I'm looking for the source code paired with a textbook, but the URL provided in the book has rotted away, and searching Google only reveals sources that don't appear to be official or have been modified.

Is asking for the location of this software on-topic? It pretty off-topic for Stack Overflow, and this seems like the closest alternative, but I'm not sure how the community feels.

On the one hand, they're not really recommendations. On the other, this is definitely useful information, and it's often hard to find, particularly once a link rots away.

Example questions:

  • Where can I find the online resources that came with Effective Java?
  • Where is the canonical source code for Java 8?
  • Where can I find any source code released with the original Google PageRank whitepaper?
  • 2
    I just spotted Is software identification on-topic? which suggests this would, indeed, be off-topic for Software Recommendations. Curious if others agree / if anyone has suggestions for alternatives.
    – dimo414
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 22:20
  • 1
    I'd say that it falls under “No to websites”. I'm for closing this meta question as a duplicate, unless someone sees a meaningful difference. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 22:45
  • 2
    Well, it's more like a resource on a website (e.g. the Effective Java link was for a sun.com page that now redirects to an oracle.com landing page - presumably there's still a link somewhere on oracle.com with this info), but I agree the distinction isn't huge. Up to you.
    – dimo414
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 23:27
  • 2
    None of the 3 example question would be on-topic here. I see how useful that information might be, but IMHO it simply doesn't fit on SR. SR is about asking for software that meets specific requirements – not about where to find "that ZIP file". You could check Area51 if there's a matching site proposal on its way. // BTW: Thanks for asking here first, and not just having gone ahead :)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 6:02
  • 1
    @Izzy no problem, I suspected it'd be off-topic but I wasn't sure where else to look. Programmers SE specifically forbids questions like this for fear of link rot (which is somewhat ironic given that it's probably less susceptible than any existing solutions). I'll take a look at Area51, but I'm doubtful a whole site could survive just to fulfill this niche need. Unfortunately I don't think any existing sites are willing to support it either.
    – dimo414
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 6:45
  • Dimo, I've e.g. heard "website recommendations" mentioned as being proposed (at Area51). Not sure if they'd cover that ("Can you recommend a website were I can find X" sounds plausible), but this example shows things like that are proposed ;)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


We aren't your search engine. Amusingly enough, this is why we don't like answers that are purely link only, since links die.

So no, I would consider this clearly off topic

I believe the internet archive's way back machine is the 'right' starting point for finding things like this.

In addition, it isn't a software recommendation anyway.

  • 1
    "We aren't your search engine": no, but you are a group of experts (with a community built around editing inaccuracies) meaning you may be a better resource than a search engine. For instance, "jdk source code" has a (closed) SO page as the second result, which is actually a better answer than the first result (an Oracle page) with several dead or stale links. A good answer could still be longer than a single link (e.g. here's the publisher's page, and the author's homepage, and the github repo) to mitigate rot risk.
    – dimo414
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 12:56
  • 1
    I totally get why this is off topic, and if the community doesn't want to handle resource link requests that's fine. It's just unfortunate, because the alternatives that exist aren't better. The wayback machine for instance only works if you know the original URL, and only shows you what was canonical, which may well no longer be the case.
    – dimo414
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 12:59

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