The Ubuntu SE site has an interesting debate happening. See "How would #1 Bug would be fixed if AskUbuntu uses a Windows Platfrom?" and "Reception of askubuntu.com ", which links to outside discussions about the debate.

It seems like there are some objections to using a closed-source Windows-based application to host an Ubuntu Q&A site.

What is our attitude towards this question?

My first reaction is that using proprietary software is not a problem. This site is for "Unix", and there are plenty of commercial variations of Unix (Solaris, MacOSX, RedHat, etc.) as well as Free versions (CentOS, FreeBSD, Linux, Cygwin, etc.). The SE platform is a good tool, the content is covered under an open license, and I don't object to using closed-source products underneath.

2 Answers 2


I wasn't surprised that the Ubuntu forums objected to it, but their main concern stems from the fact that Canonical seems to be semi-officially supporting AU. We don't have any official support in the Unix/Linux world, so I don't think most users will care; if the Linux world were abandoning man pages and switching to links to us there would probably be more concern about the platform. There are lots of people who don't like to use closed software, but it's only the absolute diehards that object to the existence of closed software. The only concern I would possibly have is that it might cost us users, but I expect that number to be exceedingly small, and there isn't much we can do about it either way

  • To avoid embarrasment about it we don't admit to running anything on windows, and we make a big boo-ha about anyone saying that we do... nyms.de/pee-on-logo2.jpg
    – Stefan
    Oct 15, 2010 at 5:06
  • We would probably have a hard time answering the questions without those manpages, too...
    – SamB
    Dec 20, 2010 at 1:09

this opinion is my own and does not reflect any official position, or my stance as a moderator

Personally, I think the web has become the new harborer of closed source, even if much of it runs on open source. However, as of yet open source has not given me the environment that SE has. Over the past 7 years I've grown tired of all the trolling, all the elitism, all the poison that comes from the some of the various open source communities. It seems that somehow the SE methodology eliminates that and helps people get problems solved. This is of greater benefit than any open source software. The source may not be open, but the Q&A is, and without the venom of a mailing list.

P.S. I have considered developing a StackExchange like system in Perl that runs on *nix, and is Open Source. Potentially one that could be used as more than just a Q&A system.

  • 1
    If you're just looking for an existing SE clone, OSQA and Shapado already exist. I've never tried them so I don't know how complete they are Oct 16, 2010 at 4:24

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