For those who haven’t seen it: CIA.vc is a web service I started about 8 years ago, as a way of Open Source projects tracking code changes in real-time over the web and IRC.
This is probably going to come as a surprise to most of you reading this, but today I’ve taken the CIA.vc service down indefinitely.
Update 2011-05-11: Wow, that was quick. Merely hours after this announcement, CIA is already in the process of being transferred to new ownership. The team at Atheme.org have volunteered to take on maintenance, hosting, and future development, and the future of CIA is actually looking pretty bright right now! I’ll have more updates later.
Update 2011-05-12: As of this morning the service is back up and running, now in the hands of the Atheme.org team. They’ll be ironing out wrinkles for a while now I’m sure, but the service is up and your existing accounts and bots should resume functioning. Congrats on the fast work, guys!
CIA had a good run, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to create a project that the open source community as a whole received some benefit from. When I created the first CIA bot in May of 2003, it was just a quick hack for a single project I worked on, and I had no idea it would take off so quickly. Since then, it’s been rewritten a few times, grown massively, and become almost iconic in some circles.
However, a lot has changed in my life in the mean time. When I started the project, I was a college student with plenty of free time. Since then, I’ve had amazing amounts of Real Life occur, and my time for ongoing maintenance has dwindled. I am in debt to Karsten Behrmann for taking over a baseline level of maintenance for the last couple years, but unfortunately the project has stagnated. I frankly never wanted to manage a large web service, and as soon as CIA reached the scale it’s at now, I was hoping it would be taken over by a community of volunteers, or by a corporation. We’ve had some help from volunteers, and SourceForge.net has always been interested in the project. But there’s never been a critical mass of involvement. When I was working on CIA, I was pulling most of the weight, and since then it’s really just been on life support.
And as much as I loved the project when it was new and fresh, I hate to see it limp along like this. I’ve asked many people if they would want to help improve the service, and it’s really hard to find motivated individuals when the current service is good enough for most people’s needs.
So, I’ve decided to take the server down. There are many other projects which overlap somewhat with CIA’s feature set, so it’s possible that CIA’s users will find these projects sufficient and that will be the end. Or perhaps a new project will spring up to fill the vacuum. Or perhaps one of you will want to continue where I left off— improve the current service’s codebase, and build a real community around it.
Unfortunately, I really can’t be a part of this process. I have too much else going on in my life, and my interest in the project has long since been drained.
In the event that one of you are indeed serious about re-starting CIA with an active community, I’m preserving the database from the current server. I will be willing to transfer that, as well as the rights to the domain name CIA.vc, to a new owner only in the event that they’ve created a community of administrators and developers who can act as sustainable caretakers for the project. Additionally I have a friend who’s volunteered hardware and bandwidth to host such a site.
But I’m really hoping the community will re-form to fit the current state of the Internet. A lot has changed since 2003, especially in the area of web services for open source development. We have Ohloh, Github, and Twitter. It’s a new world, and we need new tools.
Map of CIA’s Architecture: