posted by Kroc Camen on Sun 9th May 2010 12:34 UTC
Icon"Dear Ubuntu, for the last couple years life has been good. Every time I've shown you to a friend or family member, they've compared you to what they're familiar with--Windows XP or Vista, mostly--and by comparison you've looked brilliant. Yeah, your ugly brown color scheme was a bit off-putting at first, but once people saw how secure, simple, and reliable you were, the response was almost universally positive. But recently, things have changed ..."

I’m a bit late with this, considering that 10.04 is out already, but it will be interesting how people have found 10.04 to stack up against 9.10.

From Tanner Helland who previously wrote 10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests, this is a Dear John-style letter about how the author is finding it difficult to love Ubuntu in the face of the severe problems with 9.10, and just how good Windows 7 is.

(Disclaimer: Tanner is a friend whose site, and this good article, would not normally get picked up by the usual newsrounds so I’m featuring this article on that basis)

...but wait. That’s not actually relevant. See, my friends and family aren’t comparing you to Vista any longer – they’re comparing you to Windows 7.

And frankly, Windows 7 is a great operating system.

The world has moved on. Ubuntu has had a long time to build a lead with XP being stagnant for almost five years and Vista being a bit of a non-starter, but now Microsoft have 'got their act together' and Windows 7 is proving to be a solid release that consumers are welcome.

It's not that Ubuntu doesn't have a lot to offer, quite the opposite! The issue is that the majority of users are going to purchase a computer that comes preloaded with Windows 7. What incentive would they have to download and install another operating system, if Windows 7 is for the better part reliable, secure and enjoyable?

But wait, you say – there’s still the issue of stability. Haven’t you always excelled when it comes to stability, especially when compared to Windows?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not sure you provide a better alternative at this point. In my experience, Windows 7 is remarkably solid. You, my friend, have not been. I sincerely hope 10.04 is more stable than 9.10 – and I imagine it will be – but you know what? The bar’s been raised. We can continue to mock Vista for the unstable mess that it was, but when it comes to Windows 7, the average user isn’t complaining about stability.

Tanner also brings up the recent minor developer fallout as having a damaging effect on Ubuntu—building strong relationships was one of Tanner’s requests in 10 days of feature requests for Ubuntu 10.10, and ignoring developer’s input doesn’t help.

All in all, Ubuntu is seen as the poster child for Linux. Will this always be the case, and are the cracks beginning to show?

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