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

Recent comments

09 Jan 2014 13:00 Avatar tomasbavington

As someone who has worked in advertising I completely understand this move. I also write articles for an IT recruitment agency ( ) and can confirm that, even in the world of IT recruitment, nomenclature is incredibly important.

11 Oct 2013 17:25 Avatar ArloJamesBarnes

The new logo is also somehow appealing, although I am not sure I understand it...what font does it use?

07 Jan 2012 08:40 Avatar unwesen

What a sad day.

17 Dec 2011 13:05 Avatar makler


I understand that world need to change continuosly, but it is a pitty to see that some old good services are dying, like usenet.

I will miss

Anyway - free code is not for free. Who is paying? Developer, by spending months of his life on OS code. And everybody from you know that. And everybody who is downloading free software knows
that there is someone who is spending time.

What"new" freecode may do is:
to encourange "commercial world and good people" to pay to best OS developers
(those small OS software, not big players). Please setup some rules, and Freecode foundation,
then list really good developers, good projects, up to date projects and give them money to live.

That would help developers to keep updating the projects. Otherwise many of the projects are dying
not because they are bad, but because developer has no motivation to continue. She or he will just work for big companies, just earn some money for life.

It should not be the contest, since that would be one-time motivation.
That normal return from the world to developers, would improve the world.

Please think of it. Without that we will see projects not updates, disappearing.

15 Dec 2011 18:12 Avatar homeless

I guess I'm late to the party, but I just now discovered the new name. was interesting, had a history, and was memorable. I had a number of conversations with people just explaining what freshmeat was. This lead to some good conversations about Free Software and non-proprietary OSes.

Freecode is generic, boring, and misleading. Much of the software linked to here isn't really Free. Maybe it makes marketing easier for the salespeople, but I'm not digging it.

Still, it's Geeknet's site so they can call it whatever they like.


Project Spotlight

Kigo Video Converter Ultimate for Mac

A tool for converting and editing videos.


Project Spotlight


An efficient tagger for MP3, Ogg/Vorbis, and FLAC files.