I've seen a few answers which are essentially saying "install a different Linux distro, and you won't have this problem". Even if the answerer is acting in good faith, trying to be helpful, but the technical fix is to switch distros, is this acceptable?

Based on How should answers which basically equate to "give up and use x instead" be handled?, I am inclined to think that answers suggesting using a different OS aren't real answers. Should I flag them as non-answers, not welcome, or maybe just downvote them?

An interesting recent example of this is here: How do I install Alientvault SIEM manually? . Not the epitome of the type of answer, but I'm inclined to think it should have been a comment.

My suspicion is that this is probably best dealt with on a case by case basis. The questions I was thinking most of were where someone is using Ubuntu and having a problem that looks soluble within Ubuntu. If I'm asking specifically for Ubuntu help (not 'how do I get my scanner to work in Linux', e.g.), and you want me to stop using it ("use NetBSD, it works there!"), you're kind of working in a parallel reality. I mean, that kind of thing can make a good comment or data point, but not so much an answer.

Note : I originally had a link to a pretty non-germane example answer, so I've edited to remove it.

  • 4
    Based on Oli's answer in the question you linked, "install a different OS" can be a perfectly valid answer, as long as it is constructive. Saying "No. What you are suggesting is much better done/ only possible on another OS/distro" is useful as an answer. We shouldn't let Ubuntu advocacy get in the way of providing useful answers, should we? Commented May 19, 2012 at 10:48
  • 1
    @Chan-HoSuh can you please move your comments in to the answer section. Commented May 20, 2012 at 13:22
  • On the edit with the AlientVault answer, I'm not inclined to think that one should have been a comment. It touches on another issue that frustrates me, the 'I have this severe need for something very specific, but I do not want to do it the easy way.' I would be more inclined to close as too localised. Commented May 24, 2012 at 22:34
  • @hbdgaf I think that in examples such as the the one you mention where the OP is unwilling to accept a solution simply because they don't like the approach they should be directed to the final point here: askubuntu.com/help/how-to-ask
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


I think we're going to see a lot more of the "don't use unity" type answers for cheaper/older/lower-end hardware. I don't think it's a bad thing to say really, it's just how it is. It does cripple some hardware.

I don't think saying use a different DE equates to "install a different OS".

  • I agree there, and I think that's a big difference.
    – belacqua
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 0:31

Based on @Chan-Ho Suh's comment, asked to be moved by @MarcoCeppi:

I think on Ask Ubuntu, the problem isn't really people suggesting a different OS as much as suggesting another desktop environment, web browser, or some switch which is likely to be undesirable since it is so major. I see from looking at your example now that the answers are suggesting another DE not another distro (as aking12 pointed out below). Perhaps those answers are not so good (I can't tell since I don't know how resource-heavy Unity really is on 12.04), but a lot of people seem to think Unity is pretty "heavy" and so it may be that the only really useful answer is to not use Unity.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .