freshmeat has been renamed to Freecode. This article has all the info.

Articles / What's in a name?

What's in a name?

More than fourteen years ago, I was configuring Linux-based server systems for customers. I was quickly losing track of the then-current versions of the applications I needed to install in order to make those servers perform their intended tasks. Those were the early days of the Web, database-driven websites were almost unheard of, and I didn’t have the slightest idea about programming.

One night during the fall of 1997, I started cobbling together a static HTML page containing the latest version numbers and links to the websites of the Linux kernel, the Apache webserver, and Vi, respectively. The page was using a table-based layout, used <font> tags all over the place, and was in desperate need of a name.

Tossing around a few combinations of words in my sleep-deprived head I came up with a working title for my little version-tracking page – and freshmeat was born. Little did I know that this brand would survive the dot-com bubble, see services like Google, Wikipedia, and Twitter grow to a massive scale, and be accessed from mobile phones and tablet computers over fast broadband connections.

Times change.

freshmeat has operated under the radar of its parent company Geeknet for more than a decade, while numerous sales teams have struggled to position the freshmeat brand appropriately among potential sponsors in the United States. Outside of our very own small niche of the Web, people have all sorts of associations with the name freshmeat, most of which have nothing to do with a free, open source software directory.

Due to the nature of our offering, which makes content and services available to developers and end-users for free, we rely on ad revenue to keep the lights on.

Since all of us at Geeknet agree that this site and the community powering it have tremendous potential, even after more than 14 years of existence, we decided to change the name of the site, effective immediately, to Freecode.

With this new name we expect a huge leap forward in the ability to position the site commercially, without additional efforts required to explain the name. This should result in better ad products displayed on the site, which means a better site experience for you, our users, and more resources for our community. Freecode will also be more attractive and less ambiguous to new users.

I am the first to admit that it took me a moment to realize that this change was needed. I hope I can count on you for your continued support of our efforts, now under the new name Freecode.

As always, please send your feedback our way on Twitter or on our help forum.

Patrick Lenz
Site director Freecode

Rss Recent comments

Rcomment-before 29 Oct 2011 22:16 Rcomment-trans skinkie Rcomment-after

Dear Patrick, I understand the rationale. But does this also (finally) mean that non-free code is not on this site anymore? Recently I started to wonder why freemeat became just an announcement site of all kind of software instead of free software. Software of which source code was not available, its license was not free and certainly was not free as in gratis. Looking forward to your reply. Stefan

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 01:53 Rcomment-trans zonezero Rcomment-after Thumbsdown-wht

Well here is a me too comment and a "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" comment. Did you work for the SciFi or is that SyFy channel?

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 03:23 Rcomment-trans 1eae9a8405eeb8f25a2cd9753b38dfa0_tiny pabs3 Rcomment-after Thumbsdown-wht

I too would like to know if this means non-free code is no longer welcome at freshmeat/freecode.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 05:16 Rcomment-trans imipak Rcomment-after

The rationale makes sense, but there's always a danger in rebranding and the majority of users of the site are going to be so used* to the F/L/OSS nomenclature debate that the *ahem* alternative meanings are a non-issue for us. Advertisers, yes, are a breed apart (I think they're descended from Denisovians) and don't speak our language which is bound to impact revenue. However, because they don't speak our language, there's going to have to be some line drawn in the sand because otherwise they'll object to everything. Forever.

*"Used", in this sense, means worn-out, battered and dog-eared.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 07:44 Rcomment-trans scoop Rcomment-after

The focus of freshmeat (and now Freecode) has been and always will be Free and Open Source Software. We've always had the occasional listing of a non-free project, but it's never been in any significant volume.

I did a quick snapshot analysis of the current license distribution, available here:

Currently, less than 4% of all projects in our database are using a non F/L/OSS license. Going forward, the new brand name will certainly foster our focus on F/L/OSS listings, so I don't expect this number to grow any time soon.

Additionally, the site has always provided registered users with the ability to filter out certain license types if you simply aren't interested in projects distributed under certain licenses. These settings can be found here:

Hope this helps,

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 10:15 Rcomment-trans iusty Rcomment-after Thumbsup-wht

At first, I was "Oh my god, renaming freshmeat! Caving in to advertisers! The world is going down!". But yes, it makes sense. Thanks for keeping freshmeat^Wfreecode alive all these years and continuing to develop it!

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 11:53 Rcomment-trans kryshen Rcomment-after

That means to me that from being somewhat underground this site is transforming to something commercial and mainstream thus loosing it's true value and uniqueness.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 11:56 Rcomment-trans djzort Rcomment-after Thumbsup-wht

Given the current fad for dropping vowels and domain hacks, i'm surprised that it wasn’t or some such.

It would be nice to see some sort of graphs showing if the name changes make any real difference. What i think the real problem with freecode/freshmeat/whatever is that of waning relevance. My recommendation would be to syndicate automatically from popular project hosting sites like sourceforge, github etc. in addition to projects self posting.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 16:21 Rcomment-trans lbrtuk Rcomment-after

The world will never be the same again!

"Additionally, the site has always provided registered users with the ability to filter out certain license types if you simply aren't interested in projects distributed under certain licenses."

I tried using these filters for many years and it just didn't seem possible to get rid of _all_ nonfree software, so I eventually gave up. No matter what I did some nonfree software would always creep through. I suppose I'll give it a try again.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 19:54 Rcomment-trans kazkylheku Rcomment-after

Scoop, what's absolutely amazing is that you actually got the domain "". Congrats.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 19:56 Rcomment-trans kazkylheku Rcomment-after

P.S. definitely keep the freshmeat domain. I.e. let people surf this as "freshmeat" without a URL redirect. The code can substitute different words and graphical elements into the UI basedon which URL is used. Just a thought. :)

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 20:02 Rcomment-trans wondermike Rcomment-after

get also ! That would show your affinity towards OSS within the TLD.

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 20:43 Rcomment-trans xripclaw Rcomment-after

it would be nice, though, to have a "freshmeat" CSS Skin - just for us old timers :-D
(keep in mind, not everyone likes javascript and stuff...)

Rcomment-before 30 Oct 2011 21:19 Rcomment-trans solardiz Rcomment-after

As what I think could be a better alternative to djzort's suggestion to "syndicate automatically", how about encouraging Freshmeat^WFreecode users to submit high-quality updates to projects other than their own? Introduce some kind of rankings, prizes (even something as simple as free Freecode t-shirts for active contributors, which would also serve to promote Freecode). Maybe hire someone to submit updates to popular (at Freecode) and to other major projects (not necessarily popular at Freecode yet, because some major projects are only "non-popular" at Freecode for lack of update postings here). Currently, I am aware of exactly one Freecode user who regularly posts updates to major projects that are not his own (such as the FSF/GNU stuff - the maintainers of those projects typically do not post updates on their own). This is user barsnick. I thanked him for this activity via private e-mail a while ago, but a more tangible thanks from Freecode is in order, I think.

Rcomment-before 31 Oct 2011 00:48 Rcomment-trans tingo Rcomment-after

Are you sure that changing the name to "Freecode" is the right move? There is already a company named FreeCode ( which was started in 2004), and the parent company, FreeCode International ( claims to have at least a couple of offices outside of Norway. Yes, this is a Norwegian company and it is probably too small to be well known outside of Norway.
Disclaimer: I am not related to this company in any way.

Rcomment-before 31 Oct 2011 10:53 Rcomment-trans kat Rcomment-after

At last. I've always been somewhat puzzled by the name "freshmeat", as it has connotations that have nothing to do with software. So glad that you've renamed it to something that makes sense as soon as one sees the name.


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