Let's say I write a computer program for Linux. People pay me, they get this computer program and my support staff will "support them" using it.
There is different (well, actually many) different Linux distributions, such as Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, et cetera.
- I build and test my software on Debian. I know for a fact that it works, and I will guarantee that. My support staff will help you resolve any kind of problem, even if it means that I have to fix my software. Legal obligations and everything. So, the combination of Ubuntu and my computer program is supported. Debian supports my computer program.
- I do not test my software on Ubuntu, but due to the similarities between Ubuntu and Debian, I can reasonably assume that it works. So, Ubuntu supports my computer program. My support staff will do their best to help you, and we have every expectation that this combination works, but if it comes down to it, we can't guarantee this combination to work.
- Gentoo is very different than Debian, and my software is not expected to work on it. So, Gentoo does not support my computer program.
The confusion is about the first two scenarios here. What terminology can I use to distinguish the two? Currently, I often end up describing the distinction in a longer sentence, and I would love for there to be a more succinct way to indicate these.