I created How do I add MP3/etc support to my *nix desktop? as an experiment to see how this sort of question would work.

Does it make more sense to have one question with a bunch of answers, where hopefully one good answer per-distro/os floats to the top? Example: "How do I add MP3 support?"

Or is it better to have the question asked multiple times, once for each distro/os, so that the asker can confidently pick one answer is the best? Example: "How do I add MP3 support in openSUSE?"

1 Answer 1


Short answer is yes, it should be per distro and per codec. Real question about a real problem.

Honestly? I don't like it... it's baiting, and asking for too much, imagine if we had 3 questions that could be answered for multiple distro's, you'll basically end up with the same answers which are basically how to use a distro's package manager.

I feel this is a bit like asking on stackoverflow 'programming requires a variety of tools how do I go about installing these tools'.

At the very least in this case you should be asking about upstream codecs, e.g. what codecs do I need? for general, or perhaps what media play should I use for ... and perhaps a follow up question, how do I install faad2 on Arch Linux. I'd also allow a question like 'How do I add support for mp3, aac, and wmv in Fedora?'

As it stands you'll get answers about numerous codecs, media players, and package managers.

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    Somewhat related, the question: "Why isn't mp3 support included by default on [my distro, most unixes]" seems like it would be appropriate, and answerable.
    – gabe.
    Aug 16, 2010 at 23:41
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    yeah... there are all kinds of questions that are more... appropriate but similar to this one. Even the the fact that the question is open-ended on codecs isn't a problem. Problem is that it's not a real question. It's not really a problem that anyone is having. Aug 17, 2010 at 2:54

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