mercredi 13 octobre 2010

Asking questions, the Free Software way

Recently [1], Zack, from an original idea of Jorge, asked the project whether it makes sense to have a debian instance of Shapado (a free software web application for question and answer support for our users). The idea was well accepted and showed up quite quickly[2].

More recently, I stumbled upon an article[3] which announces the birth of the pretty same service but for Ubuntu users (in partnership with Canonical, Ltd.). It was known for some time as Then, it was redesigned (I guess) and offered a new domain name. The service runs Stack Exchange which is like Shapado but closed-source. It even runs on Windows Server and .Net. Admittedly, there is also but it doesn't seem very active (nor seems to be supported by Canonical).

In 2 days timeframe, both distributions gained the same service but they did it quite differently. I found this chain of events quite funny. And, really, I'm quite happy to be on Debian's side (as always) :)


3 commentaires:

  1. And of course, the Ubuntu stack exchange site is fairly controversial since it is pretty empty, duplicates the Unix/Linux stackexchange site, partially duplicates the superuser, serverfault and other more well-established stackexchange sites...

  2. @Jon, when you say "pretty empty", what do you compare it against? It certainly is (far) more popular than

  3. @Mehdi, I was pretty much surprised that Ubuntu officially endorses the proprietary platform instead of the FLOSS one (Shapado). In many ways it's a better decision:

    * the non-free platform, StackExchange, offers a far more polished user experience (I've used both)
    * StackExchange has serious proven experience building superb Q&A sites, and takes pains to garner serious momentum before launching a website (see Area51)

    So this is more than just sucking up to proprietary software, especially considering that StackExchange releases all their data under a Creative Commons licence.

    That said, I'm looking forward to the day that Shapado will match the polish of StackExchange, and more importantly, I'd love to see be at least as good as