Prompted in part by the critique of Canonical’s code contributions to the kernel and core GNOME infrastructure, I’ve been pondering whether or not I feel good about what I do every day, and how I do it. It’s important for me to feel that what I do is of service to others and makes the world a better place for it having been done. And in my case, that it’s a contribution commensurate with the good fortune I’ve had in life.

Two notes defined for me what I feel I contribute, in this last month. One was a thank-you from New Zealand, from someone who is watching Ubuntu 10.04 make a real difference in their family’s life. For them it seems like a small miracle of human generosity that this entire, integrated, working environment exists and is cared for by thousands of people. The other was a support contract for tens of thousands of desktops running Ubuntu 10.04 in a company. Between those two, we have the twin pillars of the Ubuntu Project and Canonical: to bring all the extraordinary generosity of the free software community to the world at large, as a gift, free of charge, unencumbered and uncrippled, and to do so sustainably.

The first story, from New Zealand, is about someone who is teaching their children to use computers from a young age, and who has observed how much more they get done with Ubuntu than with Windows, and how much more affordable it is to bring computing to all the kids in their community with Ubuntu. For them, the fact that Ubuntu brings them this whole world of free software in one neat package is extraordinary, a breakthrough, and something for which they are very grateful.

It’s a story that I hope to see replicated a hundred million times. And it’s a story which brings credit and satisfaction not just to me, and not just to the people who make Ubuntu the focus of their love and energy, but to all of those who participate in free software at large. Ubuntu doesn’t deserve all the credit, it’s part of a big and complex ecosystem, but without it that delivery of free software just wouldn’t have the same reach and values.

We all understand that the body of free software needs many organs, many cells, each of which has their own priorities and interests. The body can only exist thanks to all of them. We are one small part of the whole, it’s a privilege for us to take up the responsibilities that we do as a distribution. We have the responsibility of choosing a starting point for those who will begin their free software journey with Ubuntu, and we work hard to make sure that all of those pieces fit well together.

Ubuntu, and the possibilities it creates, could not have come about without the extraordinary Linux community, which wouldn’t exist without the GNU community, and couldn’t have risen to prominence without the efforts of companies like IBM and Red Hat. And it would be a very different story if it weren’t for the Mozilla folks and Netscape before them, and GNOME and KDE, and Debian, and Google and everyone else who have exercised that stack in so many different ways, making it better along the way. There are tens of thousands of people who are not in any way shape or form associated with Ubuntu, who make this story real. Many of them have been working at it for more than a decade – it takes a long time to make an overnight success :) while Ubuntu has only been on the scene six years. So Ubuntu cannot be credited solely for the delight of its users.

Nevertheless, the Ubuntu Project does bring something unique, special and important to free software: a total commitment to everyday users and use cases, the idea that free software should be “for everyone” both economically and in ease of use, and a willingness to chase down the problems that stand between here and there. I feel that commitment is a gift back to the people who built every one of those packages. If we can bring free software to ten times the audience, we have amplified the value of your generosity by a factor of ten, we have made every hour spent fixing an issue or making something amazing, ten times as valuable. I’m very proud to be spending the time and energy on Ubuntu that I do. Yes, I could do many other things, but I can’t think of another course which would have the same impact on the world.

I recognize that not everybody will feel the same way. Bringing their work to ten times the audience without contributing features might just feel like leeching, or increasing the flow of bug reports 10x. I suppose you could say that no matter how generous we are to downstream users, if upstream is only measuring code, then any generosity other than code won’t be registered. I don’t really know what to do about that – I didn’t found Ubuntu as a vehicle for getting lots of code written, that didn’t seem to me to be what the world needed. It needed a vehicle for getting it out there, that cares about delivering the code we already have in a state of high quality and reliability. Most of the pieces of the desktop were in place – and code was flowing in – it just wasn’t being delivered in a way that would take it beyond the server, or to the general public.

The second email I can’t quote from, but it was essentially a contract for services from Canonical to help a company move more than 20,000 desktops from Windows to Ubuntu. There have been several engagements recently of a similar scale, the pace is accelerating as confidence in Ubuntu grows. While Linux has long proven itself a fine desktop for the inspired and self-motivated developer, there is a gap between that and the needs of large-scale organisations. There isn’t another company that I’m aware of which is definitively committed to the free software desktop, and so I’m very proud that Canonical is playing that role in the free software ecosystem. It would be sad for me if all the effort the free software community puts into desktop applications didn’t have a conduit to those users.

There’s nothing proprietary or secret that goes into the desktops that Canonical supports inside large organisations. The true wonder for me is that the story from New Zealand, and the corporate story, both involve exactly the same code. That to me is the true promise of free software; when I have participated in open source projects myself, I’ve always been delighted that my work might serve my needs but then also be of use to as many other people as possible.

Ubuntu is a small part of that huge ecosystem, but I feel proud that we have stepped up to tackle these challenges.

Canonical takes a different approach to the other companies that work in Linux, not as an implicit criticism of the others, but simply because that’s the set of values we hold. Open source is strengthened by the fact that there are so many different companies pursuing so many different, important goals.

In recent weeks it’s been suggested that Canonical’s efforts are self-directed and not of benefit to the broader open source community. That’s a stinging criticism because most of us feel completely the opposite, we’re motivated to do as much as we can to further the cause of free software to the benefit both of end-users and the community that makes it, and we’re convinced that building Ubuntu and working for Canonical are the best ways to achieve that end. It’s prompted a lot of discussion and consideration for each of us and for Canonical as a whole. And this post is a product of that consideration: a statement for myself of what I feel I contribute, and why I feel proud of the effort I put in every day.

What do we do for free software? And what do I do myself?

For a start, we deliver it. We reduce the friction and inertia that prevent people trying free software and deciding for themselves if they like it enough to immerse themselves in it. Hundreds of today’s free software developers, translators, designers, advocates got the opportunity to be part of our movement because it was easy for them to dip their toe in the water. And that’s not easy work. Consider the effort over many years to produce a simple installer for Linux like http://www.techdrivein.com/2010/08/massive-changes-coming-to-ubuntu-1010.html which is the culmination of huge amounts of work from many groups, but which simply would not have happened without Canonical and Ubuntu.

There are thousands of people who are content to build free software for themselves, and that’s no crime. But the willingness to shape it into something that others will find, explore and delight in needs to be celebrated too. And that’s a value which is celebrated very highly in the Ubuntu community: if you read planet.ubuntu.com you’ll see a celebration of *people using free software*. As a community we are deeply satisfied to see people *using* it to solve problems in their lives. That’s more satisfying to us than stories about how we made it faster or added a feature. Of course we do bits of both, but this is a community that measures impact in the world rather than impact on the code. They are very generous with their time and expertise, with that as the reward. I’m proud of the fact that Ubuntu attracts people who are generous in their contributions: they feel their contributions are worth more if they are remixed by others, not less. So we celebrate Kubuntu and Xubuntu and Puppy and Linux Mint. They don’t ride on our coattails, they stand on our shoulders, just as we stand on the shoulders of giants. And that’s a good thing. Our work is more meaningful and more valuable because their work reaches users that ours alone could not.

What else?

We fix it, too. Consider the https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PaperCut Papercuts project, born of the recognition that all the incredible technology and effort that goes into making something as complex as the Linux kernel is somehow diminished if the average user gets an incomprehensible result when they do something that should Just Work. Hundreds of Papercuts have been fixed, across many different applications, benefiting not just Ubuntu but also every other distribution that ships those applications. If you think that’s easy, consider the effort involved to triage and consider each of thousands of suggestions, coordinating a fix and the sharing of it. The tireless efforts of a large team have made an enormous difference. Consider this: saving millions of users one hour a week is a treasury of energy saved to do better things with free software. While the Canonical Design team played a leading role in setting up the Papercuts project, the real stars are people like http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/06/maverick-papercut-hunting-season-opens.html Vish and Sense who rally the broader papercuts team to make a difference. Every fix makes a difference, on the desktop http://ubuntuserver.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/ubuntu-server-papercuts-project/ and the server.

At a more personal level, a key thing I put energy into is leadership, governance and community structure. When we started Ubuntu, I spent a lot of time looking at different communities that existed at the time, and how they managed the inevitable tensions and differences of opinion that arise when you have lots of sharp people collaborating. We conceived the idea of a code of conduct that would ensure that our passions for the technology or the work never overwhelmed the primary goal of bringing diverse people together to collaborate on a common platform. I’m delighted that the idea has spread to other projects: we don’t want to hoard ideas or designs or concepts, that would be contrary to our very purpose.

We setup a simple structure: a technical board and a community council. That approach is now common in many other projects too. As Ubuntu has grown, so that governance has evolved, there are now multiple leadership teams for groups like Kubuntu and the Forums and IRC, who provide counsel and guidance for teams of LoCo’s and moderators and ops and developers, who in turn strive for technical perfection and social agility as part of an enormous global community. That’s amazing. When people start participating in Ubuntu they are usually motivated as much by the desire to be part of a wonderful community as they are to fix a specific problem or ease a specific burden. Over time, some of those folks find that they have a gift for helping others be more productive, resolving differences of opinion, doing the work to organise a group so that much more can be achieved than any one individual could hope to do. Ubuntu’s governance structures create opportunities for those folks to shine: they provide the backbone and structure which makes this community able to scale and stay productive and happy.

A project like Ubuntu needs constant care in order to defend its values. When you are tiny and you put up a flag saying “this is what we care about” you tend to attract only people who care about those things. When the project grows into something potent and visible, though, you tend to attract EVERYONE, because people want to be where the action is. And then the values can easily be watered down. So I continue to put energy into working with the Ubuntu community council, and the Canonical community team, both of which are profoundly insightful and hard-working which makes that part of my work a real pleasure. The Ubuntu community council take their responsibility as custodian of the projects community values very seriously indeed. The CC is largely composed of people who are not affiliated with Canonical, but who nevertheless believe that the Ubuntu project is important to free software as a whole. And the awesome Jono Bacon, the delightful Daniel Holbach, and unflappable Jorge Castro are professionals who understand how to make communities productive and happy places to work.

Something as big as the Ubuntu community cannot be to the credit of me or any other individual, but I’m proud of the role I’ve played, and motivated to continue to play a role as needed.

In more recent years I’ve come to focus more on championing the role of design in free software. I believe that open source produces the best quality software over time, but I think we need a lot more cogent conversations about the experiences we want to create for our users, whether it’s on the desktop, the netbook or the server. So I’ve put a lot of my leadership energy into encouraging various communities – both Ubuntu and upstream – to be welcoming of those who see software through the eyes of the new user rather than the experienced hacker. This is a sea change in the values of open source, and is not something I can hope to achieve alone, but I’m nevertheless proud to be a champion of that approach and glad that it’s steadily becoming accepted.

There were designers working in free software before we made this push. I hope they feel that Canonical’s emphasis on the design-lead approach has made their lives easier, and the community at large more appreciative of their efforts and receptive to their ideas. But still, if you *really* care about design in free software, the Canonical design team is the place to be.

I do some design work myself, and have participated most heavily in the detailed design of Unity, the interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. That’s an evolution of the older UNR interface; most importantly, it’s a statement that Linux desktops don’t need to be stuck in the 90’s, we can and will attempt to build new and efficient ways of working with computers. I’ve been delighted with the speed at which some of Unity’s facilities have been adopted by hundreds of projects, their goal is to make using Linux easier and classier for everyone, so that pace of adoption is a measure of the speed at which we are reducing the friction for new users discovering a better way to use their PC’s.

Design without implementation would leave us open to accusations of wanting others to do our work for us, so I’m proud also to lead a wonderful team that is doing the implementation of some of those key components. Things like dbusmenu have proven useful for bringing consistency to the interfaces of both GNOME and KDE applications running under Unity, and I very much hope they are adopted by other projects that need exactly the facilities they provide. I’d credit that engineering team with their focus on quality and testability and their desire to provide developers with clean API’s and good guidance on how best to use them. If you’ve used the full set of Indicators in 10.10 then you know how this quiet, persistent work that has engaged many different projects has transformed the panel into something crisp and efficient. Utouch is coming up for its first release, and will continue to evolve, so that Ubuntu and GNOME and KDE can have an easy road to multi-touch gesture interface goodness.

Beyond my own personal time, I also support various projects through funding. Putting money into free software needs to meet a key test: could that money achieve a better outcome for more people if it were directed elsewhere? There are lots of ways to help people: $100,000 can put a lot of people through school, clothed and fed. So I really need to be confident that the money is having a real, measurable impact on people’s lives. The thank you notes I get every week for Ubuntu help sustain that confidence. More importantly, my own observation of the catalytic effect that Ubuntu has had on the broader open source ecosystem, in terms of new developers attracted, new platforms created, new businesses launched and new participants acknowledged, make me certain that the funding I provide is having a meaningful consequence.

When Ubuntu was conceived, the Linux ecosystem was in a sense fully formed. We had a kernel. We had GNOME and KDE. We had X and libc and GCC and all the other familiar tools. Sure they had bugs and they had shortcomings and they had roadmaps to address them. But there was something missing: sometimes it got articulated as “marketing”, sometimes as “end-user focus”. I remember thinking “that’s what I could bring”. So Ubuntu, and Canonical, have quite explicitly NOT put effort into things which are obviously working quite well, instead, we’ve tried to focus on new ideas and new tools and new components. I see that as an invigorating contribution to the broader open source ecosystem, and I hear from many people that they perceive it the same way. Those who say “but Canonical doesn’t do X” may be right, but that misses all the things we do, which weren’t on the map beforehand. Of course, there’s little that we do exclusively, and little that we do that others couldn’t if they made that their mission, but I think the passion of the Ubuntu community, and the enthusiasm of its users, reflects the fact that there is something definitively new and distinctive about the project. That’s something to celebrate, something to be proud of, and something to motivate us to continue.

Free software is bigger than any one project. It’s bigger than the Linux kernel, it’s bigger than GNU, it’s bigger than GNOME and KDE, it’s bigger than Ubuntu and Fedora and Debian. Each of those projects plays a role, but it is the whole which is really changing the world. So when we start to argue with one another from the perspective of any one slice of free software, we run the risk of missing the bigger picture. That’s a bit like an auto-immune disease, where the body starts to attack itself. By definition, someone else who is working hard all day long to bring free software to a wider audience is on the same side as me, compared to 99% of the rest of the world, if I want to think in terms of sides. I admire and respect everyone who puts energy into advancing the cause of free software, even if occasionally I might differ on the detail of how it can be done.

234 Responses to “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption”

  1. Shuttleworth responde às críticas pelas contribuições do Ubuntu | Ubuntu com Hardware Says:

    […] pelas contribuições do Ubuntu Posted on September 20, 2010 by João Fracassi E a resposta é bem longa e cheia de informações sobre qual é a contribuição que a Canonical e seu fundador buscam […]

  2. Yannick Warnier Says:

    I fully agree and support Mark.

    To tz and all contributors possibly provoking the need for someone so actively contributing to open source software (in any way) to go on and justify himself for helping: although you might have a mountain of valid technical reasons to be pissed off, aggressive/insulting behavior *does not help* in any way.
    I contribute to free software every day (lead dev for a 100K users software), and most of the users of that project could be considered “leeches”… much more than Mark could be considered a leech of Ubuntu.
    Isn’t that what free software is about: giving your code away to others so they can distribute it, spread it, love it and *maybe* help you with it? Now you’re unhappy because someone is using it to generate money? They’re earning that money as simply as you are: working.

    I definitely *love* the work of Canonical and Mark in packaging and getting Ubuntu to the masses. I was a Debian lover and I can tell I am much happier now (with all the bugs I might find in Ubuntu in my daily work) than I was with Debian, 5 years ago. I am free to choose and I use what I like best. Without Mark, Ubuntu and its whole community wouldn’t exist and most of them would still be Windows users (i.e. lost to the free software world). There is not a single doubt about that.

    Mark, don’t let them get you down! Nobody’s perfect and people will always find a reason to be upset. Your motivation is an inspiration to me and a permanent reminder of how much more I could do.

  3. stjohnmedrano Says:

    thank you very much Mark.

  4. Der Maik Says:

    Hello Mark!
    Thank you very much for Ubuntu!
    Please do not care about the bad talking. Some people just envy the success of the great Ubuntu.

    And again: THANK YOU FOR UBUNTU!

    Greetings from Germany
    Maik

  5. Mark Shuttleworth response to Ubuntu’s critics | Cebuntu Says:

    […] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517 […]

  6. Ubuntu – Driving Linux Forward or Stealing the Credit? « Musings of a Beardy Gnome Says:

    […] of Ubuntu, release a blog post defending Canonical’s position. You can read the full post here, but I think these two quotes sum up the feeling behind Mark’s post: I didn’t found Ubuntu […]

  7. Jonas Says:

    Ubuntu 10.04 may be better than Windows XP, but Windows 7 is much much better than Ubuntu 10.04. The default Windows 7 UI is so much more beautiful and functional than the Ubuntu UI. Even after setting up compiz, Windows 7’s Aero is the clear winner. The search features of Windows 7 is awesome. Ubuntu’s search function is similar to XP’s which sucks big time. Windows 7 allows you to run Office 2010 and especially OneNote 2010 which is the most useful and beautiful software ever. OpenOffice doesn’t have half as much features as Office 2010, and the pathetic menus and toolbars are unusable compared to the beautiful Ribbon UI.

  8. Jonas Says:

    I think Ubuntu or any Linux OS will NEVER EVER gain significant market share unless they change their philosophy of software design. The FIRST thing that matters about a software is a beautiful and attractive UI. But for some reason, the open-source community has an attraction for fugly UI’s like the old-fashined menu’s of OpenOffice. Why don’t they adopt the Ribbon? Because they hate change and don’t like a beautiful UI to grace their computer screens. Quite pathetic mindset really. Thanks to Microsoft we can enjoy beautiful UI’s in softwares we use everyday.

  9. William Says:

    I find the negative comments towards Ubuntu very bizarre. Considering the fact that Ubuntu has revolutionized the Linux desktop by making it the easiest OS on the planet, and considering it’s free, then why the negative attacks ?

    After reading the numerous Linux blogs, there seems to be a few posters spreading negativity all across the linux cyber-community. One blogger who I won’t name, has worked for a couple competitors to Ubuntu, and always makes sure to get in at least one negative comment about Ubuntu. It’s so obvious what he is doing that it is silly.

    The fact is, without Ubuntu, the Linux community would be a place populated only by computer geeks and hackers. Ubuntu has made Linux mainstream….and has done so at no cost to the end user !!

    Instead of complaining about Ubuntu, people should get down on their hands and knees and thank Mark Shuttleworth for investing his time and money to make the computer world a better place for all.

  10. dirn Says:

    Thank you very much for making Ubuntu a reality. Wife and kids enjoy using it. It’s my first step to Linux world.

  11. Steffen Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I hope you read this post, between all these praises…

    I am also someone who has come to Linux by starting with Ubuntu. I am very grateful for that and personally I think you are a cool guy. I like what you do, but I also see some points which I would like to critisise, hoping that this critics stimulate your thinking into a more broader direction.

    Have you ever thought about, that all these people who do critics towards Ubuntu and Canonical regarding coding and whatelse… just want you to actually participate in their development of Linux and open source in general? Of course, Ubuntu is part of the Linux ecosystem. But somehow it is not.
    Let´s take all these notifications (notify-osd and ayatana) as an example. Ubuntu does something on their own. Okay, not so bad. But the other guys at the upstream also do things like that, notification systems and so on. But Ubuntu does not share their ideas with for example the Gnome guys. They don´t sit together and ask each other: how can we do it together? No, Ubuntu does something, upstream does something, both doesn´t fit… both bake their own cake. This is my impression. And somehow over time I come to the conclusion that I am right with that. That´s a shame.
    Why does Canonical not come together with all the big players like Red Hat, Novell, KDE, Gnome… and do something TOGETHER?

    This is the point, all the critics are directed to. They want you to share, they want you to bring yourself in into the greater thing, the big community, called Linux as a whole. When Gnome brings out Gnome 3… how much effort (not coding!!!) in terms of thinking about usability is coming from Canonical? Why do you do such a lot of usability studies (which is great, of course, but would be even more awesome if done together with others) when we then will have a desktop named Gnome 3 which was basically designed by Red Hat?
    The people who critisise you don´t want to see coding lines, they don´t want to see money… they actually want to see you, Ubuntu, Canonical, sitting together, with for example the Red Hat guys, the Novell guys… creating something bigger, something awesome. Something, where all participating parties agree upon.
    But the number of coding lines is the most simple measure for developers. That´s why the coding line story pops up, every half of a year.

    You can end this, just open your mind and talk to the others, share your and their ideas, not just yours.

    thanks & regards
    Steffen

  12. Zac Says:

    Thank you Mark.

    Well written. Keep chugging away Mark as your efforts are recognised and very much appreciated. You are spear-heading the real alternative to Microsoft and fostering a wonderful world wide community with ideals to be proud of and to apply in other areas of life. My wish is that Canonical could have more funds to hire thousands of full-time employees.

    Just remember that where there are some complaining means that you are doing it right. I wonder who are the individuals that are complaining, they should hang their heads shamefully.

  13. mark Says:

    @Steffen

    I understand your point, and if that were an accurate picture of how we’ve worked, I’d agree with you.

    Yes, in some cases we work on something privately. That’s the same as every company: Intel and Nokia have private plans for Meego, Red Hat has private plans for cloud computing, Canonical has private plans on the desktop, Novell has private plans around virtualisation and their partnerships. Things get conceived, debated, discussed, refined, cancelled, invested in, in private, that’s the nature of corporate work. In all of our cases, that’s complimented by an enormous amount of public work, debate, shaping, thinking. But private work is necessary, and the mere fact that each company does some thinking privately before it commits to a public course of action isn’t a reasonable thing to hold against them.

    When we stand up and say “this is where we are going” it has a big impact. So if we talk about everything we’re thinking about, we might be signalling too many different things that never materialize. Then we’d be accused of not delivering everything we talk about, which is just as bad as delivering some things in a relatively complete first cut.

    In our case, sometimes we do engineering work on an idea before we make it public. Again, the same is true of every major commercial contributor and participant in the free software ecosystem. Sometimes, our rationale is that we’re developing something for a customer, which will be part of a launch of theirs, and it’s not our story to tell till they are ready. Sometimes, it’s just because we want to be sure something works before it gets put out in the public eye. Either way, it’s all open source.

    You mentioned two examples: notifications and user testing. In the case of notifications, we established quite firmly that the existing code was not being actively maintained. We also went to lengths to comply with the actual freedesktop.org specification, and in fact the changes we’ve made to apps brings them into compliance with the specification, rather than having assumptions about what the notification system does or does not support. We also expressed an immediate willingness to collaborate with folks who *subsequently* said they were interested in notifications, but they have not followed through with the interest. For example, after we published our designs for the messaging menu, folks working on Gnome Shell asked us if we could collaborate and whether we’d be willing to extend our API’s. We said yes, we would gladly do that. We heard no more, and now a different set of APIs has been proposed. I’d like to collaborate, but it takes two to do so, and it’s simply not true to say that Canonical’s development team has been obstructive in that regard. Quite the reverse.

    As for coming together – we sent a very substantial team to the original Gnome Shell design sessions. We tried to push for some of the ideas that were going into Unity. Those ideas were rejected. So we kept working on Unity! It would be ironic in the extreme if, after Unity ships, those designs are then embraced by Gnome Shell. It would not be because we did not participate, it would be because actually building Unity proved the ideas to be good ones. So, Gnome benefits because of diverse approaches, rather than getting everything agreed by committee up front.

    In addition, we hosted the second Gnome design summit. We publish things we do on freedesktop.org because we think about things across the whole free software ecosystem, GNOME, KDE, XFCE and not just one or the other part of it. So we’re doing a lot to “come together”.

    As for our usability studies – where we have studied an upstream, we have shared the results. Our goal is to make usability research a rigorous and widely used tool in open source design. We have no interest in forking Empathy, we want Empathy and Pidgin both to become more usable, and we’ve put a lot of work into showing both teams how they can achieve that.

    I know that some of this may be new information – there are those for whom it is convenient to characterise Canonical’s work as divisive, separatist and self-interested. I hope you’ll take the time to dig into it a little deeper.

    Mark

  14. Adam Williamson Says:

    William: “The fact is, without Ubuntu, the Linux community would be a place populated only by computer geeks and hackers. Ubuntu has made Linux mainstream….and has done so at no cost to the end user !! ”

    You can say something’s a fact all you like, but that doesn’t make it true. Before Ubuntu, the Linux community was not populated only by computer geeks and hackers, and after six years of Ubuntu, it’s still not mainstream.

  15. Filipe Soares Dilly Says:

    Thanks Mark.
    Without your, Canonical and all the open source work The Detail Library would never be what it is and what will be on near future.

    Thanks everyone! =)

  16. MK-82 Says:

    “Free software is bigger than any one project. It’s bigger than the Linux kernel, it’s bigger than GNU, it’s bigger than GNOME and KDE, it’s bigger than Ubuntu and Fedora and Debian. Each of those projects plays a role, but it is the whole which is really changing the world.”

    If just Ubuntu fans and marketing people would understand this and the Ubuntu would be multiple times more positive for open source community than what it is not (more like negative).

    Ubuntu/Canonical does nothing wrong with that they do not write code. It is OK to use the code and distribute it. That is the idea.

    But what is not okay, is to take credit from others work. And now, Canonical does take others works credits to itself. And it does not even try to explain to users that Ubuntu is just a distribution, not a different operating system.

    Canonical does not want to tell the truth about free software and the technology what it use. That is very damaging for the whole OSS community as users/clients who does not know the truth, are not free.

    Example, Canonical markets Ubuntu as a unique operating system. Lying to users and visitors that Canonical does not use Linux operating system.
    That causes lots of problems as people talks about Ubuntu how it is different OS than Linux (kernel).
    People ask questions “Should I take Linux or Ubuntu. Which one is better OS?”. Canonical does not explain on their sites on marketing text that Linux kernel is the operating system. Canonical does not care about technical facts but just for selling a own distribution. And if they get users tied to Ubuntu with misbelieves that Ubuntu is not Linux distribution, they can control the selling and users future.

    Canonical does not say clearly that there is no such thing as Ubuntu desktop. There is GNOME desktop environment what they use as desktop in Ubuntu. And that all the features from desktop is from GNOME. Canonical could only say that the default GNOME configurations are from Ubuntu (Panel places, icons, widgets etc).

    Neither does Canonical explain that all the code what they use, is from other projects and Canonical is just a distributor, not the upstream developer.

    Canonical should explain directly to Ubuntu users that if users wants bugs to be fixed, they should explain it to upstream, not to Canonical. As Canonical can not biggest and most bugs what there is on those software. It is up to the upstream. And with current action Canonical denies users from discussing with upstream and the software communities by saying that the Ubuntu or Canonical is responsible for the software.

    Universities has stopped to use Ubuntu in their lessons as people gets misinformation about the development. Example, people first time coming to classes about operating systems, there are wasted almost over two hours to explain why Ubuntu is not OS but distribution. And that Linux kernel is the operating system and GNU/Linux is development platform.

    Two hours wasted because wrong information what Canonical markets, by selfish reasons. If Canonical would love to be part of OSS community, it would say clearly always, everytime when someone ask help or something, that where the software is, who developes it and that Canonical just distributes it. Canonical should clearly explain how Linux kernel is the operating system and Ubuntu is not different. And by that Canonical makes sure that user is not tied to Ubuntu, but can switch distributions to choose best software system what is available from linux operating system.

    As well Canonical should follow their forums. Correct the misbelieves or explain to those who ask about software and so on. Now Canonical does not do anything for it. It allows fans to build a strong RDF (reality distortion field) around Ubuntu and it just gains lots of money and fans by doing that. Lying to users or not telling the truth is not offering freedom or choise, it is using their lack of wisdom.

    If Canonical would fix their marketing and explain to their fans how the whole Ubuntu actually works and how it is packages, it would be positive for OSS community.

  17. Steffen Says:

    Thanks Mark, for explaining your point on this. I want to dig deeper in that, that´s why I posted my comment above. Personally I want to have a neutral position on these discussions. Therefore I appreciate your answer because it helps me to understand your position.

    As a neutral person I ask myself why all this has come into this state as it is now. There must have been mistakes on both sides. But anyway, counting mistakes of each party to prove who is the worse does not make sense.

    Taking one example, the notifications and the changed API´s: I am no developer (I don´t have any clue about programming…) but I understand that you need API´s for notifications so that programs and applications can interact with the notifications. On one side, upstream developers complain that Ubuntu has created notifications that do not follow standards and therefore every application in Ubuntu has to be patched to be able to interact with the notification system. Because the API´s don´t fit…
    Now, you say that Ubuntu has proposed all the work regarding notifications and some time later the upstream guys have changed all their API´s…
    At this point I ask myself: why? Because of a technical reason? If so, the conclusion is clear, but if they have changed the API´s because they did not want Ubuntu´s notifications to work, then I ask myself again: why didn´t they tell you in the first place: “no thanks, we do it on our own”?

    If the second is true, then there must be something deeper in the relationship between Ubuntu and upstream.

    Some people say: “it is because Ubuntu is successful and the other Linux people prefer to still sit in their basement and to celebrate their geekiness” – I don´t agree with that, as all the other Companies who base their business on Linux are also successful in their part of the market and I don´t think that they want to see Ubuntu fail as 1.) Ubuntu has a different targeted audience and 2.) failure of Ubuntu would do a lot of harm to all who are involved in Linux.

    Others say: “Ubuntu does not have done so much to earn trust among the upstream” But how can you earn trust if you don´t get the chance to do so?

    I think that the truth lies somewhere in between – in the middle and also maybe somewhere else… I know that one person (you) and one company (Canonical) can not do it “right” for everyones taste. But we are talking about big organisations, like Gnome, KDE and so on, where lots of people are working together…

    So how can we overcome this? If everyone, involved in these “Ubuntu does just their own and does not want to share” discussions stays on his position, there will be no settlement and these discussions will pop up every year. Because these discussions – this is the picture I got about all this – are just expressions of a general dissatisfaction.
    So all involved parties should move their positions towards settlement and towards a friendly and constructive discussion.

    So in my eyes both parties should talk about this. It´s just an idea, and I am for sure not in the position to tell anyone what to do… but maybe it is worth another post in your blog? Asking the upstream what they expect, what is wrong in their eyes? And on the other hand telling them what goes wrong in your opinion? Both with the goal in mind, to get an agreement as much as possible, because as I said: you can not do it “right” for everyone.

    I am not sure if this a good idea but this is how I always try to overcome conflicts in the private and also in the job-life. One problem though is that everything posted on a blog is just written, which can not express feelings that well and which can also be misunderstood if the other one WANTS to misunderstand things… another problem is that there are lots of people involved…

    Anyway I hope that this comes to an end at one day. We all need to collaborate as you said and I agree with you.

    regards
    Steffen

  18. Leysan Says:

    Thanks, very interesting, relevant post.

  19. mark Says:

    Steffen

    In the case of notifications, the position is this: the open standard for notifications specifies a mechanism by which applications determine what the capabilities of the notification system are. They should always do that before they use any particular capability. If you assume the notification supports a particular capability, and send notifications that use it, and the system doesn’t support them, then you are broken.

    One of the capabilities that the system *can* optionally support, is buttons on notifications. However, that’s an optional capability. Applications should not assume it is there. When we were designing the ephemeral notifications, we came to the conclusion that they would be more attractive, and for many cases just as useful, if they did NOT support buttons. So we built notify-osd in that way, and were careful to make sure it did not advertise buttons as a capability.

    Some applications, that had been written on environments where the notification system did support buttons, never actually tested to see if that was true. They just assumed buttons were there. We provided patches that brought the apps into compliance with the freedesktop.org specification, and in general afaik those patches have been welcomed.

  20. mark Says:

    @MK-82

    I don’t accept that Canonical provides disinformation. A search for “linux” puts Ubuntu right near the top. A search for “is ubuntu linux?” makes it even more obvious.

    I *have* sat in user-testing sessions where people say that they find the plethora of names and brands in the free software world very confusing, and that it’s better for them to focus. That’s why we are not “Ubuntu Linux” or worse, “Ubuntu GNU/Linux”, even though we know, support and are very much part of GNU and Linux.

    It seems silly for people who know exactly what GNU, Linux, X.org, Debian, Bash, Python and GCC are to insist that all of those labels be precisely explained to an audience that quite explicitly does not want to have all of that foisted on them. They want a straightforward, out of the box solution that “just works”. And that’s how we present Ubuntu, to the greatest extent possible. We know, however, that one in a thousand users will have the interest to go further, to become a participant. And we make it very easy for them to do that, first directly in Ubuntu and then in Debian and the wider free software community.

    I know this is true because I’ve watched many developers and contributors walk exactly that path. Look at how many new DD’s come in who’s first experience, either as a user or as a contributor, was with Ubuntu. And many of those go on to write new apps, new libraries, new components.

    There is a common mistake in life, to assume that everyone else should be just like you. How boring the world would be if that were true. How terrible if everyone you met was only interested in the same things you’re interested in. Sooner or later, you’d realise they represent competition, not moral support! I think it’s much better to present an attractive, welcoming path to free software, so that people come along. We have no illusions, and no desire, to create a captive audience. You will never, ever find a Canonical person saying someone should not contribute or participate more widely. It’s simply wrong to suggest otherwise.

    Mark

  21. raips Says:

    Watch the people who does not remember the evolvement of the Linux community and how they say about the Open Source and Ubuntu…. They believe that Canonical brought Linux to mainstream.
    They have not used Linux since 1991-1999 and seen how there has been distributions what have had at that time even easier installations and as easy desktops than what Ubuntu has now to offer. They does not neither follow the upstream projects and the development, buglists and mailing lists. They do not even realize how the upstream developes the software and makes the big choises and small decisions. Most does not even understand the upstream Downstream development model. Even for most Ubuntu users the Open Source as a idealogy is totally wierd. And for those the Canonicals marketing falls very well. And when they get a complete software system without paying a cent from company what markets all that coming from Canonical, they admire Canonical and Ubuntu as it would be their own son. They gives credit and kudos to Canonical, not to those who actually develops the softare and designes it.

    Canonical got Ubuntu up only by non-fair marketing tactics, by mailing a free CD’s to people. No one would start a company with that action if they would not have millions in their accounts. And that is very non-fair action for all market players. Altought, it was a cleaver one, but non-fair. And competition like that is such what is for no one a good thing (Competition is never a wise thing, but choises and freedom are).

    Ubuntu gets a lot of new users. Ubuntu community is full of users who have started to use Linux by choosing a Ubuntu as first distribution. They do not know the open source world. They do not know the technology. They do not know the development models and what function is with distributor. That is very difficult even for adults and many IT-people to understand as they live in the capitalistic world and where software has always a price tag or somekind a catch with ads or trials.

    When someone suggest to use Ubuntu, they get first experiences from Linux (even that they do not get experience from Linux OS, but from GNOME and other open source softwares like Firefox and OpenOffice.org) with it. They are defendless for the marketing and not prepared to learn the complex open source development models and most important, the philosophies about freedom, liberity, openess and kindess.

    Canonical use that against other distributors and companies. It is Canonicals goal to get as big userbase as possible, not to distribute open source. Canonical needs to get stable and profitable source for income. And that demans that Canonical needs to have big userbase, so the userbase protects the Ubuntu against other competitors. Canonical actions and history speaks about the abusive tactics and abusive marketing. Canonical does have great marketing, slogans, CoC and so on. But it does not follow even Ubuntu philosophy itself.

    And this can be hard for some people, but it is not unselfish action to give money to some project because person wants to make others lives better. In contrary, it is very selfish action. People who give money to others, gains feelings that they have done something good for others and others loves them because this “unselfish” action.
    “Oh, how I am so good person as I help others”. The unselfish is not about giving material or wealth to others. It is philosophy and spiritual feeling. Gaining others kudos from own actions is very selfish action.
    (some people can take that as personal attack but it ain’t such)

    The Canonicals biggest problem really is not about the code. It is about the credit. The open source is all about credit. Open source (and so on Free Software) is about copyright. And Copyright is about credit as well. Someone can say “I did that, you can use it as long as you do not abuse others rights to have same rights as I gaved to you”.

    Canonical does not give credits to those whom’s developed software it just distributes. Far from it. Canonical does not tell to the Ubuntu users that “go and give kudos to those projects if you liked about those things”.

    And the good philosophy as well is not to place any company to pedestal. Not even a single persons. You can always thank someone from the action what he did, but not about what is related from it or so on. “Do not place anything else to pedastal than yourself”. That means you should not be a fan of someone else or anything else. If you want to keep clear and objective view about the world.

    If Canonical and Ubuntu fans would stop spreading FUD (yes, FUD! Ubuntu fans generates fear, uncertanity and doupts about other distributions everytime when they prise the Canonical or project leader how they have turned the open source world to mainstream. As others did not do it and they would not do it if there would not be Canonical) and maintaining a own RDF (Reality Distortion Field) how everyone should just smile in the Ubuntu community as Ubuntu community is the community what developes the open source software and what maintains the open source software and what is the only community what designs the open source software to mainstream and to desktops.

    When people actually steps away from Ubuntu community, they start searching the technological facts, computer history, the philosophies behind open source, they only start to see that Canonical is not so different from Microsoft or Apple what both like to presents others inventions or already implented “innovations” as own.

    Let me quote one great Characted from B5 TV-serie (Babylon 5):

    “The quiet ones are the ones that change the universe… The loud ones only take the credit.” -Londo Mollari (this has been said long time ago by real philosophers but many remembers that from this TV-show)

    Canonical is the loud one.

    Everytime when Canonical is releasing something, it markets and builds RDF (like Apple) that Canonical is developed this and that. And Canonical is the one what thinks about the end-users. And so on.

    All other distributors are quiet. They do not present features what other projects has developed as own. There is clear different in marketing:

    A) Canonical made desktop feature X to Ubuntu to help people in this task
    B) Now GNOME X.Y.z version includes feature X to help people in this task

    Or

    A) Created by the best open-source experts from all over the world, Ubuntu is available in 24 languages and ready for download today.
    B) Includes the best software from all different Open Source projects around the world, available in 24 languages and ready for download today.

    Canonical needs a facelift in PR. Canonical PR department needs to start clearing the name of Ubuntu. Explaining that Canonical is just a distributor what distributes F/OSS in the Linux distribution called Linux. That Canonical does some small polishing to some of the software, configures own default settings and applies a own GNOME theme. And wants to listen users and help users to understand the F/OSS community and how everyone can contribute to those thousands of F/OSS projects around the world directly, with or without Ubuntu or Canonical. As no one is tied to Ubuntu and that users can choose what ever Linux distribution they want as every distribution is on same level and Ubuntu is not special.

    But that would make smaller userbase for Ubuntu > Smaller changes to Canonical gain money > Fear to loose and fail to actually gain money. So unfair tricks are needed to survive.

    Open Source has played this far very well without Canonical. And it would work every well without Canonical. Canonical just happened to be in right place at right time and with littlebit lucky and non-fair marketin tactics.

    As Open Source is about users. There are few things what every person should know. 1) Open Source is about listening your users. 2) Every user is the developer.

    Canonical is just few hundred workers. One company. Open Source Community has thousands of companies, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of workers and tens of millions users. Canonical is very small, Ubuntu is very very small. Alone Debian has in one country almost three times bigger userbase than Ubuntu has total size in the whole world.

    Every user has possibility to have innovation. Every person in the world gets great ideas almost every day. They are small and short ones. But what matters is can the distribute that idea to those who have the power to make the change?
    In Open Source world that means the upstream. The Upstream is the power to make the change. If the upstream does not want to make something, you are still allowed to make it yourself or even hire someone to make it for you. In last change you can fork the whole software.

    But the main thing is, every user is the developer. When user gets idea or innovation, she or he should have easy way to contact to upstream. Share the idea to all other users and developers. Discuss about the thing. And this way single person helps millions of people just by telling something. And sinle developer can implent that idea so it actually comes true. But only when everything works in upstream and not in own ecosystems in downstream.

    And if the idea is not accepted, it should be discussed again with other users and check if the own contact was too harsh or unclear. As it is very rare that developer actually does not like the idea if it is well explained and discussed. If someone just say “Do this and your software does not suck so much anymore”. No one listen such.

    I have contributed to F/OSS hundreds of times. Both by code or by artwork or ideas what then other developers have implented as they are maintainers. And I could say that if 95% times everything pass, it is not so difficult when it is started with discussion with developers by asking things, and discussion with users asking their opinions.

    In the end, that part is politics and it is needed to be done at somepoint.

  22. Christopher Barry Says:

    Mark,

    First and foremost, I appreciate all that you have done for free software. And please don’t get me wrong, or take it as a slam or anything. I use Ubuntu every day, and I love it. But I’ve been a debian fanatic since it came out in the early 90’s. Debian always was the best there was. There was no peer. Here, you’ve created an operating system that is essentially debian, (in fact is 90%+ debian) with a bit more polish and candy. But I’m not seeing the kind of homage or respect from you towards debian that debian deserves. It seems like you mentioned basically every open source project on the planet before you gave debian a slight acknowledgement. I guess I don’t think that’s very cool.
    Again, I use Ubuntu, and I will continue to, and it’s an amazing piece of work. I just wish you would give a little more credit to the folks that actually made Ubuntu possible. Thanks for your time.
    -Christopher

  23. tired Says:

    From a developer perspective in 10.04 Indicators are currently a useless kludge and should never have been shipped in they state they are in.

    The lack of signals and the general brokenness of menu items is ridiculous. The documentation is horrible and what little these is appears to be designed to frustrate developers. Perhaps it could be a little clearer that the menu isn’t really a menu, it’s a dbusmenu and it’s broken. As it shipped in 10.04 something like 80% of menu functionality is missing from dbusmenu but it is not clear what functions or signals are missing or are poorly implemented with obvious bugs because everything fails silently. This causes developers to waste hours and hours trying to get indicators to work, which causes them to make angry posts on your blog.

    I am not a GNOME developer but perhaps they would be more interested in accepting indicators if they were not so broken and poorly documented.
    You rushed to ship this feature and it looks to me like it conflicts with future gnome3 development. It probably isn’t true but the cynic in me says you did this intentionally. Is being able to scrub left and right in the indicator panel really such a killer feature that you had to rush ship a broken implementation?

  24. John Kerr Says:

    Mark,

    Ubuntu LTS has brought stability to Linux that was really needed, and in so doing, did take Linux out its primary “technical” focus and into an enhanced end user focus.

    Linux has increased its reach thanks to Ubuntu.

    Thank you!!

    John Kerr
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada

  25. topones Says:

    raips@September 23rd, 2010 at 1:04 pm:
    You do not have to use any Ubuntu CD.
    If you mean it’s unfair to handle an Ubuntu CD, then go to shop a pc. Chances are you’ll find an O/S already installed in it.

    Andrei@September 17th, 2010 at 2:28 pm
    You say about Mark: “Be careful, if you and the other Ubuntu guys really care abot Free Software”.
    Why do you say that?
    Because Canonical managed to deploy 220,000 Ubuntu desktops in schools throughout a certain region in the world?

    You also said you think that Ubuntu is “getting close to a civil war in the free software world”
    Who would supply the weapons? Microsoft?
    That is a cheap attempt to spread FUD… one of the most well known M.Soft’s tactics against Open Source…

  26. major Says:

    Until the Linux community adopts a standard package installer Linux will remain a hobbyist tool. Its just to difficult to install anything thats not part of the main distro. mark my words and there is no reason the community can’t figure out a way to make Linux application installs as simple as windows or dare I say OS X.

  27. arthur m Says:

    “It seems silly for people who know exactly what GNU, Linux, X.org, Debian, Bash, Python and GCC are to insist that all of those labels be precisely explained to an audience that quite explicitly does not want to have all of that foisted on them. They want a straightforward, out of the box solution that “just works”. ”

    That kind of audience is going to use Windows or OS X.

  28. Filippo Says:

    Those kind of explanations shouldn’t even be required, but their presence confirms that the majority of open source community is focused, exclusively, on lines of code. This is, may be, the greatest Linux and OSS issue in this period. I really agree that every one in the community has his role, and the role Canonical is embodying was exactly what we were missing. They’re creating a good product from an amazing technology and philosophy.
    If Ubuntu wasn’t here I would never be a Linux user. Thanks for that.

  29. MK-82 Says:

    @Mark
    “I don’t accept that Canonical provides disinformation. A search for “linux” puts Ubuntu right near the top. A search for “is ubuntu linux?” makes it even more obvious.”

    I tought that you would not accept it. But you did not even check the Canonical or Ubuntu websites but you seemed to citate a web search engines results. Where on Canonical or Ubuntu website does read that:

    1. Linux kernel is the operating system
    2. Ubuntu is not operating system but a distribution
    3. Ubuntu use Linux kernel as its operating system
    4. Canonical use GNU development tools to compile and package the software what comes in Ubuntu?
    5. In Ubuntu the GNOME is the desktop environment what people use?
    6. That Canonical wants to offer only free/open source software?

    “I *have* sat in user-testing sessions where people say that they find the plethora of names and brands in the free software world very confusing, and that it’s better for them to focus. That’s why we are not “Ubuntu Linux” or worse, “Ubuntu GNU/Linux”, even though we know, support and are very much part of GNU and Linux.”

    So I have in many similar situations, but there is difference to push information to customers face, leave the information out from customer or tell different things to customer to make “things easier”.

    “It seems silly for people who know exactly what GNU, Linux, X.org, Debian, Bash, Python and GCC are to insist that all of those labels be precisely explained to an audience that quite explicitly does not want to have all of that foisted on them.”

    None of those demands that the all the information is told directly and first to all users. It would be totally enough to use correct terms from correct softwares without lying or spreading a misinformation like Canonical/Ubuntu does now on their websites. The full accurate information can be placed to FAQ or better sub-sites with links. Without need to tell them fully to everyone. But still make it simpler and easier
    to understand and help others to find easier way the full information. Canonical/Ubuntu sites does nothing like that, they just hides the information now and confuse people.

    “They want a straightforward, out of the box solution that “just works”. And that’s how we present Ubuntu, to the greatest extent possible.”

    All the OOTB features works even then when telling the truth. There is no need to use marketing to cause misbelieves to happend or even spread propaganda (GNU/Linux). It is all about *how* the information is told, not just *what* is told.

    “We know, however, that one in a thousand users will have the interest to go further, to become a participant. And we make it very easy for them to do that, first directly in Ubuntu and then in Debian and the wider free software community.”

    Now Ubuntu/Canonical is blocking that directly. Example:

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive operating system that powers desktops, servers, netbooks and laptops. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    That could be as well written as:

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive web browser that allows desktops, netbooks and laptops users to browse web. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive office suite that gives for desktops, netbooks and laptops a full office applications possibilities. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    And it would not be a lie. Calling Ubuntu as web browser or office suite is same thing as calling Ubuntu as operating system. Linux kernel is the operating system what is distributed in product called Ubuntu what is Linux distribution. Ubuntu is not the OS, Linux kernel is the OS. Ubuntu is not office suite, OpenOffice.org is the office suite. Ubuntu is not the browser, Mozilla Firefox is the browser. Ubuntu is not the desktop, GNOME is the desktop.

    Right now, Canonical is trying to grow a massive userbase where users believe that Ubuntu is not using a Linux. (Linux is just a operating system, nothing more. Monolithic kernels are operating systems, microkernels are not).
    Canonical hopes that users would talk about Ubuntu as “Which one I should choose, Ubuntu or Linux as my next OS?” or that people would talk about Ubuntu as it would be the innovative and the leading developer community without giving the credit to those who actually does or has done most of the code, not just tweaked configurations, repackaged software and generated themes and other small polishing.

    To Canonical actually success, it must be big userbase what has hype over others. It must have a big or multiple commercical clients what are someway tied to Canonical to offer support or consulting etc. If clients can easily switch to other competitors, it is just bad thing. For Canonical it is better to develop a own ecosystem what makes littlebit problematic for the users to switch other distributions. Was it a deal about support time, a different configurations so the migration would be more difficult or just a such marketing hype that people believes that Ubuntu is not using Linux OS.

    And for Canonical, there are canonical representives going around different shows talking to hardware developers that they should make the hardware compatible for Ubuntu because the Canonical is the Microsoft of the Linux world.
    Canonical workers or Ubuntu community fans are talking how there should be a Ubuntu logo in the hardware boxes to tell the compability to “Ubuntu OS”.

    10 years ago, there were very few hardware manucaturers who told straight that their hardware is Linux compatible. The Tux is the logo of the Linux OS. The Linux marketing has evolved and grown to such level that normal people can find Tux printed to device boxes, next to the “Designed for Windows” stickers. The hardware boxes mentiones usually now the needed Linux OS version “example Linux 2.6.15 or later” among other things.

    Canonical goal is not to contribute to the open source to others directly, it is trying to gain money from it doing so and that demans that Canonical need to win competition. That is easy to hide behind nice marketing or slogans like “Ubuntu”. Canonical can not make anykind promise that the software will always be free. As that is up the upstream license. Of course if some key software gets license changed, Canonical could fork the software. But it is not up to Canonical at all even then.

    And it is funny how Canonical say that they use Open Source software, but still they can not even manage to keep closed source away. In other news, Canonical is telling how they want to offer a easy way for closed source software developers to offer their software on Ubuntu. There is nothing bad in that as thats why we have LSB (Linux Standard Base) and package managers repositiories. Nothing is missing already. Commercical and

  30. MK-82 Says:

    @Mark
    “I don’t accept that Canonical provides disinformation. A search for “linux” puts Ubuntu right near the top. A search for “is ubuntu linux?” makes it even more obvious.”

    I tought that you would not accept it. But you did not even check the Canonical or Ubuntu websites but you seemed to citate a web search engines results. Where on Canonical or Ubuntu website does read that:

    1. Linux kernel is the operating system
    2. Ubuntu is not operating system but a distribution
    3. Ubuntu use Linux kernel as its operating system
    4. Canonical use GNU development tools to compile and package the software what comes in Ubuntu?
    5. In Ubuntu the GNOME is the desktop environment what people use?
    6. That Canonical wants to offer only free/open source software?

    “I *have* sat in user-testing sessions where people say that they find the plethora of names and brands in the free software world very confusing, and that it’s better for them to focus. That’s why we are not “Ubuntu Linux” or worse, “Ubuntu GNU/Linux”, even though we know, support and are very much part of GNU and Linux.”

    So I have in many similar situations, but there is difference to push information to customers face, leave the information out from customer or tell different things to customer to make “things easier”.

    “It seems silly for people who know exactly what GNU, Linux, X.org, Debian, Bash, Python and GCC are to insist that all of those labels be precisely explained to an audience that quite explicitly does not want to have all of that foisted on them.”

    None of those demands that the all the information is told directly and first to all users. It would be totally enough to use correct terms from correct softwares without lying or spreading a misinformation like Canonical/Ubuntu does now on their websites. The full accurate information can be placed to FAQ or better sub-sites with links. Without need to tell them fully to everyone. But still make it simpler and easier
    to understand and help others to find easier way the full information. Canonical/Ubuntu sites does nothing like that, they just hides the information now and confuse people.

    “They want a straightforward, out of the box solution that “just works”. And that’s how we present Ubuntu, to the greatest extent possible.”

    All the OOTB features works even then when telling the truth. There is no need to use marketing to cause misbelieves to happend or even spread propaganda (GNU/Linux). It is all about *how* the information is told, not just *what* is told.

    “We know, however, that one in a thousand users will have the interest to go further, to become a participant. And we make it very easy for them to do that, first directly in Ubuntu and then in Debian and the wider free software community.”

    Now Ubuntu/Canonical is blocking that directly. Example:

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive operating system that powers desktops, servers, netbooks and laptops. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    That could be as well written as:

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive web browser that allows desktops, netbooks and laptops users to browse web. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    “Super-fast and great-looking, Ubuntu is a secure, intuitive office suite that gives for desktops, netbooks and laptops a full office applications possibilities. Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free.”

    And it would not be a lie. Calling Ubuntu as web browser or office suite is same thing as calling Ubuntu as operating system. Linux kernel is the operating system what is distributed in product called Ubuntu what is Linux distribution. Ubuntu is not the OS, Linux kernel is the OS. Ubuntu is not office suite, OpenOffice.org is the office suite. Ubuntu is not the browser, Mozilla Firefox is the browser. Ubuntu is not the desktop, GNOME is the desktop.

    Right now, Canonical is trying to grow a massive userbase where users believe that Ubuntu is not using a Linux. (Linux is just a operating system, nothing more. Monolithic kernels are operating systems, microkernels are not).
    Canonical hopes that users would talk about Ubuntu as “Which one I should choose, Ubuntu or Linux as my next OS?” or that people would talk about Ubuntu as it would be the innovative and the leading developer community without giving the credit to those who actually does or has done most of the code, not just tweaked configurations, repackaged software and generated themes and other small polishing.

    To Canonical actually success, it must be big userbase what has hype over others. It must have a big or multiple commercical clients what are someway tied to Canonical to offer support or consulting etc. If clients can easily switch to other competitors, it is just bad thing. For Canonical it is better to develop a own ecosystem what makes littlebit problematic for the users to switch other distributions. Was it a deal about support time, a different configurations so the migration would be more difficult or just a such marketing hype that people believes that Ubuntu is not using Linux OS.

    And for Canonical, there are canonical representives going around different shows talking to hardware developers that they should make the hardware compatible for Ubuntu because the Canonical is the Microsoft of the Linux world.
    Canonical workers or Ubuntu community fans are talking how there should be a Ubuntu logo in the hardware boxes to tell the compability to “Ubuntu OS”. Idea must have been to get manufacturers market as well the Ubuntu while doing it. And that way gain more users. Truth is, Canonical is still using Linux OS and they will never fork it. Canonical could switch to other OS’s like HURD or even somekind BSD if wanted, but maintaining a own OS would be very stupid. Not even RedHat or Novell would do that.

    10 years ago, there were very few hardware manucaturers who told straight that their hardware is Linux compatible. The Tux is the logo of the Linux OS. The Linux marketing has evolved and grown to such level that normal people can find Tux printed to device boxes, next to the “Designed for Windows” stickers. The hardware boxes mentiones usually now the needed Linux OS version “example Linux 2.6.15 or later” among other things.

    Canonical goal is not to contribute to the open source to others directly, it is trying to gain money from it doing so and that demans that Canonical need to win competition. That is easy to hide behind nice marketing or slogans like “Ubuntu”. Canonical can not make anykind promise that the software will always be free. As that is up the upstream license. Of course if some key software gets license changed, Canonical could fork the software. But it is not up to Canonical at all even then.

    And it is funny how Canonical say that they use Open Source software, but still they can not even manage to keep closed source away. In other news, Canonical is telling how they want to offer a easy way for closed source software developers to offer their software on Ubuntu. There is nothing bad in that as thats why we have LSB (Linux Standard Base) and package managers repositiories. Nothing is missing already. Commercical and closed source softwares has been allowed be sold and distributed over decade now. All what companies need to do, is to make a LSB compatible binary and send it to distributors who will place it to repositories. I have used in 90’s many times such easy way to install closed source software. But even at that point, no one were going to offer them as default or better, because distributors had philosophies and ideas what needs to be done to protect the freedom. It might be longer road but in the end it is the best.

    “There is a common mistake in life, to assume that everyone else should be just like you. How boring the world would be if that were true. How terrible if everyone you met was only interested in the same things you’re interested in. Sooner or later, you’d realise they represent competition, not moral support!”

    I would never want others to be like me. But I would never neither want to tell my customers a propaganda or give the misbelieves about the product what I sell. Yes, I would get littlebit less clients but the truth matters. And as you might have noticed, I do not demand that Canonical explains all the information fully in the frontpage. Just that it does not give misinformation or allow people to get misbelieves.

    And competition is never good to anyone. Not to company and not for Client. That is just pure propaganda how the competition is good. Is is almost breast feeded to us since birth, but at least teached to us in schools. Is is the thing what keeps the people who has the real power in control, not the citizens.

    What should always be tought and used, is that there must always be choises and that everything must happend as in teamwork. That it is what is about open source as well, teamwork, not competition. And openess is what gives choises and allows teamwork. There is no place for competition, it cause all kind other side effects what in the end makes everything in the whole life more complex and tougher.

    Ironically it has been that when Canonical representives in different shows (like CEBIT) told that Canonical is like Microsoft of the Linxu world, as Canonical really seems to be such or at least tries to be in such position. And cause for that is Canonicals marketing and how they treat their clients. As in the end, people will turn around against Canonical, like right now almost 50% of this blog comments are critic about Canonicals actions being harmfull for the community. And those from the people who have wider knowledge or other information than just being happy getting something free without need to pay to MS about Windows or buy a new computers and such other information limits.

    That all might sound littlebit tought, but it is all with full respect.

  31. foxoman Says:

    @ MK-82 :

    what the differences between ubuntu / canonical site and redhat / novel ?

    did they also gave the information you asked canonical to do ?

    at least you can read about linux and gnu in ubuntu about page

    http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu

    http://www.ubuntu.com/how-can-it-be-free

    and you can read about debian :)

    http://www.ubuntu.com/community/ubuntu-and-debian

    before ubuntu It was familiar that linux == redhat / fedora

    Each company like redhat and novel depends on proprietary certified software and hardware in their enterprise market and without those they will not make any success

    also even redhat and novel start (or buy )some project as closed source and release them later (some :) ) depending on the market status and their benefits but not in sake of FOSS community

    http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3456361/Red-Hat-to-Open-Source-Directory-Server.htm

    sometimes i feel the foss community has Double standards

    if you told any one about any web service like sourceforge or google code or gmail …. is closed source they will said it’s just a web service and doesn’t matter if it’s open or not

    but every one attack canonical about launchpad !

    if you told any one about closed redhat and novel server they used to control their Enterprise OS ( like update manager ) , no one complain

    but every one complain about ubuntu one server ?

    ————–

    redhat always said there are not interested in linux desktop market but now why they always complain about canoncial and ubuntu ?

    why they Raises foss community against ubuntu / canonical ?

    ———

    Why every complains are coming from redhat/novel employer ?

    why it’s not from ibm , google , oracle …. etc ?

    ——

    AFAIK all this sick about ubuntu is just a dirty competition from redhat / novel :)

    ——

    thanks mark thanks ubuntu community thanks canonical :)

  32. kikl Says:

    @mk-82 If you use ubuntu, all you have to do to get all of the information about free software, debian, GNU, linux… is press system on your panel. Navigate to “about ubuntu” and “about gnome”. Voila!

  33. David Smith Says:

    You clearly have the better argument, Mr. Shuttleworth. Every dissenting opinion I have ever read contains nothing but envious and imperious obstinance, combined with essentially politically motivated mud-slinging. I know they will say these are primarily ethical criticisms, but I find them to be nothing but childish shout outs for immediately turning over all means for production in the universe to “democratic” panels on forums. How much longer must we suffer weak socialist propaganda being substituted for a love of open-source free software? Such elitist thinking translates in practice to the great mass of open-source operating systems being much more useful to developers than users (an usually being illegal in America, anyway!). That is no way to help software freedom. They are moving in the wrong direction. You have started something that is moving in the right direction, hence Ubuntu’s success, hence their frustration. For these people, Mr. Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s crime is that you are wealthy and started a project of your own. It does not matter to them how much Ubuntu has improved the open-source world (and it has more than any other effort by far), you are already guilty. Ubuntu is already condemned. So they simply wait in the shadows to pop out and relentlessly stab at minutiae and fabricated strawmen. Imagine if they dedicated half that time to improving their own projects.

  34. MK-82 Says:

    @kikl that is just a excuse. I could say same thing that to find out real information you just need to go study operating systems and software development to university for next 15 years. Voila!

    And those places neither does have truth or clear information. It would be Canonicals responsiblity to actually correct the GNU propaganda or avoid causing/spreading misinformation in their own marketing.

    Just hiding behind information what other websites tells about Ubuntu than Canonical itself is not wise move. Neither is trying to say that it is not Canonicals responsibility to tell the truth in their marketing because it is placed somewhere in menus what most people does not even look.

    As for example: If you buy a house, the saleman is responsible to tell you all the information of the house. Answer your questions trutfully and so on.
    And not to give the information after you have bought the house or print it somewhere in the papers with small print or between the lines.
    And especially now when Canonical is saying “Ubuntu is X” and the truth is that Ubuntu ain’t X but it is X+Y+Z, and where X is the Linux, it is a lie. As well Canonical could say that “Ubuntu is Y” or that “Ubuntu is Z” and they still would be lie as Linux would be X, Firefox would be Y and Openoffice would be the Z. So what Ubuntu just is, is X+Y+Z.