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Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on 10/20/10 05:00:42

DarwinPorts .com fraud

In 2004, when the MacPorts project was still called DarwinPorts, Mat Caughron, who is not affiliated with the project, registered the domain darwinports .com. He initially offered to work with the DarwinPorts project or even transfer the domain's ownership, but nothing ever happened with that and the site continued to be run separately, often confusing and frustrating our users.

Recommendations

Users are advised not to refer to darwinports .com for any information about the MacPorts project. Instead, refer to the official MacPorts web site, the MacPorts Guide, and the MacPorts Wiki. Users who find web sites with links to darwinports .com are asked to please refer their owners to this wiki page.

Web site owners are asked not to provide links to darwinports .com and to instead link to the official MacPorts web site.

Grievances

The MacPorts project has the following complaints about the darwinports .com web site:

  • It doesn't prominently state that it's not an official source of information about MacPorts, nor does it provide a link to the official MacPorts site. The statement that "This is a home grown fan site" is buried under (as of April 20, 2010) 28 other bullet points on the homepage; this is completely overshadowed by the false claim in the window titlebar and at the top of the page that it is "The Original DarwinPorts," which it isn't (see MacPortsHistory).
  • It claims to be "a full weekly mirror of the main Darwin Ports repository at: darwinports.opendarwin.org," but the site it claims to be a mirror of has not existed for years, and the Portfiles shown on the web site are, as of April 20, 2010, five months out of date.
  • It provides inaccurate instructions for configuring MacPorts and installing ports.
  • It provides links that invite you to download "DarwinPorts 1.7," but no such software exists: the last version of DarwinPorts was 1.3.2 and the first version of MacPorts was 1.4.0; see our old downloads directory. The "DarwinPorts 1.7.0" files you'll end up downloading from the site are our MacPorts 1.7.0 files which have just been renamed and uploaded to a different server.
  • To download MacPorts from this web site, you must fill in a form with your email address; downloading from the official MacPorts site never requires you to disclose your email address.
  • There are PayPal "Donate" buttons on the site which users might expect would benefit the MacPorts project, but which in fact only benefit Mat Caughron.
  • Though the site currently claims on its download page that "Your email address will not be given out or used for unsolicited email," users have reported being contacted and asked to donate money. One user forwarded to us an email which reads:
Subject: 	PayPal request from Darwinports .com / Mat Caughron


Dear [email removed],

Mat Caughron (mat@caughron.com) would like to be paid through PayPal.


-----------------------------------
Money Request Details
-----------------------------------



Amount: $25.00 USD

Note: [name removed]:

We appreciate your usage of DarwinPorts and MacPorts. Can you assist us
with maintenance and bandwith expenses for our open source site?

Your donation today is appreciated and helps us keep these resources
available to the public.

Thanks!


Mat Caughron
Darwinports Project

We reiterate that Mat Caughron is not and never has been associated in any way with the MacPorts (formerly DarwinPorts) project, and that any donations made to him do not benefit the MacPorts project or those who make it possible. Please do not pay Mat Caughron.