The title says it all. What makes Ubuntu so special that it deserves a particular treatment that is not received by any other distribution? Shouldn't it be merged with Unix & Linux SE? For users of other distributions it would be VERY beneficial to have their own sites in Stack Exchange.
I know this link is not a proof. But do we have a proof that Ubuntu is used WAY more than the other distros? Edit: So my question is challenged to ask practically the same as this one. That's false. My question is about what the merit for Ubuntu is to have it's own SE, not for knowing what the differences are. Of course there are differences, I have no doubt what there are. I understand what their differences are, perfectly, and this question didn't ask for them. As a metaphor, the fact that I understand the differences between a democracy and a dictatorship doesn't mean I have to agree with both existing in the world.

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    See: Unix and Ubuntu: Why Both?
    – yannis
    Dec 6, 2015 at 16:20
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/268349/… is instructive, although not a direct duplicate. Dec 6, 2015 at 16:45
  • @DeerHunter fixed. Dec 6, 2015 at 16:52
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    You are free to start any proposal on Area 51. I guess Ubuntu proposal just had enough followers to make it successful through the stages. Dec 6, 2015 at 16:55
  • What are you complaining about? The fragmentation of the "Unix community"? It's nowhere near as severe as in the following classical bit: youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE Dec 6, 2015 at 17:32
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    Not duplicate. OP here clearly not asking what questions to post where Dec 6, 2015 at 19:04
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    It may be worth revisiting this since it was largely a popularity contest and Ubuntu is no longer the most popular distro. The last time this thread was touched was in 2015. Both the answer and question site distrowatch, and now Ubuntu sits at the more humble 4th most popular distro. May 22, 2018 at 20:33
  • Because it's in partnership with Canonical and is (or was?) the official community support site for Ubuntu.
    – OrangeDog
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:40
  • Probably ubuntu and unix could be merged by now. The current fragmentation doesn't help anyone. It's kind of symptomatic for Unix based systems though.Everyone is trying to reinvent the wheel so we ended up with gazillions of wheels. Nov 1, 2019 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions (as I'm sure you'll agree, also according to DistroWatch).

On the 20th June 2010, Evan proposed the Ubuntu Site at Area 51.

Due to its popularity, there was extreme support: people committed, adding questions, and it eventually got launched! The private beta launched just one month after the proposal!

The only way in which Ubuntu is special is that there is a partnership with Canonical Ltd..

Also, in 2010, when the site was proposed and launched, Ubuntu was extremely popular:

Graph of distribution  usage (source: siliconforks.com)

So, to answer your question in one word: popularity.

SE wouldn't have a problem if someone proposed a site for another distribution, but it would need to be popular enough (support to get it to beta), and not just, in effect, a dupe of Ubuntu or Unix (see Unix and Ubuntu: why both? for an explanation on why those two actually exist).

  • 1) I agree with you on the popularity/area 51 argument. With the conceal that the only statistic present by you, DistroWatch says that Debian and Mint are ahead, and many other at the same level. 2) I think it would be a better separation Linux hardcore and softcore. The main argument except for popularity in your cited article is that Ubuntu users are less versed in computers expertise, and thus need a site more basic and user friendly oriented. I think that lots of people using other distros are in the same situation! ... (continues) Dec 6, 2015 at 17:10
  • ...(continues here) They should be embraced by a site even if they didn't choose particularly Ubuntu. It would to me be a more sensible approach to divide users not by a particular brand but by a situation more general. Because there are probably Ubuntu hardcore users and other distro's begginers. Dec 6, 2015 at 17:10
  • I appreciate your very objective answer. I have a massive respect for Wikimedia. I was looking at this more new set of data. I'm interested in the "Breakdown per platform for Mac and Linux" chart, breakdown by popularity (the left side chart). And yes, Linux Ubuntu still massively more popular than the competition. But wait, what is "Linux other" ? Presumably to me includes Linux distros not recognized? (continues) Dec 6, 2015 at 17:53
  • (continues) It seems absolutely impossible that strange, obscure less used distros, that don't make appearance in the chart make a share so enormous, taking into account how fast the popularity decays by going down a couple of steps in that chart. I'm really interested in knowing what that Linux other represents. I don't want to go to large extent to try to "prove" that Linux Ubuntu is not so popular, when the data clearly shows it, but it would be good to suspend jugdement until a minimal explanation of what Distros make that Linux other are. Dec 6, 2015 at 17:56
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    Ubuntu is clearly the most popular Linux desktop distro . For servers, it's another story.
    – SPRBRN
    Dec 7, 2015 at 10:51
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    It may be worth revisiting this since it was largely a popularity contest and Ubuntu is no longer the most popular distro. The last time this thread was touched was in 2015. Both the answer and question site distrowatch, and now Ubuntu sits at the more humble 4th most popular distro. May 22, 2018 at 20:34

As the other answer shows, popularity of Ubuntu may be a factor. But there's something else going on, which you can see by looking at the timelines for the Ubuntu proposal and the Unix & Linux proposal:

  • June 4th: Unix & Linux was proposed
  • June 20th: Ubuntu was proposed
  • July 13th: Ubuntu commitment phase started
  • July 13th: Unix & Linux commitment phase started
  • July 28th: Ubuntu started in private beta
  • August 4th: Ubuntu went in public beta
  • August 10th: Unix & Linux started in private beta
  • August 17th: Unix & Linux went in public beta

(all dates in 2010)

That's right; while Unix & Linux was proposed earlier, the Ubuntu proposal grew faster and launched earlier. It might have made some sense to extend the scope of Ubuntu to all Unix & Linux distributions instead of launching a separate Unix & Linux Stack Exchange, but that simply wasn't done. Given time, both communities grew and this would be even harder / less appropriate.

Note that Ubuntu isn't the only Linux distribution with its own site; elementary OS is another (later) example, but it already existed a few months when this question was asked. Unix & Linux Stack Exchange has some overlap with Ask Different as well, since macOS is based on the Unix operation system.

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