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Whilst recently using the DynDNS Community Forum, I was struck by how similar the interface was to that of Stack Exchange. I assumed that DynDNS were using Stack Exchange for the community forum, like Ask Ubuntu. I was however surprised to find that they are using a service called Qato. I visited Qato and found no reference to Stack Exchange there, and there was very little other information either, such as pricing and licensing model. There's just an "if you're interested, contact us" type of statement.

So what is Stack Exchange's relationship to Qato, if any?

Is Qato another Stack Exchange service or is it licensed Stack Exchange?

Is Qato completely separate from Stack Exchange?

If Qato is completely separate from Stack Exchange, is the Stack Exchange team aware of Qato. Qato seems almost identical to Stack Exchange, can a company do this, can they pretty much copy another service, does Stack Exchange not have to copyright or some other type of legal protection against this?

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It seems Qato’s name has been updated to AnswerHub. –  Madeck Sep 29 at 7:59

1 Answer 1

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Qato is completely separate from Stack Exchange. It's produced by DZone, who also manage the free open-source Stack Exchange-like OSQA software.

There's no business connection, to my knowledge. Some sites that did run on the Stack Exchange 1.0 software did migrate over to OSQA when their time on Stack Exchange ran out.

Other background: Qato is written in Java. OSQA is written in Python and Django.

(I've no business connection with DZone. I do host a couple of private OSQA sites.)

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Thanks for that information. As for the later part of my question "If Qato is completely separate from StackExchange, are the StackExchange team aware of Qato. Qato seems almost identical to StackExchange, can a company to this, can they pretty much copy another service, does StackExchange not have to copyright or some other type of legal protection against this? –  Stephen Judge Oct 11 '11 at 13:51
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@StephenJudge: That's one of the things that have been discussed en masse. Just search for "Clones" or "Copycat" and you'll find many questions covering that topic. As far as I know, the main concern is that pages which are using/copying the content do this under the terms of the CC-BY-SA license. I haven't heard of a single case were SE was going against a copier because of pure style (though, I don't have that big ears). –  Time Traveling Bobby Oct 11 '11 at 13:59
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I think that answers my question good enough. Thanks for the information. I will look into this "Clones" idea. I am interested in the legality of Clones and how much or to what extent you can copy another product in detail. –  Stephen Judge Oct 11 '11 at 14:06

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