What ever happened to XMMS.ORG?
Anyone that have tried to email me (or any other email address) on the xmms.org address the last couple of weeks have received a nice error message saying that the address doesn’t exist anymore, what’s up with that? Short answer, the xmms.org domain was sold to a cyber-squatter. To explain how that happened I think we need to go for a quick XMMS history lesson.
XMMS was originally started as X11AMP, it was a clone of the WinAMP player. It later changed it’s name to XMMS (X11 Multi Media System) when someone claimed that they owned the AMP trademark. About the same time a company called 4Front started to sponsor development of XMMS, this effectively put some of the main developers for XMMS on 4Front’s payroll but copyright and license for XMMS was keept intact.
If you don’t remember 4Front it was the company behind OSS (Open Sound System). The idea was to gain PR with XMMS in order to sell more of the commercial OSS licenses. During the dotcom era this seemed to work just fine and everyone was happy.
Over the years XMMS development stagnated to a very slow pace and 4Front didn’t really make that much noise either.
That all changed a couple of weeks ago when the XMMS.org webserver admin received a email from 4Front CEO Dev Mazumdar, stating that he had sold the domain to a company and wanted a full webpage dump. Needless to say, that was pretty surprising! We immediately responded that we where interested in taking over the domain instead, since a lot of us where still actively using it for email and personal webspace. The reply was “We invested a lot of money into XMMS development”, which is an interesting reply on all accounts. Quickly after that the domain was moved and we barely had time to move all our accounts away from the addresses, Dev told us that we should just use xmms.se and xmms2.org instead.
This is where it turns even more strange. In another mail conversation with Dev, he stated that the company buying the domain also wanted to pay 4Front for restarting development of XMMS. Interesting, what company would like to resurrect a very old code base that is mostly replaced by other players these days?
So we decided to have a look into the company that bought the domain to figure out why they would like to buy the domain and restart the development of XMMS. The domain had moved but the contact information for the domain wasn’t changed back then (it is now), but by going directly to the IP address that xmms.org now pointed (126.96.36.199) someone found goftp.com and from there we could extract a list of domains that was embedded in the goftp installer.
That list of domains are pretty interesting, note the zinf.org in the end, it’s another open source media player, that has been mostly abandoned as well. It took us a while, but finally we spotted something odd on both goftp.com and zinf.org, linked from the first page there is a new button called “Answers” if you follow it you end up on http://www.zinf.org/qna, I bet the original zinf site didn’t have that on there. So far nothing like this has been added to the xmms.org site, but I guess it’s just a matter of time. Buying these sites just seems to be a way to drive his ad revenue.
Recent digging also shows that the same guy have registered xmms3.org and xmms3.com as well!
It seems like the guy behind all these sites is Doug Collins (which we now can see as the contact info on xmms.org, before that info was available we where able to find his name via the 9and that he goes by the nick doug99 and doug99collins. A quick search on Google shows his dedication to Open Source.
I must say that I don’t really believe that this company will restart development of XMMS or pay any money to 4Front for continue the development. I really hope that Dev lied to us directly about it, otherwise he is pretty dense.
In light of all this some of our community members decided to get a new domain for the old XMMS webpage. So they registered http://www.devmazumdar.com/ in tribute. You can also find the webpage at http://legacy.xmms2.org/