I don't think that we should encourage questions such as Is GNU/Linux still relevant?. These types of questions bring out strong emotions or exhaustion for people who have been involved in the debate for a while and are boring for those just entering the Unix and Linux world. To some extent this applies to other classics such as "Vi vs Emacs" but while discussions such as "Vi vs Emacs" can be rich with technical comparisons and hacker humor (Emacs May Allow Customized Screwups?), discussions that get into issues of software freedom (GPL v BSD, GNU/Linux v Linux, etc) just go in circles, rehashing old arguments, boring those who don't care and angering those who do.

Perhaps this is just a gut reaction to opening up SE to see if there was anything interesting before I dig into work and then seeing "Is GNU/Linux still revevant?" and thinking "oh God, not this."

Don't get me wrong. I care about free software a lot. I have strong opinions about these holy wars. But I don't think these types of debates really have a place here. Namely, I don't want people with questions about proprietary unices to be discouraged because they see this as a "Free Software"-only forum and I would hate for "Free software" people to think this is an FSF or GNU unfriendly place (not that those two orgs represent all of free software, they are just examples).

I'm not sure whether closing these types of topics is the right course, but at the same time, I think that if those types of questions are on the front page, a good number of people are just going to leave.

2 Answers 2


Personally I think the question should be closed as subjective/argumentative, but I don't feel that way strongly enough to close it myself; I'd much rather let the community decide, and if 5 people vote that way then so be it

I agree that leaving them on the front page is probably bad. You can downvote it; a question with 4+ downvotes won't appear on the front page anymore. I'm going to watch this question and see if it becomes a problem, but for the moment I'll let it go because it was phrased pretty well. A question like "Why do idiots insist on calling it GNU/Linux?" I would edit or close

  • The question referred to now has 4 down votes. It doesn't appear on the top questions lists (front page) but does appear on the all questions lists.
    – moberley
    Sep 6, 2010 at 21:52
  • @moberley Well, naturally, but Steven's concern was about the front page. Even closed questions appear on the all questions list, it would need to be deleted to hide it completely Sep 6, 2010 at 23:54
  • Sorry, my intention was to point out that the question had received the down votes you mentioned and was now only visible on the all questions page. I see that I could have expressed that better.
    – moberley
    Sep 7, 2010 at 2:31
  • I'm not really interested in having 'politics' questions here. I don't think they serve much purpose, would have anything against me closing it? Sep 8, 2010 at 5:54
  • @xeno No, if you think a question should be closed go for it. It's got two close votes now anyway, so a couple people agree Sep 8, 2010 at 14:12

In general, it seems obviously difficult for any question that deals with a "holy war" topic to avoid becoming argumentative even if there is some non-subjective aspect to the question. I don't see very much value in having questions like that on the Unix and Linux Stack Exchange site.

With regard to the specific question referred to by Steven D, two of the top answers at the moment begin with "from my point of view." I interpret those as statements that the answer writers considered the question to be subjective.

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