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I'm asking for opinions on this. Regarding whether it's a good idea, if it fits with the spirit of SE and whether you think it would work.

There are many pieces of free software being written. You can take a look at github for an idea. Free software is great, but there are a couple of issues that are hard to address:

  • For new programmers, it's hard to know where to start, based on their interests.
  • When you start a new free software, it's hard to make it known and attract other developers.
  • It's not always easy to find a project that already does what you have in mind, before you decide to start one yourself.

I was thinking of a proposal that would try to address these issues. That is a site where people who are looking to do free software can ask about free software, whether it is to find what projects they can contribute to, what tools would likely help them with a particular project idea or a way to announce their project.

Some possible examples:


Q: I'm interested in image processing development, what free software/libraries are there on this topic? (tag: image-processing)

A: [X](link) is an advanced library for medical image processing. It emphasizes on A and B...

A: [Y](link) is a rather new project that aims to do C and D...


Q: I'm writing a tool to run Mac software on Linux, similar to Wine. I need advice. (tag: mac, linux, cross-platform)

A: Cool, be sure to pay attention to the X feature of Mac which needs to be simulated.

A: Project [Z](link) is trying to do the same thing, perhaps you could contribute to that. At the time of this writing, they have E and F features running and they need expertise on G.


I realize that the answers are subjective. I have no idea how many users the site may attract and how many questions per day may pop up, but nevertheless I personally would find such a site useful. I've sometimes found interesting projects through channels like mailing lists. Even in the chat of a half-real-half-game site like HabitRPG (which is free software on its own) you find people asking for projects they can contribute to, so I assume that conversation is happening in many other places I don't know about.

I'm asking here therefore to find out how such a proposal would be perceived.


P.S. While I have trouble figuring out an appropriate name for such a site, it might make sense for it to cover not just software, but also hardware (and perhaps other things that could be done collaboratively)

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The best way to find out is create the proposal. That is what Area51 is here for.

I would give a bit more thought to the kind of questions you might ask on the site, though. Neither of your example questions are very good fit for the StackExchange model.

Think about what kind of questions you might ask that would not be on topic at an existing site. Also think about how and where you would get followers, is there an existing blog, that has a membership that might be interested in creating a Q&A site?

  • Thanks for the insight, I'll give it more thought. – Shahbaz Sep 22 '14 at 6:51

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