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The Help Center states that for a question to be on-topic, it needs to fall under the following categories:

  • Using and administering official Ubuntu flavors including: Edubuntu (14.04), Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Lubuntu, Mythbuntu (16.04), Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Touch, Ubuntu Budgie (17.04+) and Ubuntu "Snappy" Core.

  • Running third-party applications on Ubuntu.

  • Development on Ubuntu.

  • Services provided by Ubuntu and Canonical.

  • Any questions not mentioned below or here are great!


These rules are somewhat vague and confusing. For instance, Running third-party applications on Ubuntu. I personally take this to mean questions asking about how to get a program to run on Ubuntu are on-topic, but anything beyond that should be asked elsewhere.

As an example: I've noticed a lot of questions asking for help when a program won't run under WINE:

(Searching WINE in the AU search will yield many more.)

Now, to me, these questions are off-topic. They are not asking how to get WINE running (it already is). Instead, the questions are about how to get programs running under WINE, and troublehsooting errors in Windows applications. In my opinion, questions asking for help are basically asking how to get the program running on Windows.

Getting a program running under WINE isn't getting a program running under Ubuntu, it's asking how to use WINE. Since WINE isn't a Canonical service, it doesn't fall under the category that makes questions about using Canonical programs on-topic.


I think we need to come to a consensus on whether or not this type of WINE question is or isn't on-topic. It would be even better if we could find a clearer interpretation of this rule.

Specifically, should questions about troubleshooting programs running under WINE be on-topic? Generally, how should we interpret this rule for future use?

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Boom — here is a proposal on Area51:

http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/103848/wine-windows-compatibility-layer?referrer=rIbWHfRfHyVN-CahX8P22A2

Follow if you are interested and we'll see where this goes.


Update: well, that ended quickly. Obviously there is no desire to create another community around Wine. Therefore I propose that questions relating to problems getting Windows applications to run in Wine on Ubuntu continue to be allowed.

  • But does this mean we make WINE questions OT? – TheWanderer Oct 25 '16 at 1:58
  • @Zacharee1 we'll see how this proposal goes. If it looks like it might be viable, we can think about doing that. Otherwise, we know there isn't enough interest and we can discuss whether they should be on-topic here. – Nathan Osman Oct 25 '16 at 1:59
  • ...and that ended quickly. – Nathan Osman Oct 25 '16 at 3:31
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    It was duped as another SU... does that mean we can send those q's over to SU? >:) – Rinzwind Oct 25 '16 at 20:27
  • I guess so! Send them over! (j/k) – Nathan Osman Oct 25 '16 at 20:51
  • Can you explain why you think questions about running programs under WINE should be on topic? I explained that they're not really running on Ubuntu, but I want an argument for why they can qualify for that criterion, or another one. – TheWanderer Oct 25 '16 at 23:54
  • Wine is a compatibility layer which stubs in its own implementation of Windows system calls. So, for the most part, it has to do with the Linux kernel and not Ubuntu. However, it is available through the Software Center. It does use userspace libraries. I see no reason to disallow questions for those reasons. – Nathan Osman Oct 26 '16 at 0:03

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