What are some “must have” Ubuntu programs?

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.

After reading every answers, I am not sure why is this kind of question a violation of intergalatic rules. To summarize, the rules are :

  • Questions must be supported by :
    • Facts
    • References
    • Expertise
  • Question must not solicit :
    • Debate
    • Arguments
    • Polling
    • Extended discussion

However, in the answers that I've read, this question seems very legitimate and fits very well the established infrastructure of StackExchange and in its Q&A format. Saying that this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format is a lie.

While the question remains a subjective one, one can draw objective conclusions by using subjective questions and answers or at least get something positive out of it. I don't think that this question is the Devil's spawn.

The answers are indeed supported by facts, references and users' own expertise and does solicit debate, polling and extended discussion. However, is that a bad thing? It you look at In Android 6, how to deny an app permission to access the network?, you'll notice that, while there is indeed an objective answer to the question, there's also alternatives provided by the community to still answer the question in a subjective manner.

Because this website is so often a first hit on Google, I think that being open to discussion and seeking extended discussion is important.

And, mostly, this question and its answers are constructive.

  • 1
    "seeking extended discussion is important." ... thanks, but no thanks.
    – muru
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 1:42

3 Answers 3


I may partly agree with you, in that the not constructive close reason was confusing and we don't use it anymore. I'm sorry it ever did exist--or, really, mainly just that it was called that. It's not one of the close reasons that can be selected today. However, that question shouldn't be reopened. We would still close it if it were asked today, we would just be able to select a close reason that makes more sense. I think three of our current close reasons apply:

  • Too broad. There's really no limit to how many distinct answers could be posted. And if a single answer tried to address a large chunk of the question, it would be enormous, at least if it tried to explain its judgments. In the case of this particular sort of question, requesting a big list of answers, this overlaps with "primarily opinion-based" too (see below).

  • Unclear. What does "must have" mean? Does it mean "greatly beneficial"? Does it mean "really cool and you will tell your friends"? Does it mean "your system isn't worth using without it"? Does it mean "good to know about"? Does it mean "more than X% of users will like it?"

  • Primarily opinion based. There was hardly any standard by which to judge the appropriateness of the answers besides personal opinion. The question was not an explicit call for discussion, and to a limited extent facts and experience were a factor in determining what people would post and how people would vote on them. But mostly arbitrary opinions--that is, personal preference--was the major factor governing what answers would exist and how well they would be received. The top-voted answer recommended VLC. Why was that something people "must have"? Did those votes really reflect that VLC was the most important program to install? Did they reflect that it was important at all? Or did they just reflect that VLC is generally well-liked?

    The question was not just subjective in the sense of not having any provably best answer, which is true of many perfectly good questions. It fell afoul of the problem that just about every answer that might plausibly be posted was equally valid. This part of the existing closure explanation applied fully:

    We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise

The question itself contains some hints that it was never actually a good fit for our site:

  • If you look at what most of the text in the question is doing, it is mostly giving advice about the special and different way one has to use the site to answer it appropriately.
  • It emphasizes searching--not reading, or skimming, or perusing, but searching--the existing answers before posting another. That is, it was expected that most people would not actually consider what the existing answers said before writing their own. It was expected that there would be so many answers that most people who came to the question would not look at all of them.

This is to say that the question was in effect a poll asking people what their favorite software was, and not something that could practically answer a new Ubuntu user's question about what additional software they would be well advised to install on a fresh Ubuntu system.

As mentioned in the comments, the question was really a duplicate of What are the most useful programs installed after setup of a vanilla Ubuntu? which was subsequently deleted by a moderator. (If this question had remained open for longer, or if we were to reopen it now, more effort would go into and then it would still likely be closed eventually and then deleted, too, either by a moderator or from community members' delete votes.)

There's an argument to be made that the other, original, deleted question should not have been deleted by a moderator but should instead have been deleted through the gradual accumulation of community members' delete votes, or even that it should have been preserved with a historical lock. But the question you've asked about was just a rehash of it, is unlikely to warrant special treatment, will likely be deleted eventually, and would likely have been deleted a while ago if it had captured more attention. After all, it says:

Inspired by this question. I think the question was very useful for Windows users.

That question, on Super User, has since been deleted.

  • Good point about the "not constructive". I've now closed the post as too broad instead.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 10:13
  • 1
    @terdon does that clear delete votes on the post?
    – muru
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 10:14
  • 1
    @terdon To clarify what muru is asking (and I am curious also): we don't know if the delete votes are cleared or not because one can only view delete votes on posts one is permitted to vote to delete (or undelete), but even high-rep non-moderators cannot vote to delete a question with positive score whose current closure is recent. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 10:25
  • 1
    @muru (and Eliah) yes, it does seem to have cleared the delete vote. Sorry about that, I wasn't aware that it would do so. There was one delete vote, if I remember correctly (for some reason, I can't see any in the timeline). Is this a problem? I don't see much benefit in deleting, really. It's old and it's closed, after all.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 10:30
  • 1
    @terdon Thanks for the info. Personally I'm not at all worried about it, one way or the other, for this question. However, if the system hadn't cleared the delete vote, I would actually consider that a bug, since delete votes don't expire on their own. Even when a question's close reason is changed, that may reflect that there was something wrong with its previous closure and thus with the process that led to the delete votes. In this case the closure wasn't wrong at all, just confusing, but the system has no way to know that, so I think it's actually a good thing that it behaves this way. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 10:35

The site is , as much as possible, community maintained. As a user gains more reputation they have more and more access to moderator tools including closing questions. This is important because you would in general need to ask more than one user why a question was closed.

I am sad to say that more often than not, such discussions degenerate fast in my experience. It is rare that someone explains a close or down vote with positive results. More often than not it leads to debate and discord.

BUT ... there is also a mechanism to re-open a question in the case a mistake was made or the question is edited.

At any rate, I personally agree with closure as

  1. The question is not a support question. Not that all questions have to be support related, but non-support questions tend to be more likely to be off topic.

  2. Although you may have found the answers reasonable, the question and answers are highly subjective.

For example, some people may use wine, I never do and do not find it to be "must have" at all. Same with most of the other apps. Not everyone need ssh , I am sure there are a large number of users that never use ssh.

For those reasons I would vote to close the question.

You of course could disagree and vote to reopen, in which case the community would review and if enough people with enough reputation agreed it would be reopened.

Hope this perspective helps.


Discussion, extended or not, fits perfectly the forum format but not the Q&A format, at all. AskUbuntu is the latter if you haven't noticed it yet.

Comments do exist and their intended use is to ask for clarification, other important informations not contained in the original post (before edits) and similar situations. Comments are not intended for discussion as in a forum's thread.

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