Question in question: CPU Technology Licensing - Why Not?

To the best of my understanding, I am asking a question in the right place, per https://superuser.com/help/on-topic, under the category "computer hardware."

If I'm wrong it must fall under "issues specific to corporate IT support and networks," but that is not proven to be the case, in my eyes. Can someone help me understand?

Here are some similar questions that I thought meant my question would be received better: Windows 7 Licensing - Old Computer to New, AMD hardware design specifics: why slower at "numerical" tasks?

  • 2
    I've edited your title to make it more likely for you to receive helpful answers. Also, a note for others' convenience: the question is currently still open, but with two close votes, one of which is a custom off-topic reason and the other of which is "primarily opinion-based."
    – Ben N
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:21
  • Thanks! That will definitely help.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:23
  • @Ben_N, I ended up deleting the question.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Questions starting with why that involve human factors (in your case, you're specifically asking why people in a company don't do a particular thing) are off-topic pretty much across the entire SE network.

The reason is that they tend to be very open-ended and don't have any particular right or wrong answer. The best people can do is cite rumors or articles that might quote speculation by industry insiders.

And even if you could get a perfect quote from the CEO of AMD stating explicitly the answer to your question in a very recent post on amd.com (to be sure it's 100% authoritative) and had a link and everything, it'd still be off-topic, because your question boils down to a person or entity making a decision to do something, not technology.

So your question would be on-topic (in theory) on a hypothetical but non-existent "Human Factors Stack Exchange" or something, but Super User is a technology site, and your question isn't about technology.

In fact, most questions starting with "why" are probably off-topic for Super User, unless the answer can be made precise, objective, supported by evidence, and completely unrelated to behaviors or decisions of human beings.

"Why can't 64-bit binaries run on a 32-bit Windows OS?" might be okay, since you're asking something that can be answered with a technical exposition. This is just an example, but it might not even be a really good one.

But in your case, there is no way we can interpret your question that would lead us to talking about technology -- every valid interpretation of your question boils down to people and the decisions they do or don't make and the reasons for them doing what they do. Super User is not a sociology site.

  • I appreciate the perspective. Other unmolested questions, two of which are linked above, had led me (erroneously, it would seem) to believe that licensing surrounding technology was an acceptable topic. It still rankles me that this was not the actual reason supplied by those seeking to close my question, but I do accept and understand your interpretation.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 5, 2017 at 19:40
  • @AdamWykes - In order for a question about a software license to be on topic, we must be able to quote the terms of the license itself, otherwise we can't even read the license in order to submit an authorative answer. It is my believe that, any answer that isn't written from a authorative position isn't all that helpful. The question about a license can also move into a gray area of if something is legal, questions asking if something is legal, are also not on topic, might not even be on topic at Law Stack Exchange
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2017 at 22:27
  • As for my position on authorative answers, if I wanted "maybe, perhaps, could be, I believe" type answers I would go to Yahoo Answers or Quroa for my answers to my questions.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2017 at 22:29
  • AMD hardware design specifics: why slower at “numerical” tasks? isn't even a question about a license. The word doesn't even appear in the question once.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2017 at 22:30
  • There is nothing wrong with, Windows 7 Licensing - Old Computer to New, that is a good example of what type of license questions are on topic.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2017 at 22:31
  • @Ramhound, I have to admit that I find the above answer much more coherent and useful than your expansion upon it. Your interpretation is at odds with parts of this answer, and I find your slavish dedication to authority inimical to the spirit of DIY investigation that Stack Exchange works on. If I need authority, I'll go to the manufacturer, my misguided friend.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 5, 2017 at 23:16
  • There isn't anything incoherent about my comment.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2017 at 23:23
  • @AdamWykes I have to agree with Ramhound that the other two questions you linked are very different from the one you have deleted. Neither one is a "human factors" question (both the question and the answers are about things -- CPUs, software licenses, etc.) whereas in the question you deleted, the question is about the behavior or decisions of people. That's why those other two questions have been upvoted and not closed. Apr 6, 2017 at 4:20
  • @Ramhound There is, though.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 6, 2017 at 5:13
  • @allquixotic Seeing as how my question would actually be better paraphrased as "what is it that prevents x86 CPU makers from licensing tech" - which might have included technical reasons or licensing reasons - it was a lot more like those questions than Ramhound's characterization is. But don't get it twisted - I deleted the question because I agree with you in that since everyone and their mother seems to think it MUST be a human decisions kind of thing, it doesn't really fit in here.
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 6, 2017 at 5:17
  • @AdamWykes, "my question would actually be better paraphrased as what is it that prevents x86 CPU makers from licensing tech"--that would also be off-topic. SU is about personal computer hardware and software. To the extent user license terms affect your ability to use your computer, that would tend to be on-topic within certain limits. But questions about one manufacturer licensing another manufacturer's technology for their future computer designs really isn't about solving problems with the computer you own.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 6, 2017 at 5:37
  • @fixer1234 And if that were one of the stipulations about asking questions on this site that I had seen on the FAQ page I read, I'd never have asked the question. Anyone else care to say the same basic thing that I've actually already agreed to already?
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 6, 2017 at 5:40
  • @AdamWykes, Please don't feel that people are being adversarial or ganging up on you. You've had a lot of well-received posts and people value your contribution to the site. The site guidelines are purposely a bit vague to allow flexibility, so articulating why certain things are off-topic isn't always easy, particularly when people are looking at the question from very different perspectives. There's a difference between acquiescing and understanding, and it wasn't clear from your comment whether you understood why. I wasn't trying to be redundant, just offering another explanation.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 6, 2017 at 6:12
  • @AdamWykes I respectfully disagree. Just because you don't want an authorative answer doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for authorative answers otherwise we will just get "well I think this might help" type answers (which again if I wanted that quality of an answer I would have came to Superuser). I am not sure how you can not agree authorative answers are a good thing?
    – Ramhound
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:48
  • @Ramhound To me, an authoritative answer is one coming from an authority. It is not simply a "good" answer; it is one given by an authority on the subject. In your official capacity as "random internet guy" on stack exchange, one is definitively not a recognized authority in ANY subject. Stack Exchange exists because apart from experts and authorities, there is consensus and individual research, both of which have their place in my lines of inquiry. I think you are misusing the site if you believe answers found here are "authoritative"
    – Adam Wykes
    Apr 6, 2017 at 12:57

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