Just posted this question -Compiling (NS/Cocoa) Emacs on OSX with SVG support - and was immediately told this was perhaps off topic, and to take it to SO.

There are a lot of questions on AskDifferent relating to homebrew and compiling software, please let me know if this question is off topic or not.

side note: This was voted to close on SO for being off topic, and I'd tend to agree with that, here however I feel it's on topic.

Does this answer apply?

Additional note:

If this were a general Unix compilation question, I'd be in full agreement that it was better suited to the Unix stackexchange, or maybe SuperUser, however, this is 100% mac/osx specific, and has no relevance to other platforms.

  • Isn't stackoverflow.com enough already for questions about code, programs, binaries and netconfigs?
    – Manchineel
    May 15, 2016 at 12:56

2 Answers 2


My inclination is to say it's on-topic here. It's not a developer question; it's an end-user question. Yes, it involves compiling, but for the purpose of running software on your machine.

  • I think the ambiguity is that the answer, could involve patching the software to fit, rather than, "drag this here" or "enter this predfined command into the terminal" - However, it's likely that the answer would involve, "apply this patch, like so"
    – ocodo
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:55
  • I agree it's a bit of an edge case in the sense that it's outside the normal process of installing Mac OS X Software. It's definitely outside the expertise of many users of this site, including me. But ultimately, it's about getting software that someone else wrote running on your Mac. That's a big piece of what this site is about.
    – Daniel Mod
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:08
  • TBH, it's something I've wanted to do for quite some time, and even though I don't expect an answer today/tomorrow/next week, I still need a place where it's specifically relevant, and apple.se is the best I can think of. Ultimately, I'll still be looking into solving this myself, and I can post a solution. - the fact that it's a tough question shouldn't warrant it to be closed / deemed off topic.
    – ocodo
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:58
  • These questions often get marked off topic in Stack Overflow. I suspect it is in a gray area and sometimes they get answered and sometimes they get marked as off topic depending on who reviews it which is not good. So if this ius on topic here we need to note that and I for one will start flagging new questions in SO for migration here. Also this implies we deal with all macports/homebrew questions here.
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 13, 2013 at 12:02
  • @Mark before you start a mass migration, can we see how this question does here? IMO for now it's in the "technically not off-topic" category, not the "hey that works really well" category.
    – Daniel Mod
    Feb 13, 2013 at 12:04
  • @DanielLawson - agreed I was really pointing out the implications and the issue that this is probably off topic/too localized for SO. Further I would guess the people who could answer are on SO.
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 13, 2013 at 12:07

I wholeheartedly agree with Daniel Lawson's answer.

There will probably be overlap of most questions about compiling open source software. The various unix and linux groups could/should consider something that you can run on Darwin on topic and you could ask there. SuperUser as well would be a great place to find an answer. I feel we would be well served by hosting Q&A about homebrew, patching, compiling software since it's not exactly (or even close to) developing software using Apple's API/SDK.

Those questions are firmly off topic and really are best suited for Stack Overflow.


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