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[3]: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
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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.

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RE[4]: Comment by Laurence
by zcal on Fri 8th Mar 2013 20:56 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Laurence"
zcal Member since:

I'm afraid you've missed my point. Ubuntu, whether using pieces integral to the Linux ecosystem or not, is what stands to gain or lose market share. The "Linux desktop" is a blanket term that people use to try to narrow a wide range of overlapping, conflicting, competing, and modular parts. It doesn't exist as a tangible entity.

And you're right, most users don't care about the details. They care about what they see: the UI. But using an operating system skinned with Gnome, KDE, Unity, etc. isn't going to skew the development of lower level system functionality.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by Laurence
by Lunitik on Fri 8th Mar 2013 22:32 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Laurence"
Lunitik Member since:

I'm sorry, I understood your comment to be pertaining to marketshare.

It is the job of a distribution to create something cohesive out of the many projects which pertain to a given product. What you do not understand, it seems, is that Microsoft and Apple aren't all working together within their company either. They are also working on utterly unrelated parts of the system individually with a particular goal in mind.

What Ubuntu is doing is awesome, truly. With Juju and MAAS, the diverse projects targeting the cloud become irrelevant almost, you just concentrate on your particular mission. The strategy is the same in the desktop space, they are creating a great experience for utilizing the applications available. Make no mistake, for a developer, there really is no difference between Linux distributions until it comes time to compile and package their software. Only then do they have to worry about a particular systems library versions and package management. It is why you only ever see one tar.gz on a given projects site, the Linux system is quite cohesive if you know what you want to target, it is just complicated because there are many choices. Again, though, Canonical is addressing this, trying to help developers who are confused by those choices to make good decisions.

Linux is a kernel, it has never been related to desktops really. There are other components which generally target that kernel and a particular set of libraries. Unlike in the Windows world, you won't see software overwriting those libraries though, they can contribute directly to the libraries upstream. In this way everything on the system is cohesive and well defined, but to understand the whole system is complicated. This is why distributions exist, and Ubuntu does a better job than anyone else at bring that all together and delivering it in a meaningful way.

Reply Parent Score: 2