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.
Thread beginning with comment 554737
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
The unquestioned assumption
by Gullible Jones on Fri 8th Mar 2013 18:26 UTC
Gullible Jones
Member since:
2006-05-23

Agreed re Linux user elitism. However, there seems to me to be an unquestioned assumption in the more populist Linux circles that end users want tons and tons of eyecandy.

In my experience, this is incorrect - and really I think it's another kind of elitism. ("End users are stupid, let's put in lots of blinkenlights to keep them interested.") Geeks care that their desktop looks good. Most end users don't even change the default wallpaper. Users like prettiness, but given a choice between better looks and better usability, I would bet on most people choosing usability.

And Canonical has consistently spammed the eyecandy since Unity came out, while letting bugs go unfixed and features unimplemented...

Why do you think Ubuntu's popularity has declined? Why do you think Windows 8 isn't selling as fast as Microsoft thought? It's because most people want their computer to be a tool, not a toy.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The unquestioned assumption
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 20:27 in reply to "The unquestioned assumption"
Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

I am not sure how you are defining usability, but if you are intending "lets me accomplish my intended goal" then I agree.

I think Linux enthusiasts need to better understand what people are actually trying to do with their computers these days. Primarily, that is socializing and entertainment. Most people in the Linux space are still talking about the core tasks of an enterprise though, browsing, e-mail, office, things like this. This isn't going to push adoption.

Ubuntu is beginning to have a great story for these people, the gaming space is a good example in the entertainment space. Something like Netflix needs to get on board, too, and it would begin to be an appealing option. Still, simply offering the same functionality is not going to draw people in though, at the end of the day you need a wow factor.

Apple benefited by being the first in the smartphone and tablet spaces, but have not learned their lessons with being closed. Microsoft benefited last time by permitting a wider range of companies to benefit from offering their product. Right now, Android is benefiting from this, but I don't see people particularly committed to it - it is just more affordable and offered on their particular ISP mostly. Ubuntu can capitalize on this, people are already responding positively to the touch interface and these days most online services already have a mobile version even if they don't adopt Ubuntu proper.

For me, though, I can't wait to get the Ubuntu Touch interface on my desktop! To be perfectly honest, I don't even care what is rendering it on the screen provided it works.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

And Canonical has consistently spammed the eyecandy since Unity came out,


No, not really. It took a really long time before they enabled Compiz effects by default. When finally enabled the settings was rather restrained (No wobbly windows, cube desktop switching and other nonsense).

I would bet on most people choosing usability.


Funny, that's exactly why I use Ubuntu. It has usability out of the gates and I don't have to spend countless hours tweaking settings. Sure, I have done all that stuff (afterstep, awesomewm, black|open|flux|box, etc etc) and it was a learning experience but now I just want things to work and actually get on with doing interesting things.
Unity is the best thing that happened to Ubuntu in terms of end-user usability.

Why do you think Ubuntu's popularity has declined?


You know, I keep hearing this but I never see it backed by any facts.

Edited 2013-03-09 03:21 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

No, not really. It took a really long time before they enabled Compiz effects by default. When finally enabled the settings was rather restrained (No wobbly windows, cube desktop switching and other nonsense).


Unity is a Compiz plugin, everything you see on the screen related to Unity is rendered by Compiz. Being a plugin, it has the same status as wobbly windows. This is changing, Mir will replace Compiz and use in-kernel functionality - that is great, but if they start trying to dictate driver specific things for Mir, they suck.

Funny, that's exactly why I use Ubuntu. It has usability out of the gates and I don't have to spend countless hours tweaking settings.


Who do you think has provided the mechanisms Ubuntu use to create that usability? They have done absolutely nothing still outside their particular investments. What they are doing is great, they have concentrated on what a distro is supposed to do: present the software in a seamless way. Do not think for a second that what the software was written by Canonical though, they are solely in the presentation arena. Be it Juju for enabling all the server goodness, or Unity/Mir on the desktop, absolutely nothing they're using to make these worthwhile is from them. Nothing you actually run from Unity, none of your hardware, nothing is there because of Ubuntu, it is only the pretty widgets around your actual tast.

Sure, I have done all that stuff (afterstep, awesomewm, black|open|flux|box, etc etc) and it was a learning experience but now I just want things to work and actually get on with doing interesting things.


I don't think this is true, what interesting things are you doing on your Unity desktop that you couldn't do elsewhere?

Unity is the best thing that happened to Ubuntu in terms of end-user usability.


Again, I don't think this is true. They have produced a beautiful system, but nothing you will actually use on a day to day basis is being done by them. Are you sure that it is actually contributing to usability? I spend half my time trying to remember where it put things, but Unity is certainly pretty and gives me the tools I am familiar with. We can begin to talk about Canonical usability when some of the Touch apps come out, but for now they aren't responsible for anything you actually use, they are only responsible for throwing that on screen.

You know, I keep hearing this but I never see it backed by any facts.


Have you actually seen genuine statistics to show Linux has increased exponentially because of Ubuntu? I have seen statics earlier today that show Linux marketshare has actually grown at a slower pace since Ubuntu came about compared to the years leading to their inauguration. What really seems to have happened is less users have gone to the other projects, it means that other projects have not gained as many technical people, or even lost many if many more average users are coming aboard.

For me, it is a shame Ubuntu is marketed as the best Linux distro for newcomers, as much as what they're doing impresses me, it has never been the best put together distro around - simple fact of the matter is Fedora will always win there because those developers actually write the software being integrated into the system. It is possible that will change now that Ubuntu is writing much of the stack themselves, but I think most of it will prove to be a wasted effort.

As Ubuntu move further and further away from the community, the rest of the community seems to be coming together. Projects like systemd and ensuring the core Linux system is the same for all distros, for instance. Maybe Canonical is bring ubuntu to Linux, just not in the way he intended. I would ask whether he thinks it is money well spent and a life worth living if he ends up being the cause of an even closer nit Open Source community after he's gone?

I think it would, so for me, it is really win win for him.

Reply Parent Score: 1