How far the once mighty SourceForge has fallen…

When people download software from SourceForge, or any major repository of Open Source software, they expect the software to be trustworthy.  (baring unintentional bugs)

They do not expect the software to be a source of “drive by installer” style malware, spyware, adware, or any other unrelated/unintended software.

SourceForge’s new owners, Dice, have consciously and deliberately moved to a model violating this trust.

With their recent changes, users downloading from SourceForge now receive a special closed source installer which attempts to foist unrelated third party software onto them.

For example, when a user clicks on this:

  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/filezilla/files/FileZilla_Client/3.7.3/FileZilla_3.7.3_win32-setup.exe/download

They instead receive this:

  • http://ak.pipoffers.apnpartners.com/static/partners/dynamic/SFFZ/SFInstaller_SFFZ_filezilla_8992693_.exe

This is a “drive-by installer”, designed to catch less technical users and the unwary, to fill their computers with malware / junk ware / crime ware.  As abused by the notorious ask.com toolbar and others:

FileZilla_drive_by_downloader_smaller

It gets worse.

When SourceForge introduced this, it bribed encouraged the top projects to participate by giving them a cut of the take.  So these co-operating projects are also knowingly selling their users down the river.

I’m not against monetisation at all, we all have lives and need to pay our bills. But not through abusing user trust.  Not through preying on the unskilled or unwary.

To misquote Marge Simpson; “They not only crossed the line, they threw up on it.”

If you’re a developer or contributor to a SourceForge project, please ask them to move to a new project host (there are several).  And cease all further involvement until it’s complete.  I’ve already done so with mine.

If you’re a user of a SourceForge project, please find and use an alternative project instead.

We should all demonstrate our commitment to user safety and personal integrity around this issue.

Source: Gluster Community