disk. Instead, you would get a web page with links to the actual files on your hard disk. You see, the .zip-link would not actually lead to the file itself, but instead to a collection of links that in turn would lead to (several instances of) the file.

Now SourceForge has changed this method. By the time I finally learned not to “Save As” the linked document, they’ve made it so that a download will start automatically. Of course, they won’t tell you this. Instead, you get a page with several links to downloadable files, just like before, except this time the files aren’t the ones you requested, but completely different ones that are part of advertisements. Might even be virusses, who knows? Since the web isn’t immediate, I didn’t realise I just needed to wait until the download started, and instead clicked the most likely looking link. Which was the moment I realised I was wrong, because the file that started downloading was several hundreds of megabytes large, whereas the file I had requested was supposed to be only several kilobytes in size.

Once again, FOSS geeks, sterling work! Please don’t ever learn, you might have to admit to having been wrong in doing so!

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(follow link for enlargement of screenshot)

Also blogging elsewhere

Although my posting frequency here never has been a thing to brag about much, lately it has dropped below the “once a week” that I unconsciously saw as a minimum. This is not because of the dreaded blogging fatigue, but because I’ve joined a couple of other blogs—which I must have written about once or twice before, so let this be just a gentle reminder.

Most of my time goes to 24 Oranges, weird and wonderful news about the Netherlands (English). (Or: just my postings.)

I used to post about twice a week at the Teleread blog, but since 2007 my Teleread posting frequency has also suffered. At first that was because of lots of paid work, but when I had more time later it went to 24 Oranges. (Or: just my postings.)

Finally, the past few weeks I have had four guest blogs up at the Iusmentis blog, which is Arnoud Engelfriet’s blog about the meeting of technology and law. Writing mainly about copyright and Project Gutenberg, I have posted the following items there (in Dutch):

I will try and translate, and then post these four entries either here or at Teleread, when I have the time. I put a lot of research into these postings, so it would be a pity to limit them to speakers of Dutch. Also, the readers of the Iusmentis blog have added some valuable comments that could use a larger audience.