I don't mean to be controversial here. But out of real interest: I notice that a question like What is the best notebook to run Ubuntu? attracts quite a lot of upvotes.

That does make sense: before people buy hardware they would like to inform themselves. Why is it though that we do not accept questions asking for shopping recommendations?

Is it:

  • to avoid spam (hardware vendors answering)?
  • because it is too subjective?
  • because there is no guarantee that the suggested hardware will work?
  • ...

Should hardware recommendations not simply get the same status as software recommendations? Again, I'm not searching for controversy.

If certain vendors do not play nicely with ubuntu, it might be nicer to know in advance (I'm looking at you Nvidia Optimus). Also I think hardware will become more and more important in the mobile market.

Would these questions be an added value?

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  • @JorgeCastro Nice read. The difference between "Mac Book Air" vs. "Mac Book Pro" questions, though, is that here the question is almost always: how nicely does hardware x play with ubuntu. That seems a more relevant (and possibly less subjective) question. – don.joey Apr 18 '14 at 15:06
  • Yeah so I think doing something like "What should I look for when purchasing a wireless card?" or something more generic like that would work. – Jorge Castro Apr 18 '14 at 15:34

All of them and more:

  • Who can answer any and every questions of this? Who are the "experts"?
  • Are possible canonical answers? Wouldn't they are be too specific for that piece of hardware?
  • Just how many questions are possible about this? To be an authoritative site we would need a question about each piece of hardware, and this would bury other questions that are valid and answerable.
  • They normally ask the wrong questions. People asks "will X work with Ubuntu", we answer "yeah" or "nope", then they continue asking "how to make it work?" which is the real question.
  • They tend to be obsolete quickly. A good Q/A will have relevance for more than couple of years, shopping recommendations will change with each "boom".

  • to avoid spam (hardware vendors answering)?

  • because it is too subjective?

  • because there is no guarantee that the suggested hardware will work?

Yes, yes, yes.

Should hardware recommendations not simply get the same status as software recommendations?

I see a problem with that, there's more into software recommendation than just shopping recommendation. First, with hardware/shopping recommendations there isn't a specific goal outside "I want something that works with the money I have".

With software recommendation you can have specific requirements, for determinated tasks, with certain constrains, etc. I'm not saying that all software recommendations are good answerable questions, in fact most of the current ones are either too broad or opinion based.

In fact SR (which is a site dedicated to the topic) has guidance for asking for alternatives and how to ask for useful and specific software recommendations. This rules can be applied to HW/shopping recommendations, yes, but then, most of users doesn't know how to ask properly and reshaping the question is sometimes outside our possibilities.

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