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Sourceforge.net Blocked In Mainland China 279

Posted by timothy
gzipped_tar contributed a link to Moonlight Blog, which says that "SourceForge, the world's largest development and download repository of Open Source code and applications, appears to be blocked in Mainland China. The current blocking may be related to the recent anti-China protests of Beijing Olympic Games, which will begin on 8 August. Some days before, a very popular free source code editor in SourceForge named Notepad++ start to boycott Beijing 2008. The project's developer said that the action is not against Chinese people, but against Chinese government's repression against Tibetan unrest earlier in this year. SF.net has once been banned by China in 2002. However, the ban was lifted later in 2003." gzipped_tar adds: "As a SourceForge user in Beijing, I can confirm this first-hand. I also tried traceroute to sourceforge.net, only to find the connection being dropped at a Beijing ISP's gateway router. It appears that the projects' respective homepages are available even if they are hosted by SF, but the summary and download pages are blocked." (As you probably know, Slashdot and Sourceforge share a corporate overlord.)
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Sourceforge.net Blocked In Mainland China

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  • How is it blocked (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:02PM (#23957025) Homepage Journal

    at the DNS entry?

    Could you just enter the hex of the IP instead of the DNS name?

    • Re:How is it blocked (Score:5, Informative)

      by Paralizer (792155) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:06PM (#23957099) Homepage

      As a SourceForge user in Beijing, I can confirm this first-hand. I also tried traceroute to sourceforge.net, only to find the connection being dropped at a Beijing ISP's gateway router.
      Sounds like their router (or firewall) has a null route (or some equivalent device) for SF's IP addresses rather than where they are normally supposed to be sent to, ie the next closest router. DNS is just for IPhostname conversions, which would be done before the traceroute even starts (if he did traceroute sf.net).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)

        I have seen some blocking done pretty sloppily and I have used this method to get around it.

        Thanks.

      • Re:How is it blocked (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GuidoW (844172) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:54PM (#23959001)
        As far as I know, the great firewall of China works by sending RST-packets to both ends of an unwanted connection as soon as one is detected.
        • by bky1701 (979071) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:11PM (#23961449) Homepage
          So in other words, they learned how to handle networks from Comcast. Just great, now they have RSTs and nukes!
        • Re:How is it blocked (Score:5, Informative)

          by houjenming (698025) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:49PM (#23961789)

          Posting from Shanghai.

          There are at least a couple of methods to the GFW. One, which you mentioned, is the bi-directional RST packet method. This is typically reserved for the higher infractions, such as searching in google or yahoo for the religious group "Fa1unG 0ng" ( i can't actually spell it out, lest the RST packets disconnect me from slashdot for a while). Or sometimes, there will be something similar, like tÂbet (inverted exclamation used here for 'i' - ) in a web page - the page will load halfway, the GFW will see that and then the page will disappear with a "the connection was reset" (in firefox, of course). Different keywords are bad at different times for different people. Lack of reliable and clear No-No words keeps people unsure and reluctant to take chances, which is undoubtedly more effective than telling people exactly what they can't do. For the *most* part, domains are not blocked this way. There *are* some exceptions, like xanga.com, for whatever reason.

          Second: Usually, IP blocks (or full-domain/subdomain blocks, which i think are just IP blocks) come in the form of a connection that times out, or firefox resulting in a "The server at sourceforge.net is taking too long to respond." (IE produces the same error for both the above mentioned situations). It is my belief that the method in one of the parent posts (null-route or something to that effect) is used for these type of blocks.

          The reason, I guess, is that the first kind of block, where the server is sending out lots of RST packets, and has to *SCAN* the entire payload of each POST/GET, and its entire response, is very resource-heavy, and having to scan for too much stuff would be a lot more expensive than just Null-routing a bunch of IP addresses.

          For the second kind of block, a proxy server works quite well (furthering my suspicion that it's actually just an IP block). For the first kind (RSTpacket kind), you need a secure connection like a VPN, or other terminal-type connection where plaintext is not so visible.

    • at the DNS entry?

      Could you just enter the hex of the IP instead of the DNS name?

      Don't know why i can still download from sourceforge.net, maybe just because i'm using ultravpn. it's like in the emirates where people prevent you to watch porn because you're a bad guy
  • This puzzles me.

    I rather like notepad++, and use it constantly. I haven't noticed anything about this.
    Mind you, I have been wrapped up in coding and haven't been following the China thing.

    • by paroneayea (642895) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:09PM (#23957173) Homepage

      Their homepage [sourceforge.net] has some information on there asking people to protest the olympics.

      Of course a piece of editing software can't itself consciously object to a global event. No software AI is that advanced, not even in a text editor.

      ... though it's my understanding that Emacs comes close. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      See here [sourceforge.net]

      I think it's idiotic for these project leaders are attaching their pet causes to software with bunch of contributors. It should be a rule to keep one's politics separate from such projects.

      • by thermian (1267986) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:22PM (#23957397)

        It should be a rule to keep one's politics separate from such projects.

        In Open Source? One might as well ask Stallman to run Vista.

        • by bit01 (644603) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @08:13PM (#23960107)

          In Open Source? One might as well ask Stallman to run Vista.

          "In Closed Source? One might as well ask Gates to run Debian."

          Whether a project is open source or closed source is irrelevant in this context and people who continually pretend that open source is any more political than closed source are talking nonsense.

          All decisions, including monetary decisions, that affect other people are political decisions, whatever marketers might like to pretend.

          ---

          Beware deceptive astroturfers [wikipedia.org].

      • by frp001 (227227) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:28PM (#23957503)

        Why?
        Actors feel free to express their ideas on politics, some corporations do not hesitate to sponsor or take position for a given cause.
        Why should FREEsoftware refrain from doing so?
        It's even distributed under GPL v2 which means they are not even forbidding those with whom they disagree to use it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044)

          Actually I am still trying to figure out why I should care more about what an Actor has to say about some political idea than my barber.

          I have less of a problem when a hard working programmer puts us a little political statement than when some rich actor with a private jet tells me that I need to cut my carbon foot print:)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Z34107 (925136)

          Yes, but actors are the people least capable of discussing politics. I present Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Al Gore as exhibits A, B, and C.

          Corporations have known for a long time that only 535 people control a country of 300 million. But, their "sponsorship" is balanced and offset by the equally loaded special interest groups. Democracy in action, and candidates get campaign funds - win-win questionmark?

          But, that doesn't mean the developers of open source software have no right to an opinion, publ

      • See here [sourceforge.net]

        I think it's idiotic for these project leaders are attaching their pet causes to software with bunch of contributors. It should be a rule to keep one's politics separate from such projects.

        Why? they give you the software, if you cant stand getting a bit of politics with that, then mirror it elsewhere without the politics.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrMr (219533)
        Commercial companies are doing politics and lobbying for money, so why can't somebody do it for a cause they care about?
      • by fishbowl (7759) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:37PM (#23957709)

        >I think it's idiotic for these project leaders are attaching their pet causes to software with bunch of
        >contributors.

        And I think you miss something fundamental about "Free as in Speech." I'd go as far as to say you are supporting the suppression of free speech with your comment.

        • by bunratty (545641)
          Do you think that by "free speech" it would be okay for me to knowingly add a feature that many others think is a bug to open source code? Would the suppression of my patch constitute the suppression of free speech? For example, should I be allowed to add a "Free Tibet!" splash screen to Firefox, no matter how much objection there is to it by other users?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by porl (932021)

            yes. but the patch probably won't be accepted.... if you were the project leader and the majority of the other developers disagreed with something that you were forcing onto the project, then that is where forking happens, whether it is political, technical or even personal.

            porl

          • by DeVilla (4563) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:25PM (#23968953)
            I'm not sure I follow, but I'll try. If you want to add a "Free Tibet!" splash screen, please do. If you want to create a patch that others can use, by all means do. If you want to submit the patch, feel free. Just don't expect the patch to be accepted by anyone. If it gets accepted, don't be surprised if someone else submits a patch to remove it or forks a version lacking the patch or makes the splash screen optional. They'd be free to do so as well.

            I'm not sure were suppression comes into it unless you mean that rejecting your patch would be suppression. You can publish you patch or a forked version of the package all you want. You've no right to expect other to publish your work though. I'm free to not repeat what you say.

            Unless you expect someone to hunt you down and destroy all copies of such a patch. If thats the case, I'm not qualified to help you. Maybe you need to move?
      • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:46PM (#23957901) Journal

        As a conscientious human being, you have a duty to speak out against injustice when you see it. If you have a large audience because of your software, you have a responsibility to use that platform. As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you want change, you have to speak out, you may even have to be a bit disruptive. Yeah it sucks for the rest of us, but it would suck even more if no one ever spoke up.

      • If its their software project why not? If sourceforge doesn't like it they could always tell Notepad++ to take a hike as well. Unlike China is a free country :).

      • by BrentH (1154987)
        Human beings in groups are political beings. Trying to seperate them is simply impossible and a waste of time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        Yea right.
        There was a KDE program that had a pro us message in the about dialog that got pulled because it was too "political".
        In this case it is more the author than must a project leader. IMHO it is his code and his site. If you don't like it write a better program and don't put in any politics.

  • by Cytlid (95255) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:05PM (#23957081)

    ... and yes in the "blocking freedom" event, China has already taken the gold!

  • Not surprised. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:06PM (#23957103) Homepage Journal

    Recently I read that people were arrested and/or beaten because they didn't promote the Olympics. Is it strange that the chinese govt blocks EVERYTHING that protests against it?

  • *Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:07PM (#23957139) Homepage Journal

    I can see politics entering a free for all site like Slashdot, but Sourceforge??? While I personally think it's disgusting that China even GOT the Olympics and find their regime and it's actions reprehensible, there are proper forums for such matters. Sourceforge isn't one of them.

    • by Gat0r30y (957941)
      Of no mention is whether slashdot is also down, and since it is reporting on the issue, it would seem that folks over there in the PRC would find it easy to find out WHY notepad ++ is no longer available. (when I was last in the PRC slashdot was available).
      Additionally on the olympics note, i think it is great that they got the olympics specifically because it raises the issue of their human rights abuses to the world wide stage. It's going to be hard to ignore when everyone is looking, however, when
      • I see your point, but I am one who goes way out of his way to NOT buy products made in China, even if it costs me more to buy the equivalent made in S. Korea, Taiwain, the U.S., etc., so your last sentence doesn't apply to me. Yes, if I need something and a product made in China is the only option then I will buy it or go without, but I've been known to pay substantially more for options made elsewhere.

        • The trouble is afaict "made in" only represents where the "last significant manufacturing process" was carried out. Not where the bulk of the work was done.

    • While I personally think it's disgusting that China even GOT the Olympics and find their regime and it's actions reprehensible, there are proper forums for such matters. Sourceforge isn't one of them. Surely that is up to SourceForge
      • Yes it is. I wasn't aware that I had to spell out that I was expressing my opinion. Maybe I need a new sig.

    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:39PM (#23957749) Journal

      It was one project page, notepad++. If a person wants to protest on their own personal project page, that's a perfect place to do it.

      • True, very true, but it hurts Sourceforge (and the Chinese people) far more than it hurts one project.

        • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:34PM (#23958705) Journal

          So, you blame the fellow putting up the protest notice? The boycott notice is a relatively small part of the page. It's not over the top or crazy, simply one guy putting his opinion on his project page. Why is he to blame for this? Should we all censor ourselves lest we offend someone? Maybe we should protest only in the properly marked official protest spaces?

          • I didn't say that either. I said it just doesn't seem like an appropriate forum to me, and the value of having contributions from and to China via OSS is high and was at least temporarily damaged by this. Relax :)

            I blame the Chinese more for blocking it than the project for protesting it, just for the record.

          • by pimpimpim (811140)
            Maybe we should protest only in the properly marked official protest spaces?

            Good thing the US is already training their citizens to think this way by inventing the "free speech zones". If someone in, say, the 80s would have told us this would happen, would anyone have believed it?

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          How does it hurt Sourceforge?
          Are there that many Chinese contributers?
          I really hate politics as a rule but this really is pretty tame and I feel that it is within his rights.
          It is his project so big deal he can do what he wants with it. If you don't like it then just done use the program or contribute any code to it.
          Heck I don't even like it when protesters try to yell down speakers at political events but this little protest doesn't interfere with anybodies rights.

    • by bill_kress (99356)

      Totally O/T, but I saw your sig and it really made me think:

      >Scientology is a greedy cult founded by a second rate science fiction author. It is bad fiction.

      Isn't this true of virtually every religion except The One(s) you happen to believe in?

  • Boycott China! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellie (949898) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:08PM (#23957163)

    If there are posts on Slashdot advocating for the boycott of China and the Olympics, would the government block access to Slashdot?

    Yes, this is a test.

  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by furiousxgeorge (1273392) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:13PM (#23957259)
    I heard those lousy pirates in China were downloading files from that site without paying! Another victory in the war against copyright infringement!
  • Why only China? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295)
    How about the British government? Or the USA's government? All things considered, I don't see how the government most open about their bad behaviour is the one most worthy of this.
    • Re:Why only China? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:41PM (#23957795)
      Well I think the difference is the the US and British gov't stand for the ideals of freedom. I don't think freedom is something that exists... I think it's something we have to work towards. Sometimes we're not always as close as we'd like, but the ideals are still there. China has no interest and no desire for freedom of any kind. Ironically, they don't even like free software. China seems to work on the premise that if you block enough information for the outside people will begin to think they have it better than the rest of the world, and maybe they do... but I doubt it.
      • by celtic_hackr (579828) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @09:48PM (#23961231) Journal

        I agree that China is very bad when it comes to freedom, and that the country would have been better off if the Coomunist Party hadn't turned on the revolutionary partners they had in overthrowing the Monarchy. However, China hasn't had free thought in probably a millenia or more.

        You cannot use European filtered glasses and understand the Chinese mind (although there were visionaries in China during the revolution). Sure, there are many enlightened Chinese now, but life in China is still much the way it has been for over a thousand years (altough probably better for many and worse for some). Freedom is a new concept in China, not even a hundred years old. I think over all, they aren't doing too bad for a people just discovering free thought. Japan too struggles with this foreign concept. In Japan it is still often "the nail that sticks out that gets hammered down". Whereas, in many European cultures, "the nail that sticks out" often gets pulled out to see how it works (although, from what I read - the younger generation in Japan has made the transition).

        So, while we should continue to pursue a path to bring China and the other freedom denying countries into the light, one should try to keep a mind on the cultural heritage and other other factors when approaching them.

        In the end, free thinking will win out, because it open up many more avenues than any other mind set. Of course with free-thinking, I think you also get more crime. It's all Yin-Yang in the end. Eventually there will be a tipping point and a cascade event in China, much like I think Japan has recently undergone.

        Of course, I could be totally wrong.

  • Ignorance leads to fear

    Fear leads to anger

    Anger leads to hate

    Hate leads to short sight

    Short sight leads to paranoid

    Paranoid leads to prejudice

    Prejudice leads to ignorance

    It is the cycle of stupidity

    It is us who keep it rolling

    • by kellyb9 (954229)

      Ignorance leads to fear

      Fear leads to anger

      Anger leads to hate

      Hate leads to the DARK SIDE
      Couldn't help it... Isn't that from Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic?
  • The latest Internet Explorer beta now uses the great firewall of China as a proxy (enabled by default)
  • by sith (15384) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:19PM (#23957359)

    I just loaded sourceforge.net from Beijing. Admittedly I'm in a hotel, but my connection appears to otherwise be filtered like all the others I've used in China, so I don't imagine there's anything special about this case.

    So, perhaps I'm just lucky, or perhaps it's not really blocked...

  • by MrData (130916) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @05:40PM (#23957775)
    instead of "free" as in beer!

    "Silly ChiComms never learn, Napalm(TM) sticks to kids!"

  • by naken (132677) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:00PM (#23958133) Homepage

    I'm tempted to put up pro-Tibet / anti-Chinese government things on my website just so they block me. Maybe it will help cut down on hacker attempts and spam email.

    Spread a good message and hinder the jerks.. it's win-win if you ask me.

  • Very sad. Olympic tourism is way down. Might be a grand show, but no one may watch it.
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @06:34PM (#23958687) Homepage

    How often do I have to say it ? To hell with the Chinese government. They punish their own, then expect us to shake their hand and play nice ? They promised the IOC things would change for the better, then days after they secured the 2008 events, they turned around and bragged about how they were going to eliminate the Falun Gong movement, the Dalai Lama and the muslim separatists. So why the fuck are we still letting them host the olympics ? Does no one remember Moscow 1980 ?

    I've boycotted Chinese IP ranges for years, and I'm boycotting the Beijing Olympics. What that country needs is a coup d'état, and the Chinese people need to know the rest of the world will take side with them when the walls fall.

    Every nation is guilty of crimes against humanity, but at least the others have the decency to bow their heads and lie about it. The Chinese gov't parades around, flaunting their total disregard for equality. I don't see why we should tolerate it.

    • by Repton (60818)

      I've boycotted Chinese IP ranges for years, and I'm boycotting the Beijing Olympics.

      Do you boycott Chinese goods?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Dude I don't like the Chinese government but the last think I want to see is coup. It will be bloody.. I mean really bloody. Yes I think the Chinese government needs to be opposed but to do that we need to stop giving them money.
      I don't protest much but I sure try to find things not made in China. I hunted long and hard to find a Lawn mower that wasn't made in China. I finally did.
      If all people start not buying Chinese goods that will do more than all the ranting and yelling in the world.
      And maybe we will

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      What that country needs is a coup d'état, and the Chinese people need to know the rest of the world will take side with them when the walls fall.

      Considering the debt and other economic ties many western nations have to China, as well as size and military power compared to most of its eastern countries, I think that support will amount to a "well done" pat on the back after it's clear the old regime has really fallen. The truth is that people might complain about lack of freedom, but it's poverty that brings out the pitchforks. How many really cared about US independence compared to British taxes? Was it really oppression or the collapse of the Sovi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sydneyfong (410107)

      Every nation is guilty of crimes against humanity, but at least the others have the decency to bow their heads and lie about it.

      You're right to a certain degree, yet I don't know whether I personally would like to see the Chinese government lie about their deeds. It's a side effect of a lack of democratic process -- those in power don't need to please the unwashed masses with sugar coated words, and obviously that translates to a relative lack of ability to please foreign audiences. But that in itself doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

      I mean, if you accept that every nation is guilty of crimes against humanity (from time to

  • Well then why not trying to defeat china by its own weapons, and let it cut itself
    off the net(or even blocking /.), but this should stop most attacks on western government run machines.

    here it comes

    a.) Free Tibet
    b.) down with the one-party-system
    c.) democracy for china
    d.) back to communism
    e.) Tienamen == red place of Bejing
    f.) Nukes for Taiwan
    g.) Nukes in Taiwan

    Now /. should be blocked within seconds, no chinising of /. anymore

    Post this on your site and you will not suffer chinise hackers

    and now some terms
  • To get to Sourceforge you need to install TOR; but to install TOR you need to get to Sourceforge? Sounds like an impossible mission, Starfighter.

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