I’ve seen several issues punted to the Unix/Linux or StackOverflow exchanges, but that’s problematic.

Many things are unique to the Apple platforms.

Thanks to Darwin’s UNIX underpinnings and FreeBSD roots, it shares a common ancestry with Linux, but it would be foolish to consider them the same, especially when it comes to software development.

I don’t know if we need more and better tagging, or an exchange explicit to development for Apple environments, but sending someone to sift through Linux tech when they’re coding for macOS/iOS is not right. For that matter, I’ve seen a few networking issues lately where some poor soul thought macOS honors Linux/UNIX configuration files.

  • Can you add some specific examples of such questions?
    – nohillside Mod
    May 7, 2019 at 5:46
  • closed questions are easily handled by the collaborative moderation team of hundreds of users with 3k rep. Without some examples of this, it’s going to be hard to make consensus on meta. Also, what is “punted” - is that short for successfully migrated or something else?
    – bmike Mod
    May 7, 2019 at 8:42
  • I'll try to track down the questions that led me to post this question. By punted, I mean that it was suggested that the poster seek an answer on the Unix/Linux or StackOverflow exchanges. My concern is that for some questions, the non-macOS answer is quite wrong and only someone experienced with Darwin/Apple OS would be able to provide the correct answer. May 7, 2019 at 15:41
  • Example: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/359534/… -- If the user looks up NSNotification, they'll find a full description. May 7, 2019 at 15:49
  • That’s clearly a dev level question and one of the commenters pointed them (appropriately) to Stack Overflow. I personally pointed them to the dev documentation on Apple’s site.
    – Allan
    May 7, 2019 at 15:57
  • So you're saying that "Ask Different" doesn't handle developer-level questions, even if the Apple answer differs considerably from the non-Apple OS answer? If that's true, okay. It just seems wrong. There was another question regarding network peer setup that I'd like to present for consideration as well. May 7, 2019 at 16:20
  • I guess that when someone is obviously not trolling or being lazy, I think it's important to at least send them in the right direction. On StackOverflow or UL, they'll most likely get a Linux-correct answer that will have them pulling their hair out wondering why it doesn't work like everyone says it should. May 7, 2019 at 16:23
  • 1
    Yes, as mentioned in apple.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic, code-level/development questions are off-topic. For most of them, SO is the right place to ask (assuming one adheres to the rules defined there), and as long as the poster mentions that they are using macOS/iOS they should get good answers. UL mostly is useful for shell-level things, not so much for development (and there is an overlap in case of shell-scripting for instance). Even there, mentioning macOS should get good answers.
    – nohillside Mod
    May 7, 2019 at 17:27
  • 1
    If you want to propose a policy change please raise a new question on meta (here) with your proposal.
    – nohillside Mod
    May 7, 2019 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


We already have a procedure in place for dealing with Software Development questions and that is to close as such and point the user to Stack Overflow which is a community geared specific to that activity. It’s also important to note the question typically isn’t migrated but instead closed.

Software development questions should never be migrated to UNIX/Linux.

For that matter, I’ve seen a few networking issues lately where some poor soul thought macOS honors Linux/UNIX configuration files.

macOS ≠ Linux

Why would macOS honor Linux config files? In fact it doesn’t have to honor any particular file to remain certified. For example in FreeBSD and Solaris, which are both certified, I had a resolv.conf file which I could specify the priority of hostname lookups or even prevent hostname resolution from the /etc/hosts file rendering it neuter.

If true, it is troubling that we would send a user to look at “Linux” tech for an answer on macOS, but without context, we can’t address it

Thanks to Darwin’s UNIX underpinnings and FreeBSD roots, it shares a common ancestry with Linux....

I’m not sure why Linux is assumed to be the genesis of Unix and Unix-like operating systems, but macOS doesn’t share ancestry with it. Darwin is, in and of itself, a bona fide Unix.

  • Indeed, Linux is derived from the UNIX's, intended to be a cheap/GNU version of them. Darwin is UNIX, and is higher in the food chain than Linux, on par with Solaris and SCO which were only available as paid/commercial OS. May 7, 2019 at 15:46

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