We have questions on the synonyms for

On Ask Different, freebsd is a synonym of unix

Separate Linux tag from Unix

One of the problems in doing anything is that there seems to be no agreement on what we should do.

The full list of synonyms is , , , , , , and

Following a suggestion made in the comments of the first question I support the removal of some of these from the synonym.

Search for awk in the body of the question gives 7 hits of which only one is specifically awk in the others awk is just part of the command line used.

Similarly for sed there are 14 questions of which 9 are directly sed syntax and two are how to install GNU sed. So in this case it might be worth keeping a sed tag but just for those.

I could also see a case for removing and from the synonym as in AskDifferent they are not the whole system (in something like Stack Overflow POSIX does cover more e.g. programming APIs). In AD Gnu is about using gnu coreutils rather than the macOS ones.

The query for posix gives 7 questions of which I don't think any need the posix tag.

The query for gnu gives 30 many of which are re differences of GNU coreutils vs macOS ones, a few are Gnu C related and others just show GNU in an error message. I think only the former might usufully have a gnu tag - and would be better as gnu-coreutils (However would a new user know that).

In summary I think awk sed and posix should be removed from the synonym and sed added back as a separate one. This can be acted on now.

I also think gnu should be removed but less certain what to do with these questions a gnu-coreutils tag might be the answer here.

  • 2
    In tagging your question, I'm tempted to make tag-synonyms a synonym of tags... How meta and really who would follow one and not the other?
    – bmike Mod
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 16:20
  • 1
    I like the idea of differentiating between a tag+synonyms for unix-style OSes (which, similar to windows, can then be mainly used for questions about installing them on Apple hardware (and, within limits, on configuring them to make the best use of Apple hardware) and a command-line tag for all things happing on shell level (with a clear focus on macOS then).
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:27
  • 1
    Also, let's start small. We don't really need a sed or an awk tag (not even as a synonym).
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 7:28
  • @nohillside re a tag for unix sytle OS well actually non-macOS-unix is what I was thinking of as well.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 9:04
  • Even that is a distinction will be difficult to implement, probably.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 9:11
  • 1
    Well the staing point would be to ba the unix tag - then workout what tag would be used
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 9:20
  • 1
    Anyway the point of this discussion is to ignore that non macos unix part and do the easier things on sed awk posix and possibly gnu
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 9:21
  • @nohillside or other moderators - can you start breaking the synonym - at least for sed, awk - then posix, freebsd and possibly gnu.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 9:11
  • I'm going to remove the gnu, posix, sed and awk synonyms, they don't fit into the list of OSes we currently combine into the Unix tag.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 12:58
  • 1
    IMHO having tags for specific commands doesn't make any sense on AskDifferent, there are just not enough questions about them and if you are really interested in the topic, U&L is the much better place to follow them. It people start to bring them back, we can easily synonym them into command-line.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 13:18
  • Ah, right, in theory we need to review all unix questions to check whether they should be relabeled to command-line. Not sure it's worth the effort.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 13:20
  • @nohillside agreed on the review not being worth it - there is too much already there. I think the bsd and freebsd tags could be split off as well. freebsd has one question. But for any further change the unix tag has to be banned for new questions so a better tag can be chosen.
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 15:15
  • We can't prevent the use of a specific tag, or the creation of a new one once users have enough rep.
    – nohillside Mod
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


I can see a case for making two seperate tags: gnu-coreutils and bsd-coreutils. Unless I am completely mistaken, macOS utilizes the latter.

Questions about awk, grep, dd, df et al could be tagged/categorized as bsd-coreutils with synonyms (including the tag unix” pointing to bsd-coreutils. Unless otherwise specified a gnu version in which case, gnu/gnu-coreutils would be the tag, the defualt which all synonyms point to would be bsd-coreutils or just coreutils.

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