My understanding is that we consider questions about running Ubuntu One in Windows to be on-topic for this site (thanks to Jorge Castro for clarifying this in chat).

But we close at least some questions about running official Ubuntu software (by which I mean, software developed by Canonical and part of the overall Ubuntu project) on non-Ubuntu systems as off-topic, like this question about Unity on distros other than Ubuntu.

Is the distinction just that Ubuntu One is officially supported on Windows, but Unity is not officially supported on any OS but Ubuntu? Or is there a more textured/complex approach that we take, in deciding whether or not a question about running Ubuntu (or Ubuntu-related) software on another OS is on-topic?

My motivation for posting this is this question about running Ubuntu Software Center in Linux Mint. This seems to me to be more similar to a question about running U1 on Windows than a question about Unity on other platforms, since like a Windows user running U1, a Linux Mint user may need to run the Software Center to access content through a service provided by Canonical. (The question is specifically about accessing proprietary payware in the Software Center, in Linux Mint 13.)

Actually, I think that question should be considered off-topic and closed, as the alternative seems to be for us to give preference to questions about obtaining and running proprietary software over questions about FOSS (even if that's not the effect we intend).1 I don't want to stand in the way of people using proprietary software, but I think free open source software should receive at least the level of community support that proprietary software receives. Furthermore, there are a number of similarities between Ubuntu and some of its unofficial derivatives like Mint, which might tempt us to consider some Mint questions on-topic...but we don't, and I don't see why we should start now.

With that said, I'd like to gather some feedback before voting to close that question (and others like it that might come around in the future).

1. To clarify, I am not saying the Ubuntu One client is proprietary software (it's not, it's FOSS), but rather than if AU allows questions about USC on non-Ubuntu distros because you need USC to buy proprietary software, but doesn't allow other similar questions about accessing other functionality, then we're giving preference to questions about proprietary software.

  • I'm very tempted to just close this as a duplicate of meta.askubuntu.com/questions/684/…, since it's almost exactly the same question, but I'll let the community hash this one out.
    – jrg
    Jun 5, 2012 at 1:29
  • My intent here is to ask if questions about other OSes are ever considered on-topic due to the special circumstance of running official Ubuntu software (but on the other OS), except U1 on Windows. But I wouldn't object if this were closed as a duplicate of that different and more general question; I would just take that as a, "No, U1 on Windows is the only such situation we consider to produce on-topic questions for this site." (To clarify further, Mint's status as a derivative of Ubuntu isn't important to this question--it could just as well have been USC on Solaris.) Jun 5, 2012 at 1:33

1 Answer 1


The answer is:


Other than the Windows Ubuntu One situation, as of right now there is no reason any questions about say, Unity on Arch would be on-topic, or Ubuntu Software Center on Solaris (How they got that working is beyond me!) or Mint, or straight Debian, or some other Linux distro.

Related: Are Linux Mint (and other unofficial derivatives of Ubuntu) questions on topic?

  • Did somebody get USC working on Solaris? I just brought that up as a hypothetical example... Jun 5, 2012 at 1:44
  • @EliahKagan No clue. I was just rolling along with your example.
    – jrg
    Jun 5, 2012 at 1:50
  • 3
    Personally I disagree with the decision to include u1 client for windows in askubuntu ,because this is askubuntu ,not askcanonical
    – Tachyons
    Jun 5, 2012 at 5:54
  • 1
    @abcd That's another debate. I don't like it (much) either, but again, that's another debate. :)
    – jrg
    Jun 5, 2012 at 10:53

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