The possibility of open sourcing the engine has never completely been put to rest but nearly a year after accepting VC funding can we have a final statement on the matter? My expectation is that now that there are outside investors whose investment are tied to the IP of the company, that it would be practically impossible for the engine to be open sourced. Of course, if it's still a possibility, then by all means leave us hanging, but is there really a path that could reasonably lead to open sourcing the engine?

Questions to be closed as include:

Will Open Sourcing Stack Overflow Destroy Our Business Model?

Will Stack Overflow's engine be open sourced?

  • 3
    Why force putting the topic to rest now just because an arbitrary amount of time passed?
    – Jon Seigel
    Feb 15 '11 at 23:17
  • @Jon I'm forcing it because they incorporated, accepted VC funding, and changed their business model in a way that suggests to me that the slim possibility we previously had of having it open sourced is now nil. I don't imagine the company is going to make any more significant changes over the next year or so, but I wanted to wait for some time after they accepted funding and after we got an idea of how stackexchange 2.0 panned out before asking for closure on this subject. Why not ask for them to lay their hand on the table after nearly 3 years of development on the idea and code base?
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 15 '11 at 23:44

If we do want to make a FOSS StackExchange happen, the single best thing we should do first is prove that, if given access, we actually would use it to help with the coding of the site.

There already is one bit of SE that already is FOSS – the data explorer:

hg clone https://stack-exchange-data-explorer.googlecode.com/hg/ \

Here's the project page. Here's a list of open questions about the data explorer. Go make cool stuff happen. :)


I hope they don't make it open-source. We don't need anymore crappy clones popping up. I see SO as more of an Apple than an IBM PC Compatible.

  • 1
    They wouldn't be crappy if they forked off the current code base.
    – badp
    Feb 16 '11 at 4:07
  • 1
    @badp I'm thinking more of people hijacking the brand and using it for their own nefarious purposes. Imagine if the ExpertsExchange people got a hold of the code for this? Would you like to scroll down ten pages to get the answer? On top of that, it'd look like Stack Overflow, so there'd be issues where people would start to think Stack Overflow is crappy. Feb 16 '11 at 4:53
  • 1
    An hostile SOIS takeover is exactly why making the code FOSS would be a good idea. Just take the data dump, exercise the license rights and fork the site on a high quality clone.
    – badp
    Feb 16 '11 at 4:56
  • @badp, I'm not sure that the data dump would be sufficient to start over - you don't have the individual voting details.
    – Benjol
    Feb 16 '11 at 6:17

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