Recently launched: Unix & Linux - Stack Exchange (Proposal )

Is Ubuntu perhaps a too narrow topic?

  • 7
    While a potentially interesting question, I wonder what it has to do on this meta? If people found Ubuntu a too narrow topic they probably wouldn't be registered here in the first place?
    – andol
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 21:16
  • 1
    @andol, I came here via Google.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 14:24

9 Answers 9


I don't thinks so. The reason why you don't see "CentOS" StackExchange but an Ubuntu one is because most people using CentOS or other flavors have already forged through the basics. They're using it as server setups and typically will have questions regarding specific software setups or error messages.

Ubuntu is more unique in that is takes an approach to Linux Desktop that other flavors really haven't hit on yet: Linux for everyone. which will receive a host more of questions from people actually using Ubuntu that will likely be Ubuntu setup specific and not specific to Linux.

I've committed myself to that proposal also - and look forward to the beta.

  • 3
    I agree with marco!
    – myusuf3
    Commented Aug 7, 2010 at 15:29
  • Agreed. I think one of the things that differentiates askubuntu from others is that askubuntu really seems more user- and beginner-friendly.
    – belacqua
    Commented Jan 21, 2011 at 22:54
  • 1
    Keeping AskUbuntu as a separate island from the greater Unix/Linux/GNU universe is misguided and ultimately counterproductive.
    – haziz
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 6:54
  • @haziz This split happened almost 3 years ago, it's proven to be quite successful and productive. Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 8:20
  • @MarcoCeppi I know that. I am still hoping that in a fit of madness the gurus of StackExchange may surprise us and roll AskUbuntu into Unix/Linus Stackexchange. Unlikely but hope springs eternal!
    – haziz
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 23:45
  • @haziz I think you're in the minority. Ask Ubuntu is one of the most popular Stack Exchange sites, doubt they would remove the branding. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 2:53
  • @MarcoCeppi majority of the questions showing up on AskUbuntu are not related to Ubuntu, but are general linux questions. The mods, in general, don't seem apt to close or migrate general questions to the Unix & Linux exchange, and therefore we're winding up with a very disorganized system of where to go and get Linux help. I think it would do everyone a favor if we were to centralize where to get Linux help. AskUbuntu's popularity alone isn't enough to keep it by itself, it anything it speaks to merging the two into a more generalized "Linux" exchange... the one-stop-shop to get Linux answers.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 22:51
  • I disagree with your assessment. Linux & Unix would be inundated over night with a flood of Ubuntu based questions. Both unix.se and askubuntu are doing well for themselves, AU is in 3rd most popular site on the network and 8th. This shows that both communities have enough questions and users to support their existence. If AU or U.SE were lower in activity it'd make more sense to merge. tl;dr, everything is working the way it is now. Lets not fix something that isn't broken. Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 16:44

I found this blog entry from the SE team that seems to answer the question quite well.


There are different communities :

Ubuntu being an Unix-like OS, I'm pretty 100% sure we will see ubuntu-tagged questions on https://unix.stackexchange.com/.

  • As of today (2011/01/10) it only represents 7,3% of all questions so it makes sense to have an Unix StackExchange site.
  • On the other hand, a real Ubuntu community exists making sense for an Ubuntu specific StackExchange site.

So let's keep with two different websites.

With two different kind of users :

I understand and partly agree with the Ubuntu-for-newbies / Unix.SE-for-experts argument but I found it biased.

Why ? Although Ubuntu is nowadays more recommended for end-users with no technical background we have all kind of users. Moreover telling what is an easy or difficult question is highly subjective and should be avoided.

The current situation seems fine :

The current situation seems almost fine once we redefine what Unix and Ubuntu means in terms of StackEchange communities. As I understand :

  • Unix.stackexchange means asking (difficult ?) questions about Unix-like OS, including Ubuntu. Expect non distribution-specific answers.
  • Askubuntu means asking the Ubuntu community (not-too-difficult ?) questions about Ubuntu or Linux related topics.

This seems clever as most traffic will eventually come from search engines and that I personally uses the ubuntu word in my queries : I'm not sure if all online ubuntu-content is always also tagged as linux, asking for ubuntu generally gives good results.
So, I agree we have good reasons to keep different websites BUT there is a clear overlap on some questions.

But we still have issues :

What could have been forgotten : the bigger the community, the better the content.

This is well explained in this blog post with the StackOverflow example : many languages, one site (thanks @Jorge Castro for the link).

Splitting the Unix-like-OS users community is a real drawback : many (all ?) ubuntu-tagged questions could have been answered on AskUbuntu and many AskUbuntu questions aren't Ubuntu specific.

Is merging websites the solution ? Then forget this post ! AskUbuntu users already said no. Merging seems too radical.

Problem is : we currently only have 2 classification levels : website name and tags.
This can't be fully satisfying with regards to the real classification : Computing -> Software -> OS -> Unix-like OS -> Ubuntu -> tag1/tag2/tag3 -> my question.

Maybe Ubuntu users like this : alt text more than that : alt text. I do.

Current solutions are :

  • Only move very oriented question.
  • Don't move anything at all assuming the user had a good reason to post on a specific website (and tell users who do not have a good reason that there are others SE sites).

One possible solution for overlapping questions :

Another solution ? As @A Student at a University pointed out, there is one possibility (maybe should I ask a new question and move this part) :

Shared or cross-site Q&A.

Imagine :

  1. Someone ask something non-Ubuntu specific on AskUbuntu
  2. He has the possibility to post the same question on different StackExchange sites (assuming he is already registered). (Maybe) minimal reputation required.
  3. Like close/transfer votes, enough users vote to open this question on unix.se or any other relevant site. Enough reputation on both sites is required.
  4. The question stays open on askubuntu
  5. The question appears on unix.se and is transparently kept in sync with askubuntu.
  6. Users get reputation on different sites depending where votes come from.
  7. Closing on only one or all sites should be different options

Pros :

  • A bigger community answers questions while keeping specific websites for specific users community without merging all topics.
  • Makes communities more open and dynamic
  • Different point of views for "out of the box" answers.

Cons :

  • Involves a lot of work ?
  • Maybe too complicated, we're good with the current situation ?

Sorry for the long answer. I just wanted to post some lines and ended up writing a lot (too much? vote it down and leave a comment).

  • 3
    Please lets's not have easy and difficult tags...
    – 8128
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 17:48
  • Hmm, you're right, that's a bad idea, I wrote this part too quickly. In fact, that's why I don't like the idea askubuntu for usual question and unix.se for the more advanced ones : because it's highly subjective ! Seems that a lot has been written on different metas. I'll take some time to have a better understanding of the whole topic.
    – Maxime R.
    Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 19:39

This was put to a vote, with the following results:

  • Ubuntu membership against
  • Linux/Unix membership for
  • end result: no merge

There's a separate proposal for that already.


I don't see why there should be a Unix/Linux OR an Ubuntu SE site. The serverfault and superuser sites serve this function just fine. Just click "Ubuntu" in the tags.

It WOULD be nice, though, if clicking Ubuntu also included Ubuntu-10.04, etc, or if there were a special-tag sort of section on those sites (something like the admin tags) where the distro/OS can be specified without namespace issues.

It would also be nice to be able to post a question simultaneously to multiple SOI sites when it crosses domains, and have the answers, etc all be merged. It's not real clear sometimes whether a question is a server or client question. Ubu servers can have the same issues as Ubu desktops.

This is a question of FIXING SU and SF, not making more sites.

I think the real question should be whether to merge SU and SF, and how to make it easier to pick out the questions in the domain YOU desire to see, without having to fight with the Tag interface as described above.


Being all clotted brings more frustration when navigating, unless good tags are provided. Separated is better.


I think it's plenty broad. There are huge differences between the communities around different Linux distros and it would help keep filter out some of the newbie questions from a more general Unix-Linux stack exchange that would focus more around the lower level parts of the operating system. The Ubuntu stack exchange is perfect for desktop users, but likely won't have as rich of a community who want to talk about the nitty gritty internals.

  • As I commented on another answer, keeping AskUbuntu as a separate island from the greater Unix/Linux/GNU universe is misguided and ultimately counterproductive.
    – haziz
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 6:58

I suggest to merge both sections. Let's vote somewhere, and beat those "Ubuntu patriots" liking big logos instead of clear tags.


It's great that you can't close an answer. So I think it is impossible that everybody don't like to discuss merging. So I suggest those ones who wish to discuss the topic to upvote me and vote my question to be reopened: Where to vote about merging Ubuntu and Linux AGAIN? 2 years passed?

  • 1
    Yes, admins can't close answers, but they can easily delete answers and ban you if you continue spamming ;), Look you got devotes from both community It implies that your idea sucks :)
    – Tachyons
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:08
  • Anyway I have a right to express my opinion and a right to discuss it. CLOSING means just BAD WILL and nothing more. Hence my idea IS correct moreover. The separation means separation between bigendians and littleendians and it is fool. Despite downvoting :)~
    – Dims
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:40
  • It is just closed because it is not constructive . It is not deleted yet
    – Tachyons
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:46
  • Why suggesting to vote is not constructive? If I suggest to blow everything up then it would not constructive.
    – Dims
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:48
  • 1
    Suggesting merging of two entirly different community is clearly not constructive
    – Tachyons
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:59
  • I don't think these are entirely different. Arrange a voting and you'll see this. But the suggestion to vote is closed so that nobody can know.
    – Dims
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 22:13
  • 1
    What is constructive is your putting the question up. What isn;t is cross-posting on Meta U&L and posting it three different times over the course of one day, as well as your IMO acid description of the mods. Unless the question is deleted, anyone and everyone can see it.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 3:19

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