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Ubuntu Aims For 200 Million Users In Four Years 441

dkd903 writes "Delivering the keynote at the Ubuntu Developer Summit at Budapest, Hungary, Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Canonical's goal is to have 200 million Ubuntu users in four years. Canonical has not officially provided any data on how many Ubuntu users there currently are — in fact, the number is quite difficult to track. However, according to Prakash Advani, a partner manager for Central Asia at Canonical, there are an estimated 12 million Ubuntu users."
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Ubuntu Aims For 200 Million Users In Four Years

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  • Well, you can count me in!
    • You can count me out, with Unity/Gnome3.

      Also I prefer Arch anyway :3

      • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot@@@davidgerard...co...uk> on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:16PM (#36074782) Homepage

        Design is at the centre of Shuttleworth’s roadmap for Unity [newstechnica.com]. “I woke up one day and thought, ‘Gosh, I’d really like to make using my universal general-purpose computer that I can do ANYTHING with feel like I’m using a locked-down three-year-old half-smart phone through the clunky mechanism some l33t h@xx0r used to jailbreak it, I can’t think of a better user experience.’ We’re not quite there yet, but this gets Unity a lot of the way.”

        • Oh, Unity... I thought you were referring to OSX. :oP
          • by DrXym ( 126579 )

            Oh, Unity... I thought you were referring to OSX. :oP

            OS X got a right slagging when it was released for dumping many of the spatial cues that were so carefully built into classic MacOS. Apple actually fixed many of the issues, but it's a wonder that Unity and Gnome 3 chose to put themselves in an even worse position than OS X when it released. It's all very well to introduce a new workflow, but some people are comfortable the way they were. If you don't provide a migration path to those people, you just make them angry and frustrated.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )

        You can count me out, with Unity/Gnome3.

        Also I prefer Arch anyway :3

        Unity and Gnome 3 are perfectly sound from a design standpoint, but they're lacking in their implementation. A task oriented desktop is a good thing, but it has to be introduced in a way that doesn't alienate existing users.

        The stupid part is UIs have already been down this road when OS X launched and was panned for dumping many of the paradigms in MacOS classic. Apple listened to the criticism and reinstated many of them or produced analogs. It's too bad that Unity / Gnome 3 did think to learn and have

    • My question is if they define 'Ubuntu' as the main Desktop + Server or if all the extra mainline flavors (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu) count as well. And then what about LinuxMint?
    • Not here, I'm sticking with OpenSUSE for the foreseeable future.

  • Not bad. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @02:57PM (#36074568) Homepage Journal

    Considering PSN is apparently 75 million users, if the numbers for Ubuntu keep growing then we will hopefully see more developers who consider it worthwhile to port their games over. The first to get there stands to do well out of a niche market like us. I've bought Linux games that I still haven't even played, just to encourage the developers. The reason I've not played them is that my only PC right now is a netbook. I'd build a gaming PC again if there was a vibrant Linux gaming scene. As it is, I do all my gaming on consoles just now.

    • Lol. You really crack me up.

      So you support gaming only on the free linux, but avoid the bad non-free windows gaming by going to totally propritary route of consoles, where not only the hardware is propritary, but people have to pay to microsoft and sony to be allowed to make games...

      • Why did you leave out Nintendo? You had/have to pay for dev kits for their consoles as well. At least Microsoft lets indie people make games without needing to have office space and other ridiculous restrictions like Nintendo imposes.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The DRM that comes with PC gaming on Windows is just plain annoying.

        That was actually one think that Loki had in it's favor. They had PC ports that were minus the annoying DRM.

        It's too bad that LGP decided to implement DRM of their own. It's even sadder that I've never cared to buy anything they're offering. Whining about piracy really won't help.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @02:58PM (#36074578)

    aint gonna be drinking that koolaid.

    gonna look for an alternative.

    • by yog ( 19073 ) * on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:11PM (#36074740) Homepage Journal

      Yes, I am so mad at myself for upgrading to this latest release. Suddenly, wireless stopped working, and the new UI is horrific, and even after wasting hours of my time fixing all of this, there are these video artifacts that come and go, and the whole system just seems less stable than before. I suppose in a few months it'll be fine again, but this is getting old.

      Why, oh, why, can't Canonical just leave the UI alone? I don't want the window controls like "x" moved from the top right to the top left! I don't want to have to learn a whole new (and buggy) application launcher paradigm! Just work on adding more device support and making Linux more stable, more reliable, and more portable than ever before. We need more webcam support, more USB sound card support, more video drivers--there's plenty of work to be done under the hood. The UI takes care of itself--as people get more used to it, as more and more usage tips and FAQs appear on the internet, it gets easier.

      • by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:45PM (#36075138)

        Shuttleworth is obviously attempting to leverage Ubuntus existing popularity to somehow branch off the main Linux species. Like when a queen bee leaves one colony and takes a large number of worker bees in order to form her own hive. He doesnt want to be associated with Gnome any more, and wants his own distinctive look and feel, no matter whether he alienates a number of existing Gnome users. Its a gamble, he is speculating that a large enough number will follow his lead and switch to Unity, and then keep pushing, hyping and defending it like loyal Apple users do. He wants Unity to bring the (Linux based) desktop where Android brought the (Linux based) phone.

        The problem with that, at least from my perspective, is that Shuttleworth is at war with options. In a recent blog post, he made the bizarre statement that in his view, every option you can set differently, divides users who set it differently, so they can't talk to each other any more. So his goal seems to be to allow as few different settable options as possible, i.e. a massive Gleichschaltung in order to build a strongly focused brand. He thinks that iOs like interfaces will be the future of the mass market, and wants to get there better sooner than later.

        I dont know where he plans to get his 200 Million users from, but I doubt many of them will originate from Ubuntus current user base. It is a massive farewell to the 90's Linux tinkerer and a hello to the 2011's Apple affictionado.

      • Yes off to a bad start. I have three wildly different spec systems that have similar graphical glitches and stablity problems with 11.04, these are rigs that were rock solid with 10.10. The OS has fundamental problems this time around, that don't seem to be driver specific.
    • Partially agreed. I'm not happy with it due to the issues with Nvidia cards and Xorg server. Not their fault but that's a showstopper IMO. Unity (2D especially) needs work but it's not nearly as bad as the KDE4 fiasco. I think Unity will really be together in 12.04. Personally I use Lubuntu on my ancient laptop and either Lubuntu or Kubuntu on my desktop. I Have Unity 2D installed on my laptop as well just to play with it as it progresses.
    • GNOME Shell, IMO, is much more usable than Unity. Give it a try on Fedora 15 or Arch Linux! It takes a while to get used to, but once you wrap your head around it, it's very nice.

      • GNOME shell is still a bit shaky. for now the best thing is to just select "ubuntu classic" on the login screen. THEN plan the move to something else (Mint is staying with old school GNOME for now, Arch is nice, FreeBSD is nice, etc., maybe xubuntu?) at a leisurely pace over the next six months. That's what I'll be doing unless Ubuntu changes heart.
    • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @04:34PM (#36075714)

      "gonna look for an alternative."

      http://www.debian.org/ [debian.org]

  • User Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by literaldeluxe ( 1527087 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:01PM (#36074618)
    If Canonical wants Ubuntu's user base to grow substantially, they need to integrate usability testing into its design cycle. That's not the only thing that matters, but there's just no way to beat Microsoft or Apple's software without improving the user experience.
    • Re:User Experience (Score:4, Informative)

      by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @04:36PM (#36075742)

      "If Canonical wants Ubuntu's user base to grow substantially, they need to integrate usability testing into its design cycle. That's not the only thing that matters, but there's just no way to beat Microsoft or Apple's software without improving the user experience."

      The Ubuntu Reality Distortion Field has blocked your comment. Please rephrase in a way that doesn't say what you just said.

    • Re:User Experience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lennier ( 44736 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @11:05PM (#36078876) Homepage

      If Canonical wants Ubuntu's user base to grow substantially, they need to integrate usability testing into its design cycle.

      Better still and even cheaper, they could take advantage of their existing usability testing focus group called "the entire Ubuntu installed base". When thousands of their dedicated users cry out in horror and spam Launchpad with bug reports each time they introduce a new UI stuffup, perhaps they could, I don't know, this is kinda radical but hear me out, they could try listening to the users.

      But no. The users are always wrong and Mark Shuttleworth is always right because he flew in space.

      Been a Ubuntu user since Hoary, loved it when they fought GNOME over the "spatial browser" idiocy, but with each new release that breaks things I'm really wanting an alternative.

  • by MrDoh! ( 71235 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:03PM (#36074640) Homepage Journal

    Replace Ubuntu front end with an Android VM?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:06PM (#36074682)

    It seems as though more and more people are trying other distros, and with plenty of good reasons. When I began using Linux, Ubuntu was where I started. I ran it for many years. When they decided to integrate PulseAudio by default, I started considering other options. I now use Debian Squeeze and am happy with it, but for example:

    The other day I built a USB stick with Ubuntu for troubleshooting purposes. While I was in the live system, I tried to listen to some music on my local hard drive. I was then subjected to occasional skipping/stuttering in the sound... in 2011... on a six-core machine... with EIGHT gigabytes of memory. There is no excuse for this. It never happens on my native Debian system, so don't blame the drivers. I then had to rip PulseAudio out of the live-USB that I had made and re-route everything to use ALSA just to get stable sound that would play continuously without issue.

    Now they're completely changing the desktop environment too, with Unity and all. We just want a stable operating system where the devs concentrate on fixing *problems* and not changing a bunch of things just for the sake of change. I can only imagine how many games will stop working/have problems when they switch to Wayland.

    In short, if your goals are to have 2 million users, you should probably try and keep existing users first.

    The problem for me though is what to tell other newbies to Linux. My cousin just asked what flavor of Linux I recommend. Do I tell him to use Ubuntu and give him the impression that Linux can't play a music file without occasional stutters? Do I tell him to use Debian and have a slightly more difficult time setting things up, but a better system in the end?

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:36PM (#36075002) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, I'm pretty much in the same boat.

      I do like some of the ubuntu derivatives, which seem to do a good job addressing the flaws in Debian and Ubuntu. Give Linux Mint [linuxmint.com] a try... which is pretty easy since it's distributed as a LiveCD/DVD with an install to HD option. It's what I've been recommending to people for a while.

      I've even migrated my main server to it from Debian (my one gripe is that the installer doesn't support software RAID configurations as readily, but I'm used to setting those up manually anyway).

      The other one I like for netbooks is eeebuntu [eeebuntu.org] 3. Haven't played with their Aurora beta yet, but eeebuntu was pretty good with getting an nice fully-featured compiz-fusion environment on my eeePC with most of the hardware and powersaver features supported out of the box.

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:08PM (#36074704)

    I've downloaded two different versions, wrestled with them for a while (first on dual-monitor support, later on sound card issues), and ultimately went back to Windows. I'm a geek, but even I'm not THAT much of a geek to stick with Linux apparently (though Ubuntu definitely was the most user-friendly Linux distro I've seen to date).

    • I've installed at least two versions on at least two machines and am currently using none of them. My video driver installation queries made me want to choke the living shit out of every condescending, snarky Linux geek that had new hoops for me to jump through, and the actual solution was far simpler than any of their suggestions.

      The last time I let the updater install many changes at once I was left with an un-bootable Linux partition. I don't have time to screw with it. I'm back to Windows on both of tho

    • by kesuki ( 321456 )

      for (almost) zero knowledge puppy linux is the easiest, one 125MB download and burn, and a usb drive or a dumpster dive desktop with hdd and you can get a full linux. text editing, email, browsing, a calender app, file managment tools (good for simple hd recovery) ... the hardest part is setting the cd/dvd to boot, runs faster than ubuntu supports old hardware... its still gnome based though, if that matters to you. and it has a wonderful blu-ray dvd and cd burner tool for converting hdds to blu-ray etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by synapse7 ( 1075571 )
      How old were these versions? My GF can setup dual monitors on her netbook with ubuntu 10, and shes hot.
  • Kubuntu or xubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:09PM (#36074722)
    That's a realistic goal for kubuntu or xubuntu, but not with Unity ubuntu.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...if they keep breaking stuff / replacing working software with experimental crap.

    • by fwarren ( 579763 )

      I have to agree. They mentioned this on the Linux Action Show.

      11.04 Unity 3d is a version 1.0 product... buggy
      11.11 Unity 2d will be main environment with users able to switch to Unity 3d if they think their hardware can handle it. Thus also a version 1.0 product...buggy.
      12.04 Wayland Graphic drivers, version 1.0 product..buggy.

      So that "polish" users are looking for does not start till 12.11 at least. That is 1 year of 4 years that is going to be frittered away on their own 1.0 products.

      Three Canonical boar

    • Four of them here. That's how many systems I've converted from running Ubuntu to Debian Squeeze in the last two months. Ubuntu had a great opportunity to pick up users during the years when Debian released too infrequently to be viable for the desktop, and no other Linux distribution was built on that base and targeting the desktop well. At this point I see no reason to ever consider Ubunut's latest unstable bling when there's both a two-year Debian release cycle and more regular desktop releases from di

  • Get rid of Unity. Nuff said ...

  • I put Ubuntu on a machine about 4 years ago. But it was too toyish, and I haven't done it since. But are they counting me? I wouldn't mind.

  • I learned Linux on Slackware, then migrated to Mandrake and Red Hat. After a while, I got tired of having to deal with gruesome package management issues every time I wanted to set up a new installation or upgrade. I slowly stopped using Linux out of frustration because I just wanted a good platform to code on, not one that would become a hindrance.

    An IT buddy turned me on to Ubuntu years back and it's been my home networking platform of choice (save the OpenBSD firewall). I even got my boss to install i

  • They shouldn't have waited until Ubuntu was beyond the point of no return on the shark-jumping ramp to make this announcement.

  • Lost opportunity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by diegocg ( 1680514 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:40PM (#36075054)

    Ubuntu could have become the de-facto linux system for phones and tablets, but Android was faster.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @03:49PM (#36075192) Journal

    Tried CentOS, installer quits hard if you select at the end the wrong packages together, no warning or anything.

    Fedora? Can't accept a HD formatted without partitions. Ubuntu can and under Linux it is perfectly valid. Why use MS-DOS partitions on a modern system?

    Like it or hate it, Ubuntu is the mover and Shaker. Red Hat has gone corporate. Mandrake (or whatever its name is) has tried going commercial and is limping.

    Countless others are gone or near gone.

    Is Ubuntu next now it has gone for Unity? Maybe. As said, others have fallen from the leader of the pack before. Ubuntu for now remains the easiests to install for, the onewith the most active user base. Don't like Unity? 11.04 ain't a LTS so you don't have to switch yet. And KUbunutu is an easy switch as well as a switch to Gnome3 or any of the other options.

    But Unity I think shows a worrying sign. What does it solve? One of the powers of linux is the ton of "add-ons" that are available for free and all of a sudden you have a desktop that can do nothing. Gnome3 ain't a solution, that piece of software seems determined to remove all options until nothing is left. Here is a hint Gnome team, when Unity is the more capable and customizable compared to Gnome3, YOU SCREWED UP!

    KDE4? Don't even get me started.

    Yes, there is room for improvement but you make it a LOT easier if you give us at least the basics. Alt-tab, was it such a horrific solution? Task bar? Why do you hate it such? App panel, what did it ever do to you?

    200 million users? sure, if there are 200 million people for who a iPhone is just to complex and they want an interface with ZERO buttons, no touch screen, no interaction.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Ubuntu Server edition but their desktop took a massive nosedive. aptitude is the best package management but what is the point if the package is unity or gnome3?

    Stop fucking around with the desktop. Realize that a LOT of users switch of Aero on windows and have the same desktop they had 10 or more years ago. It works. Some improvements are possible but for god sakes, make sure the old proven and working elements still work.

    Really, we went from a time applet that no longer can display the weather, no any weather option (both unity and gnome3) and needing to hold a key to turn off the computer. (Alt turns suspend into power off).


    But at its core, Ubuntu still is the most capable, see the earlier HD install option.

    Just the desktop is pants but that is pants on Fedora 15 as well (Gnome3).

    The real secret to developing a popular system is to remember that newbies are a very transient audience. A newbie won't be a newbie for long. It would be like marketing a condom for virgins. There are a lot of virgins in the world, especially here on slashdot, and they are bound to have sex sooner or later, except here on slashdot, but once they had sex they will need far more condoms then that one time "virgin" branded one.

    Your OS user won't remain a newbie for long. You don't see many motor cycle companies aiming high at the learner market do you? Despite that a learner bike can be far more fun, the money is in the "experienced rider" market (the succors who think bigger is better)

    Damn, guess motor cycle analogies aren't as good as car analogies.

    Anyway, once the newbie linux user has started using it and figured out how to setup a dual monitor, he is going to be disappointed he can't set to different ones. That the login screen can no longer be themed.

    It would be like Fisher Price deciding that their "My first XXX" line sells so well it will be easy to sell to adults and partner with Sony for a range of electronic devices. Nope.

    Newbies becomes experienced users and then don't want anything to do anymore with a newbie only product.

    • Your reasoning about newbies is flawed. Some newbies will remain newbies. I know, one is a friend is One. I convinced her to try Unbuntu when her computer became so trashed with viruses (It was hopeless!). I almost regretted helping her switch. For two months she was calling me for help with little stuff. I now got her computer to the point where she is satisfied and no longer calling for help. I just dread the day when an update switches her desktop to Unity. I have warned her not to have anything

    • Fedora? Can't accept a HD formatted without partitions. Ubuntu can and under Linux it is perfectly valid. Why use MS-DOS partitions on a modern system?

      So other x86 software knows the disk is used for [partition id].

      You're saving yourself _nothing_ by using disks this way.

      If not a MBR partition, use EFI/GPT at least. You should only be using raw disks if you have software that needs it. Otherwise it is stupid, just like your post, and moderation score.

  • by crhylove ( 205956 ) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Monday May 09, 2011 @05:58PM (#36076740) Homepage Journal

    In nearly EVERY metric I can use, end users prefer Linux Mint. It's easier to use, cleaner, faster, has better default apps, a better default layout, and a better color scheme.

    This is a completely realistic goal for Linux Mint.

    Not for Ubuntu.*

    *That is, unless they completely replace all of their leadership and clone the Mint philosophy, which doesn't seem likely.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.