Spam Karma goes GPL

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:

1) Life.
Much as I love the challenge and excitement of coding an anti-spam filter and thinking up new tricks to defeat parasitic life-forms of the web, I just don’t have the time anymore. And to be honest, if I did have the time, I probably would have other challenging, exciting new projects I’d rather tackle. I’m fickle like that.

2) WordPress
I will really try to keep that one short, because I could probably write a novel of that. And it wouldn’t be a very interesting read.
In a word: WordPress kinda sucks nowadays. Its retarded upgrade rate makes it nearly impossible to keep up, in turn making it a constant security threat on my servers. And each time I finally cave in and install one of those “mandatory security upgrade”, it also installs 600 Ko of other theme compatibility-breaking fluffy crap that I never asked for in the first place. Usually setting the ground for the next cycle of security-exploit-rushed-upgrade. To sum up, it’s become incredibly bloated and tedious to support. Replacing it on my own servers is very high on my list of things to do (which means somewhat in the first 1000 items).

Having no interest for WordPress anymore, I have thus very little interest for WordPress-related development.

As for WP coming bundled with its own anti-spam plugin, I could also go on for hours on that. The fact that a community-based open-source project is used to distribute a commercially licensed piece of software doesn’t make me particularly happy. But frankly I haven’t cared and still don’t care enough to even raise a stint. At any rate I know lots of people (me included, obviously), aren’t convinced by the way Akismet works and are happier doing the filtering on our own servers, so there is definitely room for SK2-like plugins out there.

Anyway, thanks everybody for your support all these years and let’s gather a round of applause for our brand new Spam Karma GPL Edition!

Update: in addition to the Google Code-hosted project, there is now a dev mailing list set up on Google Groups, go check it out and feel free to sign up if you are interested in SK2’s future development!

Filed under: Code, Geek, WordPress


  1. THANK YOU!!!

    Ironically, yet another upgrade of WP drove me to this site to check for the latest and greatest in combatting WP spam… sorry to hear the news, hope it all works out for the best for everyone.

    Certainly, all your good efforts have brought you much good karma!

  2. Dave,

    Thanks a lot for your work so far. I totally share your feelings about the “joy” of keeping up with WordPress. I’m with WordPress since it was version 0.91 (or something). Things have gone better, but now they’re a little bit annoying. Upgrading, although quick, still takes 1-2 hours (with backup and everything). Developing for WP should be even bigger PITA.

    I totally respect your decision. You’ve gone great licensing SK2 under GPL. We’ll see now if all the talk how “GPL projects cannot die if they’re useful” is right or wrong.

    Wish you all the best in your future endevours!

  3. Hi I understand – and can read between the lines of your words.

    And yes I understand and totally respect your decision.

    Have a nice time, good days, time to do what you like to do and if you have enough time – Austria is a wonderful piece of our world. It would be great to drink a cup of coffee with you

    thanks for all the hours and your knowledge


  4. hi Dave,

    thanks for the support you provided for SK2! I feel the same way about WordPress, and will pursue something like Habari when it fully matures.

  5. well, i just right now installed SK2 again. Still working, still making me happy, still have to say: thank you very much!

  6. Thanks for all your hard work, your plugin is the first thng I install on all my wordpress blogs. Also it’s nice to hear from someone who knows better that I am right to groan at the wordpress update frequency.

    Finally, if you’re the same Dr. Dave who made the ISCA bbs telnet client, I’ve been using your software one way or another since the 90s, I’m sure this won’t be the last time.

  7. Spam Karma is an excellent piece of work, thank you for every minute you spent developing it. And good luck in whatever you’re up to!

  8. Hey, Dave,

    Wow, I’m a little behind the times, but I just found this post.

    I just want to acknowledge you for all the work you did on SK2 and all the spam you have eaten. Spam Karma ate over 66,000 spam comments on my low traffic blog and I appreciate the fact that I didn’t have to spend the time dealing with that.

    Doing battle, single-handedly, against the parasitic scum of the Internet is a thankless job; however,

    Thank you!

    As for life, Enjoy!


  9. Hey Dave,
    it saved me a lot of time too and I’m still smiling about the name you chose for it. (i suppose you did) Anyway what does a programmer do after this? I’m very interested what your next project >> where can I find more about it? have any idea for an alternative for wordpress too?

  10. I, too, am just finding this. I came here after getting three spam comments in the course of two days (more than has got through in the past year). I checked my SK2 plugin and it said there was news posted about two months ago. I clicked and was a little heartsick at what I saw.

    As someone who is not a programmer and still can’t find time to work everything in, I appreciate your hard work and your reasons for moving on.

    I selfishly hope that SK2 will continue to be developed.

  11. Thanks for the years of free support for SK2 which has saved my blog from potentially embarrassing and meaningless comments. And an even bigger thanks to releasing it to the OSS community for maintenance.

  12. WOW! I’m sad 🙁
    SK2 is the best there is! I’ve used it for a few years now, and it works flawlessly. There have been times when I’ve gone a couple of weeks, without even checking my blog — not once have I come back to a spam-littered mess. I owe you for that.

    I hope the great coders pick this up and run with it. Our blogging livelihood depends on it. I’m sick of WP upgrades too. So much so, I’m considering another blogging platform, like Expression Engine.

    Thank you and God bless!

  13. Thank you so, so much for your work on Spam Karma. It was the first good solution I came across and it’s been rock solid for me over many years.

    Completely sympathise with your reasons for stopping development. You can be very proud of the work you did, though.

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