Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Sun 21st Sep 2008 06:46 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Linux Greg KH, Linux kernel developer delivered a keynote in the Linux plumbing conference about the health of the ecosystem. His message was essentially that distributions that don't contribute to the ecosystem have to rely on the whims of others which is unhealthy for them. Here is an introduction the development model and some interesting statistics about the Linux kernel code. Update by TH: Rebuttals are appearing all over the web, like this one by Canonical's Matt Zimmerman ("He's refuting a claim which has, quite simply, never been made. [...] When this sort of thing happens on mailing lists, it's called trolling."), or this one by another Canonical employee, Dustin Kirkland.
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RE[6]: Rant disguised as keynote
by irbis on Sun 21st Sep 2008 22:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Rant disguised as keynote"
irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

You have to compare Ubuntu to its mother distribution, Debian. Basically, Ubuntu is only aimed to offer a more user friendly "Debian experience".

Just put an average person in front of a PC and ask them to install, configure and use Debian and Ubuntu and then compare the user experience. Do you think they will find Debian easier to use? Hardly.

Although Debian has seen many great improvements in its usability lately, Ubuntu is simply much easier to install, configure and use to an average person, and also implements some new advanced technologies faster than Debian (stable) does. A stable Ubuntu release is usually also more stable than Debian Testing, not to mention Debian Unstable release, is.

You simply get a relatively stable and cutting edge Debian-like distribution, readily configured and streamlined for typical desktop use by installing and using Ubuntu instead of Debian.

Such as?
I know of Upstart
There is also bulletproof-X

Well, many things, maybe small or usually rather invisible, like improving automatic hardware configuration, improving GNOME menus and their structure, having sane software defaults instead of offering dozens of applications choices for the same tasks, replacing some default GNOME applications with newer and better alternatives - like when replacing the GNOME browser with the (then) better choice Firefox, etc.

So what if some other people may have usually developed the software used in Ubuntu? Ubuntu does not need to reinvent the wheel every time, just use Debian as base and then pick up and offer customers a good and streamlined selection of open source software in an easy to use form. If others have failed to do the same as successfully, it is not Ubuntu's fault.

Edited 2008-09-21 22:17 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Just put an average person in front of a PC and ask them to install, configure and use Debian and Ubuntu and then compare the user experience. Do you think they will find Debian easier to use? Hardly.

No, but the notion that Ubuntu is the only distribution providing a half-decent installer is complete baloney. When anyone is pushed as to what Ubuntu actually does the only thing you usually get back is "Oh, it's user friendly" painting over the fact that it's really no better than what OpenSuse, Fedora or one of the other smaller distros like PCLinux are putting together.

Reply Parent Score: 4

irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

it's really no better than what OpenSuse, Fedora or one of the other smaller distros like PCLinux are putting together.

Yes, you may be mostly right about that. However, one secret to Ubuntu's success is, of course, Ubuntu's Debian-like package management and huge software repositories. Other distros (not based on Debian) have been improving in that front lately too, but it has taken surprisingly long time and they may still be behind Debian and Ubuntu in that respect.

Other Debian-based distributions like PCLInux may have had other problems, like there maybe being doubts about their future etc.

As to package management, I remember years ago trying to convince a local Redhat-based distribution of the benefits of apt-get (apt-rpm) and how it could improve the usability and their popularity a lot. (Their distro had no repository system at all and all packages had to be downloaded and installed one by one, including all the dependencies. The so-called RPM hell.). They were not convinced, and have also been out of business for years now. But, like we know, also Redhat and many other RPM-based distros have eventually seen the light and use apt-like tools for their software management now too. But many still see that Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu are not only pioneers in this field but still do software management better than others in the Linux world.

Edited 2008-09-21 23:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm sorry, but I fail to find the innovations. Don't compare Ubuntu just to Debian. Debian was never been meant to be easily installable be Joe User. Debian is made for servers and system administrators. Other distros made moves similar to Ubuntu before.

Cannonical wrote a new installer. Wow, basically every distro does that. I remember Caldera Open Desktop (or whatever it was called) from around 1999. Its installer was great. Yeah, the hardware had to be mostly manually configured by that time but it was as easy as it could get; and later it offered the user to play Tetris. That was awesome.
It took other distros years to catch up with its usability.
The problem with Ubuntu's installer is that it's too simple. It doesn't offer a real "advanced" installation routine if the user wants to. The user has to get the Alternate CD that comes with a text mode installation.
Compare that to YaST: Inexperienced users can just click "Next".

I've first seen a live CD installer in BeOS. The same applies for a Windows based installer that installed the OS into a virtual partition (BeOS 5 Personal Edition did that).
OK, that's not Linux and that stuff was not open source, but IIRC Knoppix came before Ubuntu and did that whole live CD installer thing.

Ubuntu replaced a few default applications, eg. ship Firefox by default and not a gazillion apps that all do the same. Ubuntu was hardly the first distro to do that. My example is again Caldera Open Desktop. I got that one from a magazine CD. Unlike "old SuSE" Caldera didn't ship on 5 CDs, but 1. I can't remember which defaults Caldera used (hey, it's been 10 years) but I was a total Linux noob then and I was not confused.

Most of GNOME's polish comes from Sun Microsystems, not Ubuntu. And KDE... well... not really polished at all: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19616885@N00/2535182834/

Reply Parent Score: 3

irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm sorry, but I fail to find the innovations.

Great new OS innovations or not - but that's neither what this story is really about. It is more about basic level bug fixing and other such code contributions, in what Greg Kroah-Hartman calls the Linux ecosystem, and where he - in between the lines - loudly praises his own employer, Novell as the misunderstood hero of the story, when compared to Canonical.

Edited 2008-09-22 00:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2