James Mead by James Mead

Broken Rubyforge URLs

For many years Rubyforge hosted the majority of Ruby libraries - it provided subversion repositories, mailing lists, bug tracking, documentation hosting and much more. However, in recent years it was definitely showing its age and about 4 years ago it was shutdown.

Unfortunately this meant that many of the links to Ruby gem documentation from existing blog posts and even pages on rubygems.org were broken. In an effort to fix this, Tom Stuart started this project to crowd-source new URLs for Ruby gem documentation and setup redirects in the hope that Ruby Central, the owners of the rubyforge.org domain, might be persuaded to run an instance of the project on the domain. Note that an instance of the app is still running on Heroku!

At this point my memory goes a bit hazy and I can’t seem to find any documentary evidence of what actually happened, but I’m pretty sure someone (Tom Copeland?) setup some redirects for a number of projects including Mocha - although I don’t think they actually used rubyforge-redirects to do this. Given that redirects were now in place, I have to confess that my interest waned.

However, recently I was disappointed to discover that even these redirects seem to have disappeared. Indeed, although Ruby Central still seem to own the domain, it isn’t responding to HTTP traffic at all.

Many historical blog posts and even current gem pages still link to rubyforge.org URLs, e.g. the “Documentation” link on the Rack gem page. As Tim Berners-Lee said, “cool URIs don’t change”, so it feels like a real shame that all these URLs have died.

I’ve tried contacting Ruby Central folk via Twitter and email to see whether they’d be open to the idea of a community-led project (like Tom’s) taking over the domain to keep these URLs alive, but I haven’t had any reply.

If anyone from Ruby Central is reading this, please get in touch - we’d be more than happy to setup, pay for, and maintain an instance of the redirecting app.

If you have any feedback on this article, please get in touch!

Historical comments can be found here.