I'm not advocating a rename here, really, just curious. It seems like out of the "unix and linux" scope advertised, the vast majority of the questions are either Linux or generic *nix. What was the rationale for picking unix for the subdomain over linux, or perhaps nix?

  • Related
    – badp
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 15:11
  • 3
    @badp: Not really. I saw that, and I have no idea why someone thought "open source" would be a good catchall term for unix/linux/*nix. I am fully aware of the scope of the site.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 15:15
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    lunix would be great! for anyone who has read that adequacy article.
    – Tobu
    Commented Feb 27, 2011 at 23:43
  • Here I outlined the rationale for changing the subdomain to linux: unix.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5892/233262
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 14:03

6 Answers 6


We didn't have any say in that, the domain was assigned, and I imagine whoever handled it didn't put a lot of thought into it (that was back before we realized the domain would be permanent -- when our beta started it was still the plan to buy top-level domains when sites launched). Some sites have multiple subdomains in case of confusion, and https://linux.stackexchange.com/ will work as well; they probably just made the primary one https://unix.stackexchange.com/ because Unix appears first in the name


I find unix-SE excellent, in a sense that the site is about the Unix family of OSes. Linux is more a subset of Unix.

  • Linux isn't really a subset of unix. It's better described as unix-like (nix or unx); those are better names for the family of OSes we're talking about here, even if they're not good domain names.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 23:09
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    @Jef, I said more a subset, not a subset. This was in a sense of Unix as a family, much as I'd say x86 family if I was referring to both Intel and AMD parts, instead of referring to AMD parts as x86-like.
    – tshepang
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 23:12
  • I get that, and I know no one would say unix is part of the linux family, but I'm much more used to hearing unix-like, nix, unx, and maybe unix family than I am "Unix OSes". I know I'm getting a little pedantic, but there you are.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 23:19
  • @Jef, This reminds of a case of OSes like Ubuntu and Linux Mint... what to classify them as. Some guys say they are Debian, and I was thinking maybe Debian-like, but this is limited -- it just implies Debian derivatives. I now think that Debian family is better (instead of the awkward Debian and derivatives).
    – tshepang
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 23:26
  • Yeah, it can definitely be hard to describe things, especially in a world as fragmented as *nix and all the associated software, and especially in a single word. (And it's even worse with Ubuntu, where quite a lot of users probably don't even know about Debian.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 16, 2010 at 23:27
  • Linux is NOT a UNIX, as opposed to Mac OS X, which is a UNIX.
    – polemon
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 10:02
  • @polemon: Yeah, but it's family. Think of it as an adopted child. It acts like Unix family because it was raised by it.
    – tshepang
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 11:03

"unix" is a widely recognized name, and even most of the users here know that 'UNIX(tm)-like' topics will apply to their situation.

This is not simply a SE problem, but the entire community has a problem coming up for the magic name that describes this the vast ecosystem of questions posed by "users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems.".

The current and potential users of this site use Linux-based-operating systems, MacOSX, FreeBSD, Solaris, NanoBSD, OpenWRT and more. These operating systems, as well as concepts like 'Posix', share a lot in common. Users will have many of the same questions, and most of the answers here will often apply to many different operating systems.

Would a name like "linux.stackexchange.com" be better? Wouldn't that exclude FreeBSD, Solaris & MacOSX users? Just to make a point: 'Linux' is a kernel (or maybe it's a project?), not an operating system. Would questions regarding bash-shell or be appropriate on "linux.stackexchange.com"?

unix.stackexchange.com is better then a name like "gnu-linux_FreeBSD_Solaris_MacOSX_Posix_and_other_related_operating_systems.stackexchange.com".

'nix.stackexchange.com' sounds cool to me, but I'm sure it would be confusing to many people. A Lice Shampoo?

Whatever the answer, it needs to fit into the limitations of the DNS system. I would love a name like 'un*x.stackexchange.com', but that just won't work.


The real reason is that a lot of software disliked the original domain name, *nix.stackexchange.com. Honest!


I remember people suggesting things like kernelpanic.com or other unix-error related name. Personally, I'd like to see that it'd get its own domain name.

Don't know if that's still possible, though.

  • That was stopped soon after the first SE site was launched; see this blog post. In theory we can try to get a separate domain once we have huge amounts of traffic, but I'm not too worried about it Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 15:08

FWIW, unix.se exists.

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    unix.SE was an abbreviation of unix.stackexchange. No one was suggesting unix.se as the exact domain name.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 14:53
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    Yeah, but it's confusing. And not confusing in a good way — it's parochial and plays up an unfortunate we-are-the-world clique-like aspect of Stack Exchange. Much, much better to use something like unix-SE as shorthand.
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 15:59
  • @Gilles — poor Sweden!
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 23:31
  • @Gilles: Great. I'm surprised no one has suggesting suing the current owners of wanted *.se domains because they were squatting in the way of the one true use. Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 6:57

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