Linked by David Adams on Sun 8th May 2011 12:53 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Linux Only a few weeks after Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's biggest change ever - the release of the Unity-based Ubuntu 11.04 Linux - the company's CTO, Matt Zimmerman is leaving the company.
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Victims of talent hunt or just restructering?
by fran on Sun 8th May 2011 15:18 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Canonical in my view is not in crisis.
In 2009 Canonical had about 350+ employees with revenue creeping towards its breakeven point of $30 Million Dollars. Thus we could assume in 2009 running Ubuntu amounted to about $30 Million dollars.

It has seen very healthy growth in big company signups not just in the server arena but also whole companies switching desktops to Ubuntu. German insurance company LVM is switching 10000 pc's to Ubuntu.

It has also entered the hosting sphere with a partnership with Karmasphere Inc..

I think Ubuntu is not having financial difficulties at all. Top level IT executives though will put a huge financial drain on $30 million dollar revenue company.
I think thus there is a restructuring among the top level executives. Zimmerman is not the only exec leaving but also cloud expert Levine. The canonical board thus stand at four right now.

There is big talent drive hunt among companies like Google, Facebook and others right now and i think this is something to do with this.

My 20cent is smaller companies will have it tough keeping their star players in this environment.
On the upside this presents a new opportunity for new hungry people to take their place.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"My 20cent is smaller companies will have it tough keeping their star players in this environment."

Or, they'll just begin off shoring everything like the big companies. The recent trend is to search for cheap labor rather than talent. That's not my idea of how things should be done, but it's difficult to ignore what's happened to the US IT workers this past decade.

Reply Score: 1

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"My 20cent is smaller companies will have it tough keeping their star players in this environment." Or, they'll just begin off shoring everything like the big companies. The recent trend is to search for cheap labor rather than talent. That's not my idea of how things should be done, but it's difficult to ignore what's happened to the US IT workers this past decade.


I don't understand your comment about going offshore, and the mention of US IT workers. Canonical is already offshore, being a South African company. You do realize it is not based in the US, correct?

Reply Score: 3

twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11

""My 20cent is smaller companies will have it tough keeping their star players in this environment." Or, they'll just begin off shoring everything like the big companies. The recent trend is to search for cheap labor rather than talent. That's not my idea of how things should be done, but it's difficult to ignore what's happened to the US IT workers this past decade.


I don't understand your comment about going offshore, and the mention of US IT workers. Canonical is already offshore, being a South African company. You do realize it is not based in the US, correct?
"

Some people do believe that the World consists only of US.

Reply Score: 5

holmja Member since:
2009-06-09

Shuttleworth is South African (actually he has dual South African and UK citizenship), but Canonical is registered in the Isle of Man, and the main offices are in London.

Reply Score: 2

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Shuttleworth is South African (actually he has dual South African and UK citizenship), but Canonical is registered in the Isle of Man, and the main offices are in London.


Thanks for the correction.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"I don't understand your comment about going offshore, and the mention of US IT workers. Canonical is already offshore, being a South African company. You do realize it is not based in the US, correct?"

The post I responded to actually referred to other US companies specifically by name.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

The recent trend is to search for cheap labor rather than talent.


What makes you think the "cheap labour" outside the US doesnt have as much talent as the US IT workers?

Reply Score: 4

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

What makes you think the "cheap labour" outside the US doesnt have as much talent as the US IT workers?


...Well, because quite frankly, a lot of it doesn't. Obviously, there are some very talented developers overseas. But there are accelerated schools in some of these developing nations for example, designed to turn out programmers in six months. Sorry, but no. You can't learn to become a decent developer in six months. Maybe you can learn how to be a code monkey in six months and pump out code if someone gives you exact specs for what you need to do. But that's about all.

In many of these developing software outsourcing nations, software development is seen as a get rich quick scheme, because compared to the salary of other industries, software developers live like kings and queens. There are a lot of people who just see it as a way to make money. A lot of them don't even have any interest in software development and have virtually no existing IT experience. But again, they simply see it as a way to make more money quicker than most other jobs in these nations. So they sign up these accelerated six month courses, come out, and think they are developers now.

Again, I don't care how rigorous your training program is. You can't produce a competent developer in six months. Maybe you can produce a code monkey. And for the most part, that's what a lot of these low priced off-shore development shops are.

That's not say there aren't some very talented developers overseas. But separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult.

Edited 2011-05-09 17:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

But there are accelerated schools in some of these developing nations for example, designed to turn out programmers in six months.


Funny though, that's what I heard the US schools are teaching these days.

In many of these developing software outsourcing nations, software development is seen as a get rich quick scheme, because compared to the salary of other industries, software developers live like kings and queens.


Speaking as someone who actually have lived in such a nation for almost 10 years that's fscking nonsense. Software developers don't live as kings and queens and it's not seen as a get rich scheme. It's a relatively well-paid profession, just like everywhere else, but it most likely won't make you rich.

There are a lot of people who just see it as a way to make money.


And how is this different from anywhere else?

So they sign up these accelerated six month courses, come out, and think they are developers now.


While I'm sure there are six-months speed coursces (although i have never seen one advertised) most developers here actually have proper education.

And for the most part, that's what a lot of these low priced off-shore development shops are.


You're talking out of your ass. There are just as many unskilled code monkeys in the US or anywhere else. They just happen to think they're better because, you know, they're not "cheap labour" and they get paid better (for some reason).

That's not say there aren't some very talented developers overseas.But separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult.


"Overseas". So now the entirely world except the US is just lucky if they manage to get a handful of talented developers. Jesus what nonsense.

Reply Score: 2

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Funny though, that's what I heard the US schools are teaching these days.


Some U.S. schools have de-emphasized certain low level programming courses and put more emphasis on business courses. That is true. But there is good reason for that. The #1 complaint of businesses today is not that developers don't have enough technical skills, but that they have no business skills, and don't understand how to apply the concepts of software engineering to real world business problems.

It's a relatively well-paid profession, just like everywhere else, but it most likely won't make you rich.


In some parts of the world, compared other available jobs, it is EXTREMELY well paid. And relatively speaking, compared to the rest of the population, yes, it can make you extremely wealthy.

And how is this different from anywhere else?


If money is all that motivates you to choose a certain career, you are choosing the wrong career.

While I'm sure there are six-months speed coursces (although i have never seen one advertised) most developers here actually have proper education.


I've worked with a couple of offshore development companies, and they were very difficult to deal with. Often we had to send work back to be redone because the code quality was very poor. Other times there were language barriers, and the code we got was not at all what we asked for, etc.

"Overseas". So now the entirely world except the US is just lucky if they manage to get a handful of talented developers. Jesus what nonsense.


I didn't mention specific countries specifically to avoid singling out any nation and appearing racist. Of course, this has nothing to do do with race. But I know better than to name names in a forum like this, because people will immediately jump to conclusions. I don't think I have to name names though.

Edited 2011-05-09 19:44 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Some U.S. schools have de-emphasized certain low level programming courses and put more emphasis on business courses.


That's not what I hear, both on osnews and in other places. What I hear is that computer courses are being dumbed down and focusing on "practical work skills" instead of science.

If money is all that motivates you to choose a certain career, you are choosing the wrong career.


I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying it's just as common pretty much everywhere.

I've worked with a couple of offshore development companies, and they were very difficult to deal with. Often we had to send work back to be redone because the code quality was very poor.


I've had the same experience when dealing with North American teams but I'm not going to generalize that into everyone. If i was going to be mean I could say that Americans are always difficult to deal with.

I don't think I have to name names though.

I'm going to guess you mean India but that's not where I am. Maybe it's different there but what I hear is the reason offshore jobs goes offshore is because American education is downplaying the hard programming and science skills.

To quote the (in)famous Maddox:
If they're taking your jobs it's because they work harder and better than you.

Reply Score: 2

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

That's not what I hear, both on osnews and in other places. What I hear is that computer courses are being dumbed down and focusing on "practical work skills" instead of science.


What you hear is wrong. Universities are trying to find a balance. I've hired graduates right out of CSci college, and they are very unproductive. They have a lot of theoretical knowledge, but almost no business skills regarding how to apply that knowledge to solve real world business problems. Universities are trying to add more business related classes to CSci curriculums s specifically because that is the #1 complaint businesses have about CSci graduates.

Times have changed. The days where a programmer could have long hair, live in the basement of the office building, write code, and never have to interact with customers and such are long gone. These days, programmers have to have business skills and understand business to be able to compete. And that's the need Universities are trying to meet.

Please note I am talking about legitimate four year Universities here. Sure, there are some dumbed down degree mill programs out there (University of Phoenix comes to mind). But legitimate Universities have not dumbed down their programs.

Maybe it's different there but what I hear is the reason offshore jobs goes offshore is because American education is downplaying the hard programming and science skills.


Well, what you hear is definitely wrong. The reason offshore jobs go offshore is because labor is so much cheaper in developing nations. Programmers in India will do jobs for salaries that a developer in the U.S. couldn't even afford to live on. it has nothing to do with developer skill, and everything to do with dirt cheap labor.

To quote the (in)famous Maddox:
If they're taking your jobs it's because they work harder and better than you.


And that's total BS. The reason they are taking our jobs is because they work for 1/3 to 1/5th of the pay that U.S. workers do. And U.S. workers couldn't even survive on those kinds of salaries because the cost of living in the United States is too high.

Edited 2011-05-09 20:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"I'm going to guess you mean India but that's not where I am."

I'm not going to say anything bad about India, just point out the fact that they make up at least a quarter of new hires in my area compared to almost none a few years ago.

"Maybe it's different there but what I hear is the reason offshore jobs goes offshore is because American education is downplaying the hard programming and science skills."

And you buy that?

It's a theory pushed very strongly by MNCs who promote the view that there is insufficient domestic talent, even as they are laying off existing staff.

The search for cheaper staff really is all the rage in the US, even to the point of disqualifying US workers in favor of cheaper H1Bs.


Watch this video and tell me it doesn't turn your stomach.
http://www.youtube.com/programmersguild

Reply Score: 1

AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, of course. You went to an 'offshore development shop'. If you start out by going to the folks whose sales pitch is 'we'll get foreign people to do it cheap' you're already Doing It Rong. If you were going to have your code written in the U.S., would you do it by sending out a spec sheet to a random company who said they could do it cheaper than anyone else? Would you expect that to generate good results? Probably not, no. So why people think it's a sensible way to access coders in *other* countries, I can't imagine.

Companies who just hire in multiple countries in the same way they would in their 'home' country are a lot more successful, and happy with the people they get.

Reply Score: 2

AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"That's not say there aren't some very talented developers overseas. But separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult. "

As it can in the US, apparently. This showed up on Slashdot today: http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/07/why-the-new-guy-cant-code/

Reply Score: 2

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

As it can in the US, apparently. This showed up on Slashdot today: http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/07/why-the-new-guy-cant-code/


That article is basically making the same point I made in one of my earlier comments. The new guy, fresh out of college with his new CSci degree, might be able to "write a binary search". But that doesn't mean he can write code and work on a real big project. It only prove he can "build a tree". It says nothing about whether he can "build a forest". Again, this is part of the reason CSci programs are trying to redesign themselves somewhat. Because they want graduates to be more appealing to companies.

CSci graduates have basically learned programming in an ivory tower world. And quite simply, the way programming is done in academia, is not the way it is done in the real world. This is why CSci graduates need to work extra hard. They need to study, do their homework, etc. But they also need to get experience with real world projects. With all the open source projects on the Web, there's no excuse for them not to find a way to get real world experience.

And of course, if you have experience working on an open source project on your resume, it also shows initiative. And that gets my attention right away if I am reading your resume.

Edited 2011-05-10 02:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Your whole comment is condescending at best. I don't know what your issue with academic studies are but whatever.

Just ask yourself where the "real IT world" would be today without the likes of Hoare, Dijkstra, Tanenbaum, Knuth and so many others? Or you probably think that specular reflections originated in John Carmack's head? Do you know that, about MVCC for instance, the source code of PostgreSQL references academic articles up to the page selection? But yes, I'm fully aware that nobody in the "real world" companies would care to give credit to Codd when they spend buckets of cash buying Oracle.

As to this


CSci graduates have basically learned programming in an ivory tower world. And quite simply, the way programming is done in academia, is not the way it is done in the real world. This is why CSci graduates need to work extra hard. They need to study, do their homework, etc.

First, what is your suggestion? Make students study in "real world" offices and studios? Second, extra hard compared to who? Third, what do you think the university is for, if not studying? And homeworks, among others things like exams and grades and whatnot.


I've been hearing things in that same dismissive tone of yours since I left "academia" as you put it. When you say "And quite simply, the way programming is done in academia, is not the way it is done in the real world." do you mean "documentation-less comment-less and purposely obfuscated coding that leaves "real world" projects in such a state of distress that due maintenance and quick bug-fixing are next to impossible"? or do you refer to the FreeBSD, Firefox, Linux et al. clique?

The people who belittle "academic" things the way you do are the same people who consider that exceptions in a code are non-events as long as they're not blocking. Oh, the database table contains several lines with the same value in the 'ID' field? OK, but... is it fatal, does it raise a blocker bug report? No, but it's not correct and it's certainly a symptom that something is wrong, I mean, we have several lines with the same ID which defies the very meaning of an ID! We don't have time for that now, we'll deal with it if and when we are blocked...

Obviously a very laudable attitude, isn't it? Now, that great attitude has been such a meme that there are years and years of unfixed memory leaks, specific hacks and deliberately different ways of doing the same things. The cruft is truly revolting in its sloppiness. Bug fixing has become such a chore that users are told "it won't be fixed before months, at best". On a stupid web application!

The code has all been done by local French staff. Not outsourced to some third-world "development shop" as put by a previous commenter.

You'll never see anything the quality of which approaches the kind of quality you see in a *BSD release notes page. NEVER. Why? Because the "it takes time to do and nobody reads/notices/whatever it" excuse **is** (and I paid great attention to the choice of the verb) a mantra. It has become more than an element of culture: it is a dogma. You are labeled "heretic" when you have the gall to just suggest a better way of doing things... What's your background again? University? What's that? Academia, right? OK (note to self: dismiss whatever they say in the future).

To sum this rant up: if the "real world" cared to take hints from academia, the projects we, coders/designers/architects/etc., deal with would be not only better, but also cheaper in the end and, last but not least, fit more often into budget and time frames. Why? Because everything needs to be studied before being performed unless, of course, you don't care about how it's done. That's a fact of life that all "professionals" in the "real world" I've known have failed to grasp.
--end of rant--

And of course, if you have experience working on an open source project on your resume, it also shows initiative. And that gets my attention right away if I am reading your resume.

You really got me laughing there. It's all righteous, smart, insightful, etc. (and I would definitely share your feelings toward the same resume) but here, in good old world France, it earns you... nothing. Yes, you read right: zero, nada, a genuine non-event. The wealth of people I have been in contact with in two job hunt episodes years apart have NEVER paid any kind of attention to that: personal projects, open source projects, extra-professional involvement, all this is as worthless as can be.

Edited 2011-05-11 12:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

vodoomoth,

"First, what is your suggestion? Make students study in 'real world' offices and studios? Second, extra hard compared to who? Third, what do you think the university is for, if not studying? And homeworks, among others things like exams and grades and whatnot."

Not sure if this would appease either of you, however my school RIT mandated one year co-op for my degree (it was a 5 year degree).

This is good experience in theory, unfortunately for my class though it happened the year of the dot com bust. Many students were unable to find jobs. Some of the colleges waived the requirements for jobs to be relevant and professional and accepted anything.

Personally I was able to use distant connections to get a job creating and maintaining a spreadsheet of tens of thousands of CDs/media in a closet.

I showed initiative and asked to be chosen for some real programming assignments, but they told me I wasn't worth training. That was a real damper at the beginning of my CS career. The jobs I've gotten have been much lower than my abilities.

It seems outrageous to need connections in order to get a job doing something I am really good at.

I am not in poverty, so that's good. I only wish that I could get paid to work on projects as creative and challenging as the ones I took on myself at university. That was my passion.

Edited 2011-05-11 16:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

What makes you think the "cheap labour" outside the US doesnt have as much talent as the US IT workers?

In essence, this is free enterprise at its best. People in wealthy countries are fat and sassy, expecting far more money for the value they deliver than would be expected by an equally talented person who happens to be positioned less advantageously, either economically or geographically, or quite often, both.

Certainly, those people positioned less advantageously have more incentive to make the most of their talent, and are more inclined to settle for less remuneration than the embarrassing degree of wealth expected by the SUV-driving "keeping up with the Jones for its own sake" crowd.

Money flows downhill. Impediments to that flow are perceived quite differently by those populations living on different sides of the impediment. Those on the high-water side might have to consider selling the Hummer.

Edited 2011-05-09 21:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Those on the high-water side might have to consider selling the Hummer.


Until you consider that in some of these developing countries, programmers are working for what we would pay a burger flipper at McDonald's in the U.S. In other words, if a programmer tried to work on that salary in the U.S., he or she would be at federal poverty level.

Edited 2011-05-09 21:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Until you consider that in some of these developing countries, programmers are working for what we would pay a burger flipper at McDonald's in the U.S.

And so, due to random circumstances of birth, very talented and highly motivated developers are willing to work for less money than are equally talented and less motivated developers who were born into less aristocratic environments.

In other words, if a programmer tried to work on that salary in the U.S., he or she would be at federal poverty level.

So you do admit to the huge economic divide which exists? In that case, the question facing you now is whether to view the people on the other side of that divide (since you have made it pretty clear on which side you happened to be born) are people... or zombies trying to break into your shopping mall.

Except in this case, many of them are smarter than you, faster than you... and quite honestly... many of them are better and more capable people than you and me put together.

Edited 2011-05-09 21:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

So you do admit to the huge economic divide which exists?


There's an economic divide, sure.

In that case, the question facing you now is whether to view the people on the other side of that divide (since you have made it pretty clear on which side you happened to be born) are people... or zombies trying to break into your shopping mall.


That's oversimplifying the issue because the playing field is not fair. U.S. developers are competing against overseas developers who can afford to work for 1/5th of the salary that U.S. developers can afford to work for. And also, some of these overseas countries manipulate the value of their currency, which makes the playing field even more unfair.

There is also the issue of what happens to our own country if we continue down this path off outsourcing everything? Unemployment goes up, consumer spending goes down, the federal deficit goes up, and we enter a spiral of recession that just keeps getting worse until eventually, the United States itself becomes a third world country. Obviously, the people on the other side of the world are people too. But there does come a time where you have to look out for the good of your own country, and the good of yourself.

Except in this case, many of them are smarter than you, faster than you...


Some of them? Of course, there's always someone smarter. Many of them? Not really. Again, the issue here is not about skill or talent. It's all about money and cheap labor

Edited 2011-05-09 22:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

U.S. developers are competing against overseas developers who can afford to work for 1/5th of the salary that U.S. developers can afford to work for.


It's also not fair that these developers have living standards that no American would ever consider.
It's also not fair that they receive but a fraction of the salary that their US counterparts get.
What's your point?

But there does come a time where you have to look out for the good of your own country, and the good of yourself.


You mean exactly what you say the people in those cheap labor countries are doing?

Many of them? Not really.


Why on earth would they not be as smart as, or smarter than, us westerners?

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

That's oversimplifying the issue because the playing field is not fair. U.S. developers are competing against overseas developers who can afford to work for 1/5th of the salary that U.S. developers can afford to work for.

Define "afford". You expect a certain standard of living, which is largely determined by your perception of the standard of living that other people around you enjoy.

There is also the issue of what happens to our own country if we continue down this path...


And here we go. I so expected this. You are appealing to my sense of "us vs them". If the people in *our country* acted in such a way as to acknowledge the real value and worth of the talents and accomplishments of the people in "their country", then the people in *our country* would no longer enjoy the relatively obscene standard of living that we currently enjoy.

"Unemployment goes up, consumer spending goes down, the federal deficit goes up, and we enter a spiral of recession that just keeps getting worse until eventually..."

Until eventually... we in the US realize that we have been members of a privileged aristocracy, representing about 4% of world population, all living like Kings, and expecting that it is our birthright.

Look. Maybe taking your family out for Big Macs costs you more than it would for a guy in India.

But it sure looks to me that the guys in India work a hell of a lot harder to take their families out for Big Macs. And it sure looks to me that those folks do the rest of us (as in "the rest of us World Citizens") a lot more good than fat and sassy US devs whining about how they should be allocated artificial advantages over other devs simply because they are American.

Obviously, the people on the other side of the world are people too.

The people on other side of the world? How very abstract. You really haven't given very much thought to it, have you? Because you have been far too absorbed in your own, big to you, but relatively small problems.

Look. If things are so bad in the part of the US where you live, maybe you should come live in Oklahoma. I do OK, with alright skills and education. And I feel pretty privileged.

-Steve

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Soulbender,

"What makes you think the 'cheap labour' outside the US doesnt have as much talent as the US IT workers?"


I didn't say that. I said the search for IT workers these days is for cheap labor.

In the US, corporations are laying off thousands of workers each year while expanding overseas operations at the same time.

I only speak of the US because that's what I am familiar with. Would you say that in the UK or EU overall there is no offshoring problem? I honestly don't know.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I didn't say that. I said the search for IT workers these days is for cheap labor.


Hmm..well, I thought it was pretty implied. Maybe I was wrong.

Would you say that in the UK or EU overall there is no offshoring problem?


If it's a problem I guess I'm part of it, being in the outsourcing business and all.

Reply Score: 2

v Hey Ubuntu.
by crhylove on Sun 8th May 2011 22:00 UTC
RE: Hey Ubuntu.
by BluenoseJake on Sun 8th May 2011 23:04 UTC in reply to "Hey Ubuntu."
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

More people use Ubuntu than any other distro on the desktop, so I am not sure how you come to that conclusion

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Kivada on Mon 9th May 2011 05:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Hey Ubuntu."
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Yes, last I checked(10.04), Mint was cloning Ubuntu, and doing it so badly that you had to full reinstall to upgrade from release to release.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu.
by pantheraleo on Mon 9th May 2011 12:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

Yes, last I checked(10.04), Mint was cloning Ubuntu, and doing it so badly that you had to full reinstall to upgrade from release to release.


Well, Ubuntu's 11.04 Upgrade system is basically epic fail as well. Here's a list of problems I had:

First, while determing what to upgrade, it says "Cannot perform upgrade because of incompatible software: xubuntu-desktop"

So I remove xubuntu-desktop and try again, now the upgrade goes through its process, reboots. System hangs at the purple screen and refuses to boot.

So I open a virtual console and check the logs. X is reporting a fatal server error: no screens found. After some more digging, I figure out why. It's because the upgrade removed the nvidia driver, didn't build a new one that was compatible with the new kernel, and didn't change xorg.conf to use a generic driver. Thus, anyone who is using the nvidia drivers from "restricted" will be left with an unbootable system after upgrading to 11.04. Smooth move, Ubuntu.


So I edit xorg.conf to try to use the nv driver instead of nvidia. Nope. No dice. The new kernel uses KMS, which is is not compatible with nv.

Finally I get it to boot into safe mode where I figure I can reinstall the nvidia drivers. Only problem is, I find out I have no network connection because the upgrade broke the broadcom wifi drivers as well. Since the only Internet connection I have on this system is wifi, I'd have been screwed at this point. Fortunately though, I had another laptop available (running Windows 7, which had none of these problems when upgrading).

So I manually download the broadcom drivers, fakeroot, dkms, and the Linux kernel header sources, copy them to a USB stick, sneakernet transfer them to my Ubuntu system, and install the packages from the command line with dpkg. Finally I have network access back, and finally I can reinstall the restricted nvidia driver.

All total? Something that should have been a nearly automated process and be totally painless, ended up taking me several hours of troubleshooting and fixing various things that the upgrade broke.

Of course, the average desktop user would have been screwed as soon as the system hung at the purple screen after the reboot. So much for Ubuntu providing a friendly desktop experience.

So yeah, Ubuntu 11.04 upgrade? epic fail.

Edited 2011-05-09 12:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Kivada on Mon 9th May 2011 12:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu."
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

I see your problems seem to be directly linked to crappy hardware with shitty closed drivers. Smooth move indeed.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by pantheraleo on Mon 9th May 2011 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

I see your problems seem to be directly linked to crappy hardware with shitty closed drivers. Smooth move indeed.


I see you don't know what you are talking about. nvidia is "crappy hardware"? nvidia has long been the recommended chipset for Linux. At least they provide reliable and stable drivers for Linux that perform well. Which is more than can be said for ATI. Withouith nvidia, Linux would be a non-started for anyone who has to do anything with 3D. What do you suggest instead Intel? Yeah right... There are free / open source nvidia drivers available for Linux. But they don't support 3D hardware acceleration. so almost everyone uses the official drivers from the restricted repository.

And besides, even if the problems were caused by closed source drivers, Ubuntu's upgrader could have easiy avoided the problems I had. If it's going to disable the nvidia drivers (the ones I installed from Ubuntu's restricted hardware manager btw), than it should have changed xorg.conf to use a different driver. Not left it using a driver that the system had automatically uninstalled so it was no longer available. If it was going to disable wifi, it should have at least downloaded the kernel headers and the broadcom source during the upgrade process so after reboot, I would have the packages available that I need to reinstall it. Instead of leaving me hanging like it did.

This is clearly fail on Ubuntu's part.

And I'm going to say what I have said a lot of times before. Most end users don't care about the proprietary / vs open soruce drivers debate, etc. All they care about is "I upgraded my system by pushing the little upgrade button I saw on the popup that told me a new version was available. Now my system doesn't boot. This sucks".

If Ubuntu wants to be taken seriously as a desktop competitor, it has to do better than this. It simply does. Leaving systems that were running the nvidia drivers from restricted, unbootable after the upgrade (which is to say, virtually everyone using Ubuntu who has an nvidia video card) is epic fail. There's no way around that.

Edited 2011-05-09 13:17 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by lucas_maximus on Mon 9th May 2011 14:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Not the point really.

Until the most used distro can have a smooth upgrade cycle. Desktop Linux will never be a viable option for the vast majority of users.

I would struggle to solve this and I am a regular OpenBSD user and have been using Fedora/Redhat for almost 10 years.

Edited 2011-05-09 14:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by AdamW on Tue 10th May 2011 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

Canonical chooses to provide those drivers as supported packages, so it has an obligation to ensure they are correctly handled on upgrade.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu.
by AdamW on Tue 10th May 2011 01:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu."
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

"So I edit xorg.conf to try to use the nv driver instead of nvidia. Nope. No dice. The new kernel uses KMS, which is is not compatible with nv. "

You'll be wanting to use nouveau, not nv, now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by pantheraleo on Tue 10th May 2011 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

You'll be wanting to use nouveau, not nv, now.


Yeah. I know that now. But my point is Ubuntu's Upgrade system should have known it as well and automtically installed the nouveau driver instead of, you know, break the restricted driver I was using and then render my system unbootable into X.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu.
by DeadFishMan on Mon 9th May 2011 13:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu."
DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

Yes, last I checked(10.04), Mint was cloning Ubuntu, and doing it so badly that you had to full reinstall to upgrade from release to release.


And how exactly is that different from Ubuntu?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu.
by nej_simon on Tue 10th May 2011 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu."
nej_simon Member since:
2011-02-11

"Yes, last I checked(10.04), Mint was cloning Ubuntu, and doing it so badly that you had to full reinstall to upgrade from release to release.


And how exactly is that different from Ubuntu?
"

The difference is that ubuntu does offer system upgrades.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Mon 9th May 2011 10:52 UTC in reply to "Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Ubuntu has a distinctive desktop - nevermore so than now with the new Unity Desktop. Which I feel was a brave and bold departure from the norm.

I personally like Unity and believe that Ubuntu is moving in the right direction.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu.
by WereCatf on Mon 9th May 2011 11:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Hey Ubuntu."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Ubuntu has a distinctive desktop - nevermore so than now with the new Unity Desktop. Which I feel was a brave and bold departure from the norm.

I personally like Unity and believe that Ubuntu is moving in the right direction.


I cannot comment on Unity as I haven't tried it, but yet again there are some goddamn awful bugs in this release. A showstopper bug in readahead which forced me to use livecd to get it fixed, and a random-reboot-every-now-and-then bug which I have no idea what is causing it.

I don't know why but it's always the same, every new release sports a new, exciting bug for me..

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu.
by morglum666 on Mon 9th May 2011 12:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu."
morglum666 Member since:
2005-07-06

>> I don't know why but it's always the same, every new release sports a new, exciting bug for me..

Sometimes, you get what you pay for ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu.
by twitterfire on Mon 9th May 2011 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu."
twitterfire Member since:
2008-09-11


I don't know why but it's always the same, every new release sports a new, exciting bug for me..


It would be boring not to have those exciting bugs to entertain us.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Mon 9th May 2011 16:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Some truth, in your comment - I've had a problem with my video card, which I hadn't with earlier releases, but on the plus side bugs have been fixed - finally Ubuntu really does honour proxy settings for example.

As for the comment "you get what you pay for" compared with for example Vista 11.04 is bug free total delight. Windows 7 is bloody awful on the domain and that cost a fortune.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu.
by pantheraleo on Mon 9th May 2011 17:09 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

As for the comment "you get what you pay for" compared with for example Vista 11.04 is bug free total delight. Windows 7 is bloody awful on the domain and that cost a fortune.


At least upgrading to Windows 7 didn't leave my system unbootable, and didn't leave me with no network access after I resolved the problem that was causing it not to boot.

I agree Ubuntu in general probably doesn't have as many bugs as Windows. But they really need to do a better job at managing and testing their upgrades process before they send out the upgrades. Rendering systems unbootable because of issues like failing to build a new version of the video driver, but not fixing xorg.conf to use a generic driver, and with no network connection available to download the proper driver and resolve the issue is just unacceptable for a system that is supposed to be end user friendly and suitable for average desktop users.

Edited 2011-05-09 17:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Mon 9th May 2011 18:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

I largely agree, too often bugs which shouldn't be there. I wonder if 6 month releases is too often and the developers a bitting off a little more than they can chew - maybe thats the price of the rapid development we get.

However, the value for money is stunning and sorting a few bugs is probably better than just watching TV.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu.
by pantheraleo on Mon 9th May 2011 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu."
pantheraleo Member since:
2007-03-07

However, the value for money is stunning and sorting a few bugs is probably better than just watching TV.


That depends. For businesses, it doesn't work that way. After factoring in salary, health insurance, life insurance, 401k matching, etc., every employee we have on staff costs us over $300 an hour. One hour of un-billable time because we were messing around with a broken OS upgrade costs us more money than the yearly license fee for a supported OS like Red Hat Workstation, or Windows 7 Professional.

This incident already has me considering phasing out Ubuntu on our workstations and switching to Red Hat Workstation. Granted, there's a yearly license fee for the supported version of Red Hat Workstation. But these kinds of problems don't happen with the commercial version of Red Hat. Red Hat can't afford to have these kinds of problems when they are expecting customers to pay for something they can get for free somewhere else.

Yes, the supported version of Red Hat Workstation costs $299 a year. But one hour of downtime because of a failed Ubuntu upgrade process actually costs us even more.

Free software is not always free when time = money.

Edited 2011-05-09 18:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Hey Ubuntu.
by danbuter on Mon 9th May 2011 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu."
danbuter Member since:
2011-03-17

But no competent business upgrades their computers in the middle of the day. Or they'd have the user on a different computer while they did the upgrade, if they had to upgrade during the day. So there should be no "time lost".

Edited 2011-05-09 20:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Soulbender on Tue 10th May 2011 01:08 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Of course it happen with RH too. That's why you pay big bucks for the support contracts; to have someone come out and fix it (sooner or later, depending on how much you pay) when it breaks.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Tue 10th May 2011 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

11.04 isn't a LTS which is what I'd recommend in the workplace. As a home user of 11.04 I thinks it great. I also think by the time Unity is in an LTS it will be preferable to Gnome 2.

At the prep school we run Ubuntu LTS with LDAP authentication and NFS and it is rock solid an provides a better user experience than Opensuse which we also tried. On the server side we have found FreeBSD to be better than Ubuntu server.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu.
by lucas_maximus on Tue 10th May 2011 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hey Ubuntu."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Absolute crap.

Ubuntu always has a myriad of bugs in every release, and there is always the release Deathmarch where anything but a clean install will render you sat a terminal with no network.

Windows Vista suffered from applications that didn't use the Win32 api properly or hardware manufacturers releasing poorly written drivers for the new device driver model. I have never had Vista blue screen on me for anything other than hardware failure.

People forget how bad Windows OSX,MacOSX 10.0 and Various Linux Distros were at the time (Redhat 8 being a prime example of brokeness).

Windows 7 Beta 2 had a larger install base than the whole of the Desktop Linux within the first few weeks of release.

As with Linux I always find half working applications, admin GUI, hardware disabled after kernel upgrade.

My favourite being network manager daemon ... if I type my WEP key in lower case, the key isn't recognised by the router, if I type it in upper case it works.... why didn't the dev just do something like

wepKeyString.ToUpper() ??

Linux users are always quick to slag Windows Off for any minor defect (even if it wasn't a problem with Windows itself), but never face up to the glaring problems with the major distros and software.

Edited 2011-05-10 14:06 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Wed 11th May 2011 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

My favourite being network manager daemon ... if I type my WEP key in lower case, the key isn't recognised by the router, if I type it in upper case it works.... why didn't the dev just do something like

wepKeyString.ToUpper() ??


Good one - why is it that on our wireless network, I have had a perennial problem with Windows machines. I got absolutely sick and tired of seeing one user every 2-3 days because their Windows laptop refused to connect to the network (WAP). I installed Ubuntu no problem to date. In a small area where we had a mixed WEP WAP Windows 7 got totally confused and refused to connect to either - Ubuntu no problem.

I suppose this isn't a Windows bug it a feature?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu.
by lucas_maximus on Wed 11th May 2011 13:01 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Hey Ubuntu."
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Anedotal Evidence means nothing.

I have a Dell Latitude D430 dual booting Windows XP and 7. I use Wireless in coffee shops, fast food places, pub, the train. Never have any problems.

It could be any number of things from the network card itself to the way the network was setup. What does this mean? Nothing in itself, but unlike you who basically provided anedotal evidence of random wireless problems ...

I actually described a repeatable bug with Network Manager that I found that just existed from Fedora 6 - 10 ... that shows some half arsed attempt at a UI for network manager service.

Edited 2011-05-11 13:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Hey Ubuntu.
by Gone fishing on Wed 11th May 2011 14:18 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hey Ubuntu."
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

I have a Dell Latitude D430 dual booting Windows XP and 7. I use Wireless in coffee shops, fast food places, pub, the train. Never have any problems.


but

Anedotal Evidence means nothing.


I'm delighted for you, my experience however tells me that Windows is more problematic on the wireless network that I run. If you want a repeatable problem turn the switch off with Windows 7 PCs on a domain switch, the switch back on and watch them all complain about trust accounts or simply try and login and time about 3 minutes.

Reply Score: 2

Saw the Writing on the Wall?
by pantheraleo on Sun 8th May 2011 23:49 UTC
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

He probably saw the writing on the wall. If Ubuntu continues on their current path, I think they are going to fail as a business.

The only reason they have survived this long is because their founder is independently very wealthy and has been able to bankroll the project and cover its losses.

Granted, Ubuntu is very popular on the desktop. But home desktop users and geeks are not where you make your money. Where you make your money is from selling support contracts and consulting services to enterprise customers. And when it comes to that market, I don't think Ubuntu is really even a relevant player yet. Red Hat pretty much has a firm position of dominance in that market right now.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Saw the Writing on the Wall?
by Elv13 on Mon 9th May 2011 03:45 UTC in reply to "Saw the Writing on the Wall?"
Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

They have a foothold in cloud and some corporate Desktop. Ubuntu Server edition is a joke, I don't think they will ever make money on that. A Debian is better and more stable. They are trying to get into low cost hardware too. I think the Motorola Atrix run some kind of dumbed down proprietary Ubuntu. They totally destroyed the product, but it prove it can work on those Arm gadjets.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Saw the Writing on the Wall?
by fran on Mon 9th May 2011 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Saw the Writing on the Wall?"
fran Member since:
2010-08-06

Why do you say this. Ubuntu server has seen very good growth and is growing more and more popular.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/25/ubuntu_server_takes_off/

"Saw the writing the wall"..?
The opposite is true. Ubuntu is signing a lot of corporate clients and bringing a lot of new features and options for home user as well.

Reply Score: 2

Off-topic?
by ebasconp on Mon 9th May 2011 16:59 UTC
ebasconp
Member since:
2006-05-09

I've just tried Kubuntu 11.04 in my desktop and it is the best Kubuntu released ever!

I tried a lot of times Kubuntu and I always felt it as a second class citizen (being Ubuntu a first class one). Canonical is doing it well with their distros. Congrats!

Reply Score: 2