What's the point of using OS dependend tags such as , and ?

It seems that OS-dependent editors (such as gVim/MacVim) interface related questions are off-topic (this one sounds like it's too, as it ask for X11 integration) which leaves as with plain only vi/vim and the only differences are how and which external commands we invoke.

In case when the question has tag specifically expecting Windows only answers, all Linux-like and Unix-like answers are still welcomed, because of excuse that user can install Cygwin/MSYS/SUA on Windows, so all UNIX/Linux commands would be available. And when Unix-like question appears, then it becomes duplicate for some reason, because all UNIX/Linux answers are already posted in Windows question.

Is there any practical use (real scenario) where we really can use these tags appropriately? I think they'll be easily abused by non-experienced users and there will be always confusion (to tag question with and give all UNIX/Linux answers).

What about removing these tags to avoid further confusion (currently we've only 1 question about how to install plugin on Windows - shouldn't be that in FAQ or on the plugin page)?

Or if we want to keep them, define exactly what these tags actually mean?

  • Can we add more microsoft-windows questions, to see what the tag is used for?
    – kenorb
    Feb 15, 2015 at 15:57
  • 6
    You seem to be under a misapprehension that GVim is off-topic. Feb 16, 2015 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


One of the nice things about Vim, is that it is largely platform independent -- like python, and java.

But also like python and java, sometimes it isn't, and when it isn't thing are tricky. and when things are tricky, we expect/want people to come here.

Most questions should not have a OS tag because the solution is that same no matter the OS.

Cygwin etc does not come into the debate, except possibly for questing pertaining specifically to Cygwin related vim issues. (Eg, "When I install vim with Cygwin, Lua based extensions don't work, but they do in windows native", would be tagged both with windows and Cygwin).

OS depended solutions, including those that use Cygwin might come in to answers -- as a rule though, any answer that won't work on any OS is inferior to one that will (not that such always exists). However answers do not have tags. Questions do.

Unless the question asker is confidant they are dealing with an issue caused by the interactions between Vim and there OS, then no OS tag should be used.

Questions about Mac-Vim etc do not need the Mac tag, because they are about Mac-Vim. We don't care what OS it is running on. If someone has hacked OS/2 or a Nintendo 64 to run Mac-Vim then good for them. Similar for other such nominally platform dependent variants.

  • You still have OS-dependent questions. These do need the tag.
    – yo'
    Feb 21, 2015 at 0:25
  • @yo' Correct that is what I am saying. OS-dependent questions do need the tag. NonOS dependent questions do not. What are you getting at? Feb 21, 2015 at 2:06
  • Sorry, I probably just missed something here.
    – yo'
    Feb 21, 2015 at 2:13
  • Fair enough. I'll think about how I can clarify the post. Maybe a TL;DR at the top. Feb 21, 2015 at 2:15

By your reasoning, these questions should then exist in at least 2 flavours:

These questions all have 1 or 2 OS-specific solutions. In some cases, they're even the best solutions, but I don't see how adding OS-specific tags is going to help. How would you imagine this, exactly?

  • How to add line numbers in Vim only
  • How to add line numbers in Linux
  • How to add line numbers in MS Windows?
  • How to add line numbers in a POSIX UNIX way?
  • How to add line numbers in VMS?
  • ... etc.

The Vimscript solution would also be a good answer to any of the other questions, and the Linux/UNIX answer could also be applicable to Windows. This would lead to a horrible fragmentation of answers.

Point in case: in the original line number question there are 3 Vim-only answers, and one UNIX-y answer. In your question, there are 2 (different) Vim-only answers, and one UNIX-y answer that is the same as the answer on the original question.
How does this serve anyone? Now, anyone (UNIX and Windows users alike) will be served by coming across either question, but they are missing out on 2 or more answers which may work better in their case, because they don't know there is another question to look at!

So, what I did was:

  • Vote to close your question as a duplicate
  • Remove the tag from the original question (perhaps the question body could also be edited slightly to make it more generic)

Problem solved. The original question is now open to all sorts answers.

Examples of questions where an OS-specific tag is useful:

Furthermore, I'm also not sure of tagging a question with both and is necessarily good idea. I think that all of the questions could just be tagged as , this is not a Linux-specific issue, but rather about the UNIX version of Vim (:echo has('unix')). For the same reason, I would say that is sometimes more appropriate than (such as the "Can visual select mode be integrated with the Unix selection clipboard?" question).

  • mkdir -p is not OS-specific in this case, as part of excuse that you can always install Cygwin/MSYS/SUA on Windows? Param -p is available on OSX as well as on Linux, I believe in cygwin the same.
    – kenorb
    Feb 15, 2015 at 16:16
  • sed related topics are not OS-specific, as you can install it on Windows as well as generate random numbers, as you can have bash on Windows as well.
    – kenorb
    Feb 15, 2015 at 16:19
  • "part of excuse that you can always install Cygwin/MSYS/SUA " -> It's not an "excuse", what a strange choice of wording ... I didn't even mention it at all in the answer. It was merely an off-hand remark I made in a comment. To repeat: These broad questions are not fundamentally about any OS, and are open to many types of answers, some may be OS-specific. Feb 15, 2015 at 16:31
  • 1
    Not all users can install additional applications. Assuming they can seems like a bad solution. Feb 19, 2015 at 10:00

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