back to article Mark Shuttleworth: Canonical leads Ubuntu, not 'your whims'

After several months without posting, Mark Shuttleworth has returned to his official blog with some harsh words for those in the Ubuntu community who have been critical of Canonical's recent efforts to transform the OS into a multi-faceted platform for mobile devices and the cloud. "If you've done what you want for Ubuntu, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

    ... and the Tin Woodsman's gonna cut ya!

    I don't know of anybody who is saying Linux, or Ubuntu, should be "hard", or "leet". Everybody who is complaining is complaining about it violating their privacy with the Amazon tie-ins, or complaining about breaking what was working (Gnome 2 or KDE) by replacing it with something half-baked at best (Unity) (BTW: Isn't it more "leet" to favor the "new" vs. the tried and true?).

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

      Shuttleworth does not want to be the next Steve Jobs, that's obvious, more like Louis XlV.

      "L'etat c'est moi"

      "If you think the grand vision should follow your whims..."

      Or to put it bluntly.

      "My way or the highway."

      Don't take it personally, this is "free software" we're taking about and people using Linux have a choice and if someone disagrees with him that does not automatically make that person wrong.

      Personally I wouldn't touch Ubuntu with a barge-pole these days although Xubuntu is still reasonably useable. It's going in the wrong direction for me and ramming Amazon down everyones throat is on a par with MS's insistance on TIFKAM. Plain arrogance.

      On second thought, maybe he's not trying to be Louis XlV but Bob Geldof,

      "Just give us your money!"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

      Well said.

      Those who didn't like the direction Ubuntu has gone in, have simply moved on.

      Like you implied (unless I'm reading into it wrong), the developers who produced Unity seem to be the 1337 types - hellbent on 'fixing' something that wasn't bust.

      Better teams have spent far more money and effort honing the desktop experience, with the experience and knowledge to understand that pulling the rug from under your users is a terrible move.

      Changes to Windows and MacOS over the years have been incremental and careful.

      Users could jump right from Windows 95 to WIndows 7 and still get around - 15 years down the line.

      The same cannot be said for a default Ubuntu install.

      1. asdf
        Trollface

        Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

        >Changes to Windows and MacOS over the years have been incremental and careful.

        >Users could jump right from Windows 95 to WIndows 7 and still get around - 15 years down the line.

        This obviously was true until the disaster that has been Windows 8. Unless of course you are going to say users could jump straight from Windows 1.0 to Windows 8 - 25+ years down the line which may be true but is just plain sad (turns out MS had discovered overlapping windows is a bad idea after all).

        1. yossarianuk

          Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

          > Changes to Windows and MacOS over the years have been incremental and careful.

          Sounds a lot like KDE (since v 4.0 at least) - you know the desktop that a lot of Windows Vista/Window 7 features were 'lifted' from (i.e the menu for a start)

          Every few months a new, slightly better more refined version comes out.

          After using KDE for a while most users would feel limited using Windows 7 (I am not even going to mention the Unity clone - Windows8)

    3. Connor

      Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

      @David

      'I don't know of anybody who is saying Linux, or Ubuntu, should be "hard", or "leet".'

      Then you should spend some time on the Ubuntu forums. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen people, usually new users, complain or ask about a feature, only to be told - "if you don't like it, learn to program and change it yourself or just use Windows"

      The Linux elitist hardcore still exist.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

        "I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. 'Linux is supposed to be hard so it's exclusive' is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say," Shuttleworth wrote.

        Yep, that's about the dumbest thing that a smart person could say. . . . oh wait ...

      2. Robert Pogson
        Linux

        Re: Mark, you keep punching that straw man...

        The issue is not just about developers but OEMs and ordinary users. I don't know any who share Shuttleworth's idea that Apple and M$ are absolutely wonderful. In fact, many OEMs and retailers are despairing of selling Wintel and are seeking an exit. When the battle is almost won, Shuttleworth seems to be disbanding his army.

        Where has he been the last decade? Even my toddler granddaughter can run XFCE4 on Debian. If she doesn't need Unity, who does? Shuttleworth should stick to supporting OEMs and not designing software. What's Unity as a fraction of GNU/Linux, 1%? Why does he feel so important? He's not and the world will move on without him. While millions of PCs are shipping from OEMs with Ubuntu, millions of others are shipping with other distros and the hobbyists still visit Distrowatch.

  2. Bush_rat

    Gosh, I'm gonna have tip-toe with comment, ahh screw it, as much as community based amaze me with the abillity to truly craft your experience, I think Mark COULD be onto something. If he can wrangle the community into submission, I see a great OS.

    Please don't hurt me! </cower>

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Linux

      I have to agree with the Sentiment if not the theme here. If anyones ever gonna start taking Linux seriously then it's gonna have to start taking some form of centralized development to lay down road work to actually attract the closed source Commercial Developers (e.g. Adobe, Quark, perhaps even Microsoft w/Office?) to the Linux family. As it is now it's good and although I can respect the vitriol the "Community" is spouting towards Canonical. I mean this is almost certainly not in "the spirit" of Linux.

      One the other hand If Linux on the Desktop should ever become a reality between now and when XP SP3, and O2k3 SP3 hit there EOL. In just about a Year from now. Then THIS IS the kind of leadership that Linux unfortunately needs even if it isn't the kind of "Leadership" it deserves, or wants.

      1. Paul Shirley

        leading down a sinkhole

        Leadership is necessary but the destination it leads to is more important. Strong leaders can lead to disaster, mediocrity and irrelevance or more rarely, success.

        Canonical has not been short on leadership, enough to lead Microsoft down the same dumbing down sinkhole with Win8. It's dangerously short on respect for those it leads and totally blind to criticism. Well on the way to irrelevance with hints of disaster thrown in.

        1. fung0
          Thumb Up

          Re: leading down a sinkhole

          Couldn't agree more. Shuttleworth is deliberately muddying the waters here. It's not the *idea* of a more-commercial Ubuntu that people object to, but the specific way Shuttleworth is doing it... by adding spyware, or building a UI that's needlessly unfamiliar.

          Listening to the core audience does NOT make a company weak. There's a difference between leadership and sheer bloody-mindedness.

  3. Rushyo
    Unhappy

    So basically, "I'm the only one who can make free software relevant, I don't need or want petty human beings outside my control interfering in that?"

    The talk about 'Grand Visions' and being 'Convinced' of the benefits of 'Disruptive Changes' doesn't at all sound like a power trip.

    Nevermind, that surely makes him appropriate as the Grand Moff of an operating system. Just not one I (as a fairly 'run of the mill' Ubuntu user) find tenable. The recent changes made by Canonical have made Ubuntu very undesirable as a desktop OS and using it makes me cringe at the moment. I'll be throwing it out and finding an alternative pretty soon.

    Maybe Windows 8? /trollface

    1. Magani
      Linux

      @Rushyo

      Don't be tempted by the Dark Side. Try Mint.

      1. Shagbag

        Re: @Rushyo

        EXACTLY. That's what he said: if Ubuntu is not for you then move on to something that is - there's plenty of choice.

        There's no point in moaning about Ubuntu when there's so much competition for linux users out there. I like where Canonical are taking Ubuntu. I also like Arch. However, Canonical are breaking from the pack and trying to be different. As he said, you don't have to go with him if you don't want. GPL is GPL so any upstream code changes come down to benefit all.

    2. Greg J Preece

      Why throw it out if you like the underpinnings? Just install KDE/Gnome/whatever and carry on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A leader with vision is better than one without. At least you know what he or she stands for and can then take it or leave it.

      It's funny how some people (Eadon especially) rave on about the wonderful open source world yet it seems to have more than a few pillocks who piss people off so much that a project/distro gets forked and we end up with two average/okay bits of software not one great one.

      1. Robert Pogson

        "A leader with vision is better than one without."

        Sometimes but not always. I've heard of Hitler, Mussoline, Idi Amin, Gadaffi and some others who had plenty of vision but were just headed in the wrong direction. Shuttleworth seems intent on solving a problem that doesn't exist while ignoring the elephant in the room. The elephant is that the only thing blocking more widespread adoption of GNU/Linux is retail shelf-space. Canonical has made great progress there before Unity came to be. The GUI is not the problem. Trying to stuff a desktop into a smartphone is.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Seriously I have trancended time and space.....

      To the point that I need dumb basic layouts that have the relevant menus and sequences in place...

      Abstract things, that kind of have enormous amounts of obscure, guessing game, kinds of links / app starters / process access etc.. they tend to lose me...

      I like menus that state what they mean, not heiroglyphs.

      While I am so glad that Shuttleworth and all the others, have pushed Ubuntu / Debian far further than anything else, and it would be a much worse world without it...

      Especially in regards to the Microsoft Nazi Surveilance Spy Ware....

      But As soon as the Unity Desktop went from the incarnation with the window sizing controls on the wrong side of the screen, to the fully fucked up next incarnation, I went Xfce....

      While the Unity interface - to me, it's a crock of shit... others may like it... but in this one aspect he is right: "Shuttleworth said his goal is for Ubuntu to be not just another hobbyist Linux variant, but a serious challenger to the likes of Android, Apple, Chrome, and Windows. Achieving that, he said, would take leadership."

      I won't take swipes at him...

      While I don't like the Unity interface, you need business brains and experience to begin to undermine Microsoft.

      Not something that fanbois are generally good at.

      1. DiBosco

        Re: Seriously I have trancended time and space.....

        I say this as someone who, other than Raspberry Pi, has always used Mandrake and its successors (and recently Open SuSE). Also, I have always used KDE so I have no love for Unity at all. However...

        ...I'm not sure sure it's fair to say the window sizing controls are on the "wrong" side. Surely it's just a completely random thing? As far as I understand it, Shuttleworth wants something more like the OS X desktop (which also has its controls on the left hand side and confuses the crap out of me on the rare occasions I'm exposed to it). I suspect, though, if I used it all the time I'd soon get used to it.

        In general, even though I have no desire to use Ubuntu and think Mageia and SuSE to evey bit as good a job as Ubuntu in making Linux very easy to use, I have a sneaky admiration for him and his work. He's really brought Linux to a much bigger audience and he really is doing the right thing in trying to get it on prebuilt hardware.

        I think he absolutely right in that he needs to show leadership and he can't listen to every opinion. If he's wrong, his company will fail, but if he's right and lots of new people use Ubuntu starting with Unity maybe they'll just accept it and even like it?

      2. Hayden Clark
        Unhappy

        Re: Seriously I have trancended time and space.....

        The thing that gets people annoyed about Unity is the same kind of arrogance that annoys about TIFKAM. Not just "this is better" but "everything else is crap, even our old stuff".

        Unity allegedly replaced Ubuntu Netbook Remix, which was a great way of reviving an old, small-screen netbook. It came with all of the extra toys to save power, deal with 3G modems, multiple wireless links and such, all wrapped up with a simple Launcher. It was simple enough that my daughter just sat down and used it without any instruction from me.

        Now, Canonical are free to stop supporting UNR, and stop making it available in current distros. But what they have done is to go though all of the download sites for old versions of Ubuntu, and remove the UNR versions! Even though Ubuntu can be downloaded right back to 8.04, UNR has vanished, even though the last build was 10.04.

        That's not "leadership". That's just gittish.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    I was very supportive of the first ubuntu release, but over time I got progressively more disenchanted with it. The last few versions I haven't even looked at.

    1. Ole Juul

      progressively more disenchanted

      I feel the same way. It is odd that Shuttleworth says he has "zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different", when it is the fact that Ubuntu keeps changing, and is "always different", that is causing many of us to move on.

      1. Robert Pogson

        Re: progressively more disenchanted

        Amen. How is any salesman, teacher, techie, OEM supposed to play for the team when no one knows what's going on? I love to search for data. I hate to search for applications. Is that so hard for Shuttleworth to understand? I have a monitor a mile wide. I have absolutely no use for an OS designed for a smartphone here.

        1. keithpeter
          Boffin

          Re: progressively more disenchanted

          "How is any salesman, teacher, techie, OEM supposed to play for the team when no one knows what's going on?"

          Isn't that exactly Shuttleworth's point? Is he not giving notice here? If you like the new shiny, try Ubuntu. If you want a stable, planned, supportable through training desktop experience, use CentOS.

          I'm tracking Ubuntu because it is interesting, innovative and I like the prospect of a phone I can dock and get basic desktop functions with. Bring it on, blingarooney.

          Canonical design are doing interesting UI things and they claim an empirical basis for the changes they are making. I wish I could find more detailed documentation of their evidence base. That would be a huge contribution.

          CentOS is my lifeboat.

  5. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    I lost interest when 10.0 Grub ate my PC's MBR...

    ..., nail in the coffin is 10,637 updates per day (just a slight exaggeration). Since I also grow to dislike Windows (because MS management is a bit thick), thank dog for Android/Apple tablets and Apple/Android smart phones.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me again...

    which lottery ticket paid off big for this martyr?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remind me again...

      which lottery ticket paid off big for this martyr?

      Ah. Let me stop you right there. Mark's "lottery ticket" was Thawte, also formerly known as the home of the Web Of Trust. Mark built this, and with his staff automated so well that they gave Verisign a serious run for the money - the Thawte certs were cheaper than the Verisign ones, but costed much less in terms of management overhead. What's more, Thawte did it *right* - I seriously doubt they would have handed a Microsoft cert to athrid party, to name but one of the many errors of Verisign.

      Mark sold this show to Verisign, and it's telling that the first thing he did was hand some of the loot to his staff.

      In short, Mark didn't win the lottery, he worked for it.

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    2. Connor

      Re: Guess that includes me then

      I was the same, I've been an Ubuntu user since the start and I didn't like the way it was heading. I hated Unity and stuck with 10.04 (the last one without it) for two years to avoid Unity. I tried Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Mint and Elementary. Xfce and LXDE were like going back to the 90s, looked bad and lacked basic features but were fairly fast. KDE was also like a step backward. Mint and Elementary were OK, but they just didn't seem as rounded and polished as Ubuntu and did things their own weird way. In the end I always went to back Lucid (10.04).

      Finally I decided that Unity was the lesser evil and installed 12.04 and hated it. After a few weeks I got used to it and haven't looked back. I still don't like it, but I can see where it is going and I can see its potential and I am slowly being converted. Computing moves on quickly and frankly after using Unity for a while, everything else from KDE to Xfce looks dated and old fashioned.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Guess that includes me then @Connor

        I started reading your comment, and had to check that I was not the author. I've taken exactly the same route, right up to accepting Unity on Precise (12.04).

        My Laptop is old. It's not that powerful, but it is mine and it works, and I would prefer to not have to replace it at the moment. It worked fine with Gnome 2 on Lucid, although Compiz worked better with Hardy (KMS implemented in the kernel in Lucid and other distro's broke certain ATI drivers)

        It runs Unity 2D, but the experience is awful, both because it is not the full-fat version, and because the performance is crap. Same KMS issue as Lucid preventing composite rendering, probably.

        So, I've put Gnome 3 with Cinnamon on (just install the package, and select at logon). I would prefer for it to be offered as a choice during install, but I can stay with Ubuntu and remain current enough without having to change the way I work. So far, I've managed to keep it sufficiently like I want it.

        I'm not sure that Unity will ever allow me to work the way I want to as it handles windows in a completely foreign way to what I want to do, but I guess that time will tell.

        1. keithpeter

          Re: Guess that includes me then @Connor

          "It worked fine with Gnome 2 on Lucid"

          Then it will work fine with CentOS 6. Support until 2017. Compiz, wobbly windows, and all.

      2. Fatman

        Re: I still don't like it, but I can see where it is going

        I agree, to a point!

        I can see where Unity can be a benefit on a tablet, smart phone, and perhaps a touch enabled kiosk environment.

        But, for a standard desktop user who creates things (as opposed to just 'consuming them'), Unity, to me, is a clusterfuck. So, the first thing I do on a new Ubuntu install, (I have done many since 7.04) is to install gnome-session-fallback, and rip out that Unity clusterfuck.

        Now, I have "borrowed" one of its concepts - a left hand vertical "panel' complete with launchers for the most used of my applications, but, unlike Unity, it is only 32 pixels wide, and the icons don't animate when you click on them (to me useless ICandy, which is not the same as "eye-candy").

        At least Canonical hasn't gone WindblowZE 81 bonkers with those "live tiles".

        1 Reported by some to be in actuality Windows Vista(ster) Service Pack 3.

        1. Connor

          Re: I still don't like it, but I can see where it is going @fatman

          I used to feel the same. But you can make Unity auto hide and 32px too and believe me if you do that you can almost forget that it is there. Prior to Unity I used to use Docky and Synapse (and before that Gnome-Do) and so seldom used menus anyway, I just typed the name of a file and program and hit enter. Using Unity is pretty much the same, indeed it really is just a Dock with a text search box like Synapse with a few added extras. It is made for the desktop and when used with a keyboard it is super fast.

          I found Unity on 12.04 so crash happy that I installed Synapse and used that most of the time anyway, just as I had before so the change wasn’t so pronounced as it could have been. 12.10 is much more stable and I use Unity now most of the time as I find it more useful, especially for things like iPlayer, (e.g. hitting Super + V and typing the name of the program to download a program is just much faster than browsing there). I also like HUD for the same reasons. There are problems however and it still does feel like beta software, forced on us with little or no configuration options. However such quick and fluid access to things is the future, regardless of platform.

          As for Windows 8, I just use that in a similar way to Unity. If I want to open an app I hit the Super Key + Q and type the name, the same as Unity and again it is very fast, much, much faster than the old menu system, and that is pretty much all I use Metro for. The rest of the time I use the Desktop (just as in Windows 7). The tiles etc aren’t so bad although I don’t really see any reason to use them; Microsoft’s biggest mistake was making them the default, and forcing users to guess the shortcut keys (e.g. Super + Q). Metro should have been hidden by default and called as needed with the Windows key, with clear and accessible shortcuts. At least Canonical got that right.

  8. Greg J Preece

    I'm in two minds on this one. If Mark can drag Linux kicking and screaming past its current desktop boundaries into popular relevance, that will most likely benefit it as a whole. He's interested in making it popular, and whether or not you like Unity, it's shiny, and shiny appeals to the end user. (It's a reality I despise, but Apple's kinda proven once and for all that end users are magpies.) Besides, just because newbies use a Linux distro isn't going to suddenly turn the kernel into Windows ME.

    On the other hand, Linux bods have long since resented moves that are overtly commercial, and if he's going to continue to make Ubuntu popular, he needs the support of Linux's broad base. Move the system too far from that base, or piss people off too much, and he risks losing contributions.

    It's difficult, but I'm continuing to support him thus far. Unity isn't the horrendous system-breaker people pretend it is, no more than Metro is on Windows 8 - those are just knee jerk reactions, and I'm guilty of them too. The plan's ambitious, and he has a Molyneux-style habit of talking up shit he hasn't built yet, but if he can pull it off it'll be bloody impressive. Mithras knows, I'm begging for a proper Linux OS on a proper smartphone, like I used to have before Nokia went batty nuggets.

    Remember, no matter what vitriol you can hurl at his UI, at its core the distro is still very good. When Ubuntu has done things differently in the past, it's generally worked pretty well. I still run Kubuntu on everything I own - the solid Ubuntu base with the KDE I like over the top. (I did this long before Unity arrived.) No matter what happens at this point, it'd be impossible for him to take that solid base away from us.

    1. Quxy
      Thumb Up

      Unity and TIFKAM

      No, neither Unity nor Metro are horrendous system-breakers, and both of them may be better user interfaces for certain sorts of devices and use models. But even their fans can't argue that either of them make desktop computing more productive -- yet they have served to alienate Linux and Windows desktop users because of the way they have been forced on them as the default UI.

      It really seems that Mark is making the same mistake as Steven Sinofsky, in thinking that the same user interface was suitable for smartphones, tablets, and desktops alike. Say what you like about Apple, but Steve Jobs was always clear on the notion that the best way to interact with a tablet is not the same as with a desktop machine, despite the fact that the underlying OS core is likely the same.

      1. druck Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Unity and TIFKAM

        Unity is worse than TIKFAM, because in Windows 8 once you've installed Classic Shell, the deskop becomes just like Windows 7, if not slightly nicer. The only thing you can do with Unity is to completely banish it, by installing a different Window manager, lucky there are quite a few to chose from.

        1. Fatman

          Re: Unity and TIFKAM

          Simpler solution:

          sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

          log out, and before logging in, click on the logo next to your name (what?? you boot directly into a desktop, bypassing a login??? that's so WindblowZE like), and click on one of the gnome options.

          Log back in again. Expected results, no more Unity (but it is still there for when you ever want to embrace the dark side (oops, that would be using WindblowZE, my mistake).

        2. Quxy
          Thumb Down

          Re: Unity is worse than TIFKAM

          Yes, but for desktop Linux installations it's a choice that can be avoided altogether, rather than simply being worked around, unlike the case with TIFKAM in Windows 8. With Ubuntu, there are many other window managers that you can choose at install time instead of Unity.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux is about choice - right?

    Choice... that's the operative word. Obviously multi-millionaire Shuttleworth with an ego to match wants a software empire to equal the likes of has-been household names. Get on with it then Mark - I don't need to follow your whims or the dark path you tread because I've got choice ... to the extent that I and other Ubuntu developers can fork a version that has a decent desktop and return to the original concept of Ubuntu - something good for everyone made by everyone, and not according to one man's personal ambition.

    Perhaps you should think about hiring developers to fulfill your egotistical dream and paying them a fair wage rather than making money off thousands of people who work for nothing and using their hard work as a vehicle for your own benefit. From that point of view, at least the likes of Google and Microsoft are honest about their intentions - not that I trust them any further than that.

    Maybe that's why Mint Linux has overtaken Ubuntu in the popularity stakes? Reality check time Mark.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux is about choice - right?

      It depends what you want Linux to be. Geeks love choice - to get their terminal and emacs keyboards shortcuts "just so they work just how I like them", with their window manager, and their file system.

      For the "average joe" in the mass market choice in computing is a huge no no. Choice implies that the user is expert enough to make an informed decision. If you don't have that knowledge and don't even understand the topic enough to know how to find out, choice is a complete feckin disaster. The poor user will go through three stages typically: (1) confusion (2) frustration (3) anger. As you might expect (4) is then take it back any buy a Mac or Windows box which have "one way" of doing things.

      Canonical want to be a mass market OS distro, that means they explicitly need to _kill_ choice, or at least hide it by default. Which is pretty much what they have done - default = unity, expert = first thing I change is to get normal Gnome3.

      When will the Linux geeks learn that they are not representative of "normal people". And if you then claim "but I like it how it is" you are pretty much hitting MS's point right on the head - you like to be "l33t".

      P

      1. Fatman

        Re: Choice implies that the user is expert enough to make an informed decision.

        Which is something your average Joe (L)user is not capable of.

        Joe (L)user treats a computer like it were a toaster, put in bread, push down lever, toast pops out when done.

        Adjust darkness as desired.

        Do not use knife or other object to remove stuck bread while unit plugged into mains socket.

        No (l)user serviceable components inside.

        If it breaks, go out and buy another one!!!!!!!

        IOW a fucking appliance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Choice implies that the user is expert enough to make an informed decision.

          Yes, your point?

          Taking your toaster analogy half of the problem is that most PC's today will (1) randomly throw toast across the room in defiance of all normal and sensible rules, (2) contain 5 different levers to put the toast down and name them all in incomprehensible shorthand, and (3) rather than giving a knob with 5 numbers on will gives you a command line to enter the amount of amps you want to put through the filament.

          Actually I think you are being unfair - most users are willing to learn how to use a PC, but don't want to learn the complex rules of which of the 5 possible ways work for each problem, for their precise distro. Infact they want to OS to (1) be invisible and (2) just work for their apps.

        2. Andy E
          Stop

          Re: Choice implies that the user is expert enough to make an informed decision.

          This for me hits the nail on the head. I'd probalbly have used the anagoly of Joe (L)user buying a car. There are lots of different options including engine size, number of doors, petrol, deisel, colur internal trim, model type but which do they buy? The one on the forecourt that takes their fancy.

          The people posting are the Linux elite who have learned how to unstall different modules and who are complaining on window re-size options being on the wrong side. Given the installed base of desktop linux compared to Windows and Mac OS it's completely meaningless anyway :-)

          I'm off to learn some more completely unintuitive command line switches and options for Linuk utilities

  10. Ragequit

    If Shuttleworth was really interested in making a free operating system that could compete with closed source alternatives I can think of better ways to spend my time than alienating developers. What was one of the major contributors to MS's rise to power? MS courted developers. They used a carrot instead of a stick.

    Honestly the impression I get from what friends that are way more into the community aspect of open source than I is that Shuttleworth is just looking for ways to monetize his investment in Ubuntu and figures he can become the next Apple if he can force feed his 'vision' long enough.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Ragequit alienating developers

      "What was one of the major contributors to MS's rise to power? MS courted developers."

      Microsoft were only interested in courting developers who would write applications and do stuff with THEIR OS, they were totally uninterested in OS developers outside of MS. I suggest Shuttleworth is basically stating that Canonical are/will be doing similar however, the code will be available to other, unlike MS.

      The obvious problem is that in talking publicly about OS development, Shuttleworth does run the risk of putting off open source applications developers.

  11. Adair Silver badge
    Angel

    Got to say...

    ...some of us (me included on occasion), just love to whine. No one forces us to use Ubuntu, or any other distro. If we're not in charge of development and direction we're just all car and no responsibility. if we don't like the way a distro is going we can simply pack our bags for greener pastures, surely that's part of the raison d'etre of the whole FOSS scene. So, why do so many of us waste so much keyboard time moaning and bitching as though our tantrums actually matter? It is real toddler behaviour---'I'm going to hold my breath until I die if you don't do things the way I want them, and then you'll be sorry'.

    No, Mark won't be sorry. Of course if he pisses off enough people and Ubuntu goes down the toilet, well then MS clearly got it wrong, but that's the point too, isn't it, the freedom to do things and make mistakes. We're not paying for any of this, except in out own time and effort, but that's the risk we take with any distro.

    As far as I'm concerned I've stopped using Ubuntu, but I wish the project well, and I hope we all may benefit from stuff that feeds back into the wider community.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. tracyanne

    This is typical Shuttleworth rhetoric

    Create a strawman and demolish it, then trample it's remains into the dirt.

    It's all well and good that he defend his vision for Ubuntu, but he could at least address the actual issues that people have raised. Personally I am rather excited by his vision of a, as he phrases it, "convergent" desktop, but I was (and still am, and well before he described his vision) excited by the KDE communitiy's vision of the exactly the same thing.

    He has failed to address concerns over privacy, and yes it easier to turn the advertising off, so I guess in his mind it is resulved.

    he has failed to address the concerns over yet another Display Manager

    he failed to address issues over the FUD Canonical originally posted about Wayland, when they decided to drop it.

    Shuttleworth practices a very nasty form of Corporate ethics, he reframes the argument, then argues for or against that. This is dishonest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is typical Shuttleworth rhetoric

      > Shuttleworth practices a very nasty form of Corporate ethics, he reframes

      > the argument, then argues for or against that. This is dishonest.

      Absolutely agree, but this is nothing new. Shuttleworth doesn't give a damn about Linux, or choice, or Free and Open Source Software. These are just tools to make him richer than he already is. He doesn't care about the Linux developer community, either. These developers are just naive individuals to be exploited, again, for his own profit.

      The mitigating factor in all this is that Ubuntu has stopped being relevant years ago. At this point it's just a mediocre copy-cat with some unusual add-ons. If Ubuntu disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn't make a bit of a difference.

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: This is typical Shuttleworth rhetoric

        "These developers are just naive individuals to be exploited, again, for his own profit."

        Canonical may not be actually making a profit as yet, and, to be fair to Shuttleworth, there is the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Ubuntu Foundation and a shed load of charity work in SA. He is not your average coke and broads capitalist.

        But. Check out Sam Spilsbury's blog...

        "My theory is this. As the breadth of the audience that you are trying to reach goes up, your community participation and involvement goes down. And then if it really is that this is the rule rather than the exception, then I think it is impossible to achieve the goals of “deliver free software to the masses” and “make it built entirely be a passionate and active community of volunteers” at the same time."

        Thoughtful lad, I don't know him at all, but seems to have his head screwed on. Sam is a major programmer involved with compiz, a display compositor that has a plug-in called Unity. He was (apparently) in a bad place some time ago...

        http://smspillaz.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/apology-2/

        You might imagine that Canonical came running to support Compiz as it is a major foundation for Unity. Not sure what happened 'bout that. Anyone any ideas?

        The tramp: that is about as much use as I'd be as a programmer.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Canonical

    Ok, I'm putting on a suit of Armour here, but I bloody LOVE Xubuntu. It's a cracking tool of an OS, built on Deb, tweaked by Canon, and then tweaked again with XFCE.

    I use it on my laptop every day when here in Gibraltar I have to go deal with issues. The XFCE interface is quick and tidy, and Can# have done some nice work under the bonnet. I can find what I need quickly, easily, and it works. It takes me less time, so I end up billing clients less. I can see more clients in a day so I've lost no profit.

    On 2 sites now, I have Terminal Server delivering to XUbuntu Linux clients over rdesktop, and a third site using Mint. Xubuntu causes me less call outs.

    I'm with Mark on this, I think the guy has a bloody good idea. Also, it's working for me as an engineer. I once wrote an article that got slashdotted, where I argued Linux needed a killer game to make it into the desktop. I was wrong. Linux ITX boards can so host happily RDesktop or Citrix sessions, that makes it viable in the offide. We have proved it in Gibraltar. The games, I'll leave that to Valve, they seem on the case.

    For me, Linux on the desktop is here. It's what we run on it that will be interesting

  14. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    The dialogue needs to get a tad more constructive..

    I see a classic techie vs user gap here, which has led to UI decisions of which I can see the strategic sense, but which lack a tactical path to full implementation that users can actually follow.

    First off, Mark has a vision. It may not be so well articulated that mere end users and coders can work with, but it doesn't just exists, I think it's fairly comprehensive as well. I talked to Mark in 2010 or so (could even be 2009), and tablets were just showing up in the market. Even then, Mark saw mobile computing as the future instead of tablets, and as far as I can tell he was right.

    The main problem is that people who are strong on tech tend to be less involved with the end user, and if Linux wants to succeed it needs to win that audience. At the moment, the choice that many tech people so cherish is exactly a barrier for end users who lack a basis for making that choice, which is one of the good things that Ubuntu originally did: it created a single brand that end users actually liked (well, at least the colour blind ones :) ).

    However, we have a user base that has been brought up on MS marketing, and people dislike change - you need to take that slowly. The picture that needs to be sold to end users sees is composed out of 3 parts:

    • a kernel that must make sure that all the gear works in a PC (an issue Apple has neatly avoided). This is not under Ubuntu control, but device support matters.
    • an OS that provides the mechanism to interface with the end user. Here Linux *really* has a mess as there are too many desktops. In my experience, people trying to switch from Windows tend to feel comfortable with a KDE variant as most of its elements work virtually identical to Windows. This is where Unity was IMHO a bridge too far - too much, too soon.
    • applications that perform the same functions as the Microsoft equivalents. There is a massive omission there which keeps people on Windows: Outlook.

    The "Linux" picture for end users is composed out of all three. Leave any part out and you will not have the package to convert people, and you need to do that first before you progress to corporate and volume deployment.

    Like it or leave it, but with Mark back in the picture Ubuntu is the only distro that has strong leadership in place. If said leadership could be convinced to widen his viewpoint to enable dialogue with end users it still could return to a prominent position. In my opinion, Mint taking over as "preferred" distro should have been a wake up call, let's hope Mark heard it.

  15. Charles Manning

    Sound Ballmerish

    "We're in the dominant position so just STFU and drink deeply of our KoolAid."

    Even though most Ubuntu customers don't pay anything, they are still customers and behave as such. Piss them off enough and they will find an alternative. It is a bit of a hassle to switch distro, so once they've shifted they won't come back.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Sound Ballmerish

      It is a bit of a hassle to switch distro, so once they've shifted they won't come back.

      Well, not unless the alternative recovers and goes one better. I think that's a Very Good Thing - competition works. I just hope Mark Shuttleworth has actually picked up that message.

      Ubuntu did a number of very good things (that's why it became a favourite distro) and there are many more good things to be done, provided they learn lessons along the way. It's of course easy to argue with hindsight, but whatever goal Ubuntu is reaching for with Unity must be clearer articulated instead of the current "our way or the highway" impression people get. That doesn't just annoy developers, it also sucks for end users and like it or not, that's really an explicit goal for a Linux desktop: volume. Only then do you have any leverage to convince manufacturers to pay more attention to Linux as a hardware platform, OEMs to forego the Microsoft tax and pre-install Linux and companies to start considering it viable for mass deployment.

      In short, I think they need to think a bit more about their perceived audience. I've said this about a gazillion times: unless you consider your end user, you cannot do a good IT job. Ubuntu/Canonical is not excluded from that. IMHO, of course, happy to debate that point :)

  16. h3

    I don't really care whether it is hard or easy as long as it works in the standard way that UNIX was originally designed to work. (Changing it would be possible but it would have to be another level in terms of quality and for it to be worth it).

    Plan9 probably was that level but people didn't choose to use it.

    Now we are in the situation where powershell 3.0 is almost more unix like than the mess that the GNU userland is.

  17. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    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".)

    1. Shannon Jacobs
      Thumb Down

      Re: Former fan of Ubuntu recovers from being turned into a newt

      c/there financial models/their financial models/

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      You need three things to make it happen.

      I think you're right in seeking a money model, but it's IMHO only part of the picture.

      1 - a relentless customer focus. If you look long term, the idea is VOLUME. Volume means power to make things happen because no manufacturer is going to risk pissing off a large possible client base. This is also why Microsoft is so deadly worried about Linux in general - it has all the tools in place to make a hit go viral in minutes. You do it right, and there simply won't be enough chairs to throw in Redmond :). Caveat: this is not a goal, merely a notable side effect.

      2 - money. This is where your financial model comes in. I'm not sure yours is the right one (I'm the wrong guy to ask), but without dosh this isn't going to happen, partly because you need to create solid continuity as well as accountability. Money helps here, also because you cannot do this without intelligent marketing. There are a few things you can do with Linux that no other OS could come close to, but that needs careful planning.

      3 - Leadership. This is what originally gave me high hopes for Ubuntu - Mark didn't just come equipped with l33t coding skills, he also had a vision and was driving that through. However, I'm not sure what happened, but somewhere along the line this train came off the rails. This may have been Mark doing other things, or not being the right leader, I don't know. But what could have been hasn't happened, or hasn't happened yet and I'm as disappointed as anyone. Maybe it's exactly because he codes himself, and got sucked in by detail - no idea. I have a great deal of respect for Mark as he's one of the good guys IMHO - so maybe I should give him a call and see if can somehow help. He does occasionally listen :).

      I haven't given up on Ubuntu, but they can do better. MUCH better.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure glad Kubuntu got a different sponsor

    The guys at Kubuntu are just great. They do fsck things up every now and then, but they've done a great job with what they've been given, and that has been no love from Canonical. Why does Mark want to reinvent the wheel? Does he honestly think that his own idea is better than many minds? Does Mark really think he can top KDE a mainstream bling bling shiny shiny? Pipe dreams. You see KDE is standing on Trolltech/Nokia shoulders - QT is fantastic m(__)m. All the KDE apps are standing on the KDE's shoulders. He wants to start at the display level? From the communication between the Wayland and Mir devs, it sounds like the Ubuntu team don't really know what they are up to. (cringe)

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: I'm sure glad Kubuntu got a different sponsor

      I suppose it's about control. Canonical has no control over KDE or Gnome or X, so why not try to do the whole desktop in house. Why not indeed but it's not an easy journey. Good luck all the same.

  19. jake Silver badge

    So let me get this straight ...

    ... the space cadet tells the fanbois (who built his brand into the most used Linux desktop product) that most of them are wrong, because they liked his product until recently?

    There's a good way to win friends & influence people!

    1. Shannon Jacobs
      Holmes

      An excuse to apologize?

      I should thank you for the space cadet tag or apologize for the other typos in my comments?

      Problem: I don't feel any need for more friends and I don't want to influence people, mostly since I don't like it when people try to influence me. I've come to the conclusion that the world is changing pretty much the way it wants and pretty much at the rate it wants. I'm too old and tired to worry about it much, and I'm just content that the grand long-term average seems to be that the world gradually gets better. The residual nagging problem is that none of us get to live on the average.

      Now for a substantive reply to the only substance in your comment: Small pond, big fish, who cares?

      Or should I apologize again for not writing clearly enough? One of the symptoms of spending too much time in Japan?

      1. jake Silver badge

        That was in reply to mine ... (was: Re: An excuse to apologize?)

        Not sure why. If "Shannon Jacobs" is the space cadet's handle here on ElReg, colo(u)r me clueless ...

        However, assuming otherwise, allow me to explain ... Shuttleworth is the space cadet. He's the bozo who needs to win friends & influence people ... IF he wants his brand to become profitable, that is. He's going out of his way to become hostile to his own fan-base. *buntu users are leaving in droves. It's called "shooting yourself in the foot".

        Think Obama coming out as a Republican in the last US presidential cycle ;-)

  20. Dana W
    Thumb Down

    So, if I don't like what Ubuntu has become, don't use it. Ok, I won't. But as far as I'm concerned he ruined a resource I loved and used and I don't have to like the fact.

    I used to LOVE Ubuntu. I'd dual boot it on my Macs, laptop and desktop. Till Gnome 3 and Unity made it a mess so rife with restrictions and micromanagement it made my iPad seem flexible. It made dual booting pointless, a way to do less more slowly.

    I don't want my desktop to be a smartphone. Not a Microsoft one OR a Linux one.

  21. IGnatius T Foobar Bronze badge
    Linux

    Same old tired narrative

    This is the same tired old narrative we've been hearing for two years now. Everyone agrees that Unity is an ugly pile of crap, and Shuttleworth cops an attitude towards anyone who says so.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree with Shuttleworth 100%

    I support Shuttleworth's intentions completely. Linux on desktops, tablets, TVs and phones has to be protected from half the Linux community out there. It hasn't been Microsoft which has held back desktop Linux, it's been the rabid half of the Linux crowd itself. Ballmer didn't need to do a thing.

  23. pete 22
    FAIL

    Somebody needs to remind this clown

    Somebody needs to remind this clown that "ubuntu" is afrikaans for "I can't install debian"

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Somebody needs to remind this clown

      I thought it was an ancient African word for "Slackware is hard!".

    2. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Headmaster

      Afrikaans for...

      Ehm, ek kannie Debian installeer nie (of ek weet nie hoe om Debian te installeer nie) would be my best bet ;) [1]

      Still, I agree with the sentiment - Debian just works ;)

      [1] Nee, Afrikaans is nie my moedertaal nie...

    3. Charles Manning

      As a Xhosa speaker....

      Ubuntu is Xhosa (as well as a few other nguni languages [ie very close African languages like Zulu]) and can be loosely translated into "of the people".

      Xhosa-speaking societies tended to be very democratic and included the inputs of all men. Like almost all traditional democracies, the point of view of women was ignored.

      BTW: Since Ubuntu is Xhosa, it should not be pronounced "you-bun-two", but something closer to "ooh-boon-to". And Xubuntu should be pronounced with the Xhosa click : not "ex-you-bun-two", but "<click>-ooh-boon-to"

  24. Peter Snow
    Meh

    I install Kubuntu for newcomers to Linux

    I have to say that I've never spent more than half an hour playing with Unity. I was convinced pretty quickly that it wasn't right for me. I switched from Gnome to KDE at that time.

    Since then, I've introduced several newcomers to Linux, who came from Windows. For them, I also installed Kubuntu, because the menus, out of the box, work in a way that a Windows user might expect and it should be possible for them to learn to find their own way around.

    I did the same for my wife last week and haven't needed to show her anything yet and she's the kind who can't create message filters in Thunderbird, etc, but no problems with KDE.

    I think overall I'm happy with Ubuntu, so long as nothing comes between it and KDE. I like the stability, I like the fact that most software distributors provide software compiled for it, I'm happy with the vast amount of free and easily installed software in the software center.

    If I were to move to Fedora, for instance, I would lose those benefits. It's beginning to sound though, as if Mark doesn't want KDE users. We'll see.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I install Kubuntu for newcomers to Linux

      You should really stay in touch with the distro you use. Kubuntu is more independent of Ubuntu and Cannonical now. That should help it improve. (http://www.kubuntu.org/news/kubuntu-to-be-sponsored-by-blue-systems)

  25. localzuk
    FAIL

    Seems to have lost his way

    So, what he's effectively saying is - you lot who helped build this distro up to its success now, we don't want your ideas any more, we've decided what we're doing and that's that.

    You know what other companies that do such things end up doing? Failing miserably. Even Apple. Sure, people bought into the Apple coolaid for a while, but now? People are starting to drift away, as they don't see reasons to stay with them.

    Ubuntu could be a great OS. If Canonical stop acting like dictators, listen to their community and adjust course accordingly. Stop trying to unify everything. Interfaces can be different between form factors. People are capable of learning the differences. There is no way on earth someone would want to use a piece of desktop software on a touchscreen, so why would they want to use a touchscreen program on a desktop etc...?

    Why not listen to you community? The people who have actually got you to where you are, rather than deriding them as poisonous? Such comments drive people away... For example, I no longer use Ubuntu as it just doesn't suit for any of my use cases or recommendations to people any more.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Seems to have lost his way

      Oh please, be reasonable.

      "acting like dictators", "why not listen to you community".

      Have you ever thought of how many different opinions and whining there is in this community.

      What Canonical is saying is that they have to keep the helm (what ever choice would there be).

      And that if it feels to bad for somebody then just do as you "I no longer use Ubuntu as it just doesn't suit for any of my use cases".

      Why is this so hard to understand and accept, and what the hell have you expected.

      I am not a Ubuntu user, never was, but there is no denying that Ubuntu has done a lot for the "linux desktop".

      Ubuntu is now trying to do a Ubuntu desktop less dependent of whims by Gnome.

      Personally I think the first error Canonical made was to build on Gnome and not on KDE from the start.

      But as you know KDE have had their not so popular whims too.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Dictator in Chief

    That's not a blog, that's a loop of "I know better" in various thin disguises. What a dick.

  27. Mr Spock
    Facepalm

    Mark...

    ... if you really want to be the new Microsoft, you're going to have to learn how to insult your community while making them think you're actually praising them.

  28. Goat Jam
    Pint

    I don't know why Shutt's has risen up now from his slumber to spray his vitriol around the Linux community but really I don't see the issue here.

    Sure, I had adopterd Ubuntu ever since Redhat went all "Enterprise" on us, but then I never was comfortable with the rpm system.

    I was happy for several years on Ubuntu until Unity became de rigueur, at which point I must admit I got a bit upset about having my comfort interrupted.

    Even now I blame the guys at Gnome for this, and not Canonical, who I believe panicked when they saw what an utter debacle Gnome 3 would be.

    Anyway, my discomfort was short lived after I decided to convert all my machines to Mint.

    Initially, I had some trouble deciding whether to go Mate or Cinnamon until I decided to go Cinnamon at home and Mate at work and thereby monitor developments on both until such a time that I determined that I prefer one over the other.

    Nowadays, if I ever find that I am getting upset by the whole Gnome3 / Unity disaster I remind myself that at least with open source I was able to move on to something that suited me.

    The same cannot be said for those poor sods who get saddled with Windows 8.

  29. MrMur

    It's his party...

    ...and he can cry if he wants to.

    Actually, I don't blame MS trying to making some money out of Ubuntu because he must have lost a shit-load on it so far. I can't imagine it is financially viable forever on support contracts alone. I don't think the Amazon thing was a good route to go, or at least have it off by default or a "switch it on to support ubuntu" at first install. For any commercial organisation, I would imagine that feature is a big turn off.

    As for Unity, I think its okay after a month of teeth gnashing (I have the bar locked to the side). Plus how many other vendors can offer the same codebase and experience over PC, tablet and phone. I do see the vision but accept its come with great pain.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I come to bury Ubuntu, not to praise it.

    Way to go Mark, from regular holder of the top spot on distrowatch, down to third. Seems to be headed for obscurity rather than a contender for the mainstream.

    1. MrWibble
      Facepalm

      Re: I come to bury Ubuntu, not to praise it.

      Distrowatch rankings mean the square root of cock all in the real world though.

  31. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  32. Jon Green
    Facepalm

    I'd love to "find something interesting to improve"...

    ...but I don't think Canonical would accept a patch that annihilated Unity and replaced it with a workspace that works nicely on a screen considerably bigger than a tablet's.

    If they _really_ want to support a full range of devices, they could start by not forcing them all to behave like an Ubuntu wristwatch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:a patch that annihilated Unity

      There is one already. It's called MATE.

      Actually, there are lots, but even without installing the _buntu that comes with the desktop of your choice, you can still install it instead of (and even as well as) Unity.

      Die, Unity, Die!

      1. Connor

        Re: Re:a patch that annihilated Unity

        For every open source fork there is great fanfare and multiple pointing out this being one of the great things about FOSS, followed two years later by an appeal for someone else to take over. Mate and cinnamon et al are likely to be dead ends in a few years, do you really want to be using software that is no longer maintained? Unity and Gnome3 clearly aren't going anywhere, there will be no re-merging, no superseding Unity/Gnome3 so that means someone has to carry on these forks on permanently. I've seen enough open source projects to know that 'No longer maintained' is an inevitability for most projects.

        The reality is, you either have to give in sooner (as I did) or later, and these forks are just delaying the inevitable.

  33. AlanC

    Leadership is needed but the product has to be right too

    I've been running Ubuntu as my main desktop OS for 4 years now and there is a lot I like about it. In so many ways I feel it's stil the most viable alternative to Windows and OSX and this surely has a lot to do with the strong direction that Canonical have imposed on its development. If Linux is ever to be a serious alternative for the average user, this is the only way it will happen.

    However, with this leadership come - in my opinion - some mistakes. Unlike a lot of people, I don't hate Unity - in fact potentially I like it. What I do hate is all the things that still don't really work properly. On my machine - admitedly three years old but a fairly upmarket and powerful Lenovo Thinkpad - Unity is terribly slow. This is possibly something to do with graphics acceleration or something; I don't know and the point is I really don't want to have to know - I just want it to work properly. Similarly, the fact that the machine often overheats (and shuts down without warning) when doing backups or running VMWare, because the power management doesn't properly control the fan on my machine, undermines the experience badly. I also really dislike the incomprehensible behaviour of Alt-Tab, which is something I think Windows got right about 20 years ago.

    My wife has a MacBook. What impresses me about it is not an amazing UI - it's good but not stunningly better than Ubuntu or even Win 7. What does impress me is the astonishing feeling of solidity and quality it exudes; everything is beautifully crafted, everything works smoothly and reliably, it almost never fails in any way. These things make it a pleasure to use and inspire a feeling of great trust and confidence.

    The best thing Canonical could do with Ubuntu now is to stop trying to functionally change or enhance it, definitely don't waste energy trying to port it to tablets and phones, but just focus all their attention on polishing every little detail and making it work perfectly all the time. Then they'll have a real winner that MS should worry about.

    Like others, I've been starting to notice that Mint looks very attractive. I think I'll install it on a spare disk and try it out but I don't want to swap one set of problems for a different set, so I'm not rushing into switching distro yet.

    1. keithpeter
      Boffin

      Re: Leadership is needed but the product has to be right too

      "Similarly, the fact that the machine often overheats (and shuts down without warning) when doing backups or running VMWare, because the power management doesn't properly control the fan on my machine, undermines the experience badly. "

      Which thinkpad? My x200s (4 Gb ram, spinning rust, I don't use VMWare) will run Unity / Ubuntu flavours without the fan issues you report. I agree with mild sluggishness compared to Gnome2/XFCE based wms.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I played with Slackware as a teenager but the system was too immature and so was I. I liked Debian and used it on a number of projects, then I moved to Ubuntu as my main desktop until recently, now I am on Mint and I don't think I have to look back.

    Ubuntu = MySpace

  35. PAT MCCLUNG

    Clerk

    You crossed Stallman, Mark. You're through.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    1337?

    OK, you all know what it means, and I'm fed up with pretending that I do too, whilst desperately searching for a clue.

    1337? WTF?

    Anything like 1066?

    1. keithpeter
      Boffin

      Re: 1337?

      Adolescent sms slang for 'elite' (shortened to 'leet) See wikipedia, or, more entertainingly, read 'Hacker Crackdown' by Bruce Sterling for the culture when networking and the Internet/Web was all new and shiny.

      http://www.mit.edu/hacker/hacker.html

      1. Charles Manning

        Re: 1337?

        Anyone that knows this surely can never be taken seriously.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Damn. I am now one of those who know, thanks to keithpeter.

          Oh well, I suppose it won't make any difference, as I wasn't taken seriously before!

          But... Do I qualify for the 1337 by having a car with a 710 filler cap?

  37. Daniel von Asmuth
    Big Brother

    Shuttleworth versus the community

    Linux is driven by a community with contributions from several commercial parties, and that includes Microsoft, Inc. If you prefer a system driven by the vision of an omnipotent leader, Apple comes to mind.

  38. AidanCheddar
    Alert

    Community driven is no different

    "There are lots of pure community distro's. And wow, they are full of politics, spite, frustration, venality and disappointment," he has a point.

  39. Scott_Q
    Linux

    Seriously Dude....

    Do you have to become on the verge of being mental as to alienate the developers and users of Ubuntu? Remember Shuttleworth, you're not a major player in the server or retail marketplace. There are far too many options for us. Plus, good luck on your Ubuntu phone.

  40. YellowApple

    Shuttleworth's attitude - "screw the community, it's my way or the highway, but I'm going to pretend to act in the community's interest while ignoring any and all mistakes ever made by Canonical" - is precisely the reason why I have switched away from Ubuntu after having been a rather happy Ubuntu user since 2007. If I need something compatible with Ubuntu, I have Mint; for everything else, there's Debian or Slackware.

    Unity was a mistake compared to the simpler GNOME2 interface. Canonical doesn't care.

    Amazon integration in main search rather than a separate Lens was a mistake. Canonical doesn't care.

    Canonical has evolved into a Flanderized wannabe of Apple, and for the makers of Ubuntu to turn their backs on the very concept of "ubuntu" is disturbing.

  41. Camilla Smythe
    FAIL

    Shuttleworth goes for 'vendor' lock in

    Having finished with 'Ubuntu' at 10.04.4, trying 12.04 and, buying a new graphics card so it would work, then getting bored with it and Unity....

    So I tried Mint 13 at least 13 times and actually I do not need the shit that is known as Linux gives me.

    I have Googled for solutions to my experience and all I find is blind fucking over the blind 'Meh' followed by more 'Meh' and all of it is 'terminal Meh' whereby it does not work.

    Not There

    Can't do that

    Hah Hah Hah. Does not work again. Meh... Fuck You.

    If I wanted that I would try Slackware. Perhaps I should...

    Unfortunately, for me, I am a Luser. 10.04 gave me 'bish bosh bash', pun not intended. 12.04 gave me a 'vision' I did not want. If I try to move 'somewhere else' everything is unbelievably fucked down at the Meh, Fuck You level.

    Now before you wave your geekdom willy about the place keep it out of my face. I do not need your shit I just want a simple transition.

    Until Linux and the shits who layer shit on top of it can offer that then it is fucked.

  42. Teiwaz Silver badge

    After reading the comments on this article I see exactly what Mark was going on about, 3 pages of vitriol aimed at Unity, Ubuntu and Canonical.

    The answer is simple, if you don't like Canonical, don't use Ubuntu, if you don't like Unity, as soon as the installation is done, put on Xfce, KDE LXDE or install the derivatives in the first place. There was a time when Linux installers asked you what DE/WM you wanted to install as default at install time, but I haven't seen any distro installers do that in a while.

    There are plenty of distros to choose from, and no end of community-driven ones. The commercially focused ones are generally focused on the server. I think it's healthy and a boon for all linux users for Canonical to be desktop focused, and if they are focused on what they want to to develop not what a lot of users think they should develop then from what I've seen and read over the last couple of years, it seems the KDE and Gnome teams do much the same thing.

    I personally like the idea of a convergant desktop/tablet/smartphone ui, but if it does not work for me when it comes, well, I'm sure there will be alternatives.

    I have more than one DE, KDE, XFCE and/or more than one WM Openbox, Xmonad (with tint2, gnome settings daemon etc), to choose from.

    From the toaster analogy, it seems that Linux Users:

    Get the toaster free, then complain loudly to everyone that the buttons are on the wrong side of the toaster...

    1. Camilla Smythe

      @Teiwaz You do not have a fucking clue..

      Posted from my 'new' Mint13 install.

      That only took 3 days of my life to work out. Note I am not a sad Wanker Geek like you who spawns Multiple Linux Based Penises.

      I am a Luser.

      Apparently since Mint13 is based on Ubuntu12 it inherited various hardware related Kernel dereferenced null pointer bollocks.

      I might be certain that you will miss the point here but I expect to slip in a CD/DVD and end up with a New Shiny without having to suck your cheesy bellend for a bollocks lack of solution when it all goes MEH.

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