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Mark Shuttleworth Answers Your Questions 236

A couple of weeks ago you had a chance to ask Canonical Ltd. and the Ubuntu Foundation founder, Mark Shuttleworth, anything about software and vacationing in space. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. Make sure to look for our live discussion tomorrow with free software advocate and CTO of Rhombus Tech, Luke Leighton. The interview will start at 1:30 EST.
The Next Frontier?
by eldavojohn

We've seen Linux go from servers to supercomputers to smartphones in a very explosive manner but not as pervasively on the personal computer. What, in your opinion, is the next frontier for Linux and is that frontier part of Canonical's future?

Shuttleworth: The really interesting opportunity is to unify all of these different kinds of computing. Let's make one OS that runs on the phone AND on your supercomputer. We're close to that now - we know Ubuntu makes a great cloud OS and a great server OS and a great desktop. So I think the next frontier is to create a seamless experience from the embedded world to the cloud. And yes, that's very much what we are focused on at Canonical.

How to succeed on the desktop?
by paulpach

Linux is a huge success in mobile. Linux is a huge success in servers (and Ubuntu in particular seems to be doing very well in servers, congratulations). But Linux on the desktop seems to be going nowhere fast as far as market share is concerned. In your opinion, what would have to happen in order for Linux to start gaining ground in the desktop?

Shuttleworth: The mobile world is crucial to the future of the PC. This month, for example, it became clear that the traditional PC is shrinking in favor of tablets. So if we want to be relevant on the PC, we have to figure out how to be relevant in the mobile world first.

Mobile is also interesting because there's no pirated Windows market. So if you win a device to your OS, it stays on your OS. In the PC world, we are constantly competing with "free Windows", which presents somewhat unique challenges.

So our focus now is to establish a great story around Ubuntu and mobile form factors - the tablet and the phone - on which we can build deeper relationships with everyday consumers. All the major PC companies now ship PC's with Ubuntu pre-installed. So we have a very solid set of working engagements in the industry. But those PC companies are nervous to promote something new to PC buyers. If we can get PC buyers familiar with Ubuntu as a phone and tablet experience, then they may be more willing buy it on the PC too.

by thePsychologist

Hi Mark! It seems based on your blog and other sources that an Ubuntu tablet is definitely planned and should be in the works at least sometime in the next year. When do you think consumers will be able to walk into any decently-sized electronic store and pick up an Ubuntu-based tablet?

Shuttleworth: No pre-announcements here, sorry!

But yes, we've said clearly that the phone and tablet are key stories we need to tell by 14.04 LTS. So I hope that by then you'll know when and where to expect it in-store :)

Oracle certification
by hawkinspeter

Will Ubuntu ever be a certified platform for running Oracle databases?

Shuttleworth: That's not really something I can say "yes" to ;)

We do know that there are some very large Oracle databases running on Ubuntu, and the people running them get all the support they need from Oracle. If you're a large Oracle shop, call them up and ask for support on Ubuntu. But of course, with Oracle's own Linux now in the market, Oracle is unlikely to promote another Linux until they change strategy.

Nowadays, we get asked about this very rarely - people seem to have moved to care a lot more about Hadoop and some of the newer big-data options than they do about traditional SQL. And of course Ubuntu is by far the most popular OS for large big-data deployments. Perhaps for that reason we are not pushing Oracle very hard ourselves - we've met a few times and their reaction has been some corporate equivalent of .

Re:A couple of questions
by cheesybagel

Why doesn't Ubuntu include Android emulation so people can run their vast catalog of Android apps on their laptop, tablet or the like?

Shuttleworth: Because no OS ever succeeded by emulating another OS. Android is great, but if we want to succeed we need to bring something new and better to market.

If we said we aimed to run Android apps, then two things would happen. Every developer that potentially cared about Ubuntu would feel it was OK to just write an app for Android. And every bug that would be specific to our implementation of Android's APIs would of course be a bug for us to fix, not a bug for the app developer. So, we won't do that.

Touch-a-touch-a-touch me...
by Count Fenring

Unity, like most other operating system visual shells, is moving in a decidedly touch-oriented direction. Has this actually proved beneficial in pushing forward an OS that's primarily in use on servers and workstations? Have users (as a percentage of total OS users, or as a percentage of total Linux users) risen or declined since Unity was introduced?

Shuttleworth: Unity positions itself to be *ready* for touch-only platforms like the tablet and phone, but the desktop flavour of Unity is optimized for the desktop. That's why we have such great support for keyboard navigation and hotkeys, why we have menus and indicators that you really need a mouse and keyboard to use. Yes, we have big app icons. But so have some desktop shells for 15 years (before the NextStep Dock, even).

On balance, I think Ubuntu's share of users has continued to rise, based on trends in hard-to-fake sources like Wikipedia traffic logs. Unity is by far the most widely used shell on Ubuntu, despite the depressed-hipster "can't live with unity" meme. And the fact that the other DE's that are shooting for the future are adding bits and pieces of the Unity design suggests that we're on a good track. I'm rather proud of introducing several ideas before they showed up in MacOS and Windows, and I think we have more in the pipeline like that.

Unity was TWO big changes. First, there was the set of changes themselves. That's always hard - there's no way to change huge chunks of the big open source desktop in one fell swoop and get it all perfect in less than six months. So 11.04 was hard, it got better steadily, and it's really fantastic now. And second, there was a cultural shift. Ubuntu shifted towards leadership rather than simply integration. We thought design was important, we talked to the folks responsible for all the current DEs at the time, and they didn't seem to understand what was going to be the reality of personal computing - a highly mobile oriented world. So we led, and I'm glad we did, even though it is hard to do that.

It was very frustrating for us to essentially feel blocked from contributing - design or code - in the existing free desktop communities. It was weird when it became more productive to collaborate with KDE than with the core GNOME maintainers. But we couldn't let petty politics stop us - we're the only company that really cares about the desktop, and even though it hurt to be pushed out of the nest of existing partner communities, sometimes you have to decide to fight for what you believe in. And we did.

Losing its Lustre
by Skunk

Do you feel that Ubuntu might be losing its way amongst the more technical users with some of the decisions that are being made? For example, forcing a beta-level UI onto users for 3 versions of Ubuntu from 11.04-12.04, integrating paid search results from Amazon etc. Linux Mint, which is rapidly growing in popularity, would seem to be a backlash against Unity and is a splintering of Ubuntu (in fact the vast majority of packages are identical to Ubuntu). Do you therefore feel that Ubuntu's popularity has reached its peak and is at risk of stagnating or declining?

Shuttleworth: We are all at risk of stagnating if we don't pursue the future, vigorously. But if you pursue the future, you have to accept that not everybody will agree with your vision.

The raw numbers suggest that Ubuntu continues to grow in terms of actual users. And our partnerships - Dell, HP, Lenovo on the hardware front, and gaming companies like EA, Valve joining up on the software front - make me feel like we continue to lead where it matters.

The Linux distro market has always been highly fragmented and ideological. Nothing new there.

Do you get tired of all the bickering?
by olau

It's evident Canonical and you personally as dude-in-charge have received a lot of flak over the past years, especially as you have started producing more software in-house rather than relying on upstream. Linux seems to attract a horde of vocal fans that aren't afraid to complain when things aren't going their direction. Does that get on your nerves or have you learned to live with it? Are you happy as dude-in-charge-of-product?

Shuttleworth: Yeah, I've been quite astonished at the level of vitriol and paranoia that pervades some of the opinion-fests that pass for discussion and debate in the FLOSS community. And quite disappointed that more folk don't appreciate that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shift the world towards a much more open platform than ever before, but that nasty flaming of individuals who lead that effort, whether its me or anyone else, is totally counter-productive.

I made the commitment to Ubuntu because I had opinions about how free software should steer itself to being the standard way people to software, and I felt that it was pointless to have opinions and not be willing to stand by them with personal skin in the game. If you're not willing to do real work to achieve the outcome you believe in, then you're just another empty vessel with an opinion. And as the saying goes, opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one. What matters is the people who are willing to knuckle down and do real work to make a difference.

And Ubuntu has attracted a very large number of those - not just the folks who you'll find in the headlines, but an astonishing number of great people who just help out because they can and they care. If FLOSS does get over the hump of common acceptance, it will be because of those (often unsung) heroes, not because of the big mouths of ideologues.

Balance between software freedom and usability?
by Bradmont

Ubuntu has made decisions that have been less than popular with the Free-software only crowd. Personally, I benefit from these decisions, for example, via easy access to Nvidia and Broadcom drivers on my laptop, but I also see the importance of the other side of the argument. What is your short- and long-term perspective on including restricted drivers and non-free software in Ubuntu? Is your approach simply pragmatic, do you hope to bring long-term change in industry practices by making free software a viable and important desktop platform, or something else entirely? Thanks!

Shuttleworth: Well, I feel the same way about this as I do about McCarthyism. The people who rant about proprietary software are basically insecure about their own beliefs, and it's that fear that makes them so nastily critical.

If your way of seeing the world IS genuinely more productive, effective, efficient, insightful and usable, then you should be confident that you will win in the long term, and folk who dabble in a different way of working will come to realize that you're right eventually. If FLOSS really is a better way for Oracle to do their thing, then the more we get them doing with FLOSS, the more likely they are to promote the people who are successful around that approach.

So I think Linus has been very smart to have a broadly permissive attitude to proprietary drivers in Linux, for example. He can still give a company the finger for being uncollaborative, but note that he was not being ideological about licenses, he was focused on the quality of engagement - about getting stuff actually working. That strikes a good balance in the kernel, where we want the core to be pretty definitively copyleft, but its good to let hardware companies dabble in non-free drivers if that's what they think is best. If we're right about the benefits of FLOSS, they'll get there in due course. That's why I was so happy to have Canonical leading a lot of the work around ARM Linux - those guys were all investing a lot, inefficiently, and we thought that if they tried a better way, they would like it and grow around it, and now Linaro is a lovely success story.

If you think you'll convince people to see things your way by ranting and being a dick, well, then you have much more to learn than I can possibly be bothered to spend time teaching.

Cool hack
by vlm

Describe a hack that you personally participated in that you find cool. Not you paid someone to ... or I once saw someone else ... or you bought something cool that ... I mean traditional hack like "identify problem" "flash of insight in ur brain" "minutes to days of sweat using techie tools" "something cool now exists, lookit". I don't care about the subject as long as its vaguely slashdot style technical and you think its cool and the slashdot audience would think its cool. The coolest hack is not necessarily the biggest or most famous, either. Maybe you have a hobby where you personally programmed the worlds coolest Christmas light display on your house, or you handmade a truly elaborate model railroad fully articulated draw bridge, I donno, whatever floats your boat. TLDR just tell your hack story, and make it cool.

Shuttleworth: I love design - and especially in combining ideas in ways that make them both better. A recent project was figuring out how we want to fit our phone, tablet and desktop stories into one coherent whole. I quite like the solution we came up with. Tell me if you like it after 14.04 LTS ;)

Governmental Roles In Space?
by eldavojohn

Since you like to comment on both government interaction with businesses and seem to be interested in space travel, what is the appropriate level of the government's role in space? Can you define what is too little and what is too far? What, if anything, should each nation regulate? Are nationalistic programs and races good for space travel or should it just all be privatized and given a sort of 'international waters' anything goes freedom?

Shuttleworth: The national space missions should be exploratory and seeking to push back boundaries, not crowding out the basics. I think the agencies failed to recognize that they could facilitate private sector activity in areas they pioneered, so we got stuck in agency-monopolized access to low earth orbit for decades. That is changing now, and the real win will be that agencies get lower-cost lift and certification and training options that let them plan the really pioneering missions of tomorrow - Mars and the outer planets.

Regulation is good for established markets - I generally like to see governments regulate hard to achieve efficiency and level playing fields in markets. What gets broken is government actors that participate directly, as Fannie and Freddie do in real estate in the US, for example. But I'm not a libertarian (apart from a brief spell in student days) - I've seen far to much corrupt and nasty behavior by corporates that act in a very narrow set of interests.

So, when you take that trip to low-earth orbit, or parabolic firecracker ride courtesy of one of the space tourism operators, you'll be glad of a regulatory framework that aims for passenger safety. And the professional astronauts, who don't really give a hoot about personal safety beyond the obvious "don't be an idiot with my life", will be glad for the access to deep space that they would get courtesy of a vibrant market in the "easy" stuff.
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Mark Shuttleworth Answers Your Questions

Comments Filter:
  • by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:53PM (#42243347)

    "Shuttleworth: I love design - and especially in combining ideas in ways that make them both better. A recent project was figuring out how we want to fit our phone, tablet and desktop stories into one coherent whole. I quite like the solution we came up with. Tell me if you like it after 14.04 LTS ;)"

    Microsoft was doing this before it was cool!

  • Life In A Vaccuum (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:53PM (#42243349)

    Alright, all you depressed-hipsters, Mark has had enough of your bitching about Unity. He sees it as an improvement and says that the numbers show growth despite Unity, so STFU.

    This attitude along with the Amazon Lens search spyware tells me the Ubuntu is done. It's up to you to make it happen. Will you make a stand or continue to be bleating sheep?

  • by Minter92 ( 148860 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:53PM (#42243359)

    " The really interesting opportunity is to unify all of these different kinds of computing. Let's make one OS that runs on the phone AND on your supercomputer. "
    That just sounds horribly efficient. The needs of the different types of computer platforms are all quite divergent. The small power saving OS on a tablet focused on user interactions has almost no relation to what is needed to run a petaflop computing platform. They may both be based off the same core kernel but to have the same code just seems daffy.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:04PM (#42243437)

    To make it popular of course!

    Kidding aside, this depresses me. In order for Linux to become more mainstream, a lot of the stuff that really drew my to linux and the open source community in the first place has to die.

    I kinda wish Linux would have stayed as a niche toy for geeks..

  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc ( 1299163 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:11PM (#42243509)

    "The really interesting opportunity is to unify all of these different kinds of computing. Let's make one OS that runs on the phone AND on your supercomputer."

    Is he serious? Haven't we learned anything from Microsoft's attempt to do the same thing with Windows 8?

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:23PM (#42243629)

    Don't worry, there will still be plenty of other more obscure distributions for people like you to retreat to. After all, it's basically what anybody who considered Ubuntu or any other Linux distro did in the first place: retreat from Windows and Mac. Eventually everybody finds something they're comfortable with, and eventually it will change in a way that makes them get up and look for something "new" that is exactly like what they're used to.

    The only thing Ubuntu is trying to kill is the perception that Linux should cater first to the computer nerds like you and me, but that's not a commercially viable strategy when - let's face it - we're clearly the minority of all users in general. Accept that you're not Ubuntu's target audience and move on if you can't adapt.

  • Touch that again! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:24PM (#42243645)
    Touch Screen on a desktop -- WHY? I've spent years asking people not to touch my screen now everyone smears their fingers over everything - Grrr.
    And laptop the screen sizes, too small for you too?
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:25PM (#42243647) Journal

    Why are you trying to kill Linux?

    I'm confused, how exactly does one 'kill' Linux? I thought that one of the beautiful aspects of the GPL is its robustness. Everyone is free to do basically anything they want (with the most minor caveats) which is great because that means you can always just fork GPL'd code as long as you release your changes with your distributions. Even though I've moved from Debian to Xubuntu for my personal computers, I could very easily move back. This is not true with my servers (which have remained Debian for that very reason).

    Personally I feel like Canonical has done a lot for Linux and they've done that by taking risks. Now Shuttleworth is taking risks that a lot of people simply do not agree with. It's fine to criticize these in detail but a hyperbole like "killing Linux" frankly befuddles me. How is this going to disrupt CentOS or Debian or Gentoo or Slackware or any other distro of Linux? Furthermore, how is this going to disrupt the core kernel itself? Linux is robust. Linux is alive and vibrant on servers. Canonical made a move to make it a desktop OS just like Android was an effort to put it on phones. If they think that taking their code is a smart gamble and you so strongly disagree with it, fork that code and start doing your own development.

    Shuttleworth can't kill Linux. He can make stupid decisions that negatively affect Ubuntu but at the end of the day, he's getting money for that development from backers and has the say in which direction that development team takes. He worked on Debian a while ago and left because he disagreed with it. Now if you're developing for Ubuntu and you don't like his direction, leave and make MasterNerdGuyLinux or whatever you want to call it. No one's stopping you, the Linux kernel development marches on, what's the problem here?

    Microsoft can't kill Linux and neither will Shuttleworth -- that's a testament to Linux. He can jeopardize his marketshare but at the end of the day I will argue that Shuttleworth has made a major positive impact on Linux despite my frank disagreement with his latest developments.

  • by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:30PM (#42243687)

    If you are after highly productive and do not need the hand holding that things like Unity provide, why are you even using Ubuntu? Just use Debian.

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:34PM (#42243723)

    WHAT? I can tell you how to live this perverse fantasy. Just:

    a) Do not buy commercial software for Linux (e.g., the new Steam-for-Linux, and Humble Bundles)
    b) Run a 1+ year old Linux kernel (try before the hardware you are trying to run was ever sold). Almost guaranteed bad support.
    c) Use TWM as your window manager. It's still there. Some people actually like it. You can find another window manager if you happen to be one of those people.
    d) Use Gentoo. I think some people managed to (eventually) compile a fully working system. Don't worry: your success will be in no way hurried by theirs, since you'll have to compile everything yourself anyway.

    The rest of us are happy that things are easier, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way for you!

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:43PM (#42243809) Homepage Journal

    The dumb thing about Ubuntu though, is that they actually made me prefer Windows 7 because of simple little details like being able to move the system menu around where I want it. Strangely enough I've tried having my taskbar all over the place over the years. I have it at the top or the right in my VMs, bottom on the host OS for example. The left hand side is the only one that I really dislike - probably because I swing all the way over to the left to select text, as I have done for something like 25 years (whoah.. have I been using computers for that long? I guess so..).

    The fact that Unity wouldn't let me move their dock, or change the hotkeys to ones that I'd been using for years, is what put me off. I liked everything else Ubuntu had changed up until that point.

    This isn't me being a "depressed hipster". This is me expecting some very basic configuration options that both Windows and Linux have had for decades. Unity had nothing on docks like Avant or Docky. And in fact I'm now perfectly happy with Mint's default settings without even installing a dock..

  • Re:Dear Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:48PM (#42243859)
    I rather Linux change from "a niche toy for geeks" into a battle-hardened tool of efficiency yet openness. There is no reason why Linux can't be easy for 95% of people and still be open.
  • McCarthyism? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:52PM (#42243893)

    Well, I feel the same way about this as I do about McCarthyism. The people who rant about proprietary software are basically insecure about their own beliefs, and it's that fear that makes them so nastily critical.

    So, who's being nastily critical? Comparing free software advocates to Joseph McCarthy? Great way to keep it classy, to rise above the fray.

    McCarthy used the power of government to persecute people he distrusted or who were his political enemies. RMS complaining about the combination of free and propriety software is hardly comparable. As a matter of fact, those who leverage government to enforce vague patents, like vague accusations of communism, come much closer.

    If your way of seeing the world IS genuinely more productive, effective, efficient, insightful and usable, then you should be confident that you will win in the long term, and folk who dabble in a different way of working will come to realize that you're right eventually.

    Would that this were true. It is an old enlightenment superstition that, given enough time, truth will triumph on this earth. Truth, however, has no special claim on human beings. Power tends to be the victor more frequently. Your way of seeing the world can be the most insightful, but if government and corporatists together hold the means of spreading that way of seeing the world, you cannot communicate your insights to others.

    Yet, there's a deeper problem with Shuttleworth's claim. The list he gives, "productive, effective, efficient, insightful and usable," these are all good things. But they are not the only good things. Nor would I use these as criteria for judging what is right. Most of these are only secondary goods. Productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency are only good when they're used to advance good ends. They are only desirable as a means to some other good. It is primary goods that offer the best criteria for us to "come to realize [what's] right". Primary goods are things that are desirable in themselves and not for the sake of some other good. Justice, for example, is desirable, whether or not it is productive or effective. Happiness should be sought, whether or not it is efficient. Some of the best things in life (e.g. sex, beer, science-fiction, art, religion, philosophy, playing with children, music, fishing, amiable conversation) are highly inefficient.

    Were free software to base its claim to being the "right" way of doing things purely on productivity, efficiency, et al., then it would be impoverished. It would offer us nothing better than more stuff at a cheaper price. Of course it should strive to be productive and effective, usable and efficient, but only if it is providing some good. The fact that free software is free, that it can offer access to knowledge to those who want it, that it can in some small way ameliorate inequalities and injustices caused by those who through IP law claim ownership of the mind and of nature, that it is shared, these are the best claims free software has to make on being the "right" way of seeing the world. And, Mr. Shuttleworth, I am no McCarthyist for saying so.

  • by branewalker ( 1665523 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:55PM (#42243933)
    I think it's fine to be proud of your own accomplishments. I don't think it's fine to call your detractors "depressed hipsters" when that is precisely what they are not. I didn't like Unity before it was cool, because I've never liked it, and it's still not.

    I think it's disingenuous at best to say "Unity is by far the most widely used shell on Ubuntu, despite the depressed-hipster "can't live with unity" meme." when it is the default shell for Ubuntu. Most people don't change defaults, even if they are bad. See: Internet Explorer.

    I also think it displays a complete lack of understanding of FOSS to say, "Well, I feel the same way about this as I do about McCarthyism. The people who rant about proprietary software are basically insecure about their own beliefs, and it's that fear that makes them so nastily critical. If your way of seeing the world IS genuinely more productive, effective, efficient, insightful and usable, then you should be confident that you will win in the long term, and folk who dabble in a different way of working will come to realize that you're right eventually."

    Really, Mark? Here's where you're wrong: the ideology is one of control and user rights. If you're leading and you say, "this method is productive, effective, efficient, (insightful? What does it mean for a method of creating software to *itself* have insight?), and usable," but fails to recognize basic user rights, and your detractors say, "yes, but it fails to recognize basic user rights" then you're talking past them, and telling them their rights don't matter in the face of what..."progress?"

    When you've got a method that puts users first, or at the very least doesn't bundle advertising spyware and beta-level UI as defaults, piggybacking on the success of what used to be the friendliest flavor of Linux, then talk about productive and efficient. Because until you're moving in the right direction, how fast and efficiently you're moving doesn't matter.
  • by HaZardman27 ( 1521119 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:04PM (#42244027)
    Is what he said wrong? I use Xubuntu because I dislike Unity, but I don't hate him or Canonical for it. I don't see how it can possibly be productive to spend time flaming him and Canonical instead of using or contributing to competing systems if you dislike their products that much. That's the beauty if Linux; I can run what I want and only what I want if I choose to take the time to configure my system properly.
  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex&project-retrograde,com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:25PM (#42244241)

    Why are you trying to kill Linux?

    I'm confused, how exactly does one 'kill' Linux?

    You're confused because you missed that word "trying" even though you quoted it. It's foolish to try killing Linux, thus this is a valid question if one perceives such actions.

    Ubuntu has a lot of users. Indeed some software is released targeting only Ubuntu and claiming "Linux support". It's been shown time and again that folks go where the applications are... So, you take one of the arguably more user friendly versions of Linux, the one that my 75 year old retired air-force mechanic neighbor is using (Ubuntu 10.04) despite him being mostly computer illiterate, and then make a horrible cluster fuck of usability. Were it not for someone like me to assist in his migration to Mint, he'd have clicked "upgrade" and wound up with Unity. I let him try out Unity via 12.04 LiveCD, it's unusable to him. He'd have bought a new computer rather than cope with that shit... What do new computers come pre-installed with? Not Linux.

    He can jeopardize his marketshare but at the end of the day I will argue that Shuttleworth has made a major positive impact on Linux despite my frank disagreement with his latest developments.

    You just moved the goalposts. A life of good works does not excuse the occasional tyranny, corruption, or other immoral behavior.

  • by multicoregeneral ( 2618207 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:27PM (#42244257) Homepage
    Ubuntu's repositories are more complete. But yes, I see your point.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @02:42PM (#42244405) Homepage Journal

    Yes, but then you end up with KDE or XFCE. And in any case it's not Ubuntu in that sense any more.

    There really wasn't a lot wrong with GNOME 2, I wish they'd have taken a more evolutionary approach to improving that. As it is, I take a similar route to yours, I use the GNOME fall-back mode with a few extensions loaded to improve Ubuntu integration. It's not proper Ubuntu, but it's at least a hell of a lot better than XFCE or KDE. And it's closer to what Ubuntu should be than Unity.

  • by Rinikusu ( 28164 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:17PM (#42244731)

    LOL. Yeah, here's the thing, though. I killed a half-hour at the Sony Store the other day playing with their tablets and what not and you know what? For web-browsing, etc, it's so much more user-friendly than keyboard + mouse. I had to catch myself on non-touch equipped screens and found myself actually *annoyed* that you couldn't just touch the screen to do basic stuff. I dunno if I'd use it for my IDE (although.. scrolling through code, pinch zooming to change font sizes... that might be a useful thing...). I think my android experience is tempering my old-man-ness.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:24PM (#42244793) Journal

    In The Netherlands, some broadcasters still have in their name "vereniging" (society/club). They were originally founded by people with a similar interest who wanted to make programs according to their world view for others. It was a sharing caring thing. NOT pure commerce. The US might have had the same but now it doesn't and BOY does it show. Dutch broadcasters had to be forced by law to stop just buying American shows to get ratings and instead make TV accordin to their individual mision statement. It is TV nobody wants to watch for the betterment of all...

    So... which is better? The mega corps must watch TV or the educational TV? The answer is probably the BBC which is a bit of both.

    Where are the baby steps? American TV didn't start out as interludes between the commercials but with every annual report financial report, the need for ad revenue to go up, the ads got more intrusive till a Fox CEO claimed going out of the room during commercials is the same as stealing. Now ads are not just before during and after the show or worked into it but actually overlaying the TV image. Every step people said "oh well, this isn't to bad, I just go to the toilet or zap" and every step it got worse.

    The problem is that that this amazon unity lens, is advertising and advertisers NEVER EVER STOP. Give them they finger, they abuct your family and sell them for parts. Searching for your files in realtime is so 90's, why not index your files for faster searches? Why not send the index database to the cloud so you know all your files no matter where you are on whatever device? And why not pay for it with allowing someone to search for it for keywords they can link ads to? And just a link to a web page, why not upload the ads for faster viewing? Why not allow executable content as ads? Why not allow third parties to serve advertising?

    Unlikely? Their are countless events were ordinary 3rd party browser ads have infected hundreds of thousands peoples PC because the perfectly normal safe site you visited decided a fraction of a cent for a banner was worth more then your computer security and their reputation.

    Oh... but surely Ubuntu wouldn't... no of course not. And the same was said by newspapers like NRC quite recently, just before they infected their readers.

    I am reminded of Mint. Mozilla Firefox ALREADY pushed advertising by installing google search by default, then Mint took over and made it hard to remove, ruining the search page in the process. They slightly improved their act but this is just baby steps. Whats next?

    Stallman mentions in his response that he expected this of MS and MS has repeatedly been found sending data home in its various media players. Oh they removed it once people found out, claiming bugs or debug or whatever. But they keep on trying.

    When you buy a Windows PC, you fork over a ton of cash and nobody involved cares because they shovel it full of crapware because that gives them a bit extra. MS did this too, even the pure Windows no OEM disc fully priced came with links to shopping sites and expensive ISP's. Sure, to help me... of course.

    I really don't want my computing to turn into an airline experience were everything costs money, especially not since I switched to Linux years ago. I even tried OSX but was put of by the fact that tools that are free for Linux are all shareware on OSX. Yes, you might call me a cheap bastard but I grew up in a world were there were no ads on tv on sunday. I have been to the US for long enough to know advertising EVERYWHERE does NOT make the world a better place.

    Ubuntu got big over the principles of free software and now is betraying it all for a few bucks and it gives everyone an excuse to stay with Windows and OSX because well, right now, neither of THEM sell your privacy quite so openly to the highest bidder.

    Yes, you can remove it for now. Sure... baby steps. If this fails and it will, they will just try again and again and again. And that gets really old after a while.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:26PM (#42244813)

    I don't see how it can possibly be productive to spend time flaming him and Canonical instead of using or contributing to competing systems if you dislike their products that much

    There are two problems with this sentiment:

    1. We are not in a competition. This community is supposed to be about sharing -- sharing code, sharing bandwidth, sharing disk space, etc. If we start competing like a bunch of little corporations, the whole community will fail.
    2. Canonical has an enormous number of users; what they do with Ubuntu has far-reaching implications. If they bundle Nvidia's proprietary drivers, they are basically telling Nvidia that millions of GNU/Linux users can be Nvidia's customers without Nvidia having to change their practices or release one iota of information about their hardware. An increasing number of people now associate GNU/Linux with Ubuntu; if Canonical bundles spyware, that leaves many people associating spyware with GNU/Linux.

    Canonical cannot just march in and turn the entire community upside down just to create a more business-friendly desktop distro. There are valid complaints about Canonical's approach and what effect Canonical is having on the free software / open source community.

  • by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:02PM (#42246463)

    Irony, noun: Slashdot reader tells others they are living in a vacuum and don't understand reality.

    I love it here, but the "normal" here is so far from reality that its hard to not see the irony when you tell someone else they're living in a bubble. If you took /. at face value, Linux won 12 years ago, Bill Gates has made a baby-puppy-kitten hybrid just so he can stomp all three at once and get through his busy schedule faster, and Skynet became active 18 minutes after assembly of its base Beowulf cluster of Raspberry Pis was complete.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada