"What is the best linux distribution" is a bad question (opinion based). "What are criteria for linux distributions" or "How do I decide which linux distro I want?" can be good questions as the answers will help this (and future) users to learn what questions they should ask themselves to determinate whats important to them.

People who are new to a topic need to figure out what features are relevant within the work of this topic, this kind of question is not a Software Recommendation by itself but can improve the question quality of future Software Recommendations.

1 Answer 1


I think questions of the form "What are the criteria for judging/determining which X to use" are quality questions, and the answers tend to have lasting utility.

However, I'm not too sure of their topicality here. This site has been created primarily to address glaring gaps in the topicality of every other site; however, questions of this particular format are explicitly on-topic on the other technology-oriented sites (SU, SF, SO, AD, WA, etc.) almost without exception.

It's hard to turn away a quality question -- it really is -- but I think that making this site have a rather specific and well-defined scope, rather than "anything goes", will increase its chances of graduating from private beta.

To that end, I would suggest that questions of this form which are asked on this site, once it goes public, should be migrated to the appropriate technology site. In the case of "What are the criteria for determining which GNU/Linux distribution I should use?", that would be a good, and topical, question for U&L or SU, but I would consider it to be off-topic for sw-recs.

During the private beta, questions of this format should be voted to close as off-topic, along with a helpful comment and/or a link to this question.

  • I don't think “What are the criteria for determining which GNU/Linux distribution I should use?” could work on Unix & Linux (though it could depend on how you fill the details). You'll find questions on this form on sites like Information Security — criteria to select a security product, deduced from a security analysis of a scenario. OTOH Unix & Linux would accept “given these criteria, what distribution should I use”, if the criteria are sufficiently precise and unique. Feb 5, 2014 at 15:47
  • I don't frequent U&L, so I was more assuming what I had gathered about the site by seeing a few question links to it etc, but that's fine. There certainly are a few sites where criteria questions are topical. This site doesn't appear to be one of them. Feb 6, 2014 at 3:22

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