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Nerd news site woos IT execs

Slashdot publisher renames itself and says it wants to pull in more mainstream tech readers.

Technology executives no longer need to furtively check that no one's looking when they browse the Slashdot "News for Nerds" Web site.

The Open Source Developer Network, the VA Software division that operates Slashdot and several other Web sites, announced Thursday that it has a new name: the Open Source Technology Group. The renaming is part of a move to get advertisers to recognize that mainstream information technology personnel read the sites, not just geeks, said Patrick Ferrell, the general manager of OSTG.

"Open source has become a real significant trend in the technology marketplace. It's no longer something just for the developer community," he said on Thursday. OSTG is profitable, he added.

As part of the revamp, OSTG will work to lure new mainstream readers. "We're going to do some aggressive outreach to build traffic," Valerie Williamson, vice president of marketing for the sites, said.

OSTG's news and information sites, which often come with an open-source flavor, include Slashdot, NewsForge,, Freshmeat and IT Manager's Journal. In addition, the company runs SourceForge, a site that hosts many collaborative open-source programming projects. The code that powers SourceForge is the basis for the collaborative programming software at the center of VA Software's business.

Among the projects at SourceForge are two from Microsoft, a proprietary software stalwart that nevertheless has begun experimenting with open-source software. Each of Microsoft's products has exceeded 100,000 downloads, and both are in the top 10 most popular projects, Williamson said.