source code available on request

I’m doing a small experiment in open source distribution.

I have a site,, which formerly was a collection of miscellaneous PHP scripts that I had assembled over the years for specific tasks – package tracking, dummy text generation, link shortening, etc. Those tools are now offline. The original cause of their disappearance was a MySQL failure, but that really just provided an opportunity for me to make a break with that pile of old code.

I wanted to keep the link redirection service running, since I believe that it’s incumbent on people who offer such services to keep them functioning as long as possible. So even though it’s not currently possible to add new links, all 90,000 old ones should still work, courtesy of a new Django-based front end.

Though I’m not interested in maintiaining most of the other tools I used to host there, I wanted to make it possible for motivated people to keep using them. So I’ve posted a note on the home page (technically, it’s the 404 page) indicating that you can email me to request the source to any of the old tools. I got one request only a few hours after posting the note, and have already mailed out a tarball in response.

If I get many such requests, of course I’ll have to pursue a different distribution strategy. But for now I’m enjoying the fact that getting the source code from me involves a bit of personal exchange, even if it’s just an email one-liner.