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Q0: Where is the line of topicality where WSL is involved?

Q1: Now that Ubuntu can be run on Windows using WSL, I see many questions about  Are these questions a better fit for a Windows-oriented site? If the problem is contained entirely on the Ubuntu side, I'd expect it's reasonable to ask here, as discussed in this question – Do we consider "Ubuntu on Windows 10" the same as an official Ubuntu flavour? Do we support it? To what extent?

Q2: But what if the problem is getting WSL working at all? That is, it involves the Windows side. For instance, this question appears to be about a problem with the Windows Store that may have nothing to do with Ubuntu: Cannot Install Ubuntu 18.04 WSL

Q3: I've been informed that "if you're using Ubuntu and trying to get it to do something, then you can ask about it here." So suppose I'm using Ubuntu on WSL, and I want to use it to process data from a Windows program. However, I can't get the program installed and working. This also appears to be entirely on the Windows side, independent of Ubuntu. However, since the intent is to use Ubuntu to process the data, would such a question about this scenario be appropriate here? For instance, this question is about accessing Windows-created Windows – Accessing Windows Display via WSL X Server

Note: I don't use WSL, so likely won't be asking or answering any questions like these. I'm curious about the rationale for drawing the line at various positions.


Stats about WSL questions:

  • Total # of questions: 416
  • Total # of open questions with no answers whatsoever: 93
  • Total # of unanswered open questions1 : 157

1 Unanswered questions are questions that don't have accepted answers nor answers with 1 or more upvote

  • I was the one who told Xiota that "if you're using Ubuntu and trying to get it to do something, then you can ask about it here." So if you disagree, take it up with me, and don't blame Xiota! :) – terdon Aug 21 at 10:23
  • A lot of people misunderstand our scope, so I wanted any potential complaints directed at me and not you so as not to distract from the main point of your question. Also, it was an unsourced quote, so I thought I should officially claim it. – terdon Aug 21 at 10:26
  • @terdon The worst I was expecting was it could be marked as a duplicate of the question I link under Q1, but the answers there seem pretty conservative. Whereas, I'd expect your position to be more liberal (at least from that single statement). So I'm interested in the rationale for drawing the line at different positions. – xiota Aug 21 at 10:39
  • To be honest, I don't have a position on this because I haven't touched Windows in 20 years and have no idea how WSL works and how it integrates with Windows. – terdon Aug 21 at 10:39
  • @terdon I have no clue about WSL either except that it's Linux running on Windows, and the name seems to me like it should be Windows running on Linux. We'll see what anyone has to say. – xiota Aug 21 at 10:44
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    I ignore wsl as much as a I can >:-D – Rinzwind Aug 21 at 11:29
  • @xiota I added some stats about WSL questions to your post, I believe that they can be interesting by showcasing the problem. I probably wouldn't have posted my answer had I done that little search first. – Dan Aug 23 at 7:39
  • @Dan What about the stats changes your answer or makes it so you wouldn't have posted had you known? – xiota Aug 23 at 8:39
  • There are many unanswered questions regarding WSL, about 37% of them. That's a very high rate. I don't have a good answer for that, and I sort of don't fully agree with my own answer anymore. I'll try to add my opinion later if I have any. – Dan Aug 23 at 10:37
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I determine a topic-ness of a subject in two separate parts:

  • It's about Ubuntu or one of its derivatives or anything related to them (which is precisely the quote you mention in your question).
  • It's about an official Canonical product.

The second part is backed by the following text in the help center about the questions that we can ask about:

Questions that you may ask:

  • [...]
  • Services provided by Ubuntu and Canonical.
  • [...]

WSL falls in the second part, which is an official Canonical product. So I do not vote to close as off-topic virtually anything regarding WSL. That also includes installing it on Windows. Whether it's better suited to be asked on a Windows-specific Q&A site is irrelevant in my opinion. Same reason as to why Ubuntu questions can be valid on Ask Ubuntu and Unix & Linux.

This reasoning of mine falls back to when Canonical had the, now discontinued, cross-platform Ubuntu One sync product. Any questions about that product used to be on-topic such as How to install Ubuntu One Windows Beta on XP?.

  • I think you're right that it should be on topic based on our rules. That's what the linked discussion concluded as well. But this question is more about how we can draw the line. More importantly, do we even have the expertise here to support it? I know I don't. Maybe we should shunt any question that is somehow specific to WSL (things like how to access Windows files on WSL etc) over to Super User? Not because they're off topic, but because we might not be able to answer them. – terdon Aug 21 at 17:30
  • @terdon I avoid WSL questions as well. But I've seen people answer those questions even when the problems are Windows-related. Also, I don't think it would be fair to close some WSL questions as off-topic while keeping others open. But on the hand, looking at some stats, out of 416 questions there are 92 open questions with no answers whatsoever. – Dan Aug 22 at 16:15
  • Yes, that's what I'm afraid of. While they maybe on topic according to our rules, there's no point in having them on topic if we can't answer. – terdon Aug 22 at 16:18

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