Business of Software gone

I noticed recently that the old “Business of Software” forum has been taken offline. :frowning: A shame, because I still liked to browse the old topics from time to time. Anyone know if there’s a way to download an offline copy?

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I’ve also noticed a couple of months ago that the server was down. But, if you are really interested on the content, you can always use the Internet Archive:

There are lots of copies of the contents, so I suppose that you can find all the threads/messages.

Anyway, it woud be a good idea to make an offline copy of the site.

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IIRC the forum software that powered Business of Software was part of FogBugz.

Fog Creek recently sold off FogBugz (under its new name of Manuscript), and renamed the company as Glitch. Maybe during that process the Business of Software forum inadvertently fell off the earth.

Pity. It was that forum which gave me the knowledge and motivation I needed to start my company 10 years ago. I also liked to browse it from time to time for nostalgia.


It was a great forum at the time, with a few nifty tricks that kept trolls from taking over conversations. So is its spiritual child?

I tweeted to Anil Dash, the CEO of what was Fog Creek (now called Glitch) about the missing BoS forum archive. His reply:

We have an archive, I’ll see if we can get a static snapshot up and running again.

So there is some hope…


Lots of great content on that forum. Shame if it disappeared.

To be honest, most of that content is now outdated, even if it was quite good back in the day. This forum looks like a spritual successor, but community is much smaller. BoS success wasn’t just a fluke, it was directly connected to Joel’s excelent blog, one of the best resources in 2000s for people like us.

I have an impression that now almost nobody writes desktop software. All switched to web. So BOS forum was great 10 years ago, in the golden times of desktop software. We still develop Windows software but I feel that we should switch to web/mobile or at least to a cross platform software development.
And by the way, recently I searched for old BOS forum threads using archive .org. Such a nostalgia.

Totally not true. :slight_smile:

I can understand why. There’s a ton of content targeted to people running subscription-based SaaS products.

And yet, there are still plenty of us running successful small businesses selling desktop software. If you are one of them it can be frustrating trying to find relevant up-to-date advice.


I asked Joel about this before the Xmas break.

"Sadly, the old business of software discussion forum was running on a custom, obsolete version of FogBugz which we don’t even own any more (I mean, Fog Creek sold off the FogBugz business) and could not run safely on a modern Internet if we did.

“20 years ago when I started putting sites on the Internet I swore I’d never contribute to “bitrot” but somehow this happened :slight_smile: The good news is a lot of advice in there was PRETTY DARN QUESTIONABLE.”

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There are lot of postings there that give you an interesting insight into the humble beginnings. For instance, I suspect that certain Mike Taber prefer that forum to disappear :wink:

It’s just other platforms make a lot of noise, but not necessarily money. Not everything can or should be moved to web.

Now I have to go through that archive :rofl:

Nothing too embarrassing. :slight_smile:

Mike was learning the ropes, and he decided to try and clone Spolsky’s success with the blog and the bug-tracking software. He rewrote a few Joel’s blog pieces and developed a working prototype(?) of a bug tracker. However, having no Joel’s writing talent, he quickly realized this is a dead-end.

But not too quick, and so someone stumbled upon this artifact and shared it with the forum, generating some fun finding too many similarities, up to and including the company name (Moon River Software).

Mike spotted the crazy traffic coming from BoS, read the “reviews” and wrote a post dissing the forum trolls. He however did not comment on the fact his blog posts were too similar to Joel’s.

Still, he then dropped the approach in favour of more practical ones. Good for him.

P.S. I cannot find the blog posts now, but there were links inside of BoS thread.

As a former BOS moderator, the interesting bits of BOS were behind the scenes: it had (and needed) a truly excellent anti-troll feature that allowed people to rant all they want, but once marked, they were the only ones who say that thread.

Here we are in 2019 and we have a whole new set of questions, and realities, for developers who want to create their own software and their own companies. is addressing most of those need; it could use more participation by lurkers.

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I just realized I had “activity summary” email set to weekly. Was that a default? I often forget to visit this site until that email comes. So I changed it to daily, in a hope I’ll be more active in discussions. Maybe daily should be a default for new users?

The default for activity summary emails is indeed weekly. I can change it to daily, but perhaps that is too often.

That is too often, and is not addressing, IMHO, the root cause of the low activity. (Which I cannot put my finger onto.)

If you, me, or other members come here once a week, there’s not a big chance for real discussion. I’m not saying daily notifications are the solution, I don’t know that for sure, but I did return here now to respond because I just received that email. So on sample on 1 - it works!