Software Recommendations Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people seeking specific software recommendations. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a free as in freedom alternative to Disqus. Disqus is a third-party comment system for any website.

Feature requested:

  • Shouldn't require me to host it
  • Integrate on any page in my website
  • Be free as in freedom

It would be preferable that:

  • It would be easy to use
  • It be coded in an exotic language (ie no Python, no PHP, no Node.js)
  • I could choose where to store comments.
  • It includes a sophisticated up/downvote system.
share|improve this question
What specifically do you mean by "exotic?" Are you referring to a Domain-Specific Language? – Robert Harvey Apr 21 '14 at 17:35
This kind of thing. I agree it might be a bit subjective, but as it is only some side-requirement, I decided to keep it. – VicAche Apr 21 '14 at 17:44
That seems like kind of a specious software requirement. – Robert Harvey Apr 21 '14 at 17:45
TSC is way worse. – VicAche Apr 21 '14 at 18:09
up vote 8 down vote accepted

How about Discourse? enter image description here

I'm a touch biased, as it was created by our co-founder Coding Horror, (without whom I'd probably still be working as a finance exec, grinding orphans into money burgers for the rich to feed their pets,) but it seems to nail most of your criteria:

  • It's open-source
  • They offer (paid) hosting if you don't want to do it yourself
  • It's a JavaScript application that runs in your web browser, using the Ember.js JavaScript framework. The server side of Discourse is written in Ruby on Rails with a Postgres database, and Redis server cache.

At a glance, it looks more like a tool for stand-alone discussion forums, but seems to also be a much improved way to discuss "parent" pieces of content, instead of other commenting systems - that's just what boingboing did.

share|improve this answer
Ruby on rails - that's a fun language :). I'll give it a try. – VicAche Apr 21 '14 at 16:39
What about a voting system tho? And I get a "kindle" icon following me on every page on boingboing, is it linked to discourse? I would hate this. – VicAche Apr 21 '14 at 17:22
@VicAche, I think discourse has a "top posts" feature where the most "starred" posts in a dialogue are displayed at the top, but it's not a pure, fully-integrated vote-ranking. I'm not sure about that kindle thing, but I'd be very surprised if it were a mandatory component of Discourses; I suspect it's a boingboing choice. – Jaydles Apr 21 '14 at 17:26
OK. My main concern with isso is the poor voting system, it's easier to delete/edit a post than to come back on a cast vote, and it seems that Discourse isn't really doing better. – VicAche Apr 21 '14 at 17:28

An interesting alternative I found is isso.

  • It can be hosted away from my static pages
  • It integrates well
  • It is free as in freedom.

As for the other requirements:

  • It is pretty easy to use
  • It is coded in a well-known language, Python, which is a bit boring - not fine
  • It stores comments in a sqlite database by default - not fine
  • It does include a voting system, but votes cannot be updated even after comments are edited.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.