Every time i see a question related to linux, i have to ask the user what distro are you using? Same applies to Windows.

I think a linux tag is appreciated on unix.stackexchange.com since some users want to use the linux kernel or unix to build something. It is appreciated on serverfault, and maybe on stackoverflow, if someone is programming something on unix/linux.

But on Super User, I don't know what it is used for? Since this site is mainly created to help users fix their PCs. and no one installs Linux or UNIX on PC, you install a distro.

I think it's better to remove it, in order to force the users to say what distro they are using.

Same applies for windows, some questions are tagged with windows, and you have to ask the user if they're using xp/vista/7/8

  • Does it matter if I use Ubuntu or Debian when I want to use Linux shells to achieve something?
    – slhck
    Sep 7, 2013 at 14:06
  • @slhck in your example no it doesn't matter because debian/ubuntu are pretty much the same. It matters if im resolving an issue on fedora or debian or arch it matters, like if you're installing something or whatever... and most of the issues on superuser are about how to install/uninstall/configure
    – Lynob
    Sep 7, 2013 at 14:32
  • 3
    I haven't come across a lot of questions where the distro would matter or where the info wasn't already present. Personally I don't see a big problem with having such generic tags, if only to curate more canonical answers.
    – slhck
    Sep 7, 2013 at 14:41
  • The general tags are very useful because they allow us to have all Linux questions highlighted when "Linux" is in your favorite tags. The alternative would be to manually add a tag for each distro to my favorites and that's annoying.
    – terdon
    Sep 8, 2013 at 16:23
  • @terdon doesn't have to be that way, i mean for example you could remove the tag crunchbang and everyone who uses crunchbang will uses debian, you could use ubuntu, debian, opensouse. arch gentoo and fedora, forgive me if i forgot others but you get the point, no need to create a tag for mint, mint users could use debian or ùbuntu depending on what they have... or else at least add a note in the description of linux tag, telling people not to use it unless they really need to, or use other tags also, I've seen such notes on other tag... just a suggestion
    – Lynob
    Sep 8, 2013 at 18:11
  • 1
    I just really really disagree with your suggestion. The Linux tag is much more useful than the Ubuntu or openSUSE tags and as I said, I want it so I can highlight all Linux questions. In any case, most command line answers can be applied to any distribution since they depend on the shell being used and not the distro it is being run on. My perfect question is tagged with "Linux" and "Debian".
    – terdon
    Sep 8, 2013 at 18:23
  • Every time i see a question related to linux, i have to ask the user what distro are you using? Same applies to Windows. Then either you are answering only OS-version–specific questions, or you are (unnecessarily) thinking too narrowly. It depends entirely on the question, and many are not specific to a particular version, so general tags are apt. Editing questions to add a more specific tag would be presumptuous and potentially incorrect. Besides, tags are not meant to be used exclusively as debugging info, their primary purpose is for ordering, classification, filtering, and search.
    – Synetech
    Oct 6, 2013 at 0:31

1 Answer 1


Does it matter if I use Ubuntu or Debian when I want to use Linux shells to achieve something?

Depends, I can give you an answer that fits all the distributions out there, because it does things like one would do it on Linux From Scratch; but doing it that way, would that necessarily be the right way?

I don't think so...

Or perhaps I tell you that on Gentoo you need to make a configuration change in some path; I am pretty sure that if you run Debian or Ubuntu that that configuration file is not necessarily in the same place, even locating that configuration file happens differently on multiple distributions. And if you are going to be bold and give either a LFS based suggestion or a suggestion that only fits another suggestion; then, you are simply degrading the distribution experience that the user has.

Then why do we even have the Linux tag...

Well, it's apparently NOT for cases where we do distribution related things; but rather, for cases where we look for something that works on software that runs on most of the distros.

So "How does one copy 10 random files from one folder to another?" would be a question I see as perfectly fine to receive a Linux tag; but if you come with "My system logger daemon doesn't start anymore, why?" or something along those lines, it really helps knowing your distro so we know where your configuration files, logs, commands for integrity checking and anything else are located.

The trick here is to not remove the tags, but rather to guarantee they are properly used.

Same story for Windows, a lot works amongst all supported versions; so, why force restriction?

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