It's been established pretty clearly that all platforms are on topic here and that questions regarding recommendations are strictly off-topic for the OS StackExchange. My question is, would questions regarding which operating system to use be on-topic for Software Recommendation?

Obviously very poor, vague, and imprecise questions like "Is Windows better than Apple" are out, but what about questions like:

  • What operating system should I use for < clearly defined purpose >?
  • What operating system is best for developing in < specific language >?
  • What operating system should I use if I have to work with < specific application >?

The reason this might be a controversial topic is the poor question I mentioned earlier; after all, most people seeking recommendations for an OS don't have the most precise definition of what they want.

The way I see it, these questions should be on topic if they are precise enough and offers enough concrete details regarding what the user hopes to accomplish. After all, an OS is really just an extremely complicated piece of software. Thoughts?

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I think you're talking about Software Recommendations? Now that the site is launched, this debate is happening on its meta site.

If you're talking about Operating Systems, then the answer is no: that proposal is about the design of operating systems, not about which OS to choose in a larger system design.

Do note that a vast majority of OS choice questions are a matter of opinion. For example, Unix & Linux gets quite a few questions about distribution choice where the answer is “pick one, it doesn't matter”. There are very few circumstances where the choice of operating system is not imposed by external constraints (e.g. an application that only exists on one OS, or a user who is only familiar with one OS, or specialized hardware for which only one OS exists) and where there are constructive arguments to be made about the choice. Choosing an OS for an embedded system may be an occasional case. Software Recommendations covers general public cases (current score: 4 questions, 2 closed — it just isn't a popular topic).

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I think they should be on-topic: The OS Stack Exchange would be exactly the place where one could find the people who know several operating systems in sufficient detail to answer those questions.

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