I use Ubuntu for my workstation and administer a lot of Debian servers. In my experience 98% of the times an Ubuntu solution applies on Debian at a similar age and vice versa.

Recently when searching Google for an issue I had on a Debian server, I noticed an Ubuntu answer that doesn't work, so I worked out the solution on my own. I was about to add that as an answer on the question, but somehow decided to come here first. I saw this question When are Debian questions off topic? but it's about questions, not answers.

Is it appropriate to add a Debian answer (for Jessie and later) here that doesn't work on Ubuntu (package name and functionality is different), where an existing answer is valid for Ubuntu Precise and later?

I personally think Debian has a special scope here because Ubuntu is derived from Debian, while distros like Mint or Kali generally don't have any influence on Ubuntu.

  • 10
    Why would you post an answer that by your own admission does not work on Ubuntu, on Ask Ubuntu? Ubuntu may be based on Debian but they are different distributions and Debian is off topic here. The only distributions allowed here are Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Xubuntu. My suggestion to you is to re ask the question at unix.stackexchange.com and answer it there. If you post an answer that doesn't work on Ubuntu here, then the answer is wrong and may cause issues for anyone expecting it to work on Ubuntu.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 12:55
  • @dessert I won't sue you, this time :)
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 20:21
  • 2
  • @dessert that's fair enough, Mark should have posted an answer instead of answering the question in comments.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


If the answer works on Debian but does not work on Ubuntu, then it is not an answer for Ubuntu and the scope of this site. If the solution works on Debian and Ubuntu then it's a valid answer. Otherwise it's not a valid answer and should not be posted.

This said, if the solution works on multiple distributions including Ubuntu then that is a valid answer here.


help/on-topic provides a clear definition which distros are on- and which are off-topic:

Questions that you may ask:

  • Using and administering official Ubuntu flavors: Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Xubuntu.

Questions that you should avoid:

  • Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Backtrack, Gnome-Remix (prior to 13.04), budgie-remix (16.04 and 16.10) and other Linux distributions (try our friends at Unix & Linux Stack Exchange).

Therefore, Debian is off-topic on AU and questions about it should rather be asked on Unix&Linux.

Now if questions are off the scope, are answers as well? Yes indeed, as help/how-to-answer phrases it:

Answer the question

Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative.

While installing Debian may be a viable alternative for some – it’s not really. If the question itself is about Debian however, another rule applies:

Answer well-asked questions

Not all questions can or should be answered here. Save yourself some frustration and avoid trying to answer questions which...

...are not about Ubuntu as defined in the help center.

The only exception I see is an answer which you verified works on Ubuntu. If that’s the case of course there’s noting wrong with adding a line like:

I found this working on both Ubuntu 18.04 and Debian Stretch as well.

If your solution works just for an unsupported distribution search the equivalent question on Unix&Linux and add it there, or create a new Q&A there if necessary – we love good content!


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