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Ubuntu Businesses GNOME Linux

Dozens Of Canonical Employees Resign As Ubuntu Switches To GNOME, Shuttleworth Returns As CEO ( 191

Alexander J Martin, reporting for The Register: More than 80 Canonical workers are facing the axe as founder Mark Shuttleworth has taken back the role of chief executive officer. The number, revealed today by The Reg, comes as Shuttleworth assumed the position from CEO of eight years Jane Silber, previously chief operating officer. The Reg has learned 31 or more staffers have already left the Ubuntu Linux maker ahead of Shuttleworth's rise, with at least 26 others now on formal notice and uncertainty surrounding the remainder. One individual has resigned while others, particularly in parts of the world with more stringent labour laws (such as the UK), are being left in the dark. The details come after The Reg revealed plans for the cuts as a commercial get-fit programme instituted by Shuttleworth. The Canonical founder is cutting numbers after an external assessment of his company by potential new financial backers found overstaffing and that projects lacked focus.
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Dozens Of Canonical Employees Resign As Ubuntu Switches To GNOME, Shuttleworth Returns As CEO

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  • well (Score:3, Funny)

    by sirber ( 891722 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:49PM (#54223639)
    after the users left, it's normal that the devs leave afterward
    • It's weird to see a cult cutting membership, isn't it?

  • Which is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beacon11 ( 1499015 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:53PM (#54223695)
    The title is "dozens resign" while the article (and summary) is "one resigned." Everyone else was laid off.
    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      They weren't laid off! Canonical volunteered them to be re-accommodated with resignations!
    • They're not laid off. They're re-accommodated.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @02:54PM (#54223705)

    So part of the summary makes it sound like they're leaving in protest, while another part makes it sound like their positions will be going away - perhaps a "quit or be fired" sort of thing?

    Of course I could just read the article, but I don't want to lose my Slashdot cred... so what's going on?

    • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:14PM (#54223863)

      Of course I could just read the article, but I don't want to lose my Slashdot cred... so what's going on?

      I am sorry. You lost your Slashdot cred when you read the summary!

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      It's unclear to me why anyone would quit if they're about to be laid off. Chances are they'll get some kind of severance.
      • by ebh ( 116526 )

        Sometimes it goes the opposite direction: We'll offer you X if you resign, but that offer is only open for Y days, after which you may be lad off with no severance.

        So then you have to decide whether the severance for resigning is a better deal than unemployment, which you'll only be eligible for if you are laid off.

        • So then you have to decide whether the severance for resigning is a better deal than unemployment, which you'll only be eligible for if you are laid off.

          If you expect to get another job in time then it is always a better deal, because you leave your UI for the time when you're really going to need it. The question is, who is going to need employees like these? Someone else who wants to build a shitty WM that crashes a lot?

  • Yea, I hear Linux already had a desktop and they decided to make their own anyway.

    • Linux had many different desktops but like Microsoft, they thought that one desktop from phone/tablet to mega server would rulez!
      It was an admirable aim but personally, I never thought that it would work.

      • by nnull ( 1148259 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @04:33PM (#54224529)
        It did work, for a time. Ubuntu brought the desktop to linux that worked. The very fact that I could install Ubuntu on a laptop without having to tinker with ACPI and all other nonsense was a big plus (If anyone remembers installing linux on the laptop was a very painful experience pre-2010 days, still is). They fixed a lot of annoying little problems and contributed quite a bit to "get things working". They had the easiest installer of any linux distribution. They had an established community that was dedicated to Ubuntu and contributed a lot to fixing things. Being debian based just made it better.

        Then they decided to make their own spinoffs of projects that really sucked and splitting off from all the desktop environments that worked, instead of contributing to fixing and making them better. The whole unity thing, Amazon and all the other nonsense. They should have stuck to what they were doing before, it was just fine, instead they tarnished their image and reputation with this crap.

        The only spinoff which I think would have been fine is ubuntu on phones and tablets. They had quite a development following on those devices (They had a huge loyal following for the phone, ever since the whole NSA stink and a lot of people were very enthusiastic for it). The phones would been quite successful if they didn't have limited production (Seriously, they sold every handset they made). Their poor business decisions pretty much killed Ubuntu phone.
        • If anyone remembers installing linux on the laptop was a very painful experience pre-2010 days, still is

          I installed RH7 (not RHEL7) on a Gateway (anybody remember them?) lappie without any problems that weren't due to PEBKAC.

        • It is not really a linux phone - it uses an android kernel with ubuntu stuff on top. No one really knows whats in the binary blobs. Real Linux is considered open software - this is not.

  • GNOME (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imidan ( 559239 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:08PM (#54223817)

    It's interesting. This article was first posted with the headline "Dozens Of Canonical Employees Resign, Shuttleworth Returns As CEO." Then it was re-posted less than a minute later as "Dozens Of Canonical Employees Resign As Ubuntu Switches To GNOME, Shuttleworth Returns As CEO."

    The only difference between the two is "As Ubuntu Switches to GNOME," but if you look at TFA, the word 'gnome' does not appear. So someone went to the effort of editing this post to add gnome to the headline despite its having nothing to do with the article. I guess to give us a target for hating on? Two of the stories about gnome this month have gotten more than 300 comments, which is relatively big these days for Slashdot.

    Just an observation and a theory about the way our overlords try to influence the discussion.

    • by XXeR ( 447912 )

      So someone went to the effort of editing this post to add gnome to the headline despite its having nothing to do with the article.

      Haha, that reminds me of this line from Total Recall:

      Someone..? We're talking about the fucking agency!

      https://gointothestory.blcklst... []

    • They are related. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are canceling development on two big in-house projects, Mir and Unity, and laying off many of the people who worked on those projects. The Register article is a followup on a previous article (which they linked), where this is explicitly confirmed by Canonical.

    • My first thought was that the employees were resigning BECAUSE Ubuntu is switching to Gnome! Understandable, but a little extreme. ;)

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, it didn't actually say the two events were related. You could just as well have written the title as "Dozens of Canonical Employees Missing in Aftermath of April Fool's Day."

    • Well, they ARE switching back to Gnome ... hence no need for the Unity folks.
    • I noticed that in the headline and immediately thought that the resignations had to do with the switch to @ /. for this click-bait stuff...

  • by jediborg ( 4808835 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:17PM (#54223885)
    The Unity vs GNOME debate is just like this comic: []

    but i use KDE so i don't really know what i'm talking about
    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      That's nothing. I typically ignore the default desktop and install Xfce instead. For older hardware, Xfce works a lot better.
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        xfce has it's points, but I *do* prefer KDE. Usually. A few features that I use were broken the last time I tried xfce. (Windows getting stuck under menubars, etc. And if I hid the menubar I had to log out&in to get it back.)

        I could have gotten around this by only having the menubar at the bottom of the screen rather than both top and bottom as I prefer, or even not having full width menubars. But it was annoying. (OTOH, I'm not running on slow hardware either, so the advantage was less.)

  • by e r ( 2847683 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @03:48PM (#54224161)
    From TFS:

    The Canonical founder is cutting numbers after an external assessment of his company by potential new financial backers found overstaffing and that projects lacked focus.

    So Shuttleworth is being a responsible adult and cutting the people who aren't doing anything useful and getting things back on track so that they don't waste man/woman hours on projects that don't have any point?
    If so then good.

    Does this also mean Canonical is going to ditch Mir and focus on helping to improve Wayland instead? Why reinvent a different and incompatible wheel when you could just help refine the one that is already there? This seems to be the reasoning behind switching back to GNOME as the default DE.
    Does this mean Canonical is going to stop wasting time on dumb and redundant ideas like Ubuntu phone? I hope so.

    If they're cutting these sorts of time wasters then it makes sense that they'd also cut the people that worked on those projects. Unlike Apple, Canonical is showing real bravery here by cutting employees from an already controversial company (open source people like to get angry). But if that's what brings the company back on track then more power to Shuttleworth.

    What's curious to me is how Canonical got off onto those bullshit projects in the first place. Seems to me like the execs who suggested such fad-chasing (Ubuntu phone) and wheel-reinventing (Mir and Unity) should also be on the chopping block if they aren't already.

    (full disclosure: I use Ubuntu on all of my computers at home and at work)

    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @04:17PM (#54224405)
      The wheel-reinventing was a direct consequence of their phone ambitions. They wanted the phone / tablet cake all to themselves so they put bits into the stack that were encumbered with GPL3 for everyone else while they could do with them as they saw fit.

      Upstream projects and contributors had a problem with this and so the work of maintaining Mir and backends for upstream projects was pushed back on Ubuntu. Then when the phone flopped all the stuff became surplus to requirements.

      I think they would have enjoyed more success with their mobile platform to have used Wayland in the first place. They wouldn't have had to hire so many people to work on it, wouldn't have alienated other contributors, and would probably still have held stewardship of their mobile platform. Even if it still flopped it would have been a cheaper flop than the one they're facing now.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        to have used Wayland in the first place

        Wayland came in after they had started and was initially far more hype than substance. It's initial design was also incredibly unrealistic until some other developers came on board. It took a while before it was even clear that Wayland development would proceed instead of vanishing in a puff of hype.

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )
          No it didn't. Wayland (and Weston) had reached 1.0 were working even as Mir was announced. As you well know.
          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            Interesting definition of "working". It was working so well at that time that Daniel Stone "forgot his cables" when it was time to present it at a conference with a few thousand linux developers with laptops and a variety of cables.
            Also the initial stated design goals of Wayland (linux only, single window manager hard coded in, no support of current X applications etc etc) were not compatible with what Ubuntu wanted to do. Those goals have of course changed and there's no point pretending otherwise unless
            • by DrXym ( 126579 )
              Wayland and Weston dropped 1.0.x and 1.1.0 early in 2013 before Mir was announced. The protocol format was frozen, the core functionality was frozen, there was a client/server implementation, there was a reference window manager. So Wayland was an actual functioning, demonstrable system that upstreams proceeded to make work with their own code. Even the GTK and QT backends were in a working state of development in 2013. Full desktops began appearing in development form from 2014 onwards. Fedora defaulted to
              • With the greatest possible respect (I'm sure you are good at something) ambitious version numbers are not a substitute for a mature project.

                So Wayland was an actual functioning, demonstrable system

                Seriously? In 2013? When it couldn't even be demoed at a conference? Who told you that? Perhaps you should take a look at the mailing list archive of the time or ask someone who was paying attention at the time.
                It's come a very long way since 2013.

                • by DrXym ( 126579 )
                  I was paying attention at the time.
                  • Then you clearly either have no clue whatsoever or have some agenda to push.
                    Wayland just did not do what Ubuntu wanted in 2013 and probably does not even do it now. Ubuntu have different goals to you.
                    I am getting a very strong impression here that you are trying to deliberately mislead the readers for some incredibly petty reason or other. I do not think we should be doing that with software projects and should instead judge them on their actual merits.
                    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
                      No dipshit, the only "agenda" I have to push is that for a modern, user-friendly performant Linux. I encourage and am supportive of things that make it happen. If we want to talk about "agenda" then you can start with yourself because you leap out of the woodwork on every Wayland post going all the way back beyond 2012 to whine and spread fud about it.
                  • OK - let's be very generous and go for the end of the year instead of when Ubuntu made their choice.

                    20th November 2013 - Wayland's Weston Received New Features Yesterday

                    On the "finished" window manger - beyond version 1.0, so it must be finished by your definition above.

                    That will not be useful since it's not meant to be used in production environnement. These feature will be implemented by gnome or Kwin when they will be ready. Weston is just a live example of how to implement a wayland compositor. Nothing

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      (open source people like to get angry)

      I'm sick of these fucking allegations!!

    • Seems to me like the execs who suggested such fad-chasing

      In a world seeing a rise in portable devices, a new form factor in the form of slate devices, and a dramatic increase in the number of touch enabled devices all combined with a general decline in the desktop and laptop computers, I wouldn't call it a fad.

      A fad is something that comes and goes. For them to have chased a fad, the market needs to shift back first. It hasn't. It also doesn't look like it's going to.

      Things like Unity may have been an abortion, but not focusing on interfaces right now will simply

    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      My understanding is that Mir sprung out of the need for a different feature set than what Wayland allowed -- specifically because of Unity and its use on the mobile platform.

      With Unity dead, Mir is aborted, and Gnome is moving forward with Wayland, so Ubuntu will be moving forward with Wayland when it uses Gnome as its default DE.

      It's about the only positive news from all this. Diversity is good, but pooling resources around a common shared goal is often better.

  • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2017 @04:23PM (#54224461) Homepage

    I'm conflicted here. On one hand, I despise Unity, so I think dropping it is a very welcome change. How refreshing that a company is actually listening to its users. I only wish it would have happened a long time ago. It's a bit ironic that the primary UI is shifting to GNOME though, who practically make a living from ignoring their users' wishes.

    On the other hands, I feel really bad for these people who are now out of a job. They were most likely the devs who were just following orders to move Unity forward.

  • These headlines are so horribly written that they're misleading at worst, and confusing at best. After over 15 years visiting this site, I think I've finally had enough.
  • I've never used Ubuntu and never will. Canomical is a vanity company, prizing the Benevolent Dictator's ego over being a good open source citizen. Ubuntu is by far the buggiest OS ever released, open source or proprietary. Proponents say that Ubuntu is good for linux, which is true in the same way that factory farming is good for chickens.
  • So, of the 30 users who don't think Unity is a counterproductive pile of shit that works against the user if you do anything more than consume media, we now find out that "dozens" of those users were actually the developers of it.

  • Interview: Thomas Voss of Mir [] — October 2014

    Obviously there are disadvantages to having only one graphics language, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. ... Android made the same decision to go that way. Even Wayland to a certain degree has been doing that. They have to support EGL and GL, simply because it's very convenient for app developers and toolkit developers — an open graphics language. That was the part that inspired us, and we wanted to have this one graphics language and suppo

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