Referring to: Debian Stable vs Ubuntu LTS for Server?

This seems to be considered a valid question by the diamond mods (at least I conclude that from looking at the highest rated answer), but I'd like to know why?

My first reaction would be to consider this not a practical, answerable question[]: it's asking for an opinion.

The "mod" answer starts with

Well I don't see why people are making a fuss about the quality of the question. It's clearly a decision that lots of developers will want to weigh up before deploying.

(shouldn't that be somewhere else by the way? that's a bit meta, not really part of the answer is it?).

While I agree that having a question/answer pair to help us with this problem would be great, but wouldn't you want to have something more real? I could imagine a question like

I need to make this decision: what are the differences concerning Foo and Bar between Ubuntu and Debian, and how will they affect me?"

would have serious use, but the question as it stands reads "what is better", and together with

I keep switching back and forth, and I need to decide so I can recommend one or the other to a client. Right now, I think I am going to choose Debian Stable.

(no support for decision, no reasonings, arguments one way or the other etc) it seems like a weak question to me. Why the need for specifically defending this question in an answer? What did I miss?

  • 1
    A bunch of questions in 2010 were when we were still figuring out what was ontopic and what wasn't. Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 13:27
  • Atleast that question should be editted, Now it looks horrible
    – Tachyons
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


You refer a lot about "mod" as if that entitled anyone with super duper automatic instant up votes or rights over what stays or not on site.

Just a quick note: Oli was elected moderator in Feb '11, look at the date on the answer and you will see that anything he wrote there, he did it as a normal user and whatever comments he did on the question had nothing to do with what you see him doing as a moderator.

(Moving on)

That question was made when the site was just launched, things are much better defined and re-defined over these 2 years. Some questions existing on that time would not be accepted now a days because they involve discussion aspects more fitted for forums or other social media.

Even so, having a look at it and comparing it with some border edge questions we have here I would say it is acceptable to at least try to answer it. It may sound confusing but if you focus on the title instead of the body of the question: Why would you choose Ubuntu LTS for Debian Stable as a server?

What would you say is the biggest difference between those?

That was answered by Oli on a good fashioned manner defending his point of view:

I think the prime consideration and comparison between debian stable and an Ubuntu LTS is security and general package updates.

He further explains release lifetime from both LTS and Debian Stable and chooses the one he thinks would fit best his requirement.

That is a great answer to a silly simple question. Got up votes because of it. If you dont agree that a release lifetime is something to worry when comparing possible server candidates feel free to show your anonymous appreciation by voting it down.

**My personal 5 cents on this post **

It really makes not difference. I mean, even if 5 people would agree here and close that post as NRAQ, its still a good answer. We can delete everything in it but apparently it had 10k views in 2 years. Its old, it came when the site is young, its answered on a good way. I would not do anything to it and leave it just the way it is...

  • I don't agree with what you think that I think about mods. I was just the reason why I brought this up, because I do think a mod is probably (and might even 'should be'?) more knowledgable about the site? Anyway, I don't think you should try and massage this to a discussion about if we should close older offtopic questions. The question I had was if this is ontopic or not. If the answer is that it is ontopic, don't make it more complicated by telling that you don't mind it hanging around :). Further: I don't think any "why would YOU.." is ontopic ? Any answer would be valid...
    – Nanne
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 14:23
  • Just focus on the last paragraph. Explains all the reasoning behind not closing it. If you dont agree with my reasoning about mods or not mods then dont include them in your questions if its not relevant, when we answer questions on the site we are just normal users as everyone else. Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 21:44
  • I know, I know, didn't mean anything more then that it added to my confusion, you don't need to explain and/or defend.
    – Nanne
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 21:50
  • Im not, expecting there was not offence or confusion here, we are all just humans ;) Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 22:01

The question isn't perfect but it is very clear on what it wants. Pick whether Ubuntu LTS or Debian Stable is better for professional deployment and explain why.

Unfortunately people on the whole are allergic to the word "better". They see it and shriek on about subjectiveness and the lack of ability to answer something without bias — you're doing something similar here — but as my answer highlights, this particular question can be answered. Ubuntu LTS has very clear advantages as a platform.

My intro paragraph is trying to highlight that a distro-comparison is something that real world people will have interest in, iff there's a decent answer. Hindsight has shown this question to be popular so while it might not be the very model of a modern major-general, popular interest (real or theorised) can trump the rules... They're more what you'd call "guidelines".

And my ♦ means nothing in the dizzying world of answers. As Bruno pointed out, I didn't have it back then but even if I did, it wouldn't have made my answer any more or less correct.

And to be clear: I think it's fair to question why this question went the way it did (it's good to know these things when you're joining the story after a couple of years) but I don't think there's any need for action here. I'd do things the same way today.

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