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Could the domain be moved from https://unix.stackexchange.com to linux.stackexchange.com?

Linux as a term is way better known in the public compared to "Unix" by now. It fits the contents of the site far better, albeit the operating systems are GNU/Linux and Linux is technically only the kernel (but it also refers to the operating systems).

There is apple.stackexchange.com for questions about macOS and iOS - these aren't posed here.

While the site also hosts questions about Unix-like operating systems like FreeBSD, as of 7. January 2022 there are only 1,598 questions tagged "freebsd" but 34,028 questions tagged "linux" even though many (possibly even most) Linux-related questions don't have that tag (but e.g. the name of a specific distribution). Also note that the subdomain is "unix", not "unix-like".

Moreover, such questions/tags could also be split out into a separate site if that's preferred to adjust the scope of the site as an option that could be done along with the domain-change (but this wouldn't be necessary, the scope could also remain the same). This would make the site more focused (smaller scope, less redundancy with other stackexchange sites and increased efficiency due to better discoverability of questions) and make the domain-name more accurate. This also includes questions about Cygwin which could for example be migrated to superuser.exchange. Note that graphical visualizations of scopes and their overlapping could help here. The entire minority fraction of posts about *nix that aren't about GNU/Linux or also within its scope could be split out but I don't think that this would be required for changing the primary subdomain. If this is done, questions concerning bash could be in-scope here (with this being the primary or sole SE site to ask about them) and out-of-scope only if related to Unix or Solaris/... in specific.

In summary, reasons for and benefits of changing the subdomain include that it would make the domain:

  • clearer (widely understood well and easily with clear distinction/s) - in these years, Linux is far better known than "Unix"
    • attracting and motivating more signed-up active contributors; having linux in the subdomain could also increase identification with the site (including community-building and attracting more people of the large community of the GNU/Linux ecosystem which currently doesn't have any other modern problem-solving website)
    • less confusing for general public (nowadays most somewhat sophisticated computer users roughly know what Linux means, while most of those probably haven't even heard of Unix and if they have they don't really know what it means and how it's different from Linux)
    • the same reasons for why sites usually aren't named after a small fraction of content on it which non-GNU/Linux Unix-specific questions are (and GNU stands for "GNU's Not Unix") Sources for "Linux" being more popular include the number of questions here (see above and the answer below), reddit subscribers to r/Linux (717k) vs r/unix (18k), Google trends (note that the decline may be due to Linux people starting to use alternative search engines) and Wikipedia pageviews
  • better describe the actual (majority of) content
    • prevents confusion what the site is about
    • the title is largely ill-descriptive of the site's contents as it's not called unixlike.SE or like the topic-domain of the majority of contents here

I know this a high-level meta post with substantial implications/requirements and I may not have elaborated it sufficiently so maybe it would be good if it was possible to ask about it again if this question leads nowhere and I may edit the question over time (potentially based on critical comments). A survey (sticky) of the site's users (provided with relevant info to this decision which we could aggregate and discuss here) with most weight given to the site's most constructive contributors may (or may not) be a good or better approach than this question or a good complementary thing to do before implementation.

Edit: downvoters may have misunderstood this question to be about changing the scope of the site, however this was only proposed as an option to do along with (or after) changing the subdomain, not a necessity (the scope could remain exactly the same; this could be discussed separately even after a subdomain-change got decided).

I don't think there are good reasons to not change the domain except potentially technical/meta/non-principle issues such as search engine indexing(?) Here is a Q&A about why the site has the current domain. It suggests that both users "didn't have any say in that" and that it seems like not a lot of thought has been put into which domain was chosen.

linux.stackexchange.com currently only redirects to unix.stackexchange.com.

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  • 2
    Both Unix and Cygwin are 100% on topic.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 11:50
  • Glad you at least explained the downvote (please don't just downvote without any explanation). However, I'm not sure if you read it all...I even explicitly mentioned Cygwin. The question is about a) the scope of the site and b) even if the scope remains unchanged, linux.stackexchange could be a better choice for several reasons including what the majority of the content of the site is about and how well understood terms are in the public (for example it can confuse many people about the site's contents when looking for answers related to a Linux question which is the scope of most questions).
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 11:59
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    Downvotes on meta simply indicate disagreement with the proposal. That said, you say you would migrate Cygwin questions away from here to Super User, that's why I clarified that it is on topic here. And linux.stackexchange.com redirects to here, as you point out, so it already works. Are you suggesting we make this site about Linux only for some reason? If so, please edit to clarify and explain why you feel removing a huge part of the site's scope would be a good thing.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 12:08
  • No, I didn't. I said this could be done. It would be an option but is not a necessity. This is what I meant with that I may not have elaborated it well enough and people may misunderstand it. The proposal is about changing the subdomain, everything else relates to details and different options of doing so. Three benefits of changing the scope are outlined next to "scope of the site", including better understanding by the public. Also better discoverability, less confusing for general public, better describes actual (majority of) content, less redundancy with other SE sites and more.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 12:12
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    OK. Then yes, please edit and clarify. I understood that you are suggesting we rename the site and the domain to linux.stackexchange, and make everything non-Linux off topic. If instead you only want to change the main URL, that is a different discussion but please also explain what you feel the benefit would be given that linux.stackexchange does bring you here already. Finally, remember that we are the only place where Unix is a core part of the scope, while there are loads of other sites that deal with Linuxes.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 12:14
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Unix is very much on topic here and always has been. Yes, we get fewer questions about Unix than we do about Linux, but we certainly get questions about both. We also get questions about macOS and Cygwin, both of which are on topic here.

As an aside, tags are not the primary way of indicating what OS a question is about, that is often found in the body of the question. Ideally, you would only tag with an OS if the question is somehow 100% specific to that OS and not applicable elsewhere. If you're just asking a bash question, for example, there is no need to tag with your OS and you should just mention what OS you are on in the question body.

Some numbers:

OK, we have 77,362 results for "linux" but the rest are not exactly rare either.

Given that https://linux.stackexchange.com/ works and takes you to this site, and given that non-Linux *nix systems are and always have been very much on topic, I don't see any reason to do anything. I mean sure, we could have linux.stackexchange.com be the main domain name, but is that really worth the effort? What would the benefits be?

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  • Your answer is insightful but I think you somehow misunderstood my post: I never said Unix, macOS and Cygwin are off-topic, actually I said the opposite of that. I asked about changing either the scope of the site or only changing the subdomain to reflect the bulk of content on the site as well as being less confusing to the public. Your stats supports Linux Qs being the vast majority of questions (and the share is probably even larger as many or most Linux questions don't have linux in the question body) & I explicitly took macOS & Cygwin etc into considerations. Outlined some benefits.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 12:08
  • @mYnDstrEAm that isn't very clear in your question, I'm afraid. Or it wasn't to me, anyway :). I personally feel it is important to keep the unix in the name and the URL since i) most newbie linux users think it is a unix anyway, and ii) since as you correctly point out we have far more Linux questions, it is useful to show that Unix is actually on topic and welcome. Now, if you are instead arguing to make UNIX off topic, please clarify that and explain why you think that would be a good thing.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 12:10
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    Many of the "Linux" questions (actually just question posed by Linux users) are "Unix" questions in that they are unrelated to what Unix-like operating system is being used. I have a feeling this goes for the majority of the 77k+ "Linux" questions.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Jan 7 at 12:39
  • I edited and will try to refine it further over time. However, I'm pretty sure actually that "most newbie linux users" in 2022 don't "think think it is a unix anyway". This may have been the case in the past, but nowadays I'd be very surprised if the majority could make proper sense of "Unix" (meaning they have heard about that term but don't know the intricate history and various distinctions and that it relates to Linux and how it does so). Also you entire sites are usually not named after a minority content on it to show that it's on-topic & welcome, there are various drawbacks to doing so.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 12:42
  • @Kusalananda However, as noted the site is not unixlike.SE, but unix.SE. Many of the same reasons for why it's not "computers.stackexchange" (as the site's contents would fit that scope) also apply here. Moreover, the questions that are about things that are specific to something non-Linux are a small fraction. Reasons for having a clearly distinguished, focused, well-understood scope and/or title of SE sites also include attracting, motivating, identification (with the site; including community-building) and efficiency (i.e. discoverability of questions) of users.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 12:49
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    @mYnDstrEAm It is well understood that the scope of questions relating to "Unix" tends to include questions relating to "Linux". As terdon already points out, the Linuxy URL redirects to this site and the site contains "Linux" in its very name. The best way to attract users is by answering interesting questions in a professional and educational way so that Google and others prioritize our high-quality content over random blogs and YouTube videos when people with problems to solve are searching for answers.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Jan 7 at 12:56
  • I very much doubt your uncited claim that "It is well understood that the scope of questions relating to "Unix" tends to include questions relating to "Linux" - this is not known in the general public, including even tech-savvy computer users (many of which don't yet use a GNU/Linux). I also pointed out the redirect in the question. I didn't say that it was the best way to attract new users (also you seem to refer to readers not active signed-up users).
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 13:01
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    @mYnDstrEAm re ""most newbie linux users" in 2022 don't "think think it is a unix anyway": you got that the other way around. It's newbie users using Linux who think that Linux is Unix. We regularly get people using Ubuntu, for example, who come here and ask for a "Unix command to do foo". They don't know the history and various distinctions, that's why they mistakenly think that Linux is a Unix.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 13:03
  • @terdon And they mistakenly think that because the site is still called "unix.stackexchange". (Nevertheless, regular occurrences of very few users is not a good data source / reference for any similar claim.)
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 13:06
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    @mYnDstrEAm I don't know why you're focusing on this so much. I can assure you that it is a standard thing, you can see it on this site, on Ask Ubuntu, on every linux-related forum on the internet, people confuse Unix and Linux. But that's irrelevant to your main point of renaming the site. I feel there is no need to rename it precisely because we get so many Linux questions. The hard bit is attracting Unix users, we have no problem attracting Linux users. [cont...]
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 13:13
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    [...cont] The fact that the vast majority of posts here are about Linux would suggest Linux users are having no problem finding the site. And if we renamed it to Linux instead, then I fear we would start losing Unix content.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 13:13
  • To put it frankly, Unix is becoming ever more irrelevant while Linux is becoming ever more relevant, popular, widespread & widely known (as said, note that macOS already has a separate SE) and non-Linux Unix is far less popular. Sources include trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=unix,linux This is why there are so few Unix-specific questions & "already so many Linux questions". Sites are usually not named for attracting more people for a minority content on the site but by other factors, eg mainly the primary content on it. Re losing Unix content: new separate SE are an option.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 13:20
  • @mYnDstrEAm then please add all this to your question. Personally, I want Unix content here. If you don't, then you need to make your argument for why having that content here is harming the site. Of course Linux is more popular, but that's precisely why sites like this which also cater to Unix are so important.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 13:22
  • Okay. However, it's not that I don't want Unix content here or think that it's harming the site. Nevertheless, I would indeed prefer if non-Linux specific content got its own dedicated SE sites in cases where such sites don't already exist (referring to at least the apple.SE). The primary concern of the Q was changing the subdomain, changing the scope along with creating new SE site/s / migrating content was only a related topic, maybe the question/feature request should be split into two albeit these two topics are interwoven.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Jan 7 at 13:26
  • @mYnDstrEAm it already does: it has Unix & Linux :) Many SE users, myself included, are generally very against splitting sites into smaller ones. The smaller ones are rarely successful and it results in a fragmentation of information making it harder to find. I still haven't understood what problem you are trying to solve here and why anyone would benefit from such a split.
    – terdon Mod
    Jan 7 at 13:31

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