Is it just me, or does the Free Software Foundation not get the web? I've seen amateur projects hosted on SourceForge that do better than the FSF sometimes.

Here's an example. I'm having problems building some software. I suspect that I need a newer (or older) version of GNU Bison. So I find the main page for it here. Does it tell me what the most recent version is? No. Does it tell me when it was released? No. Does it tell me what the recent changes in the last few releases were? No.

What the heck?

Okay, it does tell me that I can find alpha/beta releases at [some url] but they don't even bother to make the URL a hyperlink! That's right, I'm supposed to cut and paste it into my browser's address/url input box. All of the help related e-mail addresses on the page have been obfuscated. Really. Go look.

Yes, these are the same people who want Linux to be called GNU/Linux.

There's a reason that most project web sites have certain pieces of critical information on the main page--project news/announcements, releases, screen shots (if applicable), features, e-mail, bug tracking, etc. This isn't rocket science anymore, it's well-traveled ground.

Posted by jzawodn at November 24, 2002 12:00 AM

Reader Comments
# ade said:

Definitely right. A lot of the FSF projects don't seem to have realised that any time has passed in the last 10 years. Try finding out what the latest version of emacs is. Up until recently you couldn't even get hold of CVS snapshots without jumping through hoops.

On the other hand it's not that big a deal. It took me 20 seconds to find out what the latest version of Bison is and that's mostly because I used Google rather than clicking on your link. The FSF is starting to modernise. For example the Savannah project is now the best place to look for official FSF projects. To whit: the Bison homepage.

on November 25, 2002 01:29 AM
# Dan Isaacs said:

"What the heck?"

I see. You think Mom might be reading now, so you clean up the language. Nice.

on November 25, 2002 07:38 AM
# Scott Johnson said:

As long as we're ragging on the FSF, am I the only person who ever wanted --help to give an example or two?

When I suggested this to the FSF and even offered to write them I got, of course, no reply.

on November 27, 2002 08:09 AM
# slamm said:

Click here for a description of something to avoid in a critique of another web site. ;-)

on December 3, 2002 10:42 AM
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