Former fan of Ubuntu recovers from being turned into a newt
First, my claim for street cred: Used to like Ubuntu and used it a lot. Even ran it native on a couple of machines and still running it on three machines in VMs. I have one ancient machine that runs an old version of Ubuntu native, but the same machine still has a live application running in DOS, shmg. (Please.)
One of the main reasons I liked Ubuntu was that I believed it had potential to make Linux into a mainstream OS for large numbers of users. I fantasized that Ubuntu could increase human freedom by providing a viable option to Microsoft and Apple.
Ubuntu went the wrong way and its evolution became devolution. It's challenge to become a contender become a joke. The learning curve INCREASED, the intuitiveness DECREASED, and I can no longer recommend Ubuntu to anyone. Ubuntu turned into a newt and there are no signs of recovery.
I think this is because the financial model is wrong. Whatever bad things you want to say about Microsoft and Apple, I bet I can say worse, but the bottom line is that there financial models WORK.
There are several open source financial models in use, and all of them reek like a big dog's m0e. One is for beginning programmers to take a vow of poverty while doing what they want, with the result that they lose interest or develop marketable skills. In either case, they almost always move along. The Ubuntu model is the big-donor charity, which requires two things: A donor with big enough pockets and that the donor not make too many bad decisions. Not sure about Shuttleworth's pockets, but his decisions have gotten worse and worse, and that is why Ubuntu is just a sad joke these days.
I think we OBVIOUSLY need new kinds of business models. What I want is a kind of charity stock market where I could buy virtual shares in various projects. Possible examples: (1) A new feature for an OS. (2) An improved version of an existing program. (3) Continued support for an older program. (4) Anything you imagine here. If enough small donors agree, then the project gets the money.
This financial model may remind you of Kickstarter, IndyGoGo, or Crowdrise (though it predates my ever hearing of those websites. The difference is that I think this charity brokerage should provide project management support for such things as: (1) Help prepare project description that really covers the costs and requirements of the project. (2) Describe the goals clearly, including the testing. (3) Report on the results of the project in concrete terms of meeting the goals and passing the tests. (4) Give public credit to the donors for their support. (My version of the complete system is still provisionally titled "reverse auction charity shares".)