probably is/should be the canonical tag, with 782 questions. is more Windows-oriented, but is still . is about half-and-half, with half on Windows and half on Linux. is about half OS X and half Linux, and is mostly (95%) OS X. I propose that:

, , , and are retagged into .

Alternatively, reading a couple of the answers here, we could:

retag /-specific questions to temporary tags, mass retag all the others into , then mass retag and questions back.

  • 1
    Added [terminal] and [terminal.app].
    – Hello71
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 1:41
  • 1
    Blimey. That's a lot of the new tag links ... its making my eyes water. :)
    – DMA57361
    Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 18:21

7 Answers 7


I don't believe terminal.app should be retagged as well: Terminal.app refers specifically to Apple's Terminal application part of Mac OS X - a bit of overlap but most questions I've seen tagged terminal.app have to do with settings with the program and less with the command line. If it's to do with the command line and not about the application itself it should be tagged command-line and not terminal.app


I agree with cli->command-line, however I still think there are questions where cmd or terminal/terminal.app are valid and useful tags. Situations where questions deal with the specific terminal/console application should have their own tag.


I think that would be a very good idea. cmd and cli are both command-line interfaces so merging them to command-line shouldn't be a problem.

The difference between Windows and Linux should be made by its accompanying tags...

  • cli also has a .NET meaning. And I favor keeping cmd over command-line, so that each tag is meaningful on its own. Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 18:28

I generally agree, but what about cases where problem is related to CMD.EXE itself and not any other shells on Windows? Maybe those should have separate tag.

  • 3
    I think you should just use [cmd] for that... however, I think this will be a rare occasion.
    – Pylsa
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 19:12

cli can refer to more than just Windows and Linux command line interfaces though. A lot of networking gear is all cli (Cisco IOS, ExtremeOS, JunOS, etc). I know that most of that will pop up on SF rather than SU, though it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

I think cmd is appropriate for Windows, terminal is appropriate for Linux and cli is still applicable in both cases, as well as others.

  • Maybe cli-os for that?
    – Hello71
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 23:41

Whoa, seems like at the time of writing, and are synonyms to .

I can't disagree more with this. The terms "command-line" and "command-line interface" are fairly generic terms meaning, well, the command line. Here's the corresponding Wikipedia page.

On the other hand, "cmd" and "cmd.exe" have a specific meaning – both refer to Window's command-line interpreter (Wikipedia page). It is a command-line shell. You can think of it as Window's equivalent of bash (or whichever shell you prefer).

Making and synonymous to doesn't make sense. It's like making and synonymous to (since bash, powershell, cmd.exe are all command-line shells, you see)

  • 1
    You're absolutely right. I think we thought about tags differently back then (think 2011) – I removed the synonyms. I made [cmd] a synonym of [cmd.exe] though.
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 8:20
  • That being said, there's sort of a problem having 4,000+ [command-line] questions that we probably won't get rid of unless we can make a mass-retag from all [windows][command-line] questions to [windows][cmd.exe].
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 8:23
  • Yeah, and it won't be a straightforward retagging either, because [command-line] can mean a lot of things.
    – doubleDown
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 9:32
  • @slhck, can you recreate the [cmd.exe] tag? I believe it expired due to orphanization and I don't have the required reputation to create a new tag. Here's a question that could use the tag.
    – doubleDown
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 9:30
  • 1
    Sure, I added the tag. Perhaps you could create a tag wiki for it? superuser.com/edit-tag-wiki/17247
    – slhck
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 9:35

I disagree with most of your proposal.

  • is not very informative. In fact, it feels like a meta-tag:

    • It doesn't really work as the sole tag: sometimes it's used to mean “I have a problem with the command line”, in which case a shell- or terminal-specific tag should be used instead; sometimes it's used to mean “I want command-line solutions”.
    • It means different things to different people (usually sh and derivatives in a unix context and cmd in a Windows context).

    If it is a meta-tag, it should perhaps be removed.

  • is perfectly fine for questions having to do with the default command interpreter of the Windows NT series of operating systems. Maybe a few of its uses have to do with the Windows console instead, and feels appropriate for that (I guess is currently used, but it's too broad).

  • should be used for questions that have to do with the terminal (e.g. display issues), though often terminal-emulator-specific tags should be used instead.

  • is specific to the default terminal emulator on Mac OS. There's no reason to make it synonymous to anything else, any more than , , , etc.

  • must not be blindly changed to a command-line tag or made a synonym, because it can also refer to the Common Language Infrastructure (think .NET/Mono).

It's to be expected that many questions will be asked with the wrong tag, particularly because people might not understand the distinction between the shell and the terminal. I think there are enough users with retag powers to handle these questions.

People, if you have ≥500 rep and see a mistagged question, go ahead and retag it!

  • "our" -> "your"?
    – Hello71
    Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 19:04
  • you suggest removal of [command-line] ? > 1100 questions currently. Oh and 'grats on 10k+, that was fast
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 3:01
  • @Sathya: I'm not sure. The number of questions isn't the only factor (how many questions did [subjective] have on SO)? I'm not convinced that it should be removed; and I'm not volunteering to manually retag >1100 questions (to figure out if they are about bash, [zsh], [cmd], [powershell], [xterm], [terminal.app], [konsole], …). But I'm definitely against merging other tags into it (except [cli], but on a case-by-case basis because of the .NET meaning). Commented Nov 14, 2010 at 10:50

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