Articles / How To Use freshmeat

How To Use freshmeat

This article is a lost cause. Five minutes after it appears on freshmeat, one of you will come up with another clever feature, scoop will implement it, and this will be out-of-date. (In fact, it's happened as I was writing it, and required a revision.) More importantly, the people who most need to read it... won't. Still, like many lost causes, it's a noble one, so let's give it a try.

Although they're often one and the same, I'll organize this HOWTO around two types of freshmeat users. First, I'll cover the resources available here for software users, then talk about what you can do with freshmeat if you're a software author.

You, The User

This is your user account. There are many like it, but this one is yours.

You don't have to have a user account to use freshmeat, but many of the features I'll discuss below aren't useful unless you're a distinct entity, so you might consider getting one. The registration process is quick and painless, and we promise that we'll sell your personal information to only the very highest bidders. Just click the "register" link that you'll find on each page.

/my, oh /my

Once you've logged in to your account, you'll see a "My" menu at the top of each page and will be able to go to There, you can see all sorts of information about yourself, including lists of the projects you have listed on freshmeat and of the comments you've posted on the site.

You'll also see three other sections:

The "Lounge" section provides links to everything that's new on the site since the last time you reset the counter. You can click "reset" to reset all the sections, or go into each to reset them individually, then return here to catch up if you're not one of those who watch the front page compulsively.

The "Release subscriptions" and "Your project ratings" sections will make sense after we've talked about the options you have on the front page and on projects' pages.

Controlling who sees you

If you click the "preferences" link in the "My" menu, you can change your information and control whether you want it to be shared with others. Most of the options there are self explanatory; the only one people ask about is "Fake email". We don't show your email address anywhere on the site, to try to save you some spam agony. By default, we do mild spamproofing to turn your address into something like "jeff dot covey at pobox dot com". This can be replaced by whatever you put in the "Fake email" box on your preferences page. You can even put your real address in there, if that floats your boat.

Play around with the other preference settings; some of them are quite useful. For example, I find it handy to sort search results by popularity; this lets me use the collective wisdom of the freshmeat community to bring the most noteworthy projects to the top of the list. You can also hide your personal page and session information (more on this below) if you like.

Controlling what you see

Now that you're logged in, let's go take another look at the front page.

One of the problems people have with freshmeat is that it's too much of a good thing; the number of releases posted each day can be overwhelming. Here's one way of dealing with it: As you scroll down the page, you'll notice a checkbox to the right of each project's name. When you see a project that you know you'll never have any interest in, check the box. When you get to the bottom, hit the "ignore" button, and you won't see the projects you checked any more. If you change your mind later, you can edit your list of filters by clicking the "filters" option in the "My" menu. You can also click that link to configure whether you want ignored projects to disappear completely or only be displayed in a way different from the way regular projects appear.

When the front page reloads, you might want to check all the projects you definitely want to know about and hit "subscribe" when you get to the bottom; if you do this, you'll receive notification by email whenever a new release is made for one of these projects. (You can edit your list of subscriptions on your personal page.)

You can also filter out any categories you don't want to know about. Click "filters" in the "My" menu, and you can filter out the types of articles and categories of applications that don't interest you (or filter in only those that do interest you). This will go a long way towards making the front page manageable.

To place even broader constraints on what you see, you can go to and remove the checkmarks from the topics that don't interest you under "Include which sections in main section". If you remove the mark next to "Themes", for example, you won't see any themes when you go to (You may not need to do this; by default, you won't have any sections checked, which results in only the default section (Software) being shown.)

If, on the contrary, you just can't get enough meat, click the "newsletter" link in the top menu bar to subscribe to our newsletter, which will send each day's complete news to you by email. If you're a Usenet junkie, you can get your fix at

Searching & shopping

There are two ways to find projects on freshmeat. If you're the kind of person who takes a shopping list to the store, you can use the search box at the top to search for the exact project, article, or comment you want. If you prefer to stroll up and down the aisles to see what's available, you can click the "browse" link at the top of the page, and make your way through the many categories that are available (for articles, click the "articles" link in the top menu bar to browse the article categories). Either way will get you to a list of projects.

If you still don't see what you want, there are a couple of tools in place to help you refine your results. Try changing the setting of the "Sort order" dropdown box; a different choice might bring your desired project closer to the top of the list. If you're getting too many results, take a look at the list of categories associated with each project. Next to each, you'll see a link marked "[filter]". Clicking this will limit the list to projects in that category. You can keep setting filters until the list reaches a reasonable size.

Project pages, project pages, time to get your project pages...

Once you find a project you want to investigate, you can click its name to find all we know about it. On the project's page, you'll find a box that contains a number of functions you can perform. You can add a comment or question about the project to the page, rate it so other readers know your (anonymous) opinion of it, subscribe to receive notification of new releases in any or all of its branches, add it to your list of projects to ignore, or email information about it to a friend.

Reach out and LART someone

freshmeat provides several ways to get in touch with your friends, other readers, project authors, and the freshmeat staff.

Annoying your friends

In the upper right corner of each page, you'll see a "$n users online" link which will take you to the active sessions page, where you can see who is logged in to freshmeat and what they're doing (if they haven't turned on privacy mode in their preferences). If you spot someone you know, you can click her name to go to her public freshmeat page, at the bottom of which you'll find links to send her email, to send her an instant fm message, and to add her to your friend's list. (The list can be edited by clicking the "friends" link in the "My" menu bar.) When someone you've named as a friend comes online, you can click the "($n friends)" link next to "$n users online" to see who it is. If someone sends you an instant message, you'll be notified on the next line, in one of the rare legitimate uses of the <blink> tag. You can review the instant messages you've received by clicking the "inbox" link in the "My" menu bar.

Joining the discussion

You can share your ideas and questions with other freshmeat readers by attaching your comments to articles and editorials, and by replying to what others have said.

Please note that this is a means to reach other readers. Don't look on it as a reliable way to reach project authors or the freshmeat staff; see the section below on how to do that. In particular, please don't post comments saying things like:

  • "Here's the new URL for this project's homepage." (Or "Here's a URL where you can find RPMs for this project.")
  • "The links for this project aren't working."
  • "The project listing says it's distributed under license A, but it's really distributed under license B."
  • "This project has changed its name to $name."
  • "I've abandoned this project; it should be removed from freshmeat."

These are all issues that need to be handled by the freshmeat staff, but instead of contacting the staff, you're just posting comments to be read by other freshmeat readers, who can do nothing to help you. Instead of posting a comment, see the sections below on how to contact the staff or on how to maintain your project listings.

Also, don't forget the "Send replies to my comments by email" and "Send comments to my projects by email" options on your preferences page.

Annoying project authors

If you've read a project's documentation and have a question that isn't answered by it, or if you want to contact the author(s) for any reason, you'll find that each project's page includes the email address of a contact person for the project, so you can write this person directly. (Don't send bug reports about projects to us, ok? Just don't. Please?)

Before sending email to the contact person, you might check whether the project page includes a link to information about a mailing list. Writing the project's mailing list might get a quicker response for you and put less burden on the developer(s).

Don't post a comment and expect the author to reply unless you're sure she checks the project's freshmeat page regularly or has comments about it sent to her by email.

Contacting us

If you need to report a problem regarding a project listing (not a tech support question about the project itself, please), please click the "broken links" link on the "Project" menu on the project's page. Please do this even if the problem isn't really a broken link (the link used to be named "report problem", but that resulted in dozens of messages like "Help! I cAn't geet this two compil on my Lisa!!").

If you have a generic question or comment, please use the "contact" link in the top menu bar

If you need immediate gratification, you can join us on IRC by clicking the "chat" link in the top menu bar. We're almost always there, but may or may not be paying attention. :)

You, The Programmer

As a programmer, your adventure will start with the "submit" link in the top menu bar, which should take you to a clear, simply-worded form you can use to submit a listing for your project to our database. If you find it's not clear and the words aren't simple, let us know, and we'll see if we can fix it.

Being part of the in crowd

Before you do anything, make sure your project belongs on freshmeat. First, it must be something people can obtain and run on their own machines, whether it's obtained through downloading, buying a CD, or in some other way. We list products, not services. We'll link to the tarball of your PHP calendar software, but not to your online calendar service Web site. Secondly, it has to run on *nix or PalmOS systems, and it has to be something reasonably substantial and useful (i.e., not something written in one hour by a CS major that only applies to your Bavarian AIX RealAudio servers).

Projects and branches and releases, oh my!

freshmeat will be easier to use if you understand the hierarchic arrangement of the parts that make up a project's listing. You can list any number of projects on freshmeat. Each project can have any number of branches. (For example, you might have a Stable branch and a Development branch, or Linux and FreeBSD ones, or Commercial and Open Source ones.) Each branch can have any number of releases under it.

The project database entry contains generic information about the project, such as its name, the name of its author, and its short and long descriptions. The branch entry contains the licensing information and all the URLs. The release entry contains a list of what's changed since the previous release.

You must have a project entry and at least one branch for each project (if you have no branch, you'll have no URLs, which would be silly). If you want your project's name to appear on the front page, you must make release announcements within your branches.

How to release early and often

People are occasionally frustrated that their submissions are reviewed instead of being published directly to the front page. If you saw what we see in the submissions bin, you'd be grateful that we go to the trouble we do. If you'd like to improve the chances of your submission entering the database ASAP, take a look at some of the articles in They outline our editorial policies, and the closer you can match what we're looking for, the quicker we'll be able to put your changes through. Try to be as simple and clear as you can so we don't have to contact you for clarification.

BTW, don't release too often. We'd rather not put an announcement for one of your projects on the front page more often than once every two or three days. More frequent announcements are unfair because they crowd out announcements from other projects. Try to limit your front page announcements to important releases. You can still add less important releases to your branch's record and set "Hide from frontpage" to "Yes" on them.

Project ownership

Project ownership is one of the aspects of freshmeat that cause the most confusion. People are often upset when they notice that their projects are owned by "N/A". If you see this, remain calm.

  • It does not mean someone stole your project.
  • It does not mean there's a bug in freshmeat.
  • It does not mean that the aliens are working with the NSA to steal the marshmallows from your breakfast cereal.

All it means is that the original freshmeat code did not associate projects with user accounts. When we launched freshmeat ][, we set all the owners to "N/A" and asked everyone to claim the projects. If you haven't done so before, you can click the "change owner" link in the project menu bar to request ownership.

It's also possible for the number of owners to be less than or greater than one. If you want to add a project to the database but you're not the author, you can add the author's name and address to the submission form. If you are the author, you don't need to put a name and address there, as the listing will be associated with your user account automatically. If you'd like to have more than one author listed, use the "[change]" link in the "Project admins" box on the project's page to add the other users and their roles to the list. You can also use the page found at the end of that link to control whether the general freshmeat public or only the authors can submit updates and changes to the project's records.

Categories and dependencies

The list of categories and dependencies can be updated by following the "[change]" link next to each on the project's page. Please make sure your list of categories is up-to-date so people can find your project when they're browsing the database.


Themes are the latest additions to our database. There's nothing complicated about submitting them to us; the only differences between a software project and a theme project are that theme tarballs can be hosted on our servers (you'll be given the opportunity to upload yours during the submission process) and you must include a screenshot with your submission (how else can people decide whether or not to give your theme a try?).

Other Resources

The first place you should check if you're not sure how to do something is the FAQ. We don't honestly believe you will, but we have to mention it anyway. :-P

If you need more detailed information, try the aforementioned collection of articles in the freshmeat category.

If your needs aren't met by our documentation, click the "contact" link at the top of the page to drop us a line. If it's (legitimately) urgent, you may want to click the "chat" link for information about how to reach us on IRC.

We'll look forward to hearing from you, and always welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for using freshmeat; we hope you enjoy your stay.

11/24/2003 Update

As threatened, scoop just finished another whirlwind tour of coding duty, and has implemented features many of you have suggested, and a few interesting twists of his own. Some will be immediately obvious to everyone, and some await discovery by those who probe further beneath the surface. You can read scoop's round-up to see what's new. Enjoy!

RSS Recent comments

13 Jul 2002 03:27 fr35hm34t

..reasonably substantial and useful
I like some of the short one hour scripts if they can illustrate the syntax of some foriegn scripting language; preferably only remotely related to something that I'd like to try so there's plenty of hacking room, pre-filled with the right similar examples.

13 Jul 2002 05:18 mojavelinux

Thanks, it was useful
An article like this really does sell, and I appreciate the work that was put into writing it. One of the reasons this article works so well is that it make us as the user/programmer feel like there is a person on the other end of the site (no, I promise we haven't taken it for granted, but it is just human nature to forget) and I, for one, feel like I respect freshmeat ][ just a little bit more today. Thanks guys for allowing all of us here to get our &quot;daily fix.&quot; We truly appreciate this website and frankly would be bored without it (or at least we won't have a reasonable excuse NOT to do what we are supposed to be doing).

13 Jul 2002 09:54 foobar2k

Nice Work
Thanks for going to the trouble of writing this article, so I thought I would go to the trouble of praising it. Too bad the people that _need_ to read it probably wont, its quite comprehensive.
- foobar

13 Jul 2002 10:23 pstrader

Good Job
Well written article. I just replied to another mailing list that one of the things that makes software bad is lack of configuration options. FM definitely allows you to individualize your settings, and your article explains them clearly. Kudus to the whole crew for the great job you do on Freshmeat!

13 Jul 2002 10:51 alexmuc

Re: ..reasonably substantial and useful

> I like some of the short one hour
> scripts if they can illustrate the
> syntax of some foriegn scripting
> language; preferably only remotely
> related to something that I'd like to
> try so there's plenty of hacking room,
> pre-filled with the right similar
> examples.

I believe what you're looking for is called a 'book'. Say it with me... 'book'.

13 Jul 2002 11:28 DontTreadOnMe

Re: ..reasonably substantial and useful

> I believe what you're looking for is
> called a 'book'. Say it with me...
> 'book'.

Isn't that some kind of non-volitile storage medium? I've heard they're very rare ... you should have one.[1]


[1]Gratuitious Max Headroom Reference

14 Jul 2002 11:29 tcabot

Re: ..reasonably substantial and useful

> I believe what you're looking for is
> called a 'book'. Say it with me...
> 'book'.

Books are for people who don't grok Google.

14 Jul 2002 22:24 tmb

Good work!
Being a member just to be able to keep track of projects by email your article made me learn that there, among other things, also is a nice ignore function in there. Missed this completely. I certainly needed this eye-opener :D

I think this should be sent to each new member as an introduction when signing up.

17 Jul 2002 13:58 pimpity

Re: ..reasonably substantial and useful

> I believe what you're looking for is
> called a 'book'. Say it with me...
> 'book'.

yes, buying or borrowing a book is quite handy for learning about a programming language. but browsing a real world Quick Hack [tm] can almost be as informative, and definitely easier on one's wallet..
especially if, like me, you like to learn a little bit about alot of languages. (:

18 Aug 2002 08:51 damjan

My Freshmeat - wish
What I would like is to have a personal page
where I can put some 10 or 20 projects that I'm
most interested in, so that by simply going to I can keep track of them.

16 Mar 2003 18:28 canargyrou

Very good article

I thank you for the time you spent on writing it because new people like me can understand how things work :-)

22 Nov 2003 08:48 debilee

Your Article
I thought your article was well written and helpful in understanding your site and how it works. I'm still learning a lot about all this programming stuff. I need all the help and I can and I believe your site is just the ticket.


24 Nov 2003 23:39 imanomaniac

Good job
So much so for FREEEEEE! Thanks a lot. God Bless you all

25 Nov 2003 10:39 jeffcovey

Re: Your Article

> I thought your article was well written
> and helpful in understanding your site
> and how it works.

Great! I'm glad you're enjoying freshmeat.

25 Jan 2004 04:36 Centaurus

Lost Cause ?? Don't think so !!
Just to let you know: Your article is not the lost cause you thought it would be. I for one am new and am glad to have access to your clear and comprehensive intro.
Keep up the good work, it is appreciated - more than you think !

27 Feb 2004 02:13 MMMMary

Re: ..reasonably substantial and useful
enjoyed and appreciated your forward to this site very much. Always love a good charactor!!

04 Mar 2004 23:15 Calmana

Never Too Late?
Don't intend to be self demeaning, but feel a little lost since I have not been part of this &quot;blogging&quot; experience since inceptionne.
However, I have to start at the bottom of where I intend to go, and that dates prior to the existence of many Users of Freshmeat participation.
The bottom for me dates back to archaic code used to access old disk drives and other old media (MF, etc). Cannot at this time give an intelligent answer to why, but if their are any &quot;archaics&quot; around, maybe I can experience receipt of coding information from the bottom to near the top of where everyone else might be.

04 Apr 2004 15:03 stormchaser

Re: Good job

> So much so for FREEEEEE! Thanks a lot.

> God Bless you all

The irony... People who developed this software, invested

lots of their personal time and energy... I think, that the best

to 'pay' for what you get for free is to give something back to

the comunity...

11 May 2004 21:52 Avatar dprotti

Very useful
This article have clarified me a few things about Freshmeat, so it's not lost cause. And I have read the FAQ :-)


13 May 2004 01:10 Jerry88

Re: Very good article

> I thank you for the time you spent on
> writing it because new people like me
> can understand how things work :-)

Yes, that's right.

This is the very first time i come to freshmeat. And thank you very much to get me on road.

13 May 2004 23:21 Wallace86

Re: Lost Cause ?? Don't think so !!

> Just to let you know: Your article is
> not the lost cause you thought it would
> be. I for one am new and am glad to
> have access to your clear and
> comprehensive intro.
> Keep up the good work, it is appreciated
> - more than you think !
> Ciao,
> Centaurus

I donn't think this article is a lost cause either. It's a must-have start point for newbies just like me. Thanks very much and keep up your great job.

02 Jul 2004 06:59 Cinderello

Re: Very good article

> %
> % I thank you for the time you spent on
> % writing it because new people like me
> % can understand how things work :-)
> Yes, that's right.
> This is the very first time i come to
> freshmeat. And thank you very much to
> get me on road.

k, guys, how many of you read that page from top to bottom? Be honest!! ;)

02 Jul 2004 13:48 valaya4eer

freshmeat guide
Thanks ,this is the first time as a newbie that I understood a complete artical!

08 Jul 2004 21:59 sandineeus

Oh well...
I skimmed thru it ....I know, I know!...I am the lost soul desperately trying to figure this net stuff out via cliff notes. I want to get to the meat of this surfing jet, but OH Yes keep up the good work, maybe put some pics or charts or something that will get the attention of novice skimmers like me. LOL


26 Jul 2004 13:23 ssmahadik

Nice Intro
I felt at right at home after reading thi Brief Intro which made me lot more comfortable using Fresh Meat
Thnks for the same

27 Aug 2004 14:31 WyzeGeyser

Your article on How to use
DITTO (to what the above posts say)

Very clear and helpful!


06 Oct 2004 16:13 fraktalisman

Make the HOWTO article sticky?
after about 3 years of not using - thats about the time I have no computer at home and no more linux system to play with - I found it quite a complex site. Can be confusing ... Maybe there's a way to make this HOWTO article &quot;sticky&quot; so it's always shown as a recent posting? So newbies would find it more easily.

01 Nov 2004 01:07 manikantannaren

Lost Cause
Not for somebody lost in the cyberspace

25 Nov 2004 09:07 lahf

OKay Brief
thanks for the info.

although, I've been using this site since it began and

never realised I could login or register!

Maybe you could explain your relation to sourceforge

or the other osdn/ostg sites. Thats what I'd like to

know! Is it just backslapping or is there any

correspondance going on between you all?

And maybe scoop can change his blog to nucleus!

And whois scoop and why is he mentioned on this

page anyway? And can I put in a bid for the email

addys please...

23 Dec 2004 02:28 columbine333

Re: freshmeat guide

> Thanks ,this is the first time as a

> newbie that I understood a complete

> artical!

I agree with him as i to am an aspiring newbie

who now understands how to use this site

the way it's ment to be used .Thank's very

much for helping me out once again!

31 Dec 2004 07:08 RegLinUsr

Not a lost cause at all....
I've used FreshMeat for a few years now and only now have registered and now reading this article. It is definitely appreciated and useful. This and the FAQ, you can't go wrong. Thanks FreshMeat Crew!

08 Jan 2005 06:57 jonesakanchawa

good site
keep it up i love the site, you are doing a very nice work

17 Feb 2005 20:25 attraxion

Hey man, I mean Cool !!!
A newbie and a student, somehow I had begun associating all OSDN and related stuff as really hard to understand...

trying hard to get outta the mindset, working on a few things... your article was the flag I needed waved...

Thanks a lot Jeff, and Freshmeat !!!

06 Apr 2005 15:02 madmadammim

how to
thanks for the introduction to this great site!

27 Aug 2005 22:49 13bp10

Re: whats going on?
I need a tutor I want to get away from win. but I need some help in getting away from putting down a bad habit.

01 Sep 2005 12:18 gustv

no intro article found

16 Nov 2005 22:20 skloved

i loke your web

17 Nov 2005 08:41 jeffcovey

Re: smssend

26 Nov 2005 17:34 roanchasan

Good Job
I am a newbie not only in Freshmeat but also in the computer's world however I feel is a very but very amazing world. I just got my MCSE and working on my CCNA and I will like to know as much as I can so in the future when I get my job I will not loose it that easy.

I don't mean to do harm I just want to learn and learn well I heard this is the place to be if that is the case well here I am.


01 Dec 2005 07:57 Ranjitha_Rao

Search ends
I am so glad that after these long years i happened to tumble down at this website as i was searching proj as a engg student .Projects are just LOVELY

23 Jan 2006 08:14 FreshmeatDanl

Linux Support
Folks! Isn't it nice to have available a source of knowledge about such a fine OS - Linux?

I have worked (past tense) in a UNIX envoronmet for 30 years and never had the pleasure of &quot;tinkering&quot; with the train. Now I can - thanks to Fedora 4 (2.6.11 kernal).

I am in the transitional phase from W$$$$$ 2000 to Linux. It has it' challenges, but will keep the mind young.

Thank You FRESHMEAT for being a knowledge point for all to use.


14 Jun 2006 10:26 denishofmann

just send a mail...
I spent lots of hours to understand Linux and connected projects, programs and so on, mainly to read carefully the documentation. As well as I have 38 years experience in computer sciences. Now, I find much more good solutions in docs than in any forum or &quot;kitchen book&quot;, wich correct one problem and create 10 news. Freshmeat is one of my best source. Go ahead and suggest perhaps RTFM to some. But do'nt spend time to answer 10 or more times to the same question. All this time is better used to maintain this beautifull project !


13 Sep 2006 14:53 raccoontof

Re: Very good article


> %

> % %

> % % I thank you for the time you spent

> on

> % % writing it because new people like

> me

> % % can understand how things work :-)

> %

> %

> % Yes, that's right.

> %

> % This is the very first time i come to

> % freshmeat. And thank you very much to

> % get me on road.

> %



> k, guys, how many of you read that page

> from top to bottom? Be honest!! ;)


The entire article, all the comments, and now headed off to the FAQ as well...amazing the little tricks you can pick up from a well-written how-to like this one, that would likely take drastically longer to discover on one's own...such as the ignore option mentioned ;).

13 Oct 2006 07:46 daquimby

Ready-made Freshmeat CSS customization files
The &quot;URL pointing to a CSS file located on your webserver&quot; feature under preferences looks very useful. Is anyone aware of existing, ready-made CSS files? Or better yet, a collection of them.

I'm guilty of being way behind the ball with CSS, but it'd be great to be able to selectively hide elements and such.

05 Jan 2007 14:52 castellburt

Help I've lost my Bubblemon!
There was something called a bugreport.txt and I thought it was something I shouldn't have,so I trashed the report,and now bubblemon isn't there....can I get him back?

Needless to say I am new to Ubuntu


27 Mar 2007 22:44 jhonm

tank u for your good and excelent site .

08 Apr 2007 17:50 tmcurtis01

Bravo - hope to help contribute one day
Fantastic Intro...sarcasm puts the 'intruder phobic' at ease quickly (very tech-minded environment)...This was an easily understood intro for my level, which I feel probably benefits best:

I've stuggled for a year now, on my own learning everything I can...I've refrained from starting an official web site because i know my OCD would disable me from the learning curve (would fight my way through all the challenges on my own..just to keep updating a horrific site)...I can cruise through here with or without a shopping list, never leaving empty handed---great support, notifiaction process, and preferences available!

Hat's Off Jeff and staff, and thank you very, very much!

23 Nov 2007 09:39 ejuliet

what is the format for adding a sig? this is a test

11 Dec 2007 08:30 mndavies

Thanks for the explanation page and thanks for OpenWin
Thankyou for your explanation page and thanks for the software to make OpenWin work on Solaris10Sparc, way too cool!


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