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Ubuntu Open Source

Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community 155

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stone-the-popular-kid dept.
puddingebola (2036796) writes "Bruce Byfield looks back at the soured relationships between Canonical and the free software community. Partly analysis, partly a review of past conflicts, the writer touches on Mir and Wayland, and what he sees as Canonical's attempts to take over projects. From the article, 'However, despite these other concerns, probably the most important single reason for the reservations about Ubuntu is its frequent attempts to assume the leadership of free software — a position that no one has ever filled, and that no one particularly wants to see filled. In its first few years, Ubuntu's influence was mostly by example. However, by 2008, Shuttleworth was promoting the idea that major projects should coordinate their release schedules. That idea was received without enthusiasm. However, it is worth noting that some of those who opposed it, like Aaron Seigo, have re-emerged as critics of Mir — another indication that personal differences are as important as the issues under discussion.'"
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Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:33AM (#46584367)

    The second any one party becomes big enough, or popular enough, to start making meaningful changes in the way Linux is implemented in their distributions, the knives come out.

  • by keltor (99721) * on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:38AM (#46584397) Homepage
    Back when these guys were best buddies with KDE and GNOME, both orgs thought this was a perfectly fine plan. Things have since heavily soured.
  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:49AM (#46584507)

    ... they and Shuttleworth disappeared up their own backsides in a blinding flash of self importance and inability to listen to users (Unity - the OSS version of Windows 8 Metro, need I say more). I'm afraid their We Know Best doesn't tend to adhere them to many people and I suspect they've now peaked in terms of their importance in the free software world and will slowly fade away as the years go by.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:03PM (#46584627)

    Where did you pull that shit up from? I think red hat is a huge linux company, and i don't see any knives against them. Also IBM, where are the knives? The only knives against canonical is because their own fucking up and acting like they don't need to care and not contributing, and it's not the kind of knife you are thinking of.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:06PM (#46584653)

    Here is what I think is a major concern. As Linux gains popularity, commercial companies see Ubuntu as the only package format to release software in. This is a problem for others using RPM based and Arch disrtibutions to name a few. We want a package format that is installable in ALL distiributions, not something tied to a commercial venture such as Canonical.

    As an example I run an Arch based distribution and tried to install Makerware for a 3D printer. There is no generic install of that package, there are only RPM and DPKG versions and often only a repository that is more difficult to extract the package from. Further there is a license on Makerware that does not allow it to be pulled apart and repackaged. Most other players will at least provide a tar.gz file that one can install.

    I see more and more Ubuntu only packages. Do we really want to go down that road? I don't think so.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:07PM (#46584671) Homepage

    '... probably the most important single reason for the reservations about Ubuntu is its frequent attempts to assume the leadership of free software ... [S]ome of those who opposed it, like Aaron Seigo, have re-emerged as critics of Mir â" another indication that personal differences are as important as the issues under discussion.'

    Seeing the same critics reappear does not necessarily mean it is a personal difference. It really only indicates that the underlying disagreement remains. Mark Shuttleworth believes in centralization of authority, Open Source is implicitly about decentralization of authority. That is a difference with Mark Shuttleworth's world view; as long as he holds it, and particularly when he tries to be the central authority, he will not fit in the Open Source world. That is not personal in the sense of holding a grudge, but it won't change unless Mark genuinely embraces the decentralized nature of this method of software development.

  • by NaiveBayes (2008210) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:15PM (#46584775)
    Canonical have been making a major loss for years and yet still put more and more money into Ubuntu and open source software development. You may still want to see them as greedy, but is it greedy to not want to make losses year on year?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:19PM (#46584809)

    No. The idea was to make things easier for upstream. If every distro pulling in for example VLC at the same time, VLC would have less of a problem coordinating all the issues. Problem is everyone is so blinded by their canonical hate that they don't see these good ideas that they come out with.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:28PM (#46584911)

    Not that being Apple has done that much good for their computing platform. They are still the same marginal also-ran that they have been since before Linux ever started.

    Last year, the Mac took 45% of all profits in the PC market and earnt an average 19% operating margin on its Mac sales.

    In comparison, it was 4% for Dell and less than that for HP, Lenovo, and Acer.

    Pretty good for a "marginal also-ran" if you ask me.

    source [asymco.com]

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:34PM (#46584993) Homepage

    Yet more people use apple for desktop computing than all linux combined. Stop with the hater bullshit. Linux has a long way to go for even OSX level of adoption on the desktop. I LOVE linux, but I cant use it because 90% of the apps I need are not on it nor have any real viable replacements.

    Example: video editing suites. NOTHING useable on linux compared to Final Cut X, AVID, or Sony Vegas. NOTHING on linux even close to After Effects.
    Nothing in linux even close to Lightroom.

    I want them to exist, but they dont.

    Hell even for business, NOTHING on linux even close to a real business accounting package. etc...

    every year I try to use linux in one way or another, and every year I have to go back to Windows or OSX because it just is not there yet.

    I WANT to use linux, sadly all the linux people are busy screwing around with bullshit like Desktop UI changes and doing nothing to make the platform useable for the masses.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:02PM (#46585297) Homepage Journal

    ... they and Shuttleworth disappeared up their own backsides in a blinding flash of self importance and inability to listen to users (Unity - the OSS version of Windows 8 Metro, need I say more). I'm afraid their We Know Best doesn't tend to adhere them to many people and

    The same load of BS is repeated over and over again. That doesn't make it true.

    Unlike Metro:

    1. Unity actually provides some benefits. Like for example full screen zoom on smaller laptop screens.

    2. It breaks much less of UI conventions.

    3. You can actually replace Unity with something else within minutes. (Or you can even install the Ubuntu edition without it.)

    First two are also applicable to GNOME3 v. Unity comparison.

    I suspect they've now peaked in terms of their importance in the free software world and will slowly fade away as the years go by.

    Yeah. Ubuntu is going to be replaced by Mint. Oh wait, Mint *is* an Ubuntu-based distro.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:14PM (#46585469)

    It's not about money! It's about Freedom.

  • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:20PM (#46585523) Journal

    The Linux kernel was nothing special. Seriously. There were many such hobby projects at the time, and it wasn't a particularly great one. The success of Linux was the success of Linus as "the guy in charge" of an open source project. It grew and flourished because of leadership, not (early) technological advantage.

    The open source community certainly needs more such strong leaders. What it doesn't need is CEO-style wankers. Any sort of "business leader" needs to find a new space. What's lacking are engineering leaders, who have a strong and consistent vision of what say, the desktop, should be that resonates with contributors, and who has the political savvy to lead. You can't boss around an open source project based on any granted authority, but you can lead and inspire people to follow. That means you have to appeal to the people who'd likely do the work, not follow some business plan to grow the customer base.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:21PM (#46585537)

    That is the beauty of Linux. It'll never be mainstream and I'm okay with that.

  • Linux weakness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:24PM (#46585579)

    Interesting point on lack of business and video suites buy why blame Linux for that. When vendors look to port their apps, Windows and Mac are considered, forget Linux. For crying out loud, ever tried to use a web app like Netflix! Supported by everything but Linux. Many vendors are scared to death of Linux and open source with other vendors pushing FUD so nothing gets done. Find a way to overcome all the "haters" and may have something.

    As for replacements, I agree. For personal use, other than Netflix and Turbotax, I've used Linux for years without issue. Office apps, programming, other uses, all works great. For specialized software mentioned, users will not accept an alternative even if something does exist. Sometimes their are apps, ie Gimp, Blender but not the features or polish. Other issue, try to get your boss to accept running Linux on your workstation. In many businesses, just not an option unless you are IT with a special use case. Sometimes apps other times for a host reasons, much of it FUD from commercial interests who don't want the competition.

  • by AxeTheMax (1163705) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @01:59PM (#46585921)

    can you remember how bad the linux desktop was before ubuntu? it was atrocious....what about before x.org?

    I'm afraid some of us think the ubuntu desktop was and is atrocious.

  • Weasel words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peppepz (1311345) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @03:02PM (#46586655)
    Just some days ago we were already told that the Free Software Community hates Canonical. Then again, who is this Free Software Community? I've been using free software since before it was fashionable to call it thus, so I think that I use lots of software coming from the Free Software Community. Today I happen to use some pieces of free software from Canonical. Of the works by some of the persons spotted in TFA as speakers for the "Free Software Community", I use nothing, so I see more contribution to the Free Software Community from Canonical than from them.

    Don't like software form Canonical? Don't use it. They're a commercial company, so they have to break even ultimately. I understand if, after listening to everyone, they make their own decision. Their Mir project is all about Ubuntu phones: should that platform be successful, they'll take the merit, should they fail, the Free Software Community will still have Android as their reference platform. Even if Google is a commercial company, too, and compared to them Canonical is Candy Candy.

  • by Burz (138833) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @04:09PM (#46587165) Journal

    The apps don't materialize because serious app developers (instead of the system tinkerers in FOSS who like to imagine themselves as good apps developers) with passion and committment to their ideas try out "Linux" and experience the following:

    1. Scant control of hardware features (even getting the screen to turn off can be a challenge) and the controls that exist suck, because the proper level of vertical integration isn't there.

    2. Myriad desktop environments and administration applets that make the thought of guiding users through tech support a nightmare. This is the most obvious reason why "Linux" is not a desktop platform, because most non-techie users of said distros wouldn't even be able to recognize most other distros (or the same distro with a different DE).

    3. Myriad combinations of support libraries; even the common ones are bundled together with versions of each other that create a unique and unsupportable platform 'landscape' for each distro.

    4. Distro culture itself: 'Thou art a creepy skank if you sell apps and/or offer direct downloads of a product.' Invoking Yum and Apt are almost like genuflecting before entering a pew. Only its a cult, not a religion, because strong dynamic relationships with people outside the repository are frowned upon.

To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a test load.

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