I have a question I want to ask about the license of Ruby (MRI), and what portions of the project it covers (specifically, I'm wondering whether or not it covers bundled gems which are distributed in the source downloads on ruby-lang.org, but don't seem to be included in the project's source code on GitHub). I noticed that most of the questions here seem to be more about licenses in general, rather than licenses in the context of specific projects, so before I go ahead and post my question I thought I'd check with meta first.

Are questions about the licenses of specific, popular open source projects (in my specific case, questions about what portions of the project they cover), on-topic here?

Note that I've already read Are questions about specific software on-topic? and Are questions about specific open source projects on-topic?, but those questions both seem to deal with questions about aspects of the projects themselves that have nothing to do with licenscing or open source, whereas my question does, and the help center explicitly calls out questions about "understanding, applying, and complying with Free & Open licenses" as being on-topic (though I'm not entirely sure whether or not that clause entirely covers my situation; hence the meta question).

3 Answers 3


I'm sorry for posting this a week late, I had seen the question long before, but I should throw in my thoughts while I'm back here.

Before you ask a question, try and ask yourself this: Is the project community better suited to ask that question? If they are, ask them. It would be off-topic for the site. We simply can't answer them.

That being said, we have had discussions on meta. But that's it. Only discussions. No one has really tried asking a question such as this, as far as I have seen. A few example questions (Yes, they don't really mean anything now) were questions in the exact same format as you ask. Since we haven't had any questions such as this, I should probably encourage you to ask away anyway: the community can have more input as well, and we can see if these sorts of questions will work too.


Seems like an excellent question to me!


That is the sort of question that the people involved in the project are the only ones in a position to answer authoritatively. Besides, snooping around the project itself or asking in their mailing lists or support fora will make them aware of any ambiguities, and get them to fix them.

Here we can at most point people to the source, or give unofficial answers.

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