I asked two questions:


What linux distributions exist that will run natively on a tablet?

One was closed, and the other might be. I'm having a hard time understanding the difference between questions that ask for a recommendation, vs questions that merely ask if a particular thing exists. Or, are they both off topic? I would like my questions to fall into the latter category, and if that product-exist questions are on topic, how can I phrase my question(s) to eliminate the ambiguity?

2 Answers 2


Its good to understand the intent behind the rule - and its spelled out in this SE blog post.


Let’s say the question asker provided all that information. Fat chance, I know, but let’s pretend for a moment they did — and we were able to provide the perfect, ideal shopping recommendation to them. Even if that was the case, technology moves so rapidly that the best shopping recommendations will be utterly obsolete within a year! What’s the point of a bunch of labor intensive questions that provide only temporary benefit to a limited (some might say Too Localized) audience?

So, your question about "linux compatible tablets" would go obsolete quickly - and would end up in a listy question.

Lets also consider

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

Which of course means a question that polls for options is undesirable. In this case you're going to get a catalog not a book, but close enough

A good hardware recommendation is general

Lets consider something like this question on SSDs . The answer reflects a general class of specifications. I'd probably include things like rated write endurance and MLC/TLC/SLC but these are still general and are unlikely to become massively obsolete over time. It could also talk about features. It should never ask for specific models or distros.

Its pretty hard to phrase this specific question to be on topic I'm afraid. Its something we would generally direct people towards chat

  • What about a technical feasibility question, like "I need to run Linux natively on a tablet; can this be done"? It can be answered, "Yes, here is an example of a Linux Distro and a tablet that are known to work", or, "No, it is not feasible because of this basic incompatibility." It seems to have the feel of a question that may not be a good fit (Linux and tablets are evolving so the answer might have a limited life), but it also doesn't seem clearly off-topic.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 7:08
  • Probably too broad ;p. For some things chat or specialist fora may be a better fit
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 7:08
  • Aren't all questions (and their answers) going to be obsolete sooner or later? Where is the limit? The world moves fast these days. I looked at some existing (not closed) questions and most of them are of kind that will be obsolete in a year or two. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 12:59

They are both out of scope and the same question, just with a different order of base line.

You can't really rewrite either of those questions to "fit" unless you come at it at an entirely different frame of mind.

What exactly do you need to run or make work? That's the easiest way to frame the question.

If your answer comes in the form of, "something", then that's going to be along the lines of too broad and/or a recommendation.

Are you having an issue with a certain distro running on a certain device? Say that and versions, and that's better. When you can start with something that's the first step in making the question in scope for the site.

Then you just wait for it to break or not work as you want, and ask a question about that.

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