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The Alternate Title is:

At What Point Does an Official Ubuntu Flavor Become Off-Topic on Ask Ubuntu?

  • It must be agreed that a Live Ubuntu install is on-topic on Ask Ubuntu.

  • It must also be agreed that a Persistent or full Ubuntu install, with no 3rd party apps installed, is on-topic.

  • It should also be agreed that a Persistent or full Ubuntu install, with 3rd party apps, is on-topic, as noted in Ask Ubuntu Help.

  • Does customizing the boot screen and wallpaper make the Ubuntu install off-topic?

  • If I change the text in the splash screen or grub.cfg from Xubuntu to C.S.Cameron, does my install become off topic?

  • If a dedicated person does the above and adds third party engineering software to a Ubuntu flavor, does it make the flavor off-topic?

CAELinux is standard Xubuntu that includes advanced engineering software for CAE, CAD, CFD, FEM, FEA, Multiphysic Simulation, Electronics Design, Scientific Computing, Programming and Mathematical Modelling, There is over 4GB of Ubuntu 3rd party software.

xfce4-about confirms that Xubuntu is running:

enter image description here

The latest version of CAELinux is 2020 which is Xubuntu 18.04 with added programs. The question of Xubuntu 18.04 support is covered by "Any flavor of Ubuntu outside of the flavor team's 'support' period is still supported by Ask Ubuntu until the overarching Ubuntu release reaches EoSS or EoL (per the core "Ubuntu" version and not the flavors)." see https://meta.askubuntu.com/a/19617/43926.

To make the question a little more interesting, running sudo do-release-upgrade -d upgraded CAELinux 2020 to Xubuntu 20.04 and kept all of the installed apps except for FreeCAD. I was able to upgrade FreeCAD by hand.

enter image description here

Running HardInfo showed that CAELinux was now Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS with Xubuntu desktop session.

enter image description here

So the question is:

  • Is CAELinux Supported on Ask Ubuntu?

  • If not, at what point did it stop being Xubuntu and become off-topic?

  • If not, does CAELinux become on-topic after doing an upgrade even if nothing changes except the logos?

A Rose by any other name...

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    I don't know anything about CAELinux, so I'll keep this as a comment. It's not about which DE the flavour use. It's more about the extra or different repositories they offer. I'll take Mint as an example. Mint offers 3 different DEs: Cinnamon, Xfce, and MATE. But that's not why it is not supported. It's because Mint uses its own PPAs. So questions related to Mint will not be supported here as they will likely be related to modifications made exclusively in the Mint PPAs.
    – Dan
    Jun 22 at 12:05
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    @Dan Mint has its own repositories, but not its own PPAs as far as I know. In fact it uses Ubuntu PPAs. The reason it is off topic is that the installation is different, they can have different kernel versions, different default repositories etc.
    – terdon
    Jun 22 at 13:37
  • @terdon well TIL that "PPA" and "repositories" are not synonyms! Thanks for the corrections!
    – Dan
    Jun 22 at 16:38
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First, my proposed answers:

  • Is CAELinux Supported on Ask Ubuntu?

    No.

  • If not, at what point did it stop being Xubuntu and become off-topic?

    When you installed a non-official Ubuntu flavor.

  • If not, does CAELinux become on-topic after doing an upgrade even if nothing changes except the logos?

    No, because you are using a system which wasn't installed as an official flavor.


Let's make one thing clear from the beginning: our rules for what is and what is not on topic will never be 100% rational. We need to draw the line somewhere, and we all know the differences between the various available Ubuntus are usually tiny. The problem is that we, as a community, cannot know the exact details of what makes every single existing Ubuntu-based distribution different to the others, so we need some way of deciding. And yes, this means that sometimes we will make something off topic that doesn't necessarily need to be off topic. I just don't see any way around that and we need to draw the line somewhere.

So, the place we've decided to draw the line has been on the officially listed Ubuntu flavors. And the way we've decided to define what you have installed is by, well, what you installed. So if the originally installed system was an official Ubuntu flavor, then it's on topic and will remain on topic even if you modify it extensively because you started from an on topic flavor.

Conversely, if you started from an non-official flavor, so something that is not on topic, then it will remain off topic no matter how you later modify it.

If this feels like a slightly arbitrary line, that's because it is. It is also, however, the only clear and unambiguous line I can think of and the only one that has ever come up in the many, many meta discussions on the subject we've had over the years.

From what you describe, it certainly sounds like anything that is applicable to CAELinux will also be applicable to supported Ubuntus. You know this, but most of us won't. And how about SomeOtherLinux? Is that one close enough to be supported? How can we know? We need some sort of general rule that can be applied and which doesn't require all of our users to have detailed knowledge of an Ubuntu-based distribution in order to know if it is supported or not.

Which brings us back to the, admittedly arbitrary, line in the sand:

In order for your question to be on topic, you must be on a system that was originally installed as an official Ubuntu flavor.

Yes, this is sometimes needlessly restrictive. Yes, it is hard to defend for edge cases like the one you mention here. However it is the best distinction we've come up with so far.

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    In that case, a person wanting help with CAELinux just needs to say they are using Xubuntu and there is nothing we can do about it. What is the use of trying to ban it, that would be impossible? Trying to draw a line with CAELinux would not impress anybody, except ourselves. Jun 22 at 13:18
  • @C.S.Cameron of course. And a person using Arch Linux could say they are using Kubuntu instead. We can't help that. The point is that this site, from the very beginning, has been focused on Ubuntu and has decided that non-Ubuntu is off topic. Since there is no clear way of deciding if something is or is not Ubuntu and since we have decided that only Ubuntu is on topic, we need to find a way of drawing the line. So the line is drawn at the official Ubuntu flavors. I have no idea what you even mean by "impressing", so I'll ignore that part of your comment.
    – terdon
    Jun 22 at 13:36
  • @C.S.Cameron if you want to argue that anything based on Ubuntu should be on topic, I might even agree with you. But that is a different discussion. Feel free to open it, but please make sure to have a way of deciding what is and is not on topic. Should Debian be on topic since Ubuntu is based on Debian? Should Mint be on topic? Should we change the name of the site to something else?
    – terdon
    Jun 22 at 13:38
  • From what I can see by perusing CAELinux for about a week, is that it is Xubuntu. There are a few extra programs added and a few logos are revised, but CAELinux is as much Xubuntu as if I made the modifications myself. xfce4-about and Hardinfo tell us that. Jun 22 at 13:43
  • @C.S.Cameron I am sure you're right. The question is, how can the rest of us know? How can we have a general rule that does not require our users to have detailed knowledge of each of the dozens Ubuntu-derived distributions out there?
    – terdon
    Jun 22 at 13:44
  • I would hope our users would not be answering questions about an OS they are not familiar with. We are not required to answer all questions, just the ones we know something about. (This of course is based on an ideal world). Jun 22 at 14:24
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    @C.S.Cameron we are not "required" to do anything at all! However, this is a community run site, so we need rules that the community can understand. This includes rules for what is and is not on topic since we need people to be able to vote and vote correctly. So, "it is on topic if you know for a fact that the question is 100% applicable to Ubuntu" is a rule that only the most expert users can follow and therefore cannot be applied here. We need a rule that everyone can understand, so one that requires you to have spent a week perusing an OS isn't practical for obvious reasons.
    – terdon
    Jun 22 at 14:29
  • One rule that everyone can understand is not to answer questions that you do not understand and have never researched. Jun 23 at 6:57
  • @C.S.Cameron Another rule that everyone can understand is how to be civil with your statements, of which you continue to grate against that rule. Be less condescending and less abrasive with your behavior, as we have warned you about numerous times.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jun 23 at 19:44
  • @Thomas Ward: There was nothing uncivil, condescending or abrasive intended in my comment. Tendon asked for a rule in his comment and I suggested one. I was also defending my spending time researching a subject before asking the question or giving answers. No offense intended. Jun 24 at 1:32

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