Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Mar 2013 16:13 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Mark Shuttleworth: "I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. 'Linux is supposed to be hard so it's exclusive' is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say." He's right. Lots of interesting insights in this blog post - I may not agree with everything Ubuntu does, but at least it's doing something.
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Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Fri 8th Mar 2013 16:44 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I think there's room for both the accessible and the "l33t" distros in Linux. That's one of the reasons I why I love it; I mean sure it has it's faults (so many of them), but at least the fragmentation also offers users a choice.

My grip with Canonical is that their proposed changes often threaten to break that choice. The latest scare being their proposed switch to an in-house display server instead of Wayland or Xorg.

Ubuntu Announces Mir, A X.Org/Wayland Replacement:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTMxNzI

Canonical's Mir Project Retracts Wayland Criticism:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTMxODY

I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if 5 or 10 years from now, Ubuntu will be as incompatible with "GNU/Linux" (or whatever the hell you want to call the other desktop / server distros) as Android is with them currently. Which is quite a troubling thought in my opinion. It's one thing not to care about the elitists, but Shuttleworth don't seem to care about compatibility either, which is only bad for Linux in the long run.

Edited 2013-03-08 16:47 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Comment by Laurence
by WorknMan on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:09 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if 5 or 10 years from now, Ubuntu will be as incompatible with "GNU/Linux" (or whatever the hell you want to call the other desktop / server distros) as Android is with them currently. Which is quite a troubling thought in my opinion. It's one thing not to care about the elitists, but Shuttleworth don't seem to care about compatibility either, which is only bad for Linux in the long run.


It's kind of a double-edged sword. Desktop Linux has been a 'thing' for about 15 years (give or take a few), and they still don't have shit to show for it. I mean, what are they rocking these days... about 1% market share? It's obvious that what they're doing is not working, so somebody has to take the bull by the horns and do something different, if you don't want to see desktop Linux rocking a 1% marketshare still in 2020.

If it breaks compatibility with all other distros, you know this is going to have to happen sooner or later, if you want more than the 1%. And I suspect that if Ubuntu really takes off, the other distros will follow its lead, so everything works with Ubuntu.

Personally though, I think desktop Linux is, and always will be, a 'hobbyist' OS. Having said that, I'm sure I'm going to get modded down for expressing that opinion on this site ;)

Edited 2013-03-08 17:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Fri 8th Mar 2013 18:22 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

It's kind of a double-edged sword. Desktop Linux has been a 'thing' for about 15 years (give or take a few), and they still don't have shit to show for it. I mean, what are they rocking these days... about 1% market share? It's obvious that what they're doing is not working, so somebody has to take the bull by the horns and do something different, if you don't want to see desktop Linux rocking a 1% marketshare still in 2020.

The problem hasn't been technical ability nor direction, it's been more finances. Shuttleworth has basically been running Canonical out of his own pocket to get it to the stage it's at today. But Ubuntu wasn't the first "desktop Linux" with Shuttleworth's vision (albeit without Shuttleworth at the helm) - sadly all of Ubuntu's predecessors have basically fallen by the wayside because they simple were not sustainable.

Desktop computing is such a tough nut to crack (between Microsoft's monopoly on PCs and Apple seen as the "go to" whenever anyone gets jaded about PCs/windows) that it takes a bottomless pit of cash.

I think this is also the reason why Canonical are moving Ubuntu onto mobile platforms as well. All this talk about "the desktop/laptop are dying" is sensationalistic crap, however it's also not a market that's likely to see exponential growth again. So I can't blame Canonical for wanting to hedge their bets. And let's be honest, the mobile / tablet market is far from stable at the moment so as much as Ubuntu has an uphill battle there, I think it's more of an achievable goal than desktop Ubuntu being anything more than a niche on the desktop.


If it breaks compatibility with all other distros, you know this is going to have to happen sooner or later, if you want more than the 1%. And I suspect that if Ubuntu really takes off, the other distros will follow its lead, so everything works with Ubuntu.

That's not the way how Canonical should be working though. I'm all for them driving change, but they should be working with the community. Instead they work in isolation and only really release the source as part of the OS releases. There isn't much (if anything) in the way of submitting patches back upsteam. So every other Linux developer and distro maintainer is expected to find any Ubuntu-fixes themselves and re-engineer those patches. It's not that far of how Google run Android these days.

Linux might have a number of things backwards (as I said before, it's far from perfect) and it might be terrible for fragmentation, but at least the community collaborated well. Canonical doesn't. And that's what worries me - I don't want Linux to become Shuttleworth's vision or the highway. I like the fact that there's a whole plethora of choices out there and the fact that they're all largely compatible with each other.


Personally though, I think desktop Linux is, and always will be, a 'hobbyist' OS. Having said that, I'm sure I'm going to get modded down for expressing that opinion on this site

I can't say I agree with you, but you're entitled to your opinion ;)

Edited 2013-03-08 18:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by skpg on Fri 8th Mar 2013 18:34 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
skpg Member since:
2012-09-21

Because of copyright and patent law it's illegal to fork windows, it's illegal to use their source code, their API, their file formats, etc. This is why there is hardly any interoperability between windows and other operating systems.

And since Microsoft standardized the desktop market, and becasue windows is closed source/proprietary it's almost impossible for any software vendor to provide the public with a windows-like operating system to the consumer.

It has nothing to do with Linux being only a hobbyist OS because there is a demand for an alternative to windows, but right now Linux is as close we get to an alternative. It's just that Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop market, the consumer has no choice but to use windows.

If you understand Microsoft's monopoly and how they obtain their profits, you will understand how difficult for it is for any OS to take market-share from away Windows. There is a reason why windows has had 90% market-share for two decades. The fact Ubuntu is becoming more user friendly and getting more support shouldn't be laughed at. Under this IP world that puts restrictions for competing with Microsoft, like I said it's as we close as we get and hopefully over time Linux will take a substantial market-share away from windows. Of course if the government got rid of the copyright and patent laws in software right now, Microsoft's monopoly in the destkop market would be over.

Edited 2013-03-08 18:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by zcal on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:19 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
zcal Member since:
2012-07-27

I just can't understand why we continually come back to the issue of "market share" as it pertains to the "Linux desktop". The fact of the matter is that "Linux desktops" will always be cobbled together from a jumble of parts because the community and open source philosophies allow it. That's not a bad thing because it gives users more control over the tools that are their computers. And yes, that also means that "Linux" will lose out on "market share" because most computer users just want something prepackaged and uniform.

If Canonical wants to chase market share, fine. They're a commercial entity and will behave as such. And if they gain customers by breaking compatibility with other "Linux" focused projects, they'll likely draw from a crowd who wouldn't have been interested in open source or the community, anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by jimmmy on Sat 9th Mar 2013 16:38 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
jimmmy Member since:
2012-01-02

Linux is successful everywhere except where Microsoft holds a monopoly. Even Apple can't eat away at that market in a meaningful way. Most of their success is not on the desktop either. Do they really suck at the desktop too? No.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Wayland and Mir
by ndrw on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:37 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

Looks like Mark has stabbed Wayland project in the back. If they play it out well (i.e. don't bundle it with a ton of Unity crap) it may be _the_ successor of X in Linux.

The reasons are mostly political (technical "issues" pointed by Canonical are a stretch, to say the least). The biggest issue with Wayland is that they just move too slowly and have engaged in ideology (by depending on half-baked in-kernel GPL graphics stack). Anyone who gets rid of this dependency and deploys the stuff first is the winner.

Mir has its problems too - CLA, being late to the market. But it will have the drivers (both Android and proprietary) and will be shipped in millions by a major Linux distribution.

Wayland still has a chance but they:
- have to be more flexible about the graphics stack.
- need a deployment vehicle (like Wayland-on-X) to get Wayland to distributions. That's not unlike how OpenGL compositors were deployed (Xgl).
- have to hurry up.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Wayland and Mir
by ndrw on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:47 in reply to "Wayland and Mir"
ndrw Member since:
2009-06-30

> technical "issues"

There are actually two technical issues that bother _me_, not sure if Mir is addresses them:
- Client-side window decorations. Window management is a compositor's job.
- Yet another IPC bus. There was no reason not to use DBUS even in 2008.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Wayland and Mir
by _txf_ on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:12 in reply to "Wayland and Mir"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

Mir has its problems too - CLA, being late to the market. But it will have the drivers (both Android and proprietary) and will be shipped in millions by a major Linux distribution.


You're also forgetting the lack to technical ability at canonical. The fact that they couldn't understand wayland shows that lack of skill. They might be able to get something half working, but I'll bet (like Unity) it will be absolutely plagued by bugs and incompatibilities for some time.

One doesn't simply just produce a quality display manager easily and quickly, see the fact that Androids SurfaceFlinger still isn't anywhere near as good and flexible as other display managers (even after all these years)..

Note that the most experienced people in linux graphics support Wayland. And some of those didn't have very nice things to say about the code quality of Mir.

but we'll just have to wait and see if Canonical can avoid the most likely outcome.

Edited 2013-03-08 19:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Wayland and Mir
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 20:02 in reply to "Wayland and Mir"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

The graphics companies don't need to do anything about Mir or Wayland (actually Weston, Wayland is just a protocol.) What they need to do is write drivers for the current in-kernel stuff. The display system doesn't need to be implementing drivers, it needs to be displaying things on the screen. It is the job of the kernel to interact with hardware.

The problem is Nvidia and ATI just can't be asked to adopt the new stuff, but if they did it wouldn't even matter what display server is used, everyone would benefit. That shouldn't be a concern of anyone but Nvidia and AMD though, they are the ones refusing to adopt the new stack.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:17 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

Wayland isn't a display server, it is a protocol - essentially another IPC.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Laurence
by Soulbender on Sat 9th Mar 2013 03:33 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

but at least the fragmentation also offers users a choice.


And the same does not apply to X/Wayland/Mir? Suddenly it's bad to have a choice?

The latest scare being their proposed switch to an in-house display server instead of Wayland or Xorg.


You could say the same about Wayland/Westin. Why make your own new display server and protocol instead of improving X?

Edited 2013-03-09 03:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Sat 9th Mar 2013 03:58 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

And the same does not apply to X/Wayland/Mir? Suddenly it's bad to have a choice?


The choice is really irrelevant.

Xorg is heavily broken, everyone knows it. Wayland and Mir will run X11 applications, Mir will run Wayland applications, nothing really changes.

What is great is the display server doesn't have to matter. The drivers will focus on in-kernel mechanisms, and most of the rendering will be left to the toolkits. So long as those two talk it is utterly irrelevant how it is happening.

You could say the same about Wayland/Westin. Why make your own new display server and protocol instead of improving X?


The very fact this is even an issue today just shows how broken Xorg is. This shouldn't require everything and the kitchen sink, but X11 defined a complete display stack with network transparency. What is even more humorous is we end up using NX or SPICE or VNC instead of X11 mechanism anyway, yet people seem to care about it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Laurence
by ze_jerkface on Mon 11th Mar 2013 04:43 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
ze_jerkface Member since:
2012-06-22

I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if 5 or 10 years from now, Ubuntu will be as incompatible with "GNU/Linux" (or whatever the hell you want to call the other desktop / server distros)


That may be Shuttleworth's plan. It probably annoys him that so many of his former users voted a big fat no to Unity and switched to Mint. He probably thinks of Mint as largely their work and wants to make things harder for any distros downstream. Locking Unity into a new windowing system would have that effect.

Reply Parent Score: 1