In a recent question of mine posted on the AskUbuntu site I was ordered that M$ has to be expanded to stand for Microsoft (probably to allow for indirect advertising of the company). Is indirect advertising the reason that the following abbreviations have not been expanded for a few questions that I have been monitoring since yesterday evening?

  1. PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor)
  2. NTFS (New Technology File System)
  3. CLI (Command line interface)
  4. GUI (Graphical User Interface)
  5. SMB (Server Message Block)
  6. AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) <-- see apple is here
  7. .. and many more.

In fact, I wish to know, that if there is really a standard, or it is as I was told that "you have no freedom of speech" and it is based on the totalitarian whims of the mods (moderators?)?


I have been observing all the answers and comments to this question, and I found them mutually contradictory, confusing and strangling the freedom of speech (as a community stand). I would not like to be "reputed" or "badged" by such a community. I would therefore like to request the mods to remove all my badges and reputation from the StackExchange site. I will keep on contributing to the site to help Ubuntu users and/or asking questions for sharing experiences in my own humble way.

  • 5
    This post doesn't seem very constructive at all. If you in fact used "M$" then you were right to be told to expand it out (you would have probably got away with "MS" since that is their actual accepted acronym). Your prejudice against Microsoft has no place here. This is not a case of infringing on your freedom of speech, and it's not about "totalitarian whims of the mods", and it's not about indirect advertising. Stack Exchange is not a forum platform and we aim to keep all of our content neutral and clean.
    – Flyk
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:31
  • @kalina I would have been happy if there was a freedom of speech. In my previous post I was told by Braiam that there isn't any.
    – Indian
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:37
  • 3
    All content posted on Stack Exchange becomes the property of Stack Exchange from the moment you post it. Freedom of speech is an individual's limited freedom to publish his or her thoughts, Stack Exchange does not have to publish them and as such, any edits made are not a violation of your freedom of speech but Stack Exchange enforcing their right to clean up the content you have submitted to them. This isn't about you. This is about ensuring that content on Stack Exchange is useful, unbiased and inoffensive.
    – Flyk
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:41
  • you're obviously misunderstanding the meaning of "Totalitarian" - Stack Exchange uses a distributed model where all users can edit content, and therefore couldn't be considered totalitarian due to being decentralised. I suggest you read the about page which goes into more detail about how Stack Exchange works, including detail on how any user can make edits and how the privilege system works.
    – Flyk
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:45
  • 3
    @kalina Subscriber content does not become the property of Stack Exchange. It is licensed to Stack Exchange, under terms that give SE only limited rights. Those rights do include the right to publish it (with proper attribution) in edited form. Maybe that's what you meant to say? We all have that right too (see the cc-wiki logo at the bottom right of each page). For more information and important details, see section 3 of the terms of service. Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 3:35
  • There is no freedom of speech on Stack Exchange! A critical note
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 3:45
  • I would not like to be "reputed" or "badged" by such a community. I would therefore like to request the mods to remove all my badges and reputation from the StackExchange site. I will keep on contributing to the site to help Ubuntu users and/or asking questions for sharing experiences in my own humble way.
    – Indian
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 3:46
  • How can I delete my account?
    – Braiam
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 3:54
  • 1
    You're not actually being serious, right?
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 7:08
  • @Indian - if you wish to discuss this further, please pop into the general chat room. Cheers.
    – fossfreedom Mod
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 9:49

3 Answers 3


Acronyms are designed to make life easier for people - Its perfectly fine to say, for example MS Office and MS windows, simply because this saves people the trouble of typing out the whole thing. The problem with using M$ or m$ is that the primary purpose of this is to state a dislike for microsoft software, rather than a proper abbreviation

The big problem with your contention is that every single example you've given is something thats a protocol or something else commonly referred to by a acronym, while microsoft is a proper noun used in full. Its no different from referring to the HyperText Transport Protocol as HTTP or the Extended File System, version 4 as EXT4. You're not using acronyms correctly, and that is not our fault.

In addition PHP is a recursive acronym for "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor"

  • 2
    +1 for providing the actual expansion of PHP. Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:52

The standard is - Expand them whenever it is helpful

There are many I would expand in that list when explaining terms to new users, CLI or GUI for example

This is the GUI(graphical user interface)... the GUI is ...

Same for Apple related:

This uses AFP(Apple filing protocal)... to use AFP...


This has nothing to do with including "Microsoft" or "Apple", The problem you have is you are bringing your prejudices against commercial software to this site - Where we are just trying to help people answer questions!

Treating Microsoft in this manner goes against Ubuntu philosophy, and everyone from the outside world that sees this type of action says to themselves - "They are only using linux because they don't like Microsoft, and they would never pay for any software"

  • 3
    You didn't use "MS", you used "M$" - there is a difference between the two.
    – Flyk
    Commented Nov 19, 2013 at 2:33

M$ is by no means any of the official acronyms of Microsoft Windows, and when used is normally pejoratively and with the intention of make fun of the product witch is Windows.

The ones you mentioned were said by their creators/developers and/or are non-pejorative equivalents to their long version of their names and are OK as they are.

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