Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Oct 2010 19:00 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Well, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows here and there. Today, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Mark Shuttleworth held his keynote speech, and in it, he announced that Ubuntu will switch to the Unity user interface come release, for both the netbook as well as the desktop, leaving the GNOME user interface behind (but keeping the GNOME platform).
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earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

I'm not saying anything about the desirability or long-term viability of Canonical's practices, all I'm pointing out is that for the first time it seems like Canonical is backing a serious FOSS project with significant resources devoted to coding. (Though saying that Corel/Xandros/Linspire have failed because of the development model you've outlined is a post hoc fallacy. I would also point out that Linspire didn't "fail" per se, it got bought out by Xandros, and Xandros itself is still around.)

Unity seems like a major software project to me, but then again I've never coded an entire GNOME shell before, so maybe it is actually trivial. On the other hand, Ubuntu's other code contributions so far really haven't been all that grand, as in custom volume control applets, the Ubuntu Software Center, etc.

Originally the complaint was that Ubuntu doesn't do enough to contribute code back to the Linux ecosystem. Now that they're doing that, apparently the complaints have shifted to how they're contributing code. AFAIK, Unity is open source, and until someone tells me "I tried to work with the Ayatana design team and the Unity devs but they didn't want anything to do with me because Ubuntu is secretly Oracle in disguise and Mark Shuttleworth is Bill Gates's long lost cousin", I will assume that it is a cooperative project that other developers can sign onto.

One other point: why do people bring up Shuttleworth's money as if it's a bad thing? People are so locked into this false ideology that FOSS is a Panglossian utopia of eminently rational social democratic unicorns (like Thom Howlerda). Money talks. The fact that some dude is bankrolling Unity with his own cash speaks more to me than ten volunteers working for a year on the same project.

Edited 2010-10-26 15:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Canonical is not backing a FOSS project so much as it is building something in-house which is also visible to the outside and willing to accept patches. No one else wants or needs this, so while we all cheer for the GPL you can't really say that Ubunut is contributing to the movement. They're adding further fragmentation and not refining the common core.

There is a real and important difference between a community-driven project and a corporate-driven project. It's not enough to simply make it and release the code.

Reply Parent Score: 2

earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Agreed that there is a big difference between community and corporate sponsored code, but I dispute that the corporate path is inferior or bad. Moreover, you can't say "this project is corporate-driven" and then link it to fragmentation or irrelevance. OOo under Sun was a great example of a corporate-driven OSS project (note that I didn't write "FOSS") that the world needed and that didn't meaningfully fragment the field.

And I don't know how anyone can assert at this point that Unity is something that "no one else" wants or needs. Not only do I not know that no one wants or needs it, but thinking in such terms isn't conducive to innovation. Apple has a knack of designing products that we didn't think we'd need until they make it, for instance. At least Unity shows some character and vision.

Edited 2010-10-26 16:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Unity is open source, and until someone tells me "I tried to work with the Ayatana design team and the Unity devs but they didn't want anything to do with me because Ubuntu is secretly Oracle in disguise and Mark Shuttleworth is Bill Gates's long lost cousin", I will assume that it is a cooperative project that other developers can sign onto.

Wrong way around. Gnome is the elder project and Canonical should have sought to work with the Gnome project on the shell. Only after being completely rejected by the Gnome project, should they opt for an in-house project.

As far as we know, Canonical never went to the Gnome project with their ideas. Gnome even accused Canonical as contributing to little, which infers that they are willing to co-operate. So why is Unity a seperate project and not a set of ideas incorporated in Gnome Shell?

I will agree that this is a matter of perspective. If contributing is defined as just writing code and making it available on a public server, then this is a major contribution by Canonical. If you define contributing as writing code in collaboration with other projects as much as possible, with a long term goal of growing the commons, then Canonical is not contributing.

The fact that some dude is bankrolling Unity with his own cash speaks more to me than ten volunteers working for a year on the same project.

Difference of view point. I'll take the underfunded volunteers anytime over the one throwing money at his own agenda's. My agenda is long term availability and maintenance of the code. I want dependability and someone putting "easy money" into something doesn't instill much trust in me. (Easy money, as in the lump sum gained from selling Thawte. What is a thousand more or less, if you've got millions?) If Shuttleworth decides tomorrow that Canonical and Ubuntu aren't a worthwhile investment, those "easy" thousands stop flowing.

-- adjusted the amount of money Mark S. has available.

Edited 2010-10-27 10:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2