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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RE: Comment by Laurence
by WorknMan on Fri 8th Mar 2013 17:09 UTC 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[3]: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:31 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

I think these announcements are an invitation for community involvement. Now that they actually have something to show, meaningful discussion can happen around that.

Canonical have a single vision, and that is where they want to invest. They aren't taking away any choice, they are providing a new one. Lots of people say "why do that when you can fix this?" or "we already have this, why do that?" but such statements are very ignorant. Just look at the current landscape, people are complaining about Mir because they think Wayland is software and we already have Xorg. Weston isn't being used anywhere right now, and even Xorg developers don't understand that codebase. Wayland introduces a new protocol needlessly because Xorg developers created it to be a simplified version of the same. It just isn't necessary...

Linux is about freedom, but I don't think we understand what freedom is. It isn't necessarily true that if they weren't working on or using one thing, they would be concentrating on the thing you care about. Just as likely is that they'd simply not be in the space at all, not contributing anything - which was a complaint people leveled at Canonical for a long time.

People are supporting Android, has that taken away from support for desktop Linux? Who is complaining that Google is competing with Gnome, KDE or Xorg? Who is clamoring for Google to adopt Weston? Where are the app developers clamoring to implement Wayland in their software?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by WorknMan on Fri 8th Mar 2013 20:30 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

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.


What the hell does that even mean? There is no 'community'; there's only people with 9,000 different opinions. It's not like you have thousands of people working toward a common goal, and Canonical going the opposite direction as everyone else. It's more like many groups who are doing their own thing, and somehow manage to cobble together an OS that actually works.

If Canonical has to say 'fuck all ya'll' and rebuild the whole thing from the ground up in order to build something that really feels cohesive, then I say go for it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by lucas_maximus on Sat 9th Mar 2013 09:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

The problem with desktop Linux is due to

* Fragmentation.
* Backwards Compatibility (I mean for large programs released 10 years ago, not "I can compile the version of screen from 15 years ago".
* Drivers (and don't give me the speil about how it has more drivers than Windows, most of the drivers that aren't actively worked on are of poor quality).
* Lack of single vision.

While the situation is better than when I said fuck it and went back to Windows in 2006.

Reply Parent Score: 2

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[3]: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

What you describe is great for servers, use the best tool to deliver your services, great. Canonical have addressed this with juju and various other tools focused at developers.

Not everyone uses their system as a tool though, many want to also use their systems to play and be social. Market share in and of itself isn't important, but what it does show is a kind of democracy, people are voting with their money. In this way, it is a meaningful statistic. It means we need to look at those who are popular in the space and find ways to become more attractive.

In the server and developer spaces, Linux enthusiasts know what to deliver because they are just creating things to make their own lives easier. It is entirely symbiotic, the tools are created as a function of trying to use the system. This breaks down though when you are trying to design an appealing desktop. Many Linux enthusiasts still insist the commandline is the best interface, and for them it is far more productive. That doesn't cut it though for those that do not care about the details of an operating system, that just want to communicate with friends and play games.

They are voting for those systems that do not necessitate them becoming computer scientists, and it is wrong to ignore them. Not only is it wrong, but it goes against the primary reason for Free Software. We aren't enabling them to use free technology because the barrier to entry is so high. This only really harms us, we have to explain why their closed file format or protocol can't be accessed by us, and so we give Free Software a bad reputation. Further, it makes it more difficult to argue for open alternatives, where if they simply preferred the open platform, they would end up using the open software just because it is the default on their system.

Users do not care about the details, but if Windows remains the standard then we have to support the protocols they give users. Same with Apple and whoever else. Microsoft has started contributing to Open Source in the server space because it is what people demand. Creating a Linux system that has the same traction on the client side will force these companies to implement open standards in that space too.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by WorknMan on Fri 8th Mar 2013 20:23 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

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


Isn't that kind of the point though? Right now, you've got about 1% of users on desktop Linux. Canonical wants to go after the other 99%. They could call it 'Occupy Desktop' ;) Bahaha!

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