Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 14th Sep 2010 22:42 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu If there's one consistent piece of criticism that gets lobbed in Canonical's and Mark Shuttleworth's direction, it's that they do not contribute enough code - or anything else for that matter - to the Free software world. Mark Shuttleworth has apparently had enough, and has written a very, very lengthy blog post detailing how he feels about this criticism.
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I hope Ubuntu doesn't change its model
by ndrw on Wed 15th Sep 2010 05:51 UTC
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The results speak for themselves. They managed to streamline the user experience more than any other Linux distributor. In big part it was their development model that made them better than competitors and won them users.

Think about it. They are not developing yet another filesystem, codec, file import filter or any other loosely coupled code that can be easily integrated in the upstream. They want to change the user experience, which means changing the way programs behaves, integrates with the OS and other programs, and look.

Upstreams are not really interested in this kind of improvements. They are not only low on their priority lists but often are undesired, especially if some defaults have to be changed or some pragmatic but not clear-cut decisions made. Upstreams can be pretty hostile to users or developers pushing their own vision of the project. Just read Gnome bugzilla or mailing lists to see what I mean [1].

Ubuntu developers could spend a lot of time pushing their fixes upstream, but they would never achieved a 100% acceptance rate, crippling their own development or managing a local branch anyway. Patches that would get through would be considered "low value" by upstreams (just because of their different priorities) so such activity would't bring Ubuntu much fame anyway. The only reason to do it is to decrease burden of maintaining their own branches. But, since they already do it, it must be easier and cheaper for them than fighting with upstreams.

Finally, opensource is not only about collaboration but also, and primarily, about fair competition. It is perfectly moral and advisable to setup your own repository and compete with the original upstream for users and developers. If you win - everyone wins. The users have better product, the developers have more fun.

[1] This one is my personal favorite. Small detail but shows the upstream attitude:

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