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What topics can I ask about here?

Open Source Stack Exchange is a question & answers site about Free and Open movements - that is, movements which encourage authors to give up some of their rights as authors for the benefit of the public at large. The most well-known of these may well be the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative; however, these are not the only movements of this kind and this site is not limited to software or computer technology.

These movements have been spearheaded by a group of organisations: the Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, Creative Commons, and Free Culture, to name a few. These organisations prefer a variety of different terms (free, open source, libre) and sometimes define them with slight differences. On this site, however, these terms should in general be considered to be synonymous, except for questions which ask directly about their differences.

As a general rule, we use the FSF's four freedoms and the OSI's open source definition as a guide to what is considered to be in the scope of "free and open".

You've come to the right place if you have questions about:

  • the history and philosophies of the FSF, OSI, CC etc
  • understanding, applying, and complying with Free & Open licenses
  • how communities collaborate together to produce, distribute, market and sometimes monetize these projects
  • what license to use for a specific situation - but please read "How do I ask for a license recommendation?" first

But there are some questions which should not be asked here:

These questions may be on-topic on some of the other Stack Exchange sites, but make sure you check their specific on-topic guidelines too.

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question.

If your question is not specifically on-topic for Open Source Stack Exchange, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area 51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.