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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Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

What good is your precious code if you've got no one putting it in the hands of users? Does it really matter that the one putting your code out there is not the one contributing the most code?

Reply Parent Score: 7

mtzmtulivu Member since:
2006-11-14

What good is your precious code if you've got no one putting it in the hands of users? Does it really matter that the one putting your code out there is not the one contributing the most code?


In some projects, Canonical does not simply push the code from developers to end users, they take the code, modify it and then put it somewhere on the net to satisfy licensing terms and then push their modifications to end users and tell upstream "here are our modifications, come and get them if you want", how is this "collaboration"?

This creates a problem in the long term because features Canonical will push to end users are not the same as those found in upstream and in other distributions and users who will first start using Canonical distributions will make simple assumptions that the way of the *buntu* is the way of linux and this will intime fragment the ecosystem ..its kind of hard to understand why he doesnt understand this

Reply Parent Score: 9

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

this will in time fragment the ecosystem


Wait, even more?

Reply Parent Score: 4

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

This creates a problem in the long term because features Canonical will push to end users are not the same as those found in upstream and in other distributions and users who will first start using Canonical distributions will make simple assumptions that the way of the *buntu* is the way of linux and this will intime fragment the ecosystem ..its kind of hard to understand why he doesnt understand this


That's a load of hoo hoo. There are MANY differences between distros. I think what Ubuntu does (and does well) to contribute is to market linux and to make it more user friendly (or at least APPEAR that way). And that's what linux needs to become a ubiquitous desktop (along with reliable drivers and software to replace what users have become used to via MS).

And even by your own post, it sounds like you don't really WANT ubuntu's changes upstream. :/

Reply Parent Score: 3

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

This creates a problem in the long term because features Canonical will push to end users are not the same as those found in upstream and in other distributions and users who will first start using Canonical distributions will make simple assumptions that the way of the *buntu* is the way of linux and this will intime fragment the ecosystem ..its kind of hard to understand why he doesnt understand this

mtzmtulivu is right. Everybody who snickers and winks at the "fragmentation"bit, doesn't get it. There is a difference between having different flavors of the same core infrastructure and having two equally named, but drastically divergent pieces of core infrastructure.

In the good old days it used to be that the core infrastructure was provided by the upstream projects and the distributors added their own small customizations on top of that. If a fundamental change in infrastructure was needed, the distributors, developers and the upstream projects got together to discus the best way forward. The end result was a consistent piece of technology used among several distributions.

In the current situation we have Canonical dreaming up new core infrastructure and adding that locally to upstream code and pushing it out on one their websites and telling the world "If you want it, come and get it" and thinking that is contributing and collaborating. In essence Canonical is forking upstream projects, changing them to suit their vision and then offering to upstream to abandon their own versions and adopt what Canonical dreamed up.

It's no wonder Canonical is being blasted over it. It took the "ecosystem" several years to come up with working structures to make sure that every contributor in the chain could collaborate with the other contributors in the chain and have the contributions flow to the place where they make the most sense and have the most reach. Reach in this case is not only how many end users get the code, but also how many distributors can depend on and benefit from the changes made in the upstream projects.

In this case we have the Canonical fork and then the rest of the community. The rest doesn't have any benefit from what Canonical does, because to get benefit from what Canonical does, the rest would basically have to become Ubuntu remixes. There is no communication, discussion and collaboration over the features Canonical is coding. Just dumping them as is, does not constitute a meaningful contribution. The best code originates from cross polination of ideas between diverse groups dependent on a project.

Why do we want to give Canonical a free pass for this behavior, while Novell was blasted for the way they developed XGL and Apple was bashed over the Webkit code dumps?

Reply Parent Score: 7

felipec Member since:
2007-09-25

Sure, it's good to spread the code, nobody is saying that Canonical is doing a bad thing.

They are not part of the community, they don't contribute, they don't collaborate.

All the things they do are for self-interest.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh come off it. How many more people know about linux and have tried it thanks to Ubuntu. Once they know from whence Ubuntu came, they start to read, research and learn.

Reply Parent Score: 2

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

Sure, it's good to spread the code, nobody is saying that Canonical is doing a bad thing.

They are not part of the community, they don't contribute, they don't collaborate.

All the things they do are for self-interest.


I have been using Linux, for various purposes, since 1996. I have submitted plenty of bug reports, and all of them closed with "Won't Fix" by the developers. Since I don't contribute code, what you are saying is I am not a member of the Linux community. It wouldn;t surprise me if you are a developer that loves to just close known bugs with "Won't fix", failing to add that they are just too damn lazy to do so.

My point is that Linux developers are the ones generally doing things for "self-interest". There really is no "community" as you put it. Believe it or not, I use Linux every day, I just know better than to attempt to "contribute", as history has shown not to bother. I currently use Mandriva, so go ahead and slam me for that while you are at it saying it is not "Linux" and such.

Reply Parent Score: 8

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What good is your precious code if you've got no one putting it in the hands of users? Does it really matter that the one putting your code out there is not the one contributing the most code?


The problem that many Linux advocates have is the fact that Ubuntu is being praised for only doing the last easy 10% of the work. Where are they actually removing the HAL dependency? where are they actually investing into OpenOffice.org to fix the laundry list of bugs that are over 4 years old in some cases, where are they when it comes to moving GNOME forward by moving the individual projects away from deprecated components? where are their contributions to Xorg that improve reliability, power management, and so on? Where are they improving hardware compatibility? finishing software that seem to be stuck in a perpetual 0.1 state on Linux?

The problem that many Linux advocates have is the show pony attitude of Ubuntu coming into bundling up a whole heap of stuff and then taking no time out to actually show appreciation to those individual projects that actually make their distribution possible - without those projects they would have no distribution.

Reply Parent Score: 10

pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

The problem that many Linux advocates have is the fact that Ubuntu is being praised for only doing the last easy 10% of the work.

The "last easy 10%" of getting the damn thing in the hands of the user?

Given how many distros tried and failed when it came to the "average end-user", I wouldn't say that this is "easy" or "10%". And that's exactly the cultural problem between Linux and "Linux on the desktop".

The main problem for the "show me the code" people is that the integration work this requires isn't as portable across distros as the latest GTK backend rewrite.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09

Ubuntu is being praised for only doing the last easy 10% of the work.


One reason why OpenOffice.org, Eclipse, and GIMP (and Blender) are relatively back in the stone age UI wise compared to their proprietary equivalents... What make the others special is that last 10% which is assumed to be the "easy" 10% of the work and not paid enough attention to.

I am not saying that technology wise those projects I listed do not do enough... they are great and I have been using them for years (OpenOffice and Eclipse especially).

Edited 2010-09-15 09:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4