FAQ states:

If your question is about:

  • Using or administering a *nix desktop or server
  • The Unix foundation underlying MacOS (but generally not frontend application questions)
  • The underlying *nix OS on an embedded system or handheld device (e.g. an Android phone)
  • Shell scripting
  • Applications packaged in *nix distributions (note: being cross-platform does not disqualify)
  • UNIX C API and System Interfaces ( within reason )

then you're in the right place.

Thought bullet point 5 covered this question about Skype.

Only to clarify.

  • 1
    I was surprised that this was closed too.
    – tshepang
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 5:58
  • 1
    I have no particular problems with this question, though I'm going to see what happens overnight. Commented May 28, 2013 at 6:19
  • 1
    I was one of the close voters; I saw nothing Linux/UNIX-specific about it, and thought it might be more suitable for Super User (where there's a skype tag with 500+ questions).
    – Renan
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 21:11
  • 1
    Although I've been very busy and forgot I have re-reviewed this and the answers. I have decided to consider it on topic, and voted and reopened it. I apologize for not doing this sooner. Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 2:09

4 Answers 4


This question is on-topic. As you mention, the FAQ explicitly allows questions about cross-platform applications. There are several reasons for that:

  • A user shouldn't need to find out whether the application exists under other operating systems. If I'm a unix user and I don't care about other OSes, I wouldn't know which applications are cross-platform and which are unix-specific.
  • There are several bash ports for Windows, would that make bash off-topic on U&L?
  • Some cross-platform applications behave differently in different operating systems. There may be answers that work under one OS but not under another.
  • An answer may involve third-party programs. For example, with this Skype question, your solution is specific to Linux.

I've voted to reopen.

being cross-platform does not disqualify...

does not entail that cross-platform questions automatically qualify either. There is nothing in the question particular to U&L: it could equally be asked of a Skype install on a Windows machine.

  • Thanks for reply. I'm in a rather conflicted process of getting an understanding of what is correct here ;). In my understanding an application can yes, be cross platform, but usually entails different quirks and ways to solve an issue depending on platform – as do Skype. As an example of the opposite there is quite a few questions about Vim, that I (and from the looks of it most others) both like and endorse, but at the same time most of them are as Windows (where Vim also is my editor of choice) specific as Linux or other.
    – Runium
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 19:33
  • 1
    The issue is narrowed somewhat by the fact that, unlike Vim, Skype is distributed as a binary: there are no compilation options, etc., that would further qualify it for *nix relevance.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 20:48
  • 3
    The question could be asked on Windows, but the answers might be different. Besides, CoLinux doesn't make Linux off-topic here. Commented May 31, 2013 at 0:13

I'm going to answer by linking to my original post on the topic from when I first became a mod. Offtopic - A Stance - Programming / Servers / Cross Platform Applications. Given I don't think we should try to be SO, SU, SF, AU, but we overlap a lot with them. I refuse to think we should turn users away simply becaus their question may also be able to be answered on one of those site's (with of course some mind to we are not wanting the majority of SO's market and thus limit programming questions.) I believe that this is even more true today than when I made my original post, and it is reinforced by the fact that I find windows far more comfortable than I did in my original post as more of the utilities I've come to rely on are available cross platform.


I was one of the close voters, and I looked at the FAQ before I did vote. I will try to recap the things I considered before voting and rationalise my, partly intuitive, handling.

I read the 5th bullet item as that a package does not have to be exclusively *nix. Of course Skype falls in that category.

I felt there was nothing in the question that made a particular link to *nix apart from the irrelevant—for the problem—Ubuntu tag. I found the question more appropriate for SU (or for that matter on AU), unfortunately that is not (yet) an option to recommend when marking off topic on unix-SX, otherwise I would have done so.

I realise that more appropriate might not be a good motivation for closing a question as off topic. What probably influenced my decision is that it was a first question (rep 1) and I think the OP should be redirected to a (IMHO) a more appropriate site.

This is a grey area, and because of that I am happy we need multiple votes to close a question, if it had not been closed, I would have taken notice and change my behaviour in the future (it would be nice to get a notice automatically on what happened to a question one voted upon, or at least when the outcome was different from ones own vote).

I feel I should go with my non-*nix-specific questions for Firefox, Musicbrainz Picard, VirtualBox, Chromium, Calibre, LibreOffice and Acrobat Reader (to name a few applications I use on Ubuntu) to SU. If questions about those applications show up here too much, without any relevance to *nix apart from the OP running *nix as her/his OS, this site will not be interesting to me. That of course would automatically solve the problem of one of the close voters for these kind of questions hanging around here :-).

This answer by Michael graphically closely represents my opinion on this.

  • Thanks for reply. I ask because I'm unsure. My thinking is: You are using Linux. You're having a Q about an application. Go to Stackexchange and find U&L. Read the FAQ and bp 5. Ask question. Question get closed with no comments + down vote. What message does that give? I also favor, in general, questions that are not SU specific – but as long as it does not breach FAQ, is it correct to close? In this case – yes, Skype is cross platform, but a solution is often platform specific no the less. Again; as I have the power of voting, and unsure, I'd like to do right by the guidelines.
    – Runium
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 19:21
  • It is perfectly acceptable to suggest to a user that it might be better served by SU. For many applications I would do this as well , though I think you should realize that firefox on unix is different from firefox on windows for example (different menu locations different performance profiles) Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 2:07

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