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Ubuntu Open Source

Canonical's Troubles With the Free Software Community 155

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 gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @12:00PM (#46584593) Homepage

    One party "in charge" just makes Linux an easier target.

    That, and the collective mentality of open source is not unlike a bunch of cats which have no desire to be herded by anybody who claims to be in charge.

    People work on projects they like, for their own reasons. Not to make something which benefits Canonical.

  • by lars_stefan_axelsson ( 236283 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:22PM (#46587873) Homepage

    The Linux kernel was nothing special. Seriously. There were many such hobby projects at the time, and it wasn't a particularly great one.

    What? That's news to me. I was on comp.os.minix when Linus announced it, and downloaded version 0.11 (but I don't think I ran it until 0.12).

    The only other UNIX-like OS at the time IMHO was Minix, but due to Tannenbaums resistance to "complicating" Minix into something that used the full capabilities of the 386 (i.e. the MMU etc.) Linux took off like a rocket. (There was even a patch set adding i386 capabilities to Minux, but it had to be distributed as a patch set, Tannenbaum wouldn't let it be integrated into Minix proper.

    So, sure, 0.10, 0.11 and 0.12 weren't even complete but it only took on the order of weeks before Minix was left in the dust feature wise, and the rest as they say, is history. Remember that while 0.10 etc. may have lacked an init, it ran almost everything else, in particular they could self host gcc, i.e. they could compile gcc, which was no mean feat. (And something that Minix couldn't, though my memory is vague on that point).

    So what were these other systems that were so much more sophisticated? You aren't thinking about the various i386 BSD-variants that sought to bring BSD to the masses? They weren't really "hobby projects", the legal ramifications weren't at all clear, so their development was severely hampered, and the people had this stick up their collective asses about what hardware was good enough to be worthy of support. Which lead to the consequence that you couldn't actually run your BSD-of-the-month on hardware you had. Linux was above all a much more pragmatic affair. If the hardware was in widespread use, it usually got support quite quickly, no matter how much of an ugly cluge it was deemed to be. But of course some of them were fairly feature complete, since they were original UNIX, source code and all. (And also slower on i386, but that's another story.)

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM