Update: Sold.

In the last installment of our Boring Geek Updates™ series for the year and as part of my general strategy of complete WordPress disengagement, I finally decided to do something with that long-neglected pet project of mine: WP-plugins.net

Namely: sell it.

As you can tell from the ‘beta’ sign and the outdated reference to an ongoing update process, to be completed ‘any time now’, this site has long shifted out of my personal field of interests. Don’t really have the motivation, definitely don’t have the time.

But, maybe you do!

Geek news warning: sane people and anybody for whom such acronyms as PHP or GPL merely evocate some brand new drugs the kids might be into these days: you are probably better off skipping this one.

I’ll try to keep it short.

Spam Karma 2 is now released as GPL v.2. This essentially means you can do anything you want to it, except claim you made it (copyright and attribution notice must remain there). You should also note that any attempt at deriving some ill-deserved profit from it through harebrained web marketing schemes will earn you both my long-standing scorn and a nut-shriveling decrease to your actual karma.

I suppose another angle to that post’s title could be:
Officially discontinuing Spam Karma’s development: so long and thanks for all the fish
as this is what this truly is about.

But, such a title would be slightly misleading (and no doubt heavily quoted out of context): Indeed, I am hereby officially announcing that I will no longer support, maintain or further develop Spam Karma (beside some very occasional, very limited poking, until the transition to a self-maintained project is completed). However, thanks to the magic of free software, all the unsung heroes of the Open Source world will soon rise to take over and bring you a stronger, better, more closely supported version of Spam Karma!

Okay, what’s more likely to happen is that nobody will really bother taking over, except perhaps a handful well-intentioned but utterly clueless beginner coders who will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the task and next be seen running away screaming at the top of their lungs. Hey, I’m not blaming anybody: I wouldn’t waste my time on a non-paying, open-source community project either…

But on the off-chance that you would (and trust me it won’t do anything to help you get laid either), I have set up a Google Code repository, which could become the jumping point to some magnificent community-based development effort (or not). If you are interested in participating in any way, contact me (mail or contact form) with a *brief* description of who you are, what you can do and what you wanna do. I don’t need a resume (I am not hiring), just a very quick idea of what level of responsibility you’d be willing to take on the project. I’ll put in the first couple people that seem to know what they are doing (and do not sound like they’ll be selling everything to Russian mafia-owned spam sites) as administrators of the project, and hopefully from there on, things will work by themselves…

If you think you’d like to tackle any aspect of SK2 development (including possibly porting it to other platforms), here is your chance. Speak now or go back to more fruitful and life-rewarding endeavours forever.

Oh, and as for the “reasons”, well, here they are:

Because Big in Japan is so 1995, I am proud to announce that I am now also officially Big in Estonia. Secondary to my being featured in this month’s issue of arvutimaailm, a computer magazine so big in Estonia, it doesn’t even bother putting its content on the internets.

The article is signed by Elver Loho and features, as far as I can tell, some collected ramblings of mine on miscellaneous items of computer security and spam, as well as a scarily huge photograph, that must by now adorn the wall of every single Russian mafia hitman east of the Volga. My command of Estonian being unfortunately very low, I can only assume the article bears no reference to my habit of drinking a bowl of fresh kitten blood every night before sleep. I will try and post the PDF here, but need to make sure it’s ok first (and also get the final version, as I only have a working layout).

Which reminds me there’s been lately a couple articles, newspaper columns and books bearing mention of my name and/or one of my miscellaneous ongoing evil plans. Unfortunately, I have been pretty bad at collecting clippings for my mom’s trophy wall and haven’t really kept count, but I still wanted to recommend Maria Langer’s book, since she was so kind as to send me a personal copy (long, very long ago now… sorry Maria…).

Wherein the author enumerates much meaningless data and uses them as springboard for some slightly more topical meandering…

  • 1,059 WordPress plugins currently sit on wp-plugins.net. Not bad for a project that was half-shunned by the official WP pubah(s) from the very beginning. Kinda getting worried by the amount of bandwidth this is eating off my quota right now (read: somewhere in the 200% vicinity). But we’ll cross that bridge when it starts falling.
  • 11,232 SK2 downloads for the year 2006 so far. There again, not bad for a plugin that doesn’t happen to be the one packaged by default in WordPress 2.0.
  • 968 comments (mostly Trackbacks and Pingbacks, as I closed comments on this page a while back) on SK2’s homepage. Can’t help but notice an uncannily high percentage of posts from Germany. Is SK2 like, the David Hasselhoff of anti-spam plugins?

As you can tell, despite being on cruise-control mode, the Deliverables Department of UnknownGenius Corp. is doing nicely. As for where it’s heading, I suppose I may use the occasion to offer a quick update:

The short answer is that it is going nowhere.

The longer answer is that, ultimately, I will be phasing out all WordPress development (and most web coding, actually) from my activities.

For those who care about the Why, I will try to provide some elements without delving too deep into the multiple layers of frustration and unrelated motives for my general disinterest toward WordPress at the moment:

First blog update on Spam Karma, WordPress development and Spam in many months, and a crucial one at that. Being notoriously verbose to the point of irrelevance, yet with lots to say today, I have tried to provide a telegraphic sum-up below, feel free to skip and go straight to the parts you may care about (hint for the busy ones: the plot thickens mostly around part 6 and 7).

1. How well is SK2 stopping spam currently?

Pretty damn well, thank you.

2. What’s wrong in the peaceful Kingdom of SpamKarmia then?

A new breed of Evil has been summoned and is threatening to breach in.

3. How evil?

Very Evil… and powerful.

4. Won’t anybody show up and save the day?

Doubtful…

5. Is there really nothing you can do?

Of course there is.

6. Then why aren’t you busy doing it, you lazy bastard

Here is why: …

7. You wouldn’t leave us to die here, would you?

Watch me.


And now for the details:

So it’s 1am on a Sunday night, not much more has happened in term of exciting stuff ever since my latest week-end update (no more earthquake, no tsunami, no godzilla…), I am busy debugging code written by a maniac who apparently thinks that picking random combinations of three to six letters is a perfectly acceptable naming convention for all functions and variables in a multi-thousand lines program (and yea, I’m aware that this last bit means absolutely nothing to a rough 90% of my beloved readers: please color me equally stumped, albeit not for the same reasons)… It’s time for…

Techie Update of the Month

I have been putting in a bit of long-overdue work into wp-plugins.net, the ultimate WP plugins repository.

Namely:

WordPress 1.5.1 is now officially released. If you are a WordPress user, you really ought to upgrade. This version fixes many of the bugs and shortcomings that were introduced with the botched release of WP 1.5. It takes seconds to upgrade from 1.5 (just overwrite everything in your blog directory except the wp-content directory). Shout out to all WordPress developers and contributors… Great job guys…

With this, I am glad to announce the official release of Spam Karma 2‘s first public beta.

In fact, it is pretty much final-grade quality and could probably do without the “beta” label… I’m just a big fan of the greek alphabet.

Many of the lingering issues with the last alpha have been fixed, a few missing features have been added (it now supports curl for those whose host doesn’t allow url_fopen). Check out the dedicated page for details.

Now go and spread the word! there are still far too many clunky SK1.x in the wild out there…

Also, feel free to contribute to the newly-opened official Wiki page for SK2: your help is much appreciated!

Update: Ahem, it would appear I spoke a bit fast. There is a rather nasty bug in this update that can bork your RSS feed. I do recommend updating nonetheless (and follow instructions in the link above to fix the bug).