7 Open-Source Projects That Have Gone Belly-Up

It happens -- the funding dries up, the community loses interest, the maintainers burn out. It is a sad fact that open-source projects are not immune to the vicissitudes of fate.

They only look de...no, wait, actually, they're dead.

It happens – the funding dries up, the community loses interest, the maintainers burn out. It is a sad fact that open-source projects are not immune to the vicissitudes of fate. Here, we look back at some of the FOSS world's more prominent recent shutdowns.

Ubuntu Edge
Ubuntu Edge

The high-profile Kickstarter aimed at funding a slick superphone for developers and enthusiasts raised $12.8 million this summer – sadly, the goal was a whopping $32 million, so the Edge never got made. Ubuntu fans oohed and ahhed over the concept, so we could yet see something similar in the future.

 SolusOS
Credit: Wikimedia\CC License\Machinebacon
SolusOS

The user-friendly Debian variant shut down just last week, with benevolent overlord Ikey Doherty citing a simple lack of hours in the day. SolusOS could, of course, rise from the dead if some interested parties create a fork of the project, but it's pretty defunct at the moment.

Dreamlinux
Dreamlinux

Brazilian Linux distro Dreamlinux shuttered about a year ago, ending support for the popular XFCE-based operating system. Its icon pack and visual theme remains available for download, however.

QuantOS (kinda)
Credit: Sourceforge
QuantOS (kinda)

While QuantOS itself is no more, it has risen from the grave in the form of Mandragora. The hardened Linux operating system, which offers built-in sandboxing, Tor connectivity and a host of other security features, is one of the better options for digital forensics and vulnerability testing.

Diaspora (revived!)
Diaspora (revived!)

The popular Kickstarter did not thrive as a social network, and its creators eventually threw up their hands and passed control over Diaspora to the community. It's now a non-profit under the auspices of the Free Software Support Network, essentially having risen from the grave in a new FOSS form.

MySQL's man pages
Credit: MySQL.com
MySQL's man pages

Oracle's move to quietly kill off open access to critical MySQL manual pages – by changing the license from GPL to a proprietary one – came as a nasty surprise to the open-source community this summer, particularly those working on the popular MariaDB fork project. A hue and a cry was raised, and Oracle quickly said the move had merely been an error, and switched the license back.

Chumby platform
Credit: Wikimedia Commons\CC License\Andreas Pizsa
Chumby platform

Anyone remember Chumby, the weird little Wi-Fi box that did...kind of not very much at all? Yeah, us either, but a dedicated community of developers managed to keep the gizmo's software afloat for more than a year. Sadly, this too has apparently gone belly-up, though the Verge reports that there may be some interest in reviving it.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.