(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?


6 Answers 6


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
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 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
    Commented Nov 21, 2010 at 8:54
  • With the flagging interface, what text box? The something else one? There isn't one ofor migration.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 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? Commented Dec 18, 2013 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
    Commented Nov 29, 2014 at 16:32
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 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
    Commented Nov 9, 2010 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 3:11
  • If a question applies to Ubuntu as well as to non-Ubuntu distros, it belongs on Unix&Linux. Commented Sep 4, 2016 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
    Commented Nov 17, 2010 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
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 14:29
  • what I first thought is .... well, they are ubuntu derivatives. but after I rethink about it ... yeah. this idea is stupid. Commented Apr 3, 2015 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. Commented Apr 16, 2012 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 Mod
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 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 Mod
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 11:03
  • 5
    There's a stackexchange site for non-Ubuntu distros: unix.stackexchange.com It's quite good! Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 14:40

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