There are a few things that were never quite clear. On askubuntu we can ask questions about third-party software, package installation and hardware issues. Can we also ask about software compatibility like

"THIS_PACKAGE was installable in 14.10, why doesn't it work in 16.10 and when will we be able to install it?"

Sorry if this question is basic, this concept was just never clear to me.

  • 2
    Compatibility is very gray area , and largely depends on developers of that software. Also largely depends on the specific libraries developers used. If those libraries available for higher level versions of Ubuntu, sure - probably you can use their software. Also depends on developers if they continue working on the project. If it's abandoned, there's not much of what community can do Aug 16, 2016 at 0:56
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    This is typically something you should ask the developers directly. Not really a question for AU, since it is unanswerable by anyone else then the developers. Aug 16, 2016 at 6:12
  • How do I ask this question directly to developers?
    – James
    Aug 16, 2016 at 19:22
  • Specifically for your example: any decent application, with a debian installer should have a manpage (man <application> ), where should be described how to file bugs etc. Also the HELP section, if it exists, should include the developer's coordinates. Many applications are hosted on Launchpad: launchpad.net Aug 22, 2016 at 6:50

2 Answers 2


I don't think I quite agree with Jacob, but I think that's mostly because the question you're asking can be viewed in a few separate ways. You're actually asking three separate things:

  1. Third party software and compatibility, installation, usage are all on-topic here. Yes, there will be times when "asking somebody else directly" might be better. We might not have somebody familiar with the software or that combination of software and Ubuntu setup, or hardware, etc, etc. But we might.

  2. Speculative questions about development releases are off-topic. Not all questions about upcoming releases are but "Will +1 support y?" is the sort of thing where neither we or the app developer really know until it's release time.

    I'm sure there are exceptions people could point out but the test is whether or not it can be answered and still be relevant (and accurate) by release time.

  3. Speculative questions about third party software are off-topic. This is really just an extension of #2 and we probably don't have a single specific close reason about this but only the developer(s) knows their plans for the future. That should be obvious.

So a question about third party software (even current compatibility) is fine in my books. A question asking about the future support of it on a future version of Ubuntu isn't on at least two counts.

  • 2
    fwiw, I don't think Jacob's answer conflicts with yours. But I think only the second point was addressed in the answer. Because the OP mentioned 16.10 in the example and Jacob says the answer is based on that example.
    – Dan
    Aug 16, 2016 at 15:10
  • 1
    Thanks @guntbert
    – Oli Mod
    Aug 17, 2016 at 20:21
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    @Dan Definitely. But people can be pretty selective when they're picking Meta support for their stance. I want to be precise about what we're saying here so we don't have people trying to kick all (eg) third party software questions off the site, citing this thread.
    – Oli Mod
    Aug 24, 2016 at 14:09

Answering on the example you give us:

That kind of questions should be asked to the developers directly. This is in general not the kind of questions that should be asked on AU, simply because it is unanswerable.

Asking developers directly is also more useful; as an example: it happened someone asked me on Launchpad if and when an application would be available for the current Ubuntu version. I simply forgot to copy the package's ppa. I would probably not have noticed when asked as a general question on AU.

  • How do I ask directly to the developers?
    – James
    Aug 22, 2016 at 3:17
  • 1
    @James Look them up, lets say you want to find the devs for gdebi, just Google gdebi and here is the Launchpad page launchpad.net/gdebi it tells us the devs are gdebi-developers and links to there page launchpad.net/~gdebi-developers that contains an email address for the project lead, easy :)
    – Mark Kirby
    Aug 24, 2016 at 13:53
  • Awesome. Didn't realize launchpad was so cool. Found the developers and found out they forgot to update the key. Working great now!
    – James
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:26

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