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I asked this question Free SaaS machine learning that exports to PMML, with bayes, random forest, NN, SVM, and decision trees but it was put on hold as off topic.

My question is, in this age of high speed internet where software is migrating as a cloud-based services (e.g. Photoshop, Microsoft Office), should we consider or not cloud-based services as software?

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    Download good old software and it will at least live as long as you have installed in on your PC. Forget the cloud. A service may be gone without notification, leaving you with nothing the next morning. Or maybe it's just your telecom provider, down for two days. I do not depend on the cloud yet and I don't feel I am missing something. – Thomas Weller May 1 '16 at 19:28
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In my opinion, it makes sense that cloud-based software (SaaS) recommendations be on-topic on this Stack Exchange website.

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    I'm always lost when it comes to tell the two apart in that area: when is it on- and when off-topic? Where does SaaS start and "plain hosting" end? Is e.g. asking for a "service like Dropbox" asking for a hosting provider for your stuff (off-topic) – or is it SaaS as you can access the files via an API? I was e.g. tempted to close A web storage site with direct file link as it (explicitly!) asks for hosting. But I'm meanwhile completely confused on the topic. A hoster provides a machine running an OS. Isn't that SaaS as well then? – Izzy Apr 24 '16 at 19:25
  • @Izzy yes there is some gray area between hosting and SaaS. Personally, I would tend to be lenient on it. Unsure how to define an objective boundary here. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '16 at 19:29
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    Well, then someone shed a light please. To me know it seems all those questions are either on-topic or grey then. – Izzy Apr 24 '16 at 19:31
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I'm one of the people who closevoted, and I'm an ex-mod so I happen to have my (rather scanty) notes from when I was a mod handy. And well, the community seems to think not.

There's multiple highly upvoted answers that hint at the same thing but essentially, a question asking for a tool can get an answer that's a service, and asking for a service is right out.

In addition, you're asking a broad question polling for answers in order to get a list. While there's some detail over what you need (no cost, supports multiple machine learning models), its kinda hard to see.

It's just not a good fit IMO.

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    Is the link you provide relevant? It seems to be about hosting recommendations, while this question pertains to SaaS I believe, given the example the OP referred to. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '16 at 2:22
  • IMO hosting is SAAS, essentially. If not unor's links are still relevant I suppose. The point on polling is acceptable tho, no? – Journeyman Geek Apr 24 '16 at 3:18
  • Yes I agree with the point on polling. Regarding SaaS, I would tend to say SaaS = software running on the cloud, the user don't have access to the binaries, vs hosting = the user wants to put some files on the cloud. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 24 '16 at 3:21
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How about this way to tell apart on-topic and off-topic SaaS questions:

Criteria: Is the web application software required to build such a SaaS service available off-the-shelf (commercially or freely) for on-premise installation?

Yes -> Hosting question, off-topic

No -> Webapp question, on-topic

Applied to the case of the SaaS machine learning question: Even though these machine learning tools exist for command-line, there is no ready-made webapp that I could install on my server and that would immediately (without custom development) provide machine learning service over HTTP. So: on-topic.

Applied to an hypothetic question "Is there a free wiki SaaS?": Anyone can install Mediawiki on their server within a day and start selling instances. So: off-topic, close and tell asker to look for Mediawiki hosting.

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    Ain't this yes/no thing exactly contrary to this answer? – Thomas Weller May 1 '16 at 19:16
  • @ThomasWeller: They do not seem to contradict. Please give an example question that would reveal the contradiction you are talking about. Thanks :-) – Nicolas Raoul May 9 '16 at 5:56
  • Because the criteria question you defined is: "Is the ... software ... available ... for on-premise installation?" Yes --> then it's on-premise, not hosting. No --> then it's not on-premise, which is external. – Thomas Weller May 9 '16 at 22:03
  • Please note that the question here is only for SaaS questions. When the answer you refer to talks about on-premise, it is for internal use only (self-hosting), not for building a SaaS. – Nicolas Raoul May 10 '16 at 1:50
  • Now I understand it even less – Thomas Weller May 10 '16 at 16:26

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