We're excited to announce that IBM will be sponsoring Unix & Linux for the next quarter (maybe more) beginning tomorrow! These types of partnerships that help us bring more resources to our communities would not be possible without your hard work and dedication and we're extremely thankful for and proud of everything that you've done and continue to do.

You've got questions about what this means, we're sure - and we're here to answer 'em! We've anticipated a few which we'll explore below:

How will the sponsorship be displayed?

Good question! The sponsorship will be shown in top right of the header of the site in a manner that's similar to the mockup below:

enter image description here

What else changes?

That's easy: absolutely nothing.

Quoting from the MSE post linked in the introduction:

First — sponsors do not own these Q&A sites. Sponsors work alongside our communities who ultimately build these sites. Communities ask the questions; communities create the tags; communities conduct elections as they do now, and we are not renaming our current sites like a garish sport stadium to the highest bidder. Any ads a sponsor submits still have go through our crazy-strict ad editorial process… as it has always been. Companies do not have access to personal data, and all Q&A content remains irrevocably licensed under Creative Commons for sharing and attribution.

Sponsorships are a tool that our clients can use to let folks who would be interested in their products know about them.

I think I found a design glitch / bug.

Please report it as a separate bug. Thank you!

I have another question or concern.

Leave an answer below (I know it might seem odd to leave a question as an answer) and we'll do our best to answer you.

Thank you again, everyone! Again, this would not have been possible without the huge amount of work you've all put into making Unix & Linux so successful.

  • 24
    Please don't...
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 21:25
  • 12
    Such news makes me feel I've made the correct choice by moving to a different website whenever I feel like helping people on topics related to Unix&Linux.
    – undercat
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 9:24
  • 21
    At least it's not Microsoft I guess ...
    – cryptarch
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 23:40
  • 12
    how long until the free section of U&L becomes EOL?
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 11:49
  • 4
    I didn't even see the IBM logo until I saw "Featured on Meta" that the logo is supposed to be there, then I realized that my adblocked blocked it.
    – Rainb
    Commented Feb 6, 2021 at 10:21
  • 8
    There won't be any incentive for SE to remove posts that are critical of IBM, will there be?
    – forest
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 1:33
  • 5
    @forest no, that is definitely not a perk of sponsorship. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 15:44
  • 1
    So that's why I've been seeing a logo in the corner.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 16:47
  • 3
    Eager to hear what additional resources this will bring to U&L. Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 2:16
  • 11
    I'm really surprised to see negative feedback on this. I feel basically neutral on the subject.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 23:04
  • 3
    How much does it cost to sponsor a community for a month? =) Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 6:23
  • I second @EwanCarroll's pointed question... How much ?
    – Cbhihe
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 15:16
  • 1
    So the sponsorship wasn't renewed after all?
    – Nemo
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 13:37

4 Answers 4


Putting aside my opinion of IBM and the state of support for U&L, I think that such static banners are much better than the usual ads, especially those that rely on sharing personal data with Google/DoubleClick or other similar AdTech.

I hope StackExchange got a good deal out of IBM both for itself and for the community. If this goes on for a while, it might be worth checking whether people start thinking this is a support site for AIX.

More in detail: the banner loads just fine without Google's JavaScript or other resources, because it's a simple SVG hosted locally. However it also tries to load a tracking pixel and the link goes to DoubleClick, which is silly. Just handle the click counting directly with IBM if you need to. (Are clicks really the point?)

uMatrix and IBM banner still visible

<a class="grid--cell" href="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackclk/N1114924.1948300STACKOVERFLOW/B25058705.294197466;dc_trk_aid=487473321;dc_trk_cid=142595284;dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;gdpr=${GDPR};gdpr_consent=${GDPR_CONSENT_755}">
                            <img src="https://cdn.sstatic.net/Sites/unix/Img/LogoSponsored.svg?v=91aca5556ef3" alt="Sponsored logo">
                                <img src="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackimp/N1114924.1948300STACKOVERFLOW/B25058705.294197466;dc_trk_aid=487473321;dc_trk_cid=142595284;ord=[timestamp];dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;gdpr=${GDPR};gdpr_consent=${GDPR_CONSENT_755}?" border="0" height="1" width="1" style="display: none !important;" hidden="">
  • 2
    Hopefully any AIX customers know that IBM is the support vendor for it. We do have AIX questions & answers on the site already; maybe that will grow. Of course, there's IBM's recent purchase of Red Hat, and we already have a large number of Linux questions. While I generally think that having a variety of options makes for healthy competition, I think it would be valuable to concentrate Linux and AIX experts at one Q/A site in order to raise the breadth and quality of knowledge there.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 10:54
  • 3
    I've noticed that IBM has rearranged their community boards recently, which could reduce the number of regular visitors there. In any event, this sponsorship is new for U&L, so hopefully it turns out to be valuable on both sides!
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 10:55
  • 27
    Ha, guess what? It is nothing more, nothing less than a tracking DoubleClick add. Just hover the mouse and behold the wicked URL. It's a shame because otherwise there are no lurking hazards in our interface. Could do without it...
    – Quasímodo
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Quasímodo Ah, that's silly. I based my answer on the fact that other such banners load just fine on other SE sites with uMatrix blocking Google's javascript. You can disable the tracking pixel and if you don't click the link no data goes to Google, AFAICT. However, there's no point really, just make it a simple link.
    – Nemo
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 18:38

Why is it an ad? I hadn't even realized this had started since my adblocker hides the logo:

screenshot showing how my adblocker blocks the IBM logo

It is probably safe to assume that many (most?) visitors to a site like this will be techies and will likely have an addblocker, so it seems strange to run the risk of using an ad instead of a static image. Is it so that IBM can see that they're actually getting clicks from here which would presumably justify the commercial arrangement between IBM and SE? Is having a tracker embedded on all of our pages really the best way for that?

  • 20
    Maybe the banner is meant for managers who buy IBM products, and IBM doesn't want to hear from people who know how to install extensions on a browser. :)
    – Nemo
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 18:44
  • 1
    It is a static SVG actually, cdn.sstatic.net/Sites/unix/Img/LogoSponsored.svg See unix.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5738/59808
    – Nemo
    Commented Feb 5, 2021 at 18:46
  • 3
    @Nemo point is that it is linked from a server that serves ads so it's being blocked by addlockers. I don't see why its being static (as opposed to what, animated? or am I misunderstanding?) is relevant.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 19:57
  • 9
    @terdon I think by static he means a simple embedded image, as opposed to something dynamically loaded with JavaScript.
    – forest
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 0:26
  • 6
    The reason why your adblocker blocks it is because the ||g.doubleclick.net^$3p rule interacting with the decorator rule.
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 13:02

Will the sponsorship mean that some resources might be dedicated to fixing bugs that particularly impact this site?

  • 4
    The site sponsorship in and of itself does not reallocate or grow engineering resources dedicated to fixing bugs. Our Public Platform team handles both new development and bug fixes for all of the sites across the Stack Exchange network. We recognize that the bug backlog is large, and we are working on internal processes that will help us chip away at it more efficiently. Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 15:43
  • 1
    Are there any bugs that particularly impact this site that you would like to highlight for attention (can't make any promises)? I took a look through the bug reports and am not seeing any recent items (other than this) that are specific to this site. Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 14:49
  • @YaakovEllis only Difference between "foo" and “foo”, 'foo' and ‘foo’, — and -- as well
    – muru
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 18:16
  • @YaakovEllis would it help if I added a status-review tag to the meta post Muru linked to above?
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 16:06
  • 1
    @terdon yes please Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 17:20
  • Done. Thanks, @YaakovEllis!
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 17:34

If only that would mean more Red Hat (remember, IBM bought Red Hat) and mostly Gnome, Freedesktop.org, etc (or anything that is controlled close or far by them) guys would come here and help people sorting out their own software bugs since a lot of the very begged bug reports are mostly "wont-fixed" because "it's no fun to my ego doing this"...

  • 16
    I’m just one person, but check out my profile, see who employs me, and then look at the tags where I answer the most questions... Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 10:41

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