This question is an attempt to preempt other questions asking for recommendations of software packages that meet some vague or general requirement X.

Questions like (please add more, so this can be found):

Is there a good linux application for X?

I don't think such questions should be asked here for several reasons:

  • Such lists are essentially moving targets. Software may be abandoned or replaced by the Next Hot Thing™, but SE-Questions, once answered, stay answered.
  • SE offers voting but not much more in terms of structured meta info about software projects (Licenses, status, popularity, programming language, OS compatibility, …)
  • While I find it commendable that SE sites want to be the definitive source on subject FOO, there are other, well established sites that do a better job with this particular problem and duplicating that effort poorly would help nobody.

Please consider closing questions that ask for "a good linux application that does X" as duplicates of this one.

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migrated from unix.stackexchange.com Oct 5 '10 at 18:51

This question came from our site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems..

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I think that "whether we should allow questions about 'a good application that does X'" is rather a topic for meta.unix –  Riccardo Murri Oct 5 '10 at 14:48
    
but this is not "whether we should allow questions about 'a good application that does X'", is it? it is "Where can I find Software for Unix/Linux that does X?" –  hop Oct 5 '10 at 15:01
    
Definitely meta. I'd vote to close this and address it there. –  David Mackintosh Oct 5 '10 at 15:11
    
I'd give you the second part of the question, but how is the first part meta? –  hop Oct 5 '10 at 15:14
    
Well, the answer to the meta question of whether or not such a question is permitted would guide the permissability of the question. I think that if we don't want such a question, linking to a question like this as a duplicate isn't the way to do it; just have moderators close the question as out-of-scope. And anyway this entire discussion in the comments is, itself, meta. –  David Mackintosh Oct 5 '10 at 18:19
    
@hop The question "where is a catalog of Linux applications" is a legitimate one; but then you explicitly suggest that this be used for answering all questions of a certain type: this is a policy discussion that belongs in meta. I suggest you rephrase this question's text and open a new one in meta. –  Riccardo Murri Oct 5 '10 at 18:30
    
@Riccardo: you can discuss this on meta all you want, and you can change this question all you want (that's why I marked it wiki). fact remains: the original question is legitimate. fact other remains: i will not touch meta with a two meter pole. –  hop Oct 5 '10 at 18:33
    
The basic question has merit though. ​⇒ unix.stackexchange.com/questions/2787/… –  Gilles Oct 5 '10 at 19:27
    
This is so stupid. –  hop Oct 5 '10 at 20:15
    
I deleted the parent version of this post to try and avoid confusion; there's now one parent post about finding software, and this meta post. I would clear the migration history but that would make the comments here completely nonsensical, but the way merging works the migration link below should lead non-[pseudo]mods to the reposted question –  Michael Mrozek Oct 5 '10 at 21:46
    
Isn't the simple answer to "Where can I find software that does X"? just www.x.org? Or did you not mean that X? 8-) –  alanc Oct 10 '10 at 17:21
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4 Answers 4

I disagree with your position: I think questions of the form “where can I find software that does X” are as legitimate as any, provided that X is a specific task (not “software related to Y” or “software like Z”).

Such lists are essentially moving targets. Software may be abandoned or replaced by the Next Hot Thing™, but SE-Questions, once answered, stay answered.

This applies equally to your generic question. In the 1990s, Archie and Sunsite would have featured prominently, yet today they are irrelevant.

SE offers voting but not much more in terms of structured meta info about software projects (Licenses, status, popularity, programming language, OS compatibility, …)

But SE is a questions and answer site, which helps when you don't know the usual name for the program you're looking for but can describe it in sentences.

While I find it commendable that SE sites want to be the definitive source on subject FOO, there are other, well established sites that do a better job with this particular problem and duplicating that effort poorly would help nobody.

http://www.freebsd.org/ is surely the best source of information on FreeBSD, so let's ban FreeBSD questions on Stack Exchange. No?

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+1 Everybody knows how to google for software; I think that asking for software recommendations here is really asking for advice and comparison among several competing software candidates. –  Riccardo Murri Oct 5 '10 at 21:34
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I disagree. Such questions are pretty practical and there must be a place where one can ask real people for recommendations. And a Q/A site for Unix/Linux users like this seems pretty reasonable place for this.

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Everything in technology changes. Nothing stays the same. I see no point in closing questions about apps that do X. I've re-answered questions where the answer changed on SO before. What's a good Web Browser? Mozilla was once the answer, and it's still valid (though the name changed) now Firefox, and Chrome are better.

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I think "What web browser is better?" isn't a correct question to ask (because there is no logically correct questions as most of them have their strengths and weaknesses), but, for example, "What are pros and cons of Firefox and Chrome compared?" or "Why should I use ZSH instead of Bash, what are its killer-features?" are. –  Ivan Oct 6 '10 at 3:39
    
@Ivan right. I could have worded this better. The point I was trying to make is that software changes, and what's available changes. Nothing in this industry is static. –  xenoterracide Oct 9 '10 at 17:55
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A good place to find software, especially for Unix and Linux, is freshmeat. It is a well established site that lists software projects together with a short description, license information, popularity and vitality stats, information about which programming language is used and much more, searchable by subject.

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