(Inspired by this question about Mint. )

You only have to look at Wikipedia to find a long long list of Ubuntu derivatives - should we allow, or even actively encourage, questions regarding these on Ask Ubuntu?


I don't think it will be useful, there's no way to tell if an unofficial derivative has the same setup/versions/packages as an official Ubuntu release, it will just lead to confusion.

Those questions should just go on the Unix and Linux Stack Exchange. There's no need to leave disparaging comments or downvoting the person for posting the wrong thing, just flag it for migration it and put "This should be on unix/linux se" in the text field so a moderator knows it needs to be moved.

  • For bonus points be neighborly and upvote if appropriate on UL and flag comments that will then be out of context.

Sort of the same reason you wouldn't post about an unofficial derivative on an ubuntu list, or ask for ubuntu support on ask.debian.net, etc.

See also:

  • 9
    Although proper migration is not yet an option, the neighbourly approach would be to direct such questions to the Unix and Linux site. – moberley Nov 8 '10 at 1:50
  • 4
    I've created a request to enable this migration path - being able to migrate questions feel so much more friendly than just closing them! – 8128 Nov 21 '10 at 8:54
  • With the flagging interface, what text box? The something else one? There isn't one ofor migration. – hexafraction Aug 16 '12 at 23:10
  • So there's a way to tell of an official derivatives has the same set-up/version/packages? What about users using 3rd party repositories? how are they different? – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 3:06
  • All official derivatives build their ISOs and packages from the same build infrastructure that's we know they have the same versions and packages. I don't understand what 3rd party packages has to do with the question? – Jorge Castro Dec 18 '13 at 3:15
  • I think Linux Mint should be allowed. It uses the Ubuntu repos, so Linux Mint users are essentially running the same software with very similar configuration. The only difference is the included software. – John Scott Nov 29 '14 at 16:32
  • @JohnScott: The problem with that is that where do you draw the line? People might argue for all sorts of different Ubuntu-based distros, even if the differences from the original Ubuntu are huge. But how many differences is too many? It's easier for us just to draw the line where we know what there is otherwise things could get very confusing. Another thing is that, Linux Mint may be similar now, but what about in future? – user364819 Feb 27 '17 at 16:56

NOTICE: This post was written long ago in 2011, when the FAQ was where we pointed people for what was or was not on topic. In the intervening four+ years the FAQ for this type of information has been replaced by the Help Center page on "What topics can I ask about here?". The original content of this answer, however, is left here for historical purposes.

If I may at least point at the FAQ... https://askubuntu.com/faq

We welcome questions about:

  • using and administering Ubuntu, including official Ubuntu derivatives.
  • running third-party applications on Ubuntu.
  • development on Ubuntu.
  • Any question not mentioned below or here are great! There are no "dumb" questions!

This is not the right place for:

  • Linux Mint, Backtrack, and other Linux distributions (try our friends at Unix & Linux Stack Exchange).
  • Bug reports (How do I submit a bug?).
  • Issues with the next version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu+1) (More information about Alpha and Beta release issues).

Given the aforementioned, I believe that Mint and unofficial derivatives (including Crunchbang) should not be supported here, therefore should be marked as offtopic.

And even though this is not IRC, from what I can tell, the official IRC support has its limits. If I may quote the factoids of their bot, ubottu:

There are some Ubuntu derivatives that we cannot provide support for due to repository and software changes. Please consult their websites for more information. Examples: gNewSense (support in #gnewsense), Linux Mint (see !mint), LinuxMCE (support in #linuxmce), CrunchBang (support in #crunchbang), BackTrack (support in #backtrack-linux), Ultimate Edition

Perhaps, due to that, these should not be on-topic as well? (just saying)


My gut feeling is that this is okay, providing the question would also apply on Ubuntu.

So for instance that networking question would apply equally to Ubuntu (as it's a derivative) so would be on-topic, however if the question was about Mint specific applications/community then it would be off-topic.

  • 8
    +1. Of course, if it's a question that applies equally to Mint, say, as Ubuntu, then you could just lie and say it's Ubuntu (if people aren't going to allow those questions here). – Skilldrick Nov 9 '10 at 14:08
  • 2
    @Skilldrick So if it's okay to lye about what OS you use, why not about how many SE accounts you have? Clearly this is not behaviour we want to encourage, and thus I support this answer, but not your comment. – virtualxtc Dec 18 '13 at 3:11
  • If a question applies to Ubuntu as well as to non-Ubuntu distros, it belongs on Unix&Linux. – Dan Dascalescu Sep 4 '16 at 1:37

As of the present moment I find no problem with questions being asked relating to ubuntu derivatives. But come natty narhwhal and the long list of radically new features proposed for it, that would be a problem. Mint is by far the most popular derivative and its developer clement lefevbre has already said NO to UNITY and WAYLAND. I think we would significant differences cropping up in the near future.

  • Even with Unity and Wayland as default in 11.04, I think a lot of Ubuntu users who upgrade will use GNOME and X anyway, so many of these questions may still be relevant. Not to mention all users on versions prior to Natty. – Roddie Nov 17 '10 at 10:29

I think it is more acceptable if we start another StackExchange sites under askubuntu.com >> maybe something like unofficial.askubuntu.com, then you can ask all about those mint, backtrack, kali linux, ubuntu christian, sabily, or even Blankon at it.

then everyone live happily after that.

  • 6
    Why do that when Unix & Linux is alive and welcoming? – muru Apr 2 '15 at 14:29
  • what I first thought is .... well, they are ubuntu derivatives. but after I rethink about it ... yeah. this idea is stupid. – Rinaldo Jonathan Apr 3 '15 at 9:51

I personally find it a bit upsetting that this is even a question! I originally signed up for ask ubuntu after using it as a guest for quite awhile. Why did I finally register? I found the questions & answers to be more relevant than other Ubuntu forums/blogs etc. Now I am considering leaving Ask Ubuntu. I feel that this restriction to discuss only official ubuntu's goes against the core values of the Linux & FOSS ideals. While I do agree that this stack should be used **ONLY for Ubuntu based distros, I do not see why they must only be those ending in -buntu! The idea that a question about other Ubuntu based distros (such as Zorin) is not relevant & is therefore immediately closed to be quite restrictive & yes, a little insulting. While many unofficial Ubuntu based distro have there own set of tweaks & features, at there core they are STLL UBUNTU & in every such case I have seen, funtion closely enough to be TOTALLY relevant here! The freedom ideal that Linux was founded on is essential to me. While rules are a necessity, overly restrictive rules annoy me. Hopefully tese closed attitudes will change on Ask Ubuntu. But until then, I will try to find a more open minded resource!

  • 10
    The difference is that Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu share the same package archive, while the unofficial derivatives add and replace packages. In the same way you wouldn't report an Ubuntu bug against Debian without first verifying that Debian is also affected, you should verify your question is relevant against Ubuntu first. If it is, then ask it in the context of Ubuntu. If it isn't, then your problem may be due to one of the areas where your distro isn't Ubuntu. – James Henstridge Apr 16 '12 at 8:23
  • 5
    @LinuxPCplus - we are "not closed" to non-official derivatives. If an OP has demonstrated that they have reproduced the issue in Ubuntu/Kubuntu etc then it will be a fair question for this SE site. But as James has said, without knowing what the non-official derivative has actually changed in their core software, it makes answering questions very difficult. – fossfreedom Apr 16 '12 at 10:40
  • 7
    We support Ubuntu and all the official respins because we know what they are, what their packages are and generally know how to fix their problems. Random-ass donateware respins like Zorin are unknown quantities. They might function like Ubuntu but they're not Ubuntu. – Oli Apr 16 '12 at 11:03
  • 5
    There's a stackexchange site for non-Ubuntu distros: unix.stackexchange.com It's quite good! – Jorge Castro Apr 16 '12 at 14:40

Linux Mint IS Ubuntu. It has all of the same packages, the same kernel, the same everything, but the creators of Mint add on to it. Which is why Mint runs its own variation of gnome-shell, and/or MATE. Mint should be supported here, as long as the questions asked are about similarities that Mint and Ubuntu share. It's impossible to ignore the fact that Mint, in its current form, is just about the same thing as an Ubuntu at its base. Askubuntu supports questions about other DE's ON Ubuntu, there is absolutely no difference in asking about Ubuntu with Gnome shell and Linux Mint, as long as the questions are about the similarities that Mint and Ubuntu share. A policy of not answering easy-to-answer questions about Mint would just be harmful to Linux knowledge in general, and would make it harder for new users to learn. I personally started on Mint, and wouldn't have continued my quest on Linux if it weren't for searching -Linux mint help on (fill in the blank), and getting results on the Mint forum. However, the mint forum isn't the best. I didn't have the answer to a lot of questions until I realized that Mint was just a modified version of Ubuntu, and if Askubuntu were around at the time I would have discovered many more vital bits of knowledge needed to run Ubuntu.

  • 4
    I"d say argue that with the Community Council. But because i'm annoying, another quote from Ubottu: "Linux Mint is not a supported derivative of Ubuntu. Please seek support in #linuxmint-help on irc.spotchat.org" And since this stuff is set by the IRC Council based on what the universe of support says... well... :P – Thomas Ward Dec 1 '11 at 19:39
  • 13
    This is AskUbuntu, not AskTheManyFlavoursOfLinux. For that you need Unix and Linux – rlemon Dec 1 '11 at 19:42
  • What about AskUbuntuAndItsClosestCousins? – user308164 Sep 5 '16 at 8:01

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