Stack Exchange is a network of websites built to make the internet better by providing quality Answers to Questions on specific topics. Its flagship product is Stack Overflow, which is likely the single most important programming resource on the web. Part of the reason of this site's success is the excellent community built around it.

Among the sites that Stack Exchange has built is Unix & Linux, and it's stated goal is to be THE place to get answers on non-programming topics related to Unix and Linux-based systems. Note that this family of comupter system is highly fragmented; there's literally hundreds of them, though most can further be classified under few families:

  • Debian (includes Ubuntu)
  • RedHat (includes SuSE)
  • BSD

Given that there's a lot of similarities between them, to have one unified place to ask questions about each of them rocks.

Now that's well and good, until one realises that these StackExchange sites run on non-FLOSS. Now, consider that there are FLOSS alternatives to these. Debian folk maintain and participate in an instance of one such alternative, named Shapado. This instance is a place where one can ask Debian-related questions, and is in essence a competitor to StackExchange's Unix & Linux site, and this had me in a seriously painful dilemma: do I continue using the superior but non-FLOSS service or the inferior but FLOSS Shapado. The following evaluation makes the choice real easy:

  • Debian Q&A: FLOSS (+1) +++> total=1
  • Unix & Linux: better community (+1), better site experience (+1), caters to more than just Debian (+1) +++> total=3