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 comments:

  1. Dread Knight says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    A long but a very good post. I agree with everything you said and I’ll probably get the courage to email you pretty soon about something you might have (or not) an interest to support (been thinking about e-mail you for quite a while now) :D

    Keep up the great work! Linux/Ubuntu and open source will prevail!

  2. Melvin Carvalho says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Mark, you have every reason to be proud!

    Any great projects will endure some level of criticism, as you cannot please all of the people, all of the time. It’s not strictly necessary to respond, but rather, as you so eloquently put to focus on the the success stories, which are growing thick and fast.

    Always keep big picture, in mind. The freeing of software is a battle that is being won. You and Canonical have been part of a sea change to free the desktop (among other things).

    We are on the cusp of the next great shift, the of freeing data. This movement is gathering pace, lead by Tim Berners-Lee and his team at MIT, and a growing popular swell that suddenly realise that they do like some privacy, after all.

    Exciting times! Keep up the good work, and remember, we’re only just getting started!

  3. The Open Sourcerer says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Great post Mark,

    Heart-on-your-sleeve stuff. Thanks for your leadership and energy and vision in making Ubuntu what it is today and what it may be in the future.

    *You* are awesome.

    Al

  4. Brendan P says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Here’s one user who would not be using free software if not for Ubuntu… and the people in my local community I have now converted too.

    Very well said.

    Keep up the fantastic work, you an inspiration.

    All the best for the future
    Brendan

  5. Carlo Piana says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Excellent! Thank you for your terrific work. That’s why I have been an happy Ubuntu user since 6.04, and helped many others to switch, including wife and daughter :-)

  6. Tom says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Very nice post and I really think that almost everybody thinks that the world is better place because of Ubuntu.
    BUT: You really need to learn how to do HTML links :P
    (Hint: google Hyperlink and wikipedia)

  7. MANDY SAULS says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Ubuntu Community South Africa Education
    Khuluma abatwana iAfrica Phoenix Rainbow warriors. One goal EDUCATION for ALL.

    Ubuntu Society WELCOMES the WORLD
    Proudly South African
    I am an African
    Dinokeng
    Baie Dankie
    Lux Lunar
    MMS (“,) Tafelsig MP

  8. Stephan Plepelits says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Hi! Thanks for this post, Mark.

    That’s what I think of the Open Source Community; Ubuntu is playing an integral part of it.

    What I don’t understand, why Canonical provides closed source services like Ubuntu One to the community. Why not open them up? You could provide business models for little or big companies, like you do yourself. Many people want to keep their data to themselves, and it’s their right to do it. Allow them to host their data themselves, but many will gladly accept your service too, as yours will be the default choice.

    greetings,
    Stephan

  9. Kadu Fan says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Yes, what is reaaaly needed in open source software is a focus on normal casual users. Usability, Simplicity (ie. advanced options need to be enabled is someone needs them, and not shown by default for all users) and lack of clutter. So please keep up the good work :)

    PS. btw. me hopes that someone will fork OpenOffice.org or KOffice and improve it. Linux lacks a good word processor and this is really a pain for professional use of Linux.

  10. Chris Puttick says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Yes, you should feel good about yourself :)

    Cheers

    Chris

  11. Joel P says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Mark,

    Thanks for creating or driving the concept that is Ubuntu. Without the Ubuntu platform, I would not have discovered or used any Free & Open Source software and would have been still stuck in the old days of Windows XP, Norton and iTunes. I would not have learned scripting or taken an interest or advocating programming. I would have known less about my computer in general if it weren’t for Ubuntu and its derivatives.

    Thanks for all of your efforts.

  12. Andrew Ampers Taylor says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Hmmm… Yes, I agree, an interesting post.

    It is easy to see that you have been stung by the criticism, But there are two types of people in every country. Those who admire success, and those who hate success with a passion. Alas, in England the latter seems to be everywhere. You only have to watch TV or read the newspapers to see the glee when a success falls.

    You were a self-made multi-millionaire at 24, you have built a company in six years from one office and a small handful of people to over 350 staff in nearly thirty countries. Of course they’ll hate you. There is another reason why a lot of the others may be extremely unhappy. You are bringing Linux to the masses. I once dabbled with Esperanto and the people who spoke the language were horrified at the thought it could be taught in schools.

    Let’s look at the case of the contract for 20,000 desktops. Within weeks this will develop in around 5,000 new Ubuntu users on home computers, and within months most of the rest. Then their families and friends will see how good Linux is and the word will spread faster. What a terrific advertisement for Linux – our boss introduced it into the company – it must be good!

    I’ll finish with a phrase I saw in a Dirty Harry film years ago when Clint Eastwood’s female partner would say – if Clint was solicitous – “Please don’t concern yourself!”.

    Ampers

  13. Marco says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Nice article Mark and don’t bother to much with the critics – a great part of them are just jealous.

  14. Nunc dimittis says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:33 am

    hi,

    Do you plan to use a P2P money system, and P2P social network ?

    http://p2pfoundation.net/P2P_Currency_Systems

    http://gitorious.org/social/pages/ProjectComparison

    Nunc dimittis servum tuum,
    Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace :
    Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum.

    It is time to go beyond, in peace

  15. serevi says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I do not speak English very well, so …

    I, my wife and two children aged 4 and 6 years, we are an Italian family and we thank you for believing in your dreams and your ideas about free software, because if today we feel freer and more open we owe it to you and your commitment.

    Thanks

  16. Hugo Heden says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Very interesting and inspiring, Mark. (Though, I agree that readability could be improved, and html links are useful, as others have pointed out. Nitpicks.) Thanks!

  17. Paul Lockett says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:55 am

    From my perspective, free/open source software is anti-rival; the more people use it, the better off each user is. Even if Ubuntu were to deliver nothing but more Linux users, it would still be adding immense value.

  18. Demian says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Mmm… programmers and their egos… Don’t listen to them.

    I really appreciate what you do. Ubuntu is a magnet to the open source community for a lot of people. It’s an awesome distro that made it simple for a lot of people to use their desktop. Kudos to you!

    That said, I spend less and less time with my desktop computer. And I spend more and more with my smartphone. And for the small use I give it, I think I’ll match my desktop OS with my smartphone OS (both propietary, yes.) But that’s a personal and meditated choice. I don’t expect anybody to understand it, because it’s useful only for me.

    At the office, I’m tied to a Windows machine (not my choice.) Apparently, a lot of IT guys need someone to blame, and open source leave them as the ones to blame in case there’s a problem. :P
    So they stick with a big corporation that don’t mind to ble blamed, as long as you pay them for the solutions to your problems.

    So, no Ubuntu at home, and no Ubuntu at the office. (Not even talking about the smartphone.)

    Nevertheless, I think Ubuntu is a needed OS. It must be there, to remind us of the choices we have. That it’s not useful for me doesn’t mean it’ll not be useful for other people.

    And it’s not only a magnet for a lot of people, included me (remember the elephant wallpaper?) it’s also a force forward for the whole Linux community.

    Really, a nice post Mark. I hope the best for Ubuntu in the future.

  19. David says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    So much of what you wrote is music to my ears yet the experience I have had with the Ubuntu community is the opposite of it and some of the sites and people you mention are those who are to blame for this.

    I’ll be specific in the hope of gaining your attention and forcing a change.

    This started with a posting made by a Ubuntu Team Leader (surely we should expect compliance with the Code of Conduct and leadership in how to behave from such a person?) Mr. Benjamin Humphrey http://humphreybc.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/dude-youre-a-35-year-old-with-a-neck-beard#comments The posting was syndicated on Planet and the comments added to it will show you how many people, including myself, felt about Humphrey’s attitude and stance…both are exactly contrary to the positions you have (rightly) taken in your own article above. Humphrey further, IMHO, breached the CofC in the comments he left to his own article.

    As Humphrey is a major contributor to OMG!Ubuntu I’m surprised to see that you note it as a major contributor to the cause…and also note that the offending (IMHO) article from Humphrey was given prior publication there.

    You cite Jono Bacon as a major contributor (an inspiration even) yet when I wrote to Jono regarding the above he took no action whatever…not an acknowledgement still less a reply. An email to Cannonical had the same effect…ignored completely.

    I’m sorry to say that your own fine words, and they are just that, are not matched by the realities of the day to day actions in the Ubuntu community and that the Code of Conduct seems to be taken as a meaningless item used only to silence dissent from outside of the inner circle.

    If my tone sounds to be an angry and frustrated one…polite all the same I truly hope…that would be about right. I do want GNU Linux, Ubuntu and Cannonical to succeed and do believe in the path your article sets out yet when that path is so clearly not being followed, and by those you cite as guiding lights in your article, something is clearly very, very wrong.

  20. Brady Merriweather says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Something I can take back to my subscribers *Thinking thinking thinking..”

  21. Bradley M. Kuhn says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    While I agree that you and Canonical and Ubuntu all do many good things for software freedom, and I can and do thank you independently for each of those, you failed to mention the negative things that Canonical and Ubuntu do against Free Software. Specifically, Canonical, through Ubuntu, also produces and markets a number of proprietary software components, for example, UbuntuOne server. So, you always have to discount some of your work pushing Free Software forward with work done to push software freedom back (i.e., producing, distributing and marketing proprietary software).

  22. Alvaro Romero says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    First, a disclaimer before the ubuntards attack: I use Ubuntu LINUX in some of my PC’s and at work. I have used Ubuntu from 6.10, along with Debian, SuSe, Mandrake/Mandriva and RH-Fedora. I use it because it covers my needs, like other distros did in the past – now, migrating to Debian Squeeze -. And I’m not a native english speaker, sorry for the grammar :-P.

    Well, let’s rant… Mark, thank you for being honest. Thank you for throwing off the Ubuntu mask.

    “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.”

    So you admit that Ubuntu is a leecher of other projects and almost a marketing organization… The reason for all criticism and the big flamewars in the last months. You don’t need to ask any more, You have the response in your words.

    Contributors to GNOME – your REAL mainstream -, Debian – Ubuntu source – and many other projects see that Ubuntu takes their work, “polishes” some aesthetics and “sell” their work like “being the ones who made it all”… They feel like scrap, Mark, and your beautiful diatribe about “we sell it very well” doesn’t hide that Ubuntu people had bad attitude with the sources of the project, and they have now.

    Ubuntu Papercuts project is ONLY an Ubuntu Project. The results could be used by other projects, but the spirit would remain “Ubuntu-only”, and other Ubuntu projects – Unity, for example – are Ubuntu-only too. The new word: “Ubuntucentrism”

    Like me, many old-school linux users thank Ubuntu project for its marketing and usability – aesthetics above all -; but the project is closing itself in its own ecosystem, like Debian did too many times. And the number of fanatic Ubuntards are growing dangerously… I’m really tired of fanatics from all sides, and tired of ubuntu over-hype too.

    Mark, Ubuntu is getting close to a civil war in the free software world. Be careful, if you and the other Ubuntu guys really care abot Free Software.

    And Demian, without Programmers your beautiful Ubuntu distro should be nothing. Programmers who give software for free want a retribution; they are proud of their work and they want to be known by it. Programs appears magically, Damian?

  23. dragonbite says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Hear!Hear!
    A good post. Provides insight into the thinking and philosophy behind you, Canonical and Ubuntu. This shines a light on what you (all) do without having to put anybody down with “we did more than you” messages.

    Some distributions are starting to re-evaluate their target market and purpose and I think this is in part due to the success Ubuntu has done on the desktop market which is and has been a primary focus for Ubuntu. Success has come from good leadership and dedication to a clear set of goals.

    Linux needs Ubuntu, as it needs Red Hat, Novell, Apache, Mozilla, and all the smaller distros and volunteers. It would not be where it is today without EVERYBODYS involvement.

    Keep up the good work!

  24. maxolasersquad says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    This is exactly the point I have articulated. Sure, Canonical may not contribute much to things like the kernel, but who ever said that kernel development was any more important than any other software whose work eventually brings OSS goodness to the end user?
    The kernel has long had a strong team of hyper-intelligent programmers hammering away at it with full force. Other parts of the open-source stack have been in the same boat. What has long been missing from the OSS stack is someone to intelligently package it all together in a manner that brings together the polish of Windows or OSX.
    YES, before Canonical, the package of software that, together, made Windows, was much better polished than any Linux desktop available. Today that is simply not true. A computer running Ubuntu Linux 10.04 gives a much better user experience than that same computer running Microsoft Windows 7. It runs faster, more stable, and is easier to maintain. The credit for that polish goes to Canonical.
    The have put in that last missing puzzle piece in the OSS stack. While millions of people and organizations have done a great job putting all of those other pieces together, they all ignorantly neglected that last part, and the OSS community suffered for it.
    Mark’s brilliant vision, and execution of that vision, has benefited all of open-source. It is my hope that the rest of the community stays vigilantly focused on doing the great work they have been doing in the OSS stack, and that Canonical keeps putting its resources on the part of the software stack that it has pioneered.
    Together, the work of all entities pushing the open-source stack forward, is giving Microsoft and Apple a run for their money. We are changing the world in meaningful ways.

  25. Il profeta Mr Ubuntu contro (quasi) tutti | pollycoke :) says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    [...] – commenta » Etichette: Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, Red Hat, UbuntuOggi ho letto un interessante sfogo scritto da Mark “la risposta è dentro di te” Shuttleworth, riportato anche da Barra in [...]

  26. w1ngnut says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks for this post Mike, your sincerely inspires us. Keep up this energy to guide Ubuntu each and every day towards a better place to be. Please don’t give up and make sure you pass on this energy to the Canonical, the Community and the entire ecosystem.

    Also, very captivating to mention all the work being done by other thousands of contributors on other distros, the kernel and other FOSS projects. You said it, without everyone’s effort we wouldn’t have nothing.

    Great Post, I’m proud of your work.
    Cheers.

  27. Greg says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you very much for all your efforts and huge contributions Mark!
    Just wondering about use of Canonical’s use of Landscape, considering the sentence “There’s nothing proprietary or secret that goes into the desktops that Canonical supports inside large organisations.”?

  28. Carlos says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Mark, a very great post. I only recently started using Ubuntu and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. Ubuntu’s contribution to open source is unique and very important. Best wishes!

  29. Connel says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Mark. If you care about the wider Linux eco-system, why does Launchpad only support Ubuntu? Look at the openSUSE build service. It caters for all distributions, regardless of whether they are made by Novell or not. I’m no expert but have heard the two services do pretty similar things.

  30. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Mark, I really enjoyed your post.

    I’m wondering though, how is it that you often give credit to official derivatives like Xubuntu and Kubuntu, but never Edubuntu?

    I realise that Edubuntu was dormant for quite a while, but myself and others have really put in lots of energy rebuilding the project over the last year and while we still have a long way to go, I do believe that we’re making great strides when it comes to free software in Education. With Edubuntu 10.10, I believe that Edubuntu is now the best free software education focussed distribution out there, *maybe* except for debian-edu since they have great central authentication that works pretty much out of the box.

    As someone who has received some stinging (and imho also unfair) criticism from you I try to not care about /your/ specific approval anymore, however, I am interested in your opinion on the project and if the ommision of it when credit is being handed out is on purpose and if you have any strong opinions about it.

  31. Bilal Akhtar says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Good mention of the Papercuts project. Its a really good project that has helped shape Ubuntu’s user experience.

  32. Peter Frandsen says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Mark, you deserve to be proud, your contributions have be invaluable and is changing the world. THANX!

    /Peter

  33. Growing the Open Source/Free Software Commons « Ian Skerrett says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    [...] the Open Source/Free Software Commons Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, has penned an interesting post about their involvement and contribution to the open source/free software community.   He is [...]

  34. dogbert0360 says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Great article Mark and many blessings for all of your efforts. Your hard work, and also to all of the development team, are deeply appreciated.

  35. Jean Chicoine says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Ubuntu rocks and rolls and rules, that’s as simple as that. Let the detractors detract, they know nothing.

  36. ACME Challenge says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    [...] criticism because most of us feel completely the opposite,” Shuttleworth wrote in his blog [...]

  37. Bashar says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Mark, don’t you ever let such criticisms distract or discourage you, not ever slightly. You are doing the right thing and I sincerely applaud the Ubuntu success.

  38. Patrick L Archibald says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Excellent points made. My world is definitely a better place because of Ubuntu. Thanks Mark!

  39. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Mark,

    As a vocal critic I’ll stand up and say right now, as I have in the past, that the papercuts projects its absolutely the best thing I’ve seen that leverages Ubuntu’s position as an end-user focused effort. Papercuts, every time I’ve checked, exceeds what I expect as a sincere effort to drive fixes upstream. But Papercuts, sadly, is the exception that makes the rule. And its a relatively new effort. Honestly I wish everything Canonical was doing to interact with upstream was patterned on papercuts. For example, there is a long rich history of misgivings about how Launchpad, by design, aggregates competing translation efforts downstream of projects like KDE and GNOME, and has yet to be sorted out in a way that would make the Launchpad translation workflow feedback as an enhancement to the upstream projects without a lot of additional human effort. If Launchpad had at its inception had a _papercuts_ view of downstream translations how much different would the workflow look now? And how much better would the perception of Canonical/Ubuntu has an upstream friendly downstream be?

    And if you were _just_ integrating and polishing existing code things would be different. But Canonical is most assuredly writing new code and new features. More worrisome, that the bulk of this new code and new features are under copyright assignment polices which make it difficult to build cohesive development communities around. Copyright assignment to a for-profit entity greatly retards project contributor growth. History tells the lesson. Does Canonical really need copyright assignment for libzeitergist? Really? Canonical must let go of copyright control if you want projects like the new touch framework convenience libraries to flourish. Canonical needs to let go of sole copyright control as an enticement for wider contribution and adoption. if you want to take a lesson away from Red Hat, that is the lesson you need to learn. Do you really think libvirt would be as widely reused as a foundational technology in virtualization if Red Hat had required copyright assignment for it?

    And moreover, you have personally raised the profile of Canonical and Ubuntu as a target for criticism because you have personally been on a mission to publicly evangelize your opinion about how upstream projects need to work more tightly together, on timescales that most directly benefit your chosen development model..without offering up manpower to upstream projects to help with release management to make that vision a reality. If you are going to challenge project development workflows, expect pushback from the developers to earn your place at the bully pulpit.

    Is that 200,000 desktop deployment contract involved a potentially renewable landscape services revenue? Or just a one-time occurring migration revenue?

    -jef

  40. Mel says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Ubuntu has changed the way I use computers. Now it’s changing how my family uses computers. My mother (52) is a new computer user and the first operating system she used and learned the basics was Ubuntu, now she’s taking computer classes and they teach Windows, she told me it’s a headache! She uses Ubuntu full-time, and she really knows her way around it. All my siblings use Ubuntu and really like it, they abandoned Windows as soon as they learned Ubuntu.

    My mission is to convert my family and close friends to Ubuntu, some have liked it others don’t. For example, my wife: She likes some aspects of Ubuntu but what she really doesn’t like is the way it handles HDMI, which in her opinion is very poor, and I agree with her. But she likes the speed, security and the cool apps like Docky.

    I have an uncle who loves Ubuntu, I installed and configured it for him and he found his way through it very quickly, he even upgraded from Karmic to Lucid all by himself successfully.

    Well that’s my story and thank you Mark for giving us Ubuntu! Keep up the good work!

  41. Lauro says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Mark

    The general ethos of open source, and Ubuntu specifically, has been inspiring me for years. The Ubuntu project is phenomenal and I believe and hope it will be right at the forefront when open source reaches critical mass in the not-too-distant future.

    You’ve got a lot to be proud of!

    Laurence

  42. candtalan says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    A really nice article, thank you.

    I moved over to Ubuntu years ago *because* of the focus on community and wider popularity which I wanted to encourage and support. Even though as a non technical user there was a learning curve for me at the time.

    As an active advocate I requested and received many boxes of Shipit CDs over time, and am happy to say they all got distributed in useful ways, at events, computer fairs and Software Freedom days. I could not have done that without the resources of Ubuntu. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities which Ubuntu has and continues to, provide. Again, thank you.

  43. Larry McCauley says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    No one has done more to create a situation where I feel confident recommending and installing Linux for my friends, knowing that the end-user is going to be presented with a mature and well thought out desktop environment. Gnome presents an environment that can always be improved upon (nothing’s perfect), and Ubuntu are the one distribution that are making headway in UI design. Everyone has their own take and their own individual scope in the shared eco-system of the Linux desktop. Ubuntu has really concentrated on the end user and make them feel comfortable with Linux. This very act alone will garner more attention than efforts to produce the bleeding edge of the bleeding edge or any other permutation out there. Making Ubuntu fit people rather than relying on the people fitting Ubuntu is one of the great success stories of free software, and it hasn’t finished yet. Popularist isn’t dumbing down, its acknowledging that people have other things to do rather than post install configuration of their network settings, or attempting to select the right sound settings amidst many. Opening up free software to the masses is a gift to the world, not a vampiric process that denies others the headway that Ubuntu have made. Ubuntu has always been about the end user and the long-term goals. These are worthy and open aspects of the project that everyone is welcome to share and use. There is code aplenty, but there is only one distribution that has taken its end users and the UI so seriously. Ubuntu have racked up the mind-share for good reasons and that’s not down to nefarious manipulations of the open source community or code. Its down to being focused, being smart and being effective.

  44. candtalan says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Oh, I almost forgot: this aged relative is now 90 years old….

    Shopping delivered to Great Grandma, by Ubuntu Linux
    http://dnc.digitalunite.com/2009/03/31/shopping-delivered-by-ubuntu-linux/

  45. Linux= Who did what and how much? | DECISION STATS says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    [...] about 11 percent. That prompted some heartburn from Mark, creator- founder Cannonical/ Ubuntu at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517 And it would be a very different story if it weren’t for the Mozilla folks and Netscape before [...]

  46. Marco Timpano says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I agree with you, Mark! Go on!

  47. jack says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Just a note: at bottom of web page there is info: “Copyright © 2006 – 2007 Mark Shuttleworth”.

    Two things:
    1. 2006-2007 is little bit old. :)
    2. What kind of copyright do you hold? What is the license? Can I republish some part of your article on my blog? Need to know the license. :)

  48. Ralph Green says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Mark,
    This kind of introspection is healthy. I was just talking to a friend at lunch about Ubuntu. There have been a few odd design choices, but I can see a thread running through it all of making computing with Linux approachable to more people. I do Linux outreach at a local event each month. So many people are scared to try something different. In the last few years, I would say that no distro has done more to make Linux usable by the average person than Ubuntu. We install lots of different distros and Ubuntu is the easiest to setup, explain and gets the fewest followup problems. You could have taken your money and just enjoyed life. I think it is a wonderful thing that you are giving back to the world in the way that you are. So, even if you put the buttons on the wrong side, keep up the good work.
    Ralph
    DFWUUG and NTLUG

  49. primefalcon says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    As always I support Ubuntu and the efforts of Canonical. And don’t feel too bad about the community par say…..

    Linux is like any community where there is passion, each person thinks the part where they are located is the most important…. That’ll never change, I’m not sure it it would be a good thing if it did…..

    It’s also this competition (let’s call it that), that creates competition as well between gnome and KDE and ends up with great multiple choices, that’s what we have in excess in free software, is choice!

  50. Ramesh Mantri says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    It started with my family complaining how slow their PC (running
    Windows Vista) had become. It would take a long time to open office
    documents, boot the PC, shut it down or do just about anything.

    When I bought that PC (along with Windows Vista) for a considerable
    sum and spent a fair sum on Office, I had cautioned my family not to
    connect to the Internet on the PC. But that isn’t possible in reality,
    considering how much “googling” one has to do while working on school
    homeworks and stuff.

    So I looked around for a user-friendly desktop. I myself use Fedora
    since it contains a fairly recent version of software (development
    tools and so forth). But I wasn’t sure if it would be appreciated by
    the family. When I looked around I found that most reviewers mentioned
    Ubuntu to be a great user-friendly desktop. So I installed Ubuntu 10.04
    and I must say my family wasn’t disappointed. They were happy how fast
    documents were opening with OpenOffice.org. I was pleased to be able to
    install printers and other peripherals with ease.

    So while I won’t be able to compare Ubuntu with other Linux distributions
    in a pedantic way, I must say that Ubuntu is a user-friendly desktop. So
    you folks must be doing something right! Please keep up the good work!

  51. Shuttleworth answers Ubuntu Linux’s critics | ITworld | Infinite Software says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth’s latest blog post, he wrote about how Ubuntu and Canonical has brought “the extraordinary generosity of the [...]

  52. Andy says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    There are two crucially important points that are missing in the post.

    1) Upstream contribution.
    The great work that Canonical does on polish and integration needs to be submitted upstream, just claiming “the source is out there” is not enough.

    2) Copyright assignment
    Canonical’s policy clearly flies in the face of community.

  53. Ettore says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Keep up the good work Mark. While no longer a user of your distros (I’m a KDE user and Kubuntu is not (yet?) as good as other distros) I truly believe that Ubuntu made and still makes a difference. If not for everyone, at least for Gnome users. That’s a start and makes people dip toes in free software. Something that before Ubuntu was much harder to do.

  54. Adam Williamson says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I think a lot of what you say here is great, and like Jef I applaud the papercuts project, and good upstream contribution efforts like the multitouch stuff. Having said that, there’s a few things I disagree with:

    “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.”

    This seems to me to be a rather too Utopian interpretation :). There’s a ton of code that hasn’t been written yet. Even now, we’re missing a lot of stuff which I wrote about at http://www.happyassassin.net/2010/08/05/finishing-up-controversial-crap-week-what-canonical-ought-to-do/ . When Ubuntu first showed up, this was even more the case (graphics and wireless drivers were in far worse condition back then, support for 3G data devices didn’t exist, PulseAudio didn’t exist, hell, I don’t think we had support for WPA yet!) I think it’s pretty clear that the free desktop can still benefit enormously from good old traditional big software engineering projects, and that the distribution that wants to bring the free desktop to the people can help itself out enormously by supporting these. It certainly doesn’t seem to me to be the case that we already have tons of people fixing these things and Canonical would just be throwing more cooks at the broth if it tried to help.

    Now, to turn around and contradict myself!

    “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.”

    Respectfully, I think it’s misleading to suggest that there wasn’t a simple installer for Linux before Ubuntu / Debian’s came along. To take only the most obvious example, Mandrake / Mandriva had (and has) an excellent one for which it was consistently praised in reviews. I can entirely understand the decision to write a different one for Ubuntu, and I think the Ubuntu installer is a great piece of engineering and a good contribution to the F/OSS ecosystem, but it would be better not to suggest it’s the *only* simple and functional Linux installer, or that it ever was the only one.

    “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 realize I’m tooting a horn I’ve been tooting here for quite some time, but again, I disagree with your characterization of this as ‘unique’. Again, Mandrake / Mandriva is an obvious counter-example. Mandrake / Mandriva always was and still is a distro with exactly these same goals. It may have done them on a more modest scale necessitated by its more modest resources, and you might argue over which did it better, but I don’t agree with your characterization of Ubuntu as doing something here that no-one had ever tried before. To be specific: Mandriva always has provided a release that is both free-as-in-beer and free-as-in-speech as one of its core commitments, and always saw its mission, much as Ubuntu does, as delivering the free software desktop to ordinary users in as convenient and usable a way as possible. I don’t believe Ubuntu’s mission is fundamentally different.

    I suspect supporters of SUSE would say much the same about that distribution, and there are probably some community distros I’m forgetting (perhaps Arch). Again, I can see an argument that Ubuntu did these things on a bigger scale than previous distributions, and even an argument that it did them better (though I personally would disagree), but I don’t really think it’s supportable to argue that it does something completely different. If you disagree, perhaps you could point up more specifically what aspect it is of Ubuntu’s philosophy or mission that you think is entirely unique.

    “There’s nothing proprietary or secret that goes into the desktops that Canonical supports inside large organisations.”

    This is *mostly* true, but you *do* ship special-sauce builds for OEMs, which may be unavoidable but does seem regrettable, particularly when it contributes to spectacular disasters like the whole Poulsbo debacle. Dell and Intel are much more to blame for that particular mess, but Canonical’s willingness to provide an Ubuntu build which included proprietary components not present in the standard Ubuntu build, without clearly highlighting that this was not a stock Ubuntu build in its publicity, did contribute to the whole problem.

    “In recent weeks it’s been suggested that Canonical’s efforts are self-directed and not of benefit to the broader open source community.”

    I’d certainly not put things in terms anything like that broad (or, as you describe it, ‘stinging’) but there *is* a kernel of truth to the thought. I’d say it’s more that Canonical’s culture is generally to work on the basis of ‘let’s put stuff into this awesome product called Ubuntu, then we’ll think about how to make it part of a sustainable ecosystem that’s bigger than Canonical/Ubuntu later’, whereas the best way to do things would be the other way around: ‘let’s contribute stuff into this sustainable F/OSS ecosystem so that it winds up in our awesome Ubuntu product’. There’s degrees of everything, and this minor flaw in Canonical’s approach is nothing like as bad as…well…just about any other tech company out there. But being good doesn’t mean you can’t aim to be better. =) Yes, it’s harder to write stuff in a proper independent upstream environment and then filter it down into a distribution. It’s much easier to just build your own little environment which is tightly coupled to your distribution and write all your stuff in there. It makes things flow more efficiently and it lets you get all the initial coding work done faster. It’s more exciting. You see results quickly. But in the end, it makes it harder for anyone but your organization to care about that work. (Note that one great thing about the Paper Cuts project is that most of the fixes it produces are simple patches that go to upstream bug trackers and immediately benefit the entire F/OSS ecosystem). This doesn’t just crop up in code, either; I know a lot of non-Ubuntu-land translation folks who are quite sad at how tied into the Ubuntu system Ubuntu’s translation efforts are. It doesn’t have to be that way! You could get Ubuntu contributors enthusiastic about contributing translations into upstream projects too. (I saw a blog post about this from an ex-Ubuntu translation contributor recently, but have unfortunately lost the reference; it seemed overly harsh, to me, but there was a useful kernel in there.)

    “But still, if you *really* care about design in free software, the Canonical design team is the place to be.”

    It’s a small point, but this just seems unnecessarily exclusionary. =) Yes, you’re proud, that’s cool, and you have the right to wave your flag. But couldn’t you just say it’s ‘a great place to be’? I can imagine the Fedora design team would feel pretty hurt to read that line.

    Since I often get misinterpreted as being far nastier than I actually feel, I’ll close out by again emphasizing that I carp because I care, and because I think it’s not a lost cause. =) Canonical is better than 99% of companies out there and does seem to care about considering and responding to outside criticism, as this post indeed indicates. So that’s why I write. It doesn’t mean I think Canonical is worse than lots of other folks I just don’t bother writing about, because there’d be no point.

  55. Sum Yung Gai says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    The folks at Red Hat who are criticizing Canonical need to be quiet and focus on what they do best. You are focusing on what *you* do best. What desktop GNU/Linux distro have Red Hat put out that could seriously challenge Microsoft Windows for useability? NONE.

    Red Hat have been attacked in the past for some crazy reasons (e. g. “Red Hat’s not truly free”). I defended them then and will continue to do so. However, when they step out of line, as they have this time, I will point that out, too.

    I know this: Canonical, with Ubuntu, have made it possible for me to migrate some people away from Microsoft’s lack of freedom to something that is much more Free. Hopefully, more in my country (the United States) will come to see that and jump aboard the Freedom train, too. You took Debian and made it actually useable for my parents, and other GNU/Linux distros have benefitted from what you’ve done.

    So keep on goin’, Mark. You already know that you’re doing a very good thing here.

    –SYG

  56. willmar says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    To Jef Spaleta @September 14th, 2010 at 5:11 pm, I would response paraphrasing what many others have said herein: don’t allow small and irrelevant criticism to obfuscate the big picture.

  57. Beelzebud says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Mr. Shuttleworth, I just want to say thank you. Ubuntu introduced me to Linux and I’ll always love it for that. I use Arch Linux now, because I wanted to dig in to the guts of Linux, but without Ubuntu, I’m not sure I would have gotten there. It’s a shame people have put you on the defensive about what you do. People who should know better…

  58. drewskiwooskie says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    The question was not what has Ubuntu done, but why have they not worked well with upstream. That was never answered. Maybe some positive examples of Ubuntu working with upstream would help squelch those rumors.

  59. socceroos says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Hey Mark,

    Just a short note to let you know that everything you’ve done is totally awesome. I’ve been using your distro as my main work desktop for over 5 years now. And now we’re slowly, bit-by-bit, moving the whole company over to an open source solution.

    Thanks for the vehicle to get us here!

    Warm regards,

    Socceroos

  60. Darryl Allardice says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    You have articulated well the essence of the value that Ubuntu has brought to the free sofware ecosystem and how it differs (but is no less valuable!) from other Linux companies. Every time I read/hear about complaints regarding Ubuntu’s contribution to upstream projects, I think to myself “you are missing the point” — improving the software for individual projects is not their goal…improving the process of getting that (already great) software onto more people’s computers and packaging it in a way that makes it easy and reliable for people to consume is the goal. That has long been a weakness of free software projects (thinking back to the days of manually editing my x.org file or ppp connection settings) and it is here that Ubuntu has made a real impact. I recognize you for the contributions you have made, and say “thank you, sir!”

  61. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Socceroos,

    The whole company is moving to Ubuntu or some other open solution?

    -jef

  62. Tadu says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Nicely said – you keep saying “GNOME and KDE” all the time, except 10.04 shows again quite clearly that you only mean “GNOME”. Show me a Kubuntu that’s as polished as Ubuntu and I’ll start taking these words seriously again. As it currently is, if you want bug fixes, you need PPAs, which means lots of breakage during upgrades, and even then, you may end up upgrading to a new “bug fix release” and suddenly all stuff breaks. The Kubuntu web page is really nice nowadays, but the promise of being “stable” is a promise that it doesn’t keep. At least, using the computer for a while and then X losing the ability to assign a click to the window under the mouse pointer (only remedy: restart X) and not being able to assign clicks on the window decoration either is not what I consider “stable”. The same is kwin using lots of CPU with abysmal speed (yes I know, it is an upstream problem where the people in charge are proud of their “operation succeeded, patient dead” attitude) isn’t LTS-worthy, either, with the only other option of using compiz with its usability issues. There’s a lot of work to do…

    PS. The only thing I heard about Papercuts was the Papercut of some mostly GNOME-only issue that was “fixed” by breaking the functionality of my PC speaker. :-/

  63. Akira says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    “The folks at Red Hat who are criticizing Canonical need to be quiet and focus on what they do best”.

    Mark, you should be proud of those comments ;). Good, good work.

  64. Unseamly says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    In other words, you feel good about the whole thing. Everything’s fine and getting ever better and your critics are all dead wrong. I wish you shared your Conky config instead of this, but what the hell, thanks anyways.

    Btw, don’t file this kind of post under “reflections”; try “ego trips”, and “grade F attempts at spin”, and defensive ones at that.

    Do better. And stop banning the very word “Linux” from Ubuntu’s website.

  65. Esteban says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I installed Linux Mint 1 month ago, with a Windows dual-boot set-up. Let me tell you that for the first time in my life I’m not booting Windows at all (I tried several distros at other points in my life. Always ended up returning to XP).

    And I thank YOU for making this happen. Yeah, I’m not using Ubuntu, I’m using Mint. But just like you said, they stand on your shoulders. You (and your team) are doing the hard work.

    Sure, I’ve bumped into some bugs and there are some features that are lacking -Customizable scroll wheel speed :’( -, but if it were to be a completed project you would be playing golf or Final Fantasy instead of investing your time and money into Ubuntu.

    In other words, keep up the good work ^_^

  66. Hussam Al-Tayeb says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Mark, you ar being confused. You say ubuntu contributes to people’s lifes. Yes, for sure it does. Many people have started using Linux because of you. But this isn’t what critics are talking about. Ubuntu has long been criticized for not contributing patches to upstream or not doing it enough. Whatever your contribution to upstream code is, it needs to be a LOT more.

  67. Rafael says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Hey Mark. What a nice post! Thank you very much for everything Ubuntu. I’ve been using it since Breezy Badger. I can say that I’m a happier guy now that I found Ubuntu. Thank you!

  68. Felipe Contreras says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:30 am

    The single most important part of open source is collaboration; if you don’t collaborate you are playing a different game.

    You say “but Canonical doesn’t do X”, if X is collaboration, then you are not part of the open source community; period. It’s like saying “like the sun, but without the brightness”, or “like the sky, but without air”; collaboration is quintessential to open source, and Canonical doesn’t do it.

    How would a selfish Canonical look like? Surely their goal would also be to attract as many users as possible. So why should anyone applaud that you are doing it? You are just pleasing your stockholders.

    Anything Canonical does is for the sake of Ubuntu, not for the sake of the Linux ecosystem. What would be interesting to see is something that wasn’t absolutely required, but you did it anyway, not for the sake of Ubuntu, but for the sake of Linux.

  69. johncr13 says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 1:10 am

    I just want to thank you for helping make Linux easier to use. I tried Linux distros before Ubuntu existed and found them too much of a hassle for me to work with. After trying Ubuntu a few years back I could tell that it was a distribution with a focus on ease of use. As time passes I can tell that Ubuntu keeps getting easier and more useful. The efforts of the Ubuntu community are helping to free the world from the oppression of being locked into expensive closed software systems. I enjoy using Ubuntu Studio for my music making efforts and Ubuntu for my desktops. Thanks a lot!

  70. Mark Shuttleworth’s PR stunt to make Canonical not look like a leecher « Felipe Contreras says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 1:20 am

    [...] 15, 2010 by FelipeC Leave a Comment I read Mark Shuttleworth’s long and boring post “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption”, and I have to say it’s a very good PR stunt, waving the issues, repeating mantra, and trying [...]

  71. John Pisini says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Mark, Thank you.
    I am not an Ubuntu user but I believe every Linux user added regardless of distro used is a win for us all. Keep on moving forward Ubuntu benefits the entire Linux community and I am glad it exists.

  72. Mr.doob says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:10 am

    *Standing ovation*

  73. lucidfox says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:11 am

    > There is another reason why a lot of the others may be extremely unhappy. You are bringing Linux to the masses. I once dabbled with Esperanto and the people who spoke the language were horrified at the thought it could be taught in schools.

    Insightful. I think that mindset deserves a separate article.

  74. Felipe Lessa says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Very diplomatic. It’s no coincidence that you are Ubuntu’s leader. With this post you acknowledged the statistics while reconciling everyone.

    Cheers!

  75. David says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:16 am

    So, here is Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind the easiest to setup Linux distro; a man who’s could be sipping piña coladas in a private island yet still cares enough to setup great initiatives to help others with less resources than himself; a man who’s been *in space* for crying out loud!

    And he’s getting criticized by some people with rather specious arguments or petty philosophical complaints. People whose contribution to the OSS ecosystem, if any at all, is necessarily thousands of times smaller than Mark’s.

    Let them moan and bitch, I say. Let them write their little-minded comments and inconsequential drivel, while Mark and the great team of people depending on Mark’s initiatives for their contribution to OSS go on with the great work they’ve been doing so far.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and this is mine: Boooh, haters! If you don’t like what you see, work on improving it, not destroying it. That is, after all, the Open Source philosophy.

    (To Mark: sorry for the inflammatory comment, but I’ve seen this happen so many times: someone sets up a great project that rubs someone else the wrong way, and ends up getting discouraging remarks and useless criticism for the trouble. Just ignore them!)

  76. Ellipsis says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Like many here my life was profoundly changed by Ubuntu… I am currently studying business analysis and design with the goal of working for Canonical/Ubuntu in a few years.

    Keep up the great work Mark!

  77. steve-o says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:49 am

    handing out our work and using it to upsell ubuntu one is not “giving back to the community”

    contribute upstream instead of patching the crap out of every package you produce

    it’s all well and good that you spend money on color schemes but some of us are trying to write software over here

  78. John says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:57 am

    The growing level of unasked-for criticism simply means you’re making an important and lasting change, thus drawing a strong reaction from those who don’t like change or have something to lose.

    I’ve dabbled back to Linux on and off for almost 20 years since the Slackware days, and Ubuntu is the *first* distro that I’m seriously considering making permanent. Please keep up the good work.

  79. David Dean says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:21 am

    You sir perform a great service to us all. Your contributions are reflected in the massive popularity of the distro. It has been a boon to everyone involved in developing, supporting, proselytizing or simply using linux based systems everywhere.

    It might be healthy for people to worry about their work and how they’re doing it, but in my humble estimation you should be quite pleased with everything you’ve done.

    Sincerely,
    A happy, long-time linux user

  80. Sporkman says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Thanks for your efforts, Mark. Ubuntu has definitely improved my digital life both on the desktop side & the server side.

    It’s great to hear about the large-scale corporate desktop deployments, that is really good news. Maybe an entry in the “Case Studies” section of Ubuntu.com about how much money & headaches for the customer were saved by the switchover would be in order.

  81. Caleb Cushing ( xenoterracide ) says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Right not what concerns me is that you may not really be helping Linux, but only Ubuntu. I think Joel Spolky’s post on the maintained segregation of Unix from the Ubuntu community demonstrates that, this kind of “tribalism” is something we can’t afford.

    I don’t like Debian, or Ubuntu. I bought my Dell with Ubuntu on it, but when (as a long term Gentoo user which is by no means easy) everything broke in the dist-upgrade. I went elsewhere, with Gentoo dying I went to Arch Linux, and am Happy there. Personally I’ll recommend OpenSuse (running KDE ) as a more polished distro to the average user, and I wish that Kubuntu got the same support level.

    I really dislike the propagation of sudo over a real root account that ubuntu has spawned. Not because sudo is a bad tool, but because on a single admin system (user?), it offers little advantage over su -c, and I feel in most cases this has created a false sense of security among linux users. Of course I am all for run root as little as possible and never run apps as root etc. I would be happier if ubuntu had a more configured and locked down sudo that prevented all but a tiny few apps to be run by sudo out of the box, which would be a worthwhile use of sudo over su -c.

    but people can and will do as they will, so even though I don’t like Ubuntu, and will never recommend it, I don’t mind what it’s doing. But I am seriously concerned about this ‘tribalism’ where Ubuntu seems to be breaking away. Where people search “Ubuntu [problem]“, instead of “Linux [problem]“. Where people seem to think Ubuntu is hugely different, even thought for all purposes Ubuntu has all the same code other distro’s do. It’s not generating much code, so there aren’t hardly any differences at all.

  82. chris says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Great points! It isn’t all about the source code. There is more to free software than code. What good are applications if nobody knows about them? “Marketing” it to new users is important and I don’t think we should discredit these efforts. I think that is exactly what Mark Shuttleworth is trying to do. Marketing it to traditional users would be more self-beneficial probably assuming nothing new. The thing is Mark Shuttleworth is trying to connect the final pieces and make it available in such a way that new non-tech savvy users can actually utilize it.

    I’m not sure who the critics are although I think they were initially aired at LinuxCon2010 when I was there although I wasn’t in the room at the time. If it in reference to the fact Ubuntu isn’t completely free I think there is a point to be made. I’m not about to argue it though. To suggest we design the distribution in such a way that it is intentionally difficult for users to install non-free software would I believe be in conflict with our interests even if users installing such software is not in their or our best interests. We need to get that message out- even if that means it is to the developers of non-free software companies rather than to the users.

    Our company is selling free- as in freedom desktops, laptops, accessories, and support to the public so users get systems that actually work. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with every laptop I’ve ever bought from the other companies selling “Linux laptops” is they don’t sell systems that work. And I’ve bought from every major player (Dell, EmperorLinux, LinuxCertified, etc). Something always just doesn’t work or at least not right. Be it the modem, suspend to ram, graphics, optical drive, USB, wifi, or something else. Things break with upgrades and you even often get taxed with non-free software licenses. Things are getting better- but even now the “Linux companies” still aren’t designing the hardware despite the availability of “free chipsets” for use with GNU/Linux.

    If they did you wouldn’t have systems where the hardware stopped working because of some non-free driver/firmware issue. You will find non-free drivers/firmware in just about every type of hardware on the market today despite improvements in some areas; Printers, audio cards/chipsets, wifi cards/chipsets, graphics cards/chipsets, modems, amongst many other components. That is basically our goal- to ‘free hardware’ and we’re hoping others will follow suite. Commercial operations are a good thing I think- as I believe Mark does. They help move GNU/Linux forward into the mainstream.

    Our site:
    http://www.thinkpenguin.com/

    Wiki of “free hardware” with clear & strict requirements to ensure GNU/Linux compatibility (early still- help add to it!!!):
    http://www.designed-for-linux.org/

  83. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:07 am

    @ Hussam
    Does your post mean that GNOME needs to do a LOT more to contribute to people’s lives? coz they clearly aren’t, well not at the level of Ubuntu to say the least. And they need to be scalded for not doing so?

  84. Caleb Cushing ( xenoterracide ) says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:22 am

    One other thing, remember, “with great power comes great responsibility”, Ubuntu has increasingly great power, but does not appear to be being responsible with that power.

  85. Daryl says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Another enthusiastic user; the easy accessibility of Ubuntu is a joy, guaranteed to keep winning converts! Incredible stuff!

  86. Jeff says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Ubuntu has a lot of upstreams (and downstreams, like Mint). You mention the kernel and GNOME upstreams. People who are expecting a big Ubuntu contribution to the kernel at this stage are just being unrealistic, for a variety of reasons which should be obvious.

    GNOME, and say, fd.o (freedesktop.org) are different. While people have used GNOME for a long time, Ubuntu is putting GNOME out there on a big scale, which is going past the usual techie base that would be using it. The percentage of people using GNOME due to Ubuntu is significantly larger than the people using Linux due to Ubuntu. To put it another way, Ubuntu has grown GNOME’s userbase by percentage larger than it has increased Linux’s userbase by percentage. I expect a good upstream/downstream relationship between Ubuntu and GNOME/f.do more than I do the kernel.

    As I said, and as some on the Slashdot discussion of this blog post understand, when you have developer’s using an OS, you can expect a lot of bug reports with patches attached sent upstream by the person who experienced the problem. When one of the core audiences for your OS are people new to Linux, the kind of non-techies who usually use Microsoft on their desktop, you’re not going to get that. You’ll be lucky if they know how to report a bug to Ubuntu, never mind upstream, never mind with a patch attached. What have you done about with regards to this? Well obviously, Ubuntu has thought up things like apport, so as to leverage this particular situation. Apport is good, apport is the kind of thing that benefits not just Ubuntu, but upstream when the bug gets kicked up to it, as it sometimes does – “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.”

    I’ve seen plenty of reproducible bugs with full backtraces attached posted upstream to GNOME and fd.o. This *is* a contribution to those projects. Of course, such things are only a first step, the next step would be patches attached to those bug reports from time to time, and then there are steps after that as well. If Ubuntu is continually receptive to working with upstreams; if Ubuntu and Canonical continue to grow and attract developers, and if Ubuntu creates an ever-improving community, on Launchpad, IRC etc. that retains and attracts those developers – if these things are done then these problems will eventually sort themselves out.

    I use Ubuntu, and I’ve had problems with some upstream programs. Admittedly, my knowledge in some of the libraries I’d need to know is low, I’ve begun learning some of them better recently though. But some of the upstream communities are very insular places with little documentation, often elitist attitudes and esoteric ways of doing things. It can be difficult to contribute back to them. Sometimes, due to attitudes of some, I don’t even want to contribute back to them.

    If you’re spending so much time seeing what works in organizations, you should read a little bit of research about how working communities develop. There has been a ton of research into this, and it perplexes me a little about how you are so perturbed by some of the blunt comments about you and Canonical and Ubuntu. This is all part of building a working community! You should be *celebrating* this bluntness, not thrown off by it. You should really read some research into the stages of building a working community or organization. It goes something like this:

    Stage one: The nascent organization meets for the first few times. Everyone wants to get along, everyone wants the organization to work and everyone bites their tongue and is convivial in a slightly false way.
    Stage two: The false conviviality goes away. People begin very bluntly stating their opinions. There is absolutely no consensus, everyone has their own idea of how to proceed, and people here a lot of, as you put it, “critique” of their idea.
    Stage three: If the community/organization makes it past stage two, what happens is people begin to all give in slightly. Someone makes a suggestion which sounds good (or at least harmless) and you say OK, we’ll do that part your way. You give a few suggestions, maybe some are shot down, but people sign on for others.

    Then there is a stage four etc. but as we’re between stages two and three, that doesn’t matter.

    It is absolutely necessary for people to bluntly state their position for things to proceed. This should be welcomed. Of course, some people are not properly socialized and will engage in personal attacks and so forth, but it generally is a bunch of sandal wearing, bearded, slightly overweight, hawaiian shirt wearing etc. developers we’re talking about after all. Again, it’s absolutely necessary for everyone to state their case for things to proceed, it’s just unfortunate that some of those people are sometimes mean-spirited when they are – mature adults will just disregard that tone, in the speaking *and* in the listening. After this we go on to the next step, everyone gives in a little and accepts other people’s reasonable suggestions. Now we’re all working together and in step 3 and are then ready to move on to step 4.

    So don’t be disheartened by bluntness. It’s unfortunate that people mix mean-spiritedness with bluntness but that is just how it is. I can lose my patience too sometimes.

  87. Piter says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Some old timers complain Ubuntu’s branding being a bit deceptive. New users calling Linux “Ubuntu” everywhere reminds me of AOL purposely making the Web or Usenet look like an extension of their own services [with millions of less technical users flooding forums spreading this confusion.]

    I’m not against it and it is definitely within GPL. But these marketing tactics are not my cup of tea.

  88. Serra says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 5:17 am

    I think that you need to sell some half-truths to win users. A new user is not interested what is running on his machine, more about how well it is running. If you tell him it is gnu/linux/ubuntu/bash/apt/ndiswrapper/… then he will just get all confused up front.
    In my opinion the least technical users are the best market for ubuntu, as you can set it up and run with zero maintaining forever unlike windows machine.

  89. Open Source Pixels » Shuttleworth: Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 6:05 am

    [...] Shuttleworth responds to critiques of Canonical’s (and Ubuntu’s) contributions to free software. “When Ubuntu was [...]

  90. Lephahlela says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    what ubuntu brought exactly what was lacking to the in the linux ecosystem.
    Ubuntu has brought a Linux to the people especially here in South Africa. Right now ubuntu is very competitive compared to windows and OS X, we cannot afford to loose sight of the bigger picture. Marketing is very important and ubuntu has done that very well and must continue to do that.
    It will break our hearts to see such a good project going down because of a few short-sighted people.
    Rom 12:4 A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use.

  91. Peer says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 7:59 am

    What Mark is obviously doing is to strongly anchor the concept of love into the free software movement. Love always starts with seeing life through the eyes of somebody else, and then continues to make you do whatever you can to help improve her/his own life as well as his/her contribution to the life of others. IMHO Mark and his Team(s) are hugely successful in this effort. Linux’s usability and reliability have vastly improved thanks to their work and I’m glad to also see them building bridges and pioneering social concepts in free software and beyond.

    Mark, if you’re looking for areas to support, you might take a closer look at RepRap. This is a concept which might be The Next Big Thing. It’s an area where the concept of Free Software and Design starts to seriously spill over into machine tools and manufacturing. To get an idea what it is, see this http://reprap.org/wiki/How_to_make_RepRap_Version_II_Mendel page. If you see such machine at work, it’s simply fascinating. And to see very clearly why the (“self-”)replicating feature of such devices is sooo important, read this http://reprap.org/wiki/Wealth_Without_Money short page. This is about pioneering a generous world in it’s material and manufacturing aspects, and about finding solutions to the equivalent of Ubuntu’s bug #1 in the “real” word (if one chooses to oppose software and real world, which of course is nonsens), which is as stuck in a non-disclosure and concurrence culture regarding plans and encouragements to DIY as were software before the GPL.

    Cheers, and good luck!

  92. Jens says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Great post, thank you so much for your words.

  93. svu says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Beside the issue of (not?) contributing to GNOME, there is another issue – seriously changing the GNOME experience. With the level of patching Ubuntu puts into GNOME, it is going more and more far from what vanilla GNOME provides. Legally, that is ok, it is FOSS after all. But it does not look nice at all, it is not a friendly course of action. At some point IMHO you should stop using the GNOME brand as you do now. Users should have clear understanding they are using Ubuntu desktop, not GNOME desktop.

  94. Markus says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:48 am

    A recent user here (coming on to a year, after having dabbled with other distros), and I want to thank you for all the time (and money) you have put into this project. I’m sure you can take the sniping, but it must sting a bit, so I would simply like to balance it by thanking you for giving this product to the world!

  95. Stefan says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Dear Mark,

    please continue becoming an even better downstream. I am sure you know, a patch you do not need to maintain yourself, a patch you can push upstream, you don’t need to maintain yourself. This frees up resources and let’s you do more of the awesome stuff you do.

    Stefan

  96. Julian says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Mark, no matter what you do, someone will always object to what you are doing.
    But let me put this in a few words: before Ubuntu, Linux was not for everyone. With Ubuntu, Linux is suitable to almost everyone.

    You have done actions that changed my life and that of thousand others. You have donated part of your fortune to make this world a better place. You have made a difference.

    Thriving for improvement is a good thing and you should persue that. But always keep the big picture in mind: software that works, for everyone. Never forget this please.

  97. HairyBloke says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I recognise Ubuntu could make a big difference to the desktop scene and for that I appreciate what you are striving for. It might not be easy to produce a seamless desktop experience (stepping on so many toes?) as that’s almost the antithesis of *nix philosphy (at the smaller scale) but it has to be done. So please keep up the good work.

    I wouldn’t worry about the critics too much. They’ll always be there to help keep you on your toes! Isn’t that their job ?

    Remember: three eyes good: one eyed vision bad.
    Look straight ahead but don’t forget to check the periphery !
    And there’s a lot of people who have got your back covered ….

  98. John L says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    An excellent post.

    1% is actually quite a lot considering the size of the whole Linux project, the massive number of contributors and the relative youth of Canonical when compared to the likes of RedHat, IBM and all the other large well established companies that also contribute, not to mention government agencies like NSA.

    And don’t forget that once RH moved focus to RHEL, a number of organisations started using that as a base so many folk use CentOS, Scientific Linux etc which shows that the user really appreciates (and can afford) open source.

    What Canonical has done is to make it easily installable, usable and presentable to the masses. This is no small thing and if Canonical has become a viable business in the process, good for you! It means that the model works and you will continue to be able to support Ubuntu with the willing help of all the folk out there.

    There are two essential high value-added stages to any process – the initial innovation in this case by Linus and the customisation. There are a number of distros but the user is clearly saying that Canonical has got it pretty nearly right. Well done!

  99. Della scelta dei mezzi per raggiungere il fine « Idl3's Blog says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 9:57 am

    [...] che quel tipo di marketing sia indispensabile per la diffusione delle distribuzioni GNU/Linux e scrive dunque: “When Ubuntu was conceived, the Linux ecosystem was in a sense fully formed. We had a [...]

  100. Ale says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    GO AHEAD MARK!!! GREAT JOB SUPPORTED BY GREAT IDEALS!!!

  101. Rahul says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Hello,

    Excellent article and excellent sentiments.

    I didn’t know you receive thank you notes regularly, I just assumed they would be deleted. Now that I know, I want to do something that I have put off for too long a time.

    Since Oct 2007: Thank you. for Fawn, Gibbon, Heron, Ibex, Jackrabbit?, Koala, Lynx, upcoming Meerkat: Thank you. On behalf of self, wife, 4-year old, dad, mom, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, colleagues and more: Thank you.

    I attempt to give something back by being active at ubuntuforums.org. It’s a small attempt, but it gives me some peace.

    Just so that you know. I don’t expect a reply.

  102. Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu criticism - oBlurb says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    [...] really are two stories here. One is Shuttleworth’s own blog post at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517 (recommended reading) while the other is an inflammatory piece by ITWorld on why Ubuntu [...]

  103. Richard says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Well said Mark!

    All I can say is that if it wasn’t for Ubuntu I would probably still be using Windows. So as you say people dip their toe with Ubuntu to get into the Linux world and in my case this is very true.

    Now my family uses Ubuntu on all six of our computers, I’ve installed it on friends computers and also my dad’s laptop.

    All I can say is keep up the great work on the Ubuntu project and I must thank every single person that has contributed code to it.

    Thank you!!!!

  104. claudio says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    We are all with you Mark! Canonical is doing a great job and you are the right leader!

  105. Richard Kay says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    A great explanation of what you do Mark. I’ve used Linux for 14 years now, and needed to, and Ubuntu has let me concentrate more on what I need to do having fixed some other stuff quite well that previously got in the way. I’m also developing Free Software with a world-changing mission – to make the thing we call money work better for the majority who have little of it. If Ubuntu ever gets to the point where you want to do something else, do let me know if you want to find out more.

  106. Rob Jonson says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I just wanted to add my thanks.

    Ubuntu does a fantastic job of making free software available and useable. I have two computers running Ubuntu, and they ‘just work’.

    Thank you.

  107. Jose says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Good post!

    Using OSS I have been asking similar questions, I will point two examples:

    1) The GIMP photo editor takes a lot of time to load, because instead of loading a big block of memory, it loads a lot of small, single files(brushes, pens,gradient…). They decided this was better because this way you can change it. But 99,99%of the real users of GIMP are never going to change the default scripts,brushes, whatever. So you are making millions of people to wait a lot because is better for the devs. dev-centric instead of user-centric. The best waiting to load popup screen is that that doesn’t exist because it is fast.

    2) With inkscape each new version add new dependencies, making it bloatware like adobe pdf reader, needing huge quantities of RAM, and making it so slow to load too, even with new hardware.

    There is a need for someone to look at the users and study what is important to them, so they could feedback onto the developers, because without it, devs are blind and self-centered. This is becoming the strength of canonical, IMHO they are in the right path.

    Marketing is important in companies because if you don’t help people, people is not going to buy from you, and you go bankrupt, even with the best tech team if you don’t make something people want(need).

    Without this feedback you could isolate yourself in your ivory tower just making what we devs want, witch is great for devs as a pastime, but not good for the community as a whole. No way OSS could compete with commercial software without good marketing(not the people’s association with marketing though as advertising and sales, but as those that care about the user).

    I would love commercial and OSS software to be able to live together, witch they are not, I can’t install Photoshop, Autocad ,or any game on linux if I want, because those that make those products don’t want to release their codes, if they do they will lose their competitive advantage(it is way easier to copy something having the engineering planes or computer source codes that create it in the first place). Ubuntu wants to make products a commodity and consider only services as a valid way to pay the bills, witch is good for those that specializes in services but bad for those that like to do products(believe it or not, they are introverts as well as extroverts in this world, who is not good giving services, but very good at solving problems and making products). Products that needs a long time, experience and effort to create are not coming to linux if they have to reveal all their inner workings(if you have been working 20 years on a product you devaluate your work as now anybody could make a product that competes with you).

  108. Arthur Abogadil says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’m a programmer that used mostly M* Tools since i started, but really wanted to use RAILS, i now use Ubuntu in learning RAILS, wish me luck with this new endeavor! And Thanks for ubuntu!

  109. Duncan Murray says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Congratulations on the contract! As a very happy user of Ubuntu 10.04, I am glad for canonical and hope that you continue to receive such contracts in the future. From a selfish point of view, it’s also great for myself, as it hopefully means that my 10.04 will continue to be supported! Do you think you could convert a hospital over to Linux? Our trust just spent an undisclosed sum of money updating office to 2007, and I can’t help thinking (in these difficult financial times) what a waste of money that was. The problem is, though, that the software we use (medway) is Windows based.

  110. T says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Jef Spaleta +1
    http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517#comment-333616
    Hussam Al-Tayeb +1
    http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517#comment-333689

    The sooner it is made clear to Ubuntu users that the software contained within a Ubuntu distribution is created by thousands of people, of which the Ubuntu developers are a tiny minority of and that the Ubuntu developers contribute very little to in comparison to everybody else in the FOSS community to upstream projects, the sooner Ubuntu users will realise that the software shipped in Ubuntu is not the sole creation of _only_ the Ubuntu developers, that FOSS encompasses a community which far out reaches Ubuntu’s tiny community in relative comparison and that participation in and contribution too FOSS is the very corner stone of the ideals that have made FOSS the success it is today.
    However, that message is extremely unlikely to get to Ubuntu users from anyone working at Canonical. This inconvenient truth is persistently and conveniently hidden from users of Ubuntu Linux.

    “We are too busy making our product do what we think our users want; to participate in an active way upstream which is equal to our usage level,” is not a valid excuse IMO.
    Ubuntu is forking projects instead of working upstream for the greater good.
    All the other FOSS distributors are working actively upstream but Ubuntu is reaping the benefits of their hard work without contributing much of it’s own and all whilst Canonical seeks to profit from this practice.
    Mark, you really must understand why this practice of little or no upstream contribution is wrong and that you must stop talking about why you think not contributing upstream is the “Right thing to do” and actually _do_ something to rectify it instead.

    Whilst of trying to coerce upstream developers of projects which Ubuntu ships but contributes very little to, to make releases closer to Ubuntu’s schedule, Ubuntu is now in fact because of the lack of contribution : Likely under scrutiny by the developers of such projects. I am quite sure that many either want to run counter to Ubuntu’s schedule at every possible juncture or hold off those bug fixes they’re holding onto (Which haven’t been pushed to master yet) until after Ubuntu release but before their (Insert FOSS company here) makes their own release.
    Meaning that more Ubuntu developers spend their time packaging bug fixes as updates after release than adding “Ubuntu” features to their Ubuntu forks of upstream as a result.

    You really should be hiding your shame here and admitting to a widely accepted Ubuntu problem, instead of feeding your group of followers : Ubuntu contributes to FOSS because we make it easier for people to use it. No. You don’t. You make it easier to use Ubuntu and only Ubuntu. Whilst everyone else is fixing things upstream, which you are not delegating resources too because you are too busy trying to make your own product acceptable at best in your own repositories. All of this is at the expense of everybody else who contributes to the FOSS which you ship in your Ubuntu product.
    You’ve also posted as if Ubuntu is free software too. It isn’t.
    Ask the FSF why not.

    So basically, instead of a load of guff about what Ubuntu actually does and taking some of your positives for granted, you should be turning your negatives into positives by endeavouring to put right the lack of Ubuntu developer contribution in upstream projects, stopping the forking of upstream and stopping the application of copyright to software which you call “Free” to Canonical.

    No one’s really asking for many words on the issue. Words account for very little when it is clear that it is action that must be taken to rectify the situation in this case.

    “Cultivating contentment is crucial to maintaining peaceful coexistence.” – The Dalai Lama of Tibet.

  111. Alvaro Romero says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Thank you for deleting my previous comment. Censorship is good, even applied to an old Ubuntu Linux user like me :-D. I’m not talking from the Ubuntu haters side.

    Not being an Ubuntu fanboy isn’t cool , but I’m sure that is uncool to most of your tribe… I wrote my feelings sincerely, naming the things as they are – Ubuntards == ubuntu stupid fanatics like Debian ones -. There are too many of them today.

    But you prefer the bells, whistles and flowers from your advocates instead sincere opinions from your users… I recommended Ubuntu to my colleagues until today, but you have lost now my confidence.

    I repeat: Ubuntu is almost at civil war with other opensource projects if you and the rest of the Ubuntu people continue with the “we are too cool” and “we are the only distro” attitude against the other FOSS people. If this opinion offends you, I’m sorry for telling you the truth and not being in your cool tribe.

    Ah! And you was the one who call Ubuntu a leecher, I only put your own words in my comment. You admitted it:

    “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”.

    It must feel like leeching… Err, it’s leeching. Increasing bug reports is good when you spend some resources to correct it too. And again: Ubuntu “big” projects are too ubuntu-centric. Look at fedora PackageKit, for example. Ubuntu devs must contribute more to its root projects -debian, GNOME, …- before being treated as real contributors.

  112. Balaji D Raj says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Really interesting article. I changed the way i look at PC. earlier i need to think of a lot of distracting topics like security with aid of Antivirus, Firewall, downloading browsers, office softwares… but with ubuntu i can peacefully focus on my computation..

    Great job by Ubuntu Community & Canonical.. Go Ahead..

    I am also spreading Ubuntu awareness among my friends..

  113. Chauncellor says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    As a “Classical” musician, I can understand what you are experiencing. I work hours and hours everyday yet I endure the criticism from so many people. It’s that small group that understands that I tailor to. Throughout my life I will always find people that instinctively shrink away and poke fun at the music. Looking through history has shown me that this music has really played an integral role in pleasant expansions of all types of western music (and that includes genres such as Rap, Pop, etc.).

    But the “Classical” musician will continue to be the group of old people playing Mozart in the public eye.

    You’re always going to get shackled by the world; in fact, since Ubuntu is starting to become a major player, it might get much worse, I’m afraid. The best that we can do is be thankful for what we have and keep chugging our stuff. Our situation can be a lot worse than it is.

  114. danfish says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Good post Mark.

    Canonical and Ubuntu are a great and highly valued part of the free software community IMHO. I think the most important thing that Canonical/Ubuntu has acheived putting together a linux distro that can be used by *anyone*. My whole family use it daily, from my 3 year old son, to my 72 year old mother. I’ve not forced ubuntu on them and I’ve always set up their PCs as dual boot ubuntu/XP. Within days I normally get a call along the lines of “can you delete XP as it’s taking up valuable disk space”.

    If only I could convince my workplace…

    Keep up the good work

    Dan

  115. Graham Lucking says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Dear Mark Shuttleworth

    In the past whenever I read about Linux in computer magazines two warnings were issued. 1) You need some technical skill to get the OS working. 2) the people on the forums can be short tempered and insulting. Flame-war was the term used. I choose Ubuntu to put on my self-built computer in 2007 because computer magazines described it as easy to use for the ordinary computer user. I have not been disappointed and I am pleased with the improvements made to the desktop in the last three years.I also was pleased with the philosophy of the distribution and the code of conduct of the forums. People who cannot develop the software have an opportunity to give something back to the community even if it is just making a comment in a forum.

    I have read of the criticism of Cannonical not contributing enough code to the kernel to please some people. It is not a competition, is it? You needed to make a reply not because the criticism hurt you but to defend those working for you and with you. There needs to be an opposite point of view so people can make their own decisions about different opinions. Being different is not wrong. It is just different. Some people do not understand that. If open source is based on certain freedoms, then freedom to choose must be among them.

    Most people do not want to become a programmer just to use a computer. I don’t. I want to use my computer and not spend my time fixing it. That is my choice. I choose Ubuntu it fits my choice. I hope to give something back to the community because I think that it is important to be thankful and appreciative of what people do for us. Give my thanks to the teams.

    regards Graham

  116. Chuck Finley says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I agree with you completely, Mr. Shuttleworth. Frankly, I don’t use Ubuntu. It’s simply not for me. But I will never understate its usefulness to the community, regardless of any notion of “giving back code.” I honestly think such notions are antiquated in today’s world of free software. Anyone who truly wants to see free software succeed needs to understand that there’s a lot more to a project than just code. I myself don’t write much code, but I have given, quite literally, days and weeks of my life to supporting various free software project. Does that mean I’m somehow taking advantage of the hard work of the people who made everything I used on a day to day basis? Hell no.

    Thank you, Mr. Shuttleworth, for your role in Ubuntu and what its become.

  117. Brian Curtis says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Great article Mark,

    I have long been toted by friends that I can have an inspirational tone to my words at times when my friends need it most. For sure you have trumped me in the inspiration department, and I can’t say this is the first time either.

    I have had the privilege of “growing up” with a lot of the people you mention here. Although I’ve never met 99% of the people I interact with on a consistent bases, I have a strange connection with them all and I consider most of them friends. The bond of people working towards a similar goal has allowed this to happen, and I think thats among the things that Ubuntu offers as well that can easily get overlooked.

    My LoCo (District of Columbia/ Washington DC) spent this past weekend sitting at a booth at a local folk festival promoting Ubuntu. What I was expecting to hear most of the day was that people haven’t heard of Ubuntu or Linux, and that I at least would get some great practice in saying the same thing over and over again. In fact it was quite the opposite. There were a lot of people that have heard of Ubuntu, most hadn’t used it, but some had. We “gave up” our own laptops that day so we’d have something to demonstrate to the festival participants, and to those people that hadn’t used it before but heard of it were quite interested in trying it out after seeing it in action. The coolest part of the entire day was every time that I handed a free Ubuntu CD to those interested and mentioned that they could try the OS out without any risk of damaging their current OS, they all had this shocked and surprised look on their face with how easy it really was to try Ubuntu out. I have worked at booths before and never have I had so much fun. Talking about Ubuntu made the day go by way too fast, I wanted to be there for longer.

    I’ll continue doing what I have been doing for a good while now. Making a difference with every opportunity I get. Ubuntu is one of many, but it definitely makes it easier when everyone I interact with in the Ubuntu community has the same goals that I do. Although the outside sees contributions in code, those of us on the inside know that what we really do is far greater than bits and bytes will ever be.

  118. Simon says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Mark it’s never a small feat for a company (and the leader) to realize a vision, let alone make feel everyone part of it, as they are. It’s also not easy to do that with both a community for other reasons. And the point is that the silent majority of us doesn’t complain.

    We are silent because we are using it so much and like it so much, there is simply nothing to complain about.

    If there is any reference to an innovating, userfriendly, developer friendly distro it’s Ubuntu.

    I feel inspired by your vision, by your contribution being part of the community, by the product itself and how it evolves. I simply love using it for everything each day. I am in awe how the Uuntu distro at the certian pace Ubuntu is improving and innovating itself. There is enough creativity to draw inspiration from to make it the most easy and fun to use product to use. Beyond any doubt.

    I understand the word ‘stinging’ perfectly. That kind of criticism is undeserved for those people who make and use ubuntu. I can imagine your employees will be hurt by it. So you must speak out.

    I want to adress all those people who work at Ubuntu and the user fanbase of the product Ubuntu: don’t take that stinging criticism too serious, Ubuntu the product and the company maybe never good enough to some minority. You can really let the not Ubuntu people be. They have all the choice to contribute to their own wished solution and even if they think they don’t have some skill to contribute, there is probably endless choice for them to pick the distro that meets their needs. Don’t waste to much time on it. Be proud of your work, your company and the product.

    I am Simon, just some happy user of Ubuntu. I am also an interaction designer and a developer for open source as a hobby and as a professional. Keep on the good work! :)

  119. mark says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hi svu

    I can think of three areas of work that might fall into the “seriously changing the GNOME experience” category. I’ll discuss each of those here, if there’s something else I’ll be happy to respond on that front too.

    The first is our work on alternative desktop interfaces, initially our netbook remix interface, and now Unity. I think GNOME has benefited for having netbook-oriented interfaces, that have resulted in GNOME apps being shipped much more widely. If we didn’t have those alternative shells, GNOME would have lost out entirely on those markets. And their existence catalyses new ideas. For example, lots of folks feel that the old UNR interface was a catalyst for the Gnome 3.0 work, and of course the mockups for the next iteration of Gnome Shell have evolved to similar form factors to Unity, but weren’t that way for 18 months. WIthout UNR and Unity, we wouldn’t have as many new ideas flowing into the GNOME ecosystem.

    The second is work on the panel, like the indicators. This was discussed with GNOME designers during the Gnome hackfest that gave birth to GNOME shell. We knew we wanted to do work on the panel for UNR at the time, we weren’t sure what form it would take. The UX hackfest focused on things like the Activities basis of Gnome Shell, not on indicators. We discussed with the Shell designers that we thought we could clean up the panel, and got a go-ahead to focus our efforts on that. The work that turned into the AppIndicator framework was done on the express basis that we thought it would be more widely adopted. We feel quite stunned that it was declined on the basis that there were now new designs, though no new code, for a different approach. My point is that we feel that work was done in the appropriate way, and if others have changed their position, that’s not a poor reflection on our integrity in doing the work.

    We also think the indicators work is soundly grounded in cross-desktop collaboration, as we took great pains to ensure it was done in a way that KDE and other desktop environments would embrace. The result is very usable, feels clean, works with GNOME and KDE apps, and is a great improvement on the only systray. Since the new Shell design is changing rapidly, we don’t know if the end result will look more like the Ayatana indicators, or WebOS, so for the moment its prudent for us to continue to ship the cross-desktop work we have done. We also ran a very comprehensive program to work with more than 80 upstreams to review their use of the systray and facilitate their use of the Ayatana designed indicators. That program was extensive and took a lot of work, upstreams are broadly happy with the experience it allows them to give their users, there’s no reason to undo it all now.

    We also expressed a willingness to collaborate with the GNOME Shell team when they approached us about it, and have not heard anything since. We expressed a willingness to evolve APIs so that everything would just work in any environment, but have not heard back since. Whatever the outcome, I don’t think it’s for lack of collaborative intent on the part of the folks doing the indicator work.

    And the third area is notifications. In this case, the codebase was not evolving upstream at all. We had chatted with upstream and there wasn’t any sign it would be revitalised. We based our work on the same freedesktop.org standards that everyone else does. A new implementation, notify-osd, was needed because we wanted to add the queuing approach. Again, we’ve been quite willing to collaborate around that. We don’t see a problem developing an alternative implementation, any more than we have a problem with Red Hat’s development of PulseAudio as a replacement for ESD, or systemd as a replacement for Upstart.

    Mark

  120. mark says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    We (Canonical) and other folks in the Ubuntu community do go to great lengths to make folks aware of the extent to which Ubuntu is an aggregation of the excellent work of others. I think it’s a little unfair to suggest that we don’t.

  121. Petrus says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Hey Mark,
    Recently I will admit that I’ve started to try and become a little more forgiving in my own attitude towards Ubuntu. I’ve tended to use much older distributions (I first used FreeBSD in 1995, and I’ve been using Linux on and off since around 1997, so in the past I had thought that I was not really a member of your target demographic.

    However, I’ve actually been using Jaunty for probably about the last three months, since the video card in my FreeBSD box died. This machine doesn’t have a CD burner for me to make another FreeBSD CD, and a Jaunty CD was all I had lying around at the time, so it went on.

    For meat and potatoes computer use, (browsing with Firefox, media viewing, OpenOffice, email etc) Jaunty has been perfectly stable, and works very well. I had a lot of problems with an earlier install of Hardy, but to be fair to Ubuntu, that was with the bad video card that later died after the FreeBSD install. My current machine is a lot more Linux-compatible; Intel all the way, and so there have been no real hardware problems at all.

    I think I’m slowly getting on my feet with Jaunty, though. Debian is very, very different to the older style I’m used to; I wasn’t even able to figure out how to change my $PATH yesterday, which is simply in /etc/profile for most other distros. There was also a problem with my sound, but I’ve uninstalled PulseAudio and that really seems to have helped. I’ve heard Pulse can be good when you have exotic hardware, but truthfully I like the older, and somewhat simpler sound systems (OSS/esound primarily) myself.

    At the moment I’m trying to work on getting openmovieeditor functioning; if I could get that to work, I’d have literally everything I could ask for, pretty much. I know World of Warcraft works in Ubuntu as well, because I ran it with Hardy. I’ve also reinstalled Ratpoison, which was my preferred window manager on FreeBSD. The system is running a bit faster now than it did with GNOME.

    One other thing that made me feel a lot more optimistic about Ubuntu, was when I discovered that apparently there is a miniature install ISO which can be downloaded, which allows people to install only the specific elements that they want. I tend to like a very bare bones system, so I think at some point I am definitely going to have to try that. I’d really encourage you to promote knowledge of that file’s existence a little more, though; from what I’ve read, it seems to be a little obscure, and if it was more widely known, you’d probably lure in a lot more slightly older hands like me. ;)

    I understand that you get trolled a lot, particularly by people who complain that you are not, “giving back,” enough. I would remind you that the GPL in particular, tends to inspire a culture and attitude of what I call reciprocity paranoia. In other words, people tend to be more concerned about, and focus more on, how much someone else is contributing, rather than how much they are. I would therefore also encourage you to ignore their attitude; especially considering that at least some of them are always going to hold it, regardless of how much you try to do.

  122. Epicism says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I agree fully with what you have said. Ubuntu provides a very important service to the GNU/Linux community, and I hope they are very successful for doing so.

  123. Alejandro Nova says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Mark, why don’t you switch desktops? As I can see, GNOME refuses to integrate your Indicator ideas, your System Tray ideas, your Notification ideas and to take more advantage of what Ubuntu can offer. On the other hand, Kubuntu, with their extremely limited resources, have impacted KDE. I’m now enjoying all of your ideas under Fedora, and that’s because KDE itself embraced them. I could test a pre-alpha release of Ubuntu One for KDE, and it looks impressive.

    KDE has a solid engine, it’s a joy to program for, but it lacks precisely what YOU provide at Ubuntu: user-centric design, papercuts and general usability. If GNOME keeps ignoring you, why don’t you pick up your bag and make the full switch to KDE? There’s no enterprise contributing code there; the only company-sponsored work takes place in KOffice (Nokia). There are only ~400 volunteers, and in 2 years and a half they have surpassed the functionality available in GNOME, reached new levels in desktop experience, and they are now advancing the experience to the next level (a desktop aware of what you do in your social networks, that can crawl your mail and link it to your work via Nepomuk tags, that can connect to OpenDesktop.org to check status or retrieve new content). Imagine the possibilities.

    There is an entire world outside GNOME. Please, walk on it. Experience it. And help us to make it better.

  124. Doctalo says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Ubuntu has clearly made the linux desktop more accessible to every day users, including my family. Keep doing what you do.

  125. Segedunum says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Has desktop Linux usage improved by any metrics that we can reasonably measure over the past six years while Ubuntu has existed? No.

    Has Ubuntu improved the desktop Linux software landscape over the past six years, and created a plethora of useful applications people want to jump ship from Windows to Ubuntu for or solved developer problems like easy software installation and packaging? No.

    Did people really need to wait six years for one sound system to be replaced by another, and an arguably less stable one, or for one system init system to be replaced by another with no effect on users at all? No. I’m actually using a Mac now because I needed a Unix like system for work with a working sound system.

    Will a company like Canonical be kept afloat by random people installing Ubuntu and completely anecdotal statements about how much easier it is to use? No.

    I’m sorry to say Mark that this all sounds like an over-justification of Ubuntu’s place in the world and the fact that it hasn’t gained any kind of traction at all. It’s the wrong solution in search of a problem it doesn’t know how to solve. The only thing that kicked it off as being apparently popular was the distribution of free CDs.

  126. Tyrel Crawford says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Contributions need not be measured in lines of code. I’m a programmer, if my code doesn’t get used, the lines mean nothing. Keep it up

  127. Jesse says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Mark,

    I admire you a great deal for what you have started with Ubuntu. I’m sure many of us who love free software would like to imagine ourselves doing something similar if we also had the means and good fortune. But, you are actually doing it: investing your time, money, etc. So, truly, thank you.

    I was there with Ubuntu at the very beginning, and still remember ordering my first batch of free CDs to hand out to friends :). Before that I was a Debian user (who was always riding the unstable branch because I wanted the newest software); and before that Mandrake and Slackware even. So, Ubuntu came out, based on the distro I was already using, and directly targeting my personal use case (a polished, modern, up-to-date desktop), it was a great thing. But, shortly thereafter, I ended up moving to another distro, and it’s been close to 5 years now since I’ve run Ubuntu.

    What I personally find unique about free software is the inherent notion of community that is embodied by it, which is the freedom to participate and share, like the freedom of speech. And, as a development model, it actually works! Pretty amazing, really. As we both know, the fact that it often comes without charge (ie, free beer) is an additional benefit, but one that is not the central freedom. So, at a very high level, all of us working on free software are, in my mind, participating in this huge social project, a community of people working together and sharing things. As you said, we are ultimately all on the same side.

    So, the most troublesome thing I find about this discussion is the practically exclusive focus on the “free beer” aspect of free software by you and others. Ubuntu delivers free software to more new users than Red Hat or Fedora. I understand that is your priority, to focus on end users needs. And, that is a great thing. But, that alone doesn’t make Ubuntu a better participant in that community. (More bug reports aren’t as valuable if they never get back upstream). From early on, for example, I remember complaints from some Debian maintainers about the lack of reciprocation from Ubuntu developers. And the same issue seems to be at the root still.

    From here (admittedly, the “other side”) it looks like much of the current tension with regard to Ubuntu’s status in the community is due to a few things: the critical comments that have been made by you and others in the past towards certain members of the community (eg, insisting Red Hat is a proprietary software company — it’s hard to imagine something more disingenuous); the credit Ubuntu continues to take for others’ work (along with the improvements it rightly deserves credit for), for example important features of Ubuntu releases developed entirely by other parties being represented as its own inventions; the license you’ve taken presuming to dictate how releases and inter-distro cooperation should be coordinated; and the relative lack of material contribution (code/design and upstream participation in general) back to the community.

    Again, I’m not being critical of Ubuntu, the software. You guys have clearly done a great job with it, and you should be proud. It’s also a great good for people in the world. You are bringing more freedom to users, so keep it up! But, also, please continue to listen to what others say about the role of Ubuntu in the larger community. It can only get better if people are working together.

    Cheers!

  128. mark says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    @David

    Jono and Humphrey spoke pretty much immediately about Humphrey’s poor choice of stereotype, and the matter was resolved with Humphrey’s apology. Your view on that post is entirely shared by Ubuntu’s leaders – it was out of line, and the matter was addressed. I’m sorry you never got a personal reply to your mail on the subject, I imagine it was read after the matter had been addressed and the apology was public.

    Mark

  129. avid says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I just switched to Ubuntu at home after trying several times over the years to make the switch to Linux, which always ended in some kind of failure. This time around, installing Ubuntu, the whole experience was amazingly easy, fun even, and now I use Linux every day. That’s the contribution Canonical is making. It’s working. Thanks!

  130. Chernyshov Anton says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Hi. Mark!

    So I’ve been inspired you post, I’ve translated this post to Russian – http://tux-the-penguin.blogspot.com/2010/09/ubuntu-canonical.html . I hope your words will reach more audience.

  131. Jonathan says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Mark, thanks for doing this wonderful thing, where other would just zip pina colade in the sun in your situation. If i ever be a multimillionare myself, i would spend the money on something cool-ish thing like this too. Benefit for the humanity and geeky fun at once. Couldn’t be better. Continue to be an inspiration!

  132. koolhead17 says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Keep good work coming.
    We are doing our best to add more to the tribe :)

    cheers!!

  133. anton says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Congratulations on Ubuntu’s success Mark. As a new Linux user I am not too opinionated about many of the issues your critics seem to be so impassioned about, so I can only speak subjectively.
    If it wasn’t for your and Canonical’s work in making the Linux desktop accessible to all users, I likely wouldn’t be free to choose (perceived) today and my day to day life as an avid PC user would still be full of drudgery and aggravation.
    Ubuntu was my jumping off point from Windows and other M$ products. I only have one primary machine for home use and I needed it to be fully functional immediately. I did not have the time to develop an entirely new set of skills before changing “camps” or I would have done so gladly. Ubuntu provided all the functionality and accessibility I needed and more to finally divorce myself from Redmond. Within my first week of trying Ubuntu I was able to make a clean break with Windows and I will never go back.
    I am currently not a devotee to any one particular distro of Linux, I am still exploring and usually use three or four concurrently. But Ubuntu has always been a favorite and has a special place in my heart. As a new Linux user I am having a blast and am constantly excited about learning new things and exploring the new possibilities. Really digging the freedom Mark, thank you!

  134. DistroDad says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Hello Mark! I have to say that I am truly grateful for the attitude you describe in wanting to make your efforts valued to others as well as yourself.My son introduced me to Ubuntu Hardy when I knew so very little about any computer.I became so fired up about it that I have built several new and reclaimed several from the landfills and installed the latest Ubuntu version on them sharing with people who would not otherwise have one. My
    young grandchildren all play Supertux with me and they are learning to use other skills on the computers.
    Your life and achievments so impressed me that I Googled your name and watched many interviews and things about where you started and where you’re headed. Thanks so much for making your success a way for many people to learn and enjoy something that you have contributed so much to.As you said- Your efforts do contribute back to open source and in my own case, I have tried many distros and learned how to use them differently. I favor Ubuntu
    because it delivers on the promises you make! keep up the GREAT work!

  135. foxoman says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Jef Spaleta and Adam seem to be hired by redhat to bash ubuntu and canonical :)
    The only things they are good to do is jumping throw ubuntu related blogs and articles and start attack ubuntu and canonical .

    —-

    @ Mark , keep the good work and you should know that we love linux and foss because of you and ubuntu so don’t let losers take you down .

  136. ST says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Has desktop Linux usage improved by any metrics that we can reasonably measure over the past six years while Ubuntu has existed? No.

    Has Ubuntu improved the desktop Linux software landscape over the past six years, and created a plethora of useful applications people want to jump ship from Windows to Ubuntu for or solved developer problems like easy software installation and packaging? No.

    Did people really need to wait six years for one sound system to be replaced by another, and an arguably less stable one, or for one system init system to be replaced by another with no effect on users at all? No. I’m actually using a Mac now because I needed a Unix like system for work with a working sound system.

    Will a company like Canonical be kept afloat by random people installing Ubuntu and completely anecdotal statements about how much easier it is to use? No.

    I’m sorry to say Mark that this all sounds like an over-justification of Ubuntu’s place in the world and the fact that it hasn’t gained any kind of traction at all. It’s the wrong solution in search of a problem it doesn’t know how to solve. The only thing that kicked it off as being apparently popular was the distribution of free CDs.

  137. Mark Shuttleworth répond aux critiques sur la contribution de Canonical aux logiciels libres - Philippe Scoffoni says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth vient de publier un long billet sur son site où il tente de répondre à nouveau à ces [...]

  138. Stimpson J. Cat says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Is funny how some people think that stuff can be magically transformed into open source (and the ubuntu one critics that forget about launchpad)

    well, good post and good job

    cheers

  139. Segedunum says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Has desktop Linux usage improved by any metrics that we can reasonably measure over the past six years while Ubuntu has existed? No.
    Has Ubuntu improved the desktop Linux software landscape over the past six years, and created a plethora of useful applications people want to jump ship from Windows to Ubuntu for or solved developer problems like easy software installation and packaging? No.
    Did people really need to wait six years for one sound system to be replaced by another, and an arguably less stable one, or for one system init system to be replaced by another with no effect on users at all? No. I’m actually using a Mac now because I needed a Unix like system for work with a working sound system.
    Will a company like Canonical be kept afloat by random people installing Ubuntu and completely anecdotal statements about how much easier it is to use? No.
    I’m sorry to say Mark that this all sounds like an over-justification of Ubuntu’s place in the world and the fact that it hasn’t gained any kind of traction at all. It’s the wrong solution in search of a problem it doesn’t know how to solve. The only thing that kicked it off as being apparently popular was the distribution of free CDs.

  140. Segedunum says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hmmmm, my last comment got posted when I took out carriage returns. Before that it wanted me to download a PHP file for some reason. Kind of like Ubuntu really……….

  141. LongRider says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Spoken like a true salesman! I will admit that in Ubuntu’s humble beginning’s it was an easier distro to use/install than many of the others. But now there are many non-Ubuntu based distro’s that are just as easy to use/install. As far as being polished…..I can think of at least half a dozen other distro’s that are much more polished than Ubuntu. Now lets talk about bugs. Launchpad has many bugs that have been listed for 2 years or better. Nothing has been done to fix them. And don’t get me started with the “that’s an upstream bug”. Isn’t the whole premise behind Open Source that anyone can take/use/modify the code to suit there needs? Many Linux veterans have offered fixes for some bugs, only to never see them in an update or implemented. And lets not forget the current “Upstart” debacle. Something that is barely a beta should have never been put into production, period. While you may claim that other distro’s are using it, you had better check again. They all have plans of abandoning it in the near future. Even Ubuntu’s cousin, Mint, is moving to a Debian spin. You and/or your developers seem to have forgotten one of the key Linux mantra’s: “Listen to your users”. Granted, many of your users are brand new to Linux and wouldn’t know any better, many more seasoned users steer clear of anything Ubuntu. Personally, I would love to see Ubuntu go back to a previous “stable” version (prior to 9.?) and start working out all the kinks from there. Stop trying to fix the things that aren’t broken and start fixing the things that are.

  142. salemboot says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Children seem not to care whether they use Linux or Windows. Their perceptions are aligned in terms of the end result.

    Bug reports don’t matter. News travels faster via the blog posts. Google can give you all the bug-reports you need. I never seem to
    have problems finding company with people who are having the same issues as myself. * HINT *

    Until a company stands up and takes over the project you’ll be left in mediocrity. Where an individual doesn’t have time
    a company does. It’s the difference between Wine and Cedega. Cedega is going to fix the problems as soon as possible because
    it’s their business to.

    I think Ubuntu has done a fine job in taking over a few projects as to say and not trying to push financial gains.

    If RedHat, Apple and Intel’s employees are sitting on half of the review boards for the major projects than this presents a conflict of interest.
    That simply won’t fly in the commerical world.

    Respectively,

    Mr. Boot

  143. Paul Cooper says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I, for one, love Open Source. The world is pretty much divided between open source, and the monopolistic empire known as Microsoft. A lot of people, even in the open source community(s) would disagree, saying that I am looking at things to simplistically, and that’s alright with me. But, face it, MS “owns” about 80% of the computers in the world. Given the opportunity, they would gobble up the share that they don’t own. Ladies and germs, monopolies are NEVER a good thing. Worse, they can be very, very evil when there is no competition. For my money (little as there is of that) there is no downside to any part of the open source community. Everyone in the community is an ally, as Mr. Shuttleworth points out. We simply cannot attack ANY element of our community, or we weaken ourselves. Personally, I love Ubuntu. It takes all the very best parts of Debian, rerolls all those parts into a package which is simple and easy to use, is attractive to young and old, male and female, and appeals to non-technical people. My kid loves it – and he’s on the way to becoming a heck of a tech guy. The wife loves it, and she has no more technical inclination than her cats do. I show Ubuntu to people who have never seen Linux (at least consciously) and they love it. Keep up the good fight, Mark, and Ubuntu. Your efforts are appreciated by millions of people worldwide. And, everyone else – let’s just stop quibbling, alright? I guess it’s fair to state here that my least favorite part of the open source community is Mr. Stallman, and the whole Gnu thing. I could go on for awhile, pointing out the reasons I dislike the “Gnu-Linux” train of thought. But, I won’t, and I don’t. I support Stallman and Gnu, because they are part of the family. Linux Rox, Ubuntu Rox, and Shuttleworth Rox – that about sums up my thoughts on the matter!

  144. brad says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Liked the post… very timely… are critics taking the short view?

    How many more “code contributors” might the floss community at large be welcoming (in future) due to Ubuntu’s “cannibalization” of linux, and Canonical’s global “linux-marketing”?

    I sure as heck would not be enjoying my linux-only machines if not for Ubuntu.

    I’d be really surprised to learn that the real gripe is that Ubuntu is drawing in users and glory because it’s making the inclusion/incorporation of (information age essential) non-free packages available in what is basically a strictly free OS – Debian. I definitely get why someone who’s been working on something for years – and the associated glory/payoff – might be kind of miffed at someone taking credit/payoff by simply changing rules. – I know Ubuntu is “dedicated” to free/open source blah, blah, but is certainly not behaving/delivering free in the same way that the original developers of most of Ubuntu’s packages did/do.

    I’m not a free software advocate or aficionado – I use Ubuntu because it’s free and works wonderfully (and it’s interesting) – but from my viewpoint, from what little I know about all this, I’d say that Ubuntu/Canonical’s approach to delivering the Linux Desktop OS has more of an “Apache licensed” feel to it than what I’d expect from GPL licensed software.

    I guess I should say thanks for making the Ubuntu OS available – I really like it – but I don’t have to…

    PS. This blog’s submit button is causing Firefox to “download this .php file”

  145. Todd Morgan says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 4:44 am

    What an excellent view from the heart. Thank you Mark!
    —–
    Two Success Stories:

    #1 My dad has very limited computer skills yet he has a Mac, a PC and an Ubuntu netbook. He amazed me today when I learned that he not only downloaded and correctly burned a 10.04 LiveCD, he wiped his netbook (intentionally) and installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu. If you told me 5 years ago that he’d accomplish that on his own, I would have never believed it. It’s a testimony to his gradual learning and also to Ubuntu making Linux a user friendly product.

    #2 When I started working as a sysadmin for my company 3.5 years ago, there were NO Linux servers or workstations at any of our 120 locations. I gradually incorporated a few Ubuntu machines in our corporate office that now provide some new and vital services for us. Add to that, I’ve launched a project that will result in an Ubuntu box at every one of our locations. These inexpensive servers are allowing our company to address our needs without breaking the bank. On top of that, I’ve rolled out some Ubuntu workstations to a couple of our locations. I built them, shipped them off and gave the users minimal training. The result, I received a request to build a few more of them.

    I guess my point is that there is tremendous value to the entire world in making Linux approachable and a household name. The Ubuntu Community, Canonical and you Mark should be very proud.

  146. zelrik says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:14 am

    @Segedunum,

    Pulling facts from your @$$ doesn’t make you look smarter.

    I used many OS’s, Fedora, MEPIS, RHEL, Scientify-Linux, Sun, MacOSX 10.X, Windows XP, vista…

    Ubuntu is the closest to an actual functioning OS.

  147. Rodrigo says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Well, i’m from Chile, i don’t speak english very well… thank you for the job, because in my life Ubuntu and the free software are very important for my learning about programming and other uses. I’ve discovered that everything is possible and if is not possible even, i have the tools to create it.
    Imagination is the limit.Motivation is to share whit the persons what need something.

  148. Nick says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Thank you and the open source community for all that you do. Ubuntu broke my dependence on Microsoft Windows 2 years ago when I got a virus by accidentally tying in the wrong URL into my address bar. I haven’t looked back.

    Nick
    Sent from my Linux laptop.

  149. alex chiang: web 6.0 » wagging the warthog says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 6:08 am

    [...] a little bit on my tiny role in the software ecosystem. And don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of the things that other Canonical employees are working on. 1: The complaints tend to [...]

  150. Mark Shuttleworth: Ubuntu ha molti meriti, altro che … | TUXJournal.net says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 6:59 am

    [...] di “fare Linux”, tant’è vero che il CEO Canonical proprio ieri ha pubblicato sul suo blog un lungo post che risponde a queste [...]

  151. Cosmicharade says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    All very nice, makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. But at the end of the day, people need to eat and houses to live in, and that includes the developers that work on Ubuntu. Will Canonical ever turn a profit? It is in everyone’s interest to see Canonical continue, and I am concerned that a profit is yet to be seen and this worries me about the future of Ubuntu. Can you provide reassurance that either Canonical will soon be profitable through some real well marketed and designed products and services (hire someone from Apple?) or that the ongoing losses are not an issue to the health and ongoing viability of Ubuntu? More information about Canonical’s business strategies please. It’s a glaring hole in my humble opinion.

  152. Ubuntu-grundare möter kritiska röster | Ubuntuportalen's Blog says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:07 am

    [...] mer och hela inlägget finns på Mark Shuttleworths blogg. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Novell säljs Vem [...]

  153. ‘Ubuntu lift niet mee op werk van anderen’ « Linux Steunpunt Rozenburg ZH eo says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    [...] schrijft op zijn webblog dat mensen die zeggen dat Canonical dit soort dingen nalaat te doen misschien gelijk hebben. Maar [...]

  154. Edward says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Hi,

    Although I agree with what your doing and I think Ubuntu has had a fantastic effect on OpenSource.

    I would have to say it would be nice if Canonical, which has an amount of resources that others do not, put one or two people at work ‘hardening’ and ridding the bug riddled X11 server from some bugs. This would only benefit not only Ubuntu however many other distributions on the BSD side of the world..

    Xorg needs some seriously more attention, for which it very much lacks considering it is the next biggest subsystem to the kernel its self!

    So this is a request, Please Mark, could Canonical please donate some more resources to improving the stability of Xorg?

    Many Thanks,
    Edward O’Callaghan.

  155. A lovely silk robe says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    “But there are two types of people in every country. Those who admire success, and those who hate success with a passion.”

    “Nice article Mark and don’t bother to much with the critics – a great part of them are just jealous.”

    It’s this sort of insulation that makes me wonder if you even know your “critics” or what their concerns are.
    http://community.livejournal.com/linux/1874272.html
    There is no denying that you, and everyone involved with Ubuntu, have made a wonderful impact on this world. There is fear for the future though as Ubuntu appears to be at a turning point. These concerns need to be considered and addressed, not set upon with feverent attack dogs who twist words and silence beacons. Listen within.

  156. A lovely silk robe says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Aww sheesh! Y’know what? There’s a whole lot of clutter from last night when your wp was trying to give .php files rather than post. I played around with it for a while thinking that the comments weren’t posting at all. I just noticed this morning after trying again. Sorry about the big mess :(

  157. Shuttleworth回应对Ubuntu的批评 | Ubuntu Home says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    [...] Canonical创始人Mark Shuttleworth在博客上回应了Ubuntu没有对开源软件贡献太多代码的批评。 [...]

  158. Lars says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    The justified criticism of Ubuntu is:
    - Everyone can create improvements according to their own capabilities
    – Bug reports
    – Feature suggestions
    – Artwork (wallpapers, skins, themes, etc)
    – Documents (wiki articles, howtos, etc)
    – Code (improvements, bug fixes, new features, etc)
    – Help (answering mail and forum questions)
    - Creating any of the above improvements, big or small, in your area of
    choice for Ubuntu and only Ubuntu and not contributing
    them to upstream is being a good collaborator in the Ubuntu community,
    not a good collaborator in the Open Source community.
    - Ubuntu can either be a good collaborator in the Open Source community,
    or accept the critisism that they are not.

  159. Basil Fernie says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Mark, I applaud the work and achievements of Canonical to make Linux more accessible and usable to ordinary people. Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, I am still writing this from the Windows 7 side of my dual-boot.

    The reason is that Ubuntu doesn’t have a slick self-installing connection via Bluetooth and cell-phone modem to the internet. Not even via a Neotel Prime 1G connection which offers quite reasonable speeds at 7c/MB out-of-bundle. It seems to me that this kind of connectivity is a much-overlooked essential for vast numbers of third-worlders for whom cellphones are the only feasible web-connection method and who may as a result not be using Linux despite all its other advantages. Not everybody has a direct landline connection to a fat pipe! It also seems like the kind of gap which could probably be filled quite easily by packaging and streamlining, maybe some scripting, as you do so well with Ubuntu in other areas. Any possibility of early attention to this issue?

    Regarding points raised by some critics: I must say that there does seem to be an increasing risk of forking Linux development, either in the kernel or in some apps, unless you assign more effort to strengthening the feedback loop to your upstreams. Doing this will indeed in turn strengthen your Ubuntu offerings. Yes, you guys are doing a great thing for the pervasiveness of Linux, but please keep an eye on the storm-clouds.

    Sincere and deserved regards,

    Basil

  160. David Kerr says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Hey Mr. Shuttleworth, we can’t all work on the kernel, so don’t feel bummed.

    I don’t feel any shame for not contributing enough kernel patches, but I greatly admire those who do contribute to it. I also admire your achievements with Ubuntu.

    Recently I wrote a sci-fi novel with Ubuntu, AbiWord, and a little book-planning tool I coded to help out: Kabikaboo, which is now a package in the Ubuntu repositories as of 10.04! See, I didn’t write a kernel patch, and I didn’t throw around millions of dollars, but in my own small way I contributed, and I feel no guilt; rather I feel good to have done something, even if it’s not glamorous like those elite kernel coders on their expensive machines driving limousines everywhere drinking champaigne toasting to how genius they are while throwing floppies in the air as if it were money (yes, that’s what they really do).

    Whew. Anyways, keep up the good work and noble efforts!

  161. rodin says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Well said. This is exactly what I thought when I was starting to use Ubuntu (I guess it’s 6.10). Ubuntu does the marketing very well. I was remembering everyone around me so excited when CDs from ShipIt arrived.

  162. PaGer says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

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


    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.”

    Remember Corel, a Debian-based distribution in the 90′s?
    http://pix.toile-libre.org/upload/original/1284642416.jpg
    http://pix.toile-libre.org/upload/original/1284642344.png

    “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*.”

    Yeah yeah yeah… On Ubuntu, which is Open Source (not Free Software) and encourages the use of closed source software. And take a look at planet.debian.org, you will see the last few days/weeks an outbreak of Canonical employees trying to restore the image of Ubuntu, Canonical’s prestige, and of course, their personal image/prestige/reputation. It’s worse that an epidemic, it’s a pandemic…

    Whether you like it or not, Ubuntu loses feathers and Canonical gets a pretty bad reputation.

  163. bigthinker says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    great post, you writing is a pleasure to read. Im not certain if its your ability to write, or the topics of which your writing that i feel so strongly about. Im pretty sure its both.

    I have a basic general question. There doesn’t seem be much action on the Edubuntu project and I feel that they are missing some valuable opportunities. Giving students a linux operating system to use doesn’t work when the teachers, almost all college books, and online courses require proprietary software.

  164. delinquents says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Mark,
    open source allowed me to learn everything I know about computers and IT. (k)Ubuntu on the other hand made me use open source on my everyday machines not just my servers.

    Thanks for your time and money invested into this. Keep it up, from Greece :)

  165. More on Canonical’s Contributions | LinuxCooking.com says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    [...] GNOME contributors given at July’s GUADEC convention, Mark Shuttleworth, posted his “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption.” As I reporte [...]

  166. Travis says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Ubuntu is a fantastic distro, and Canonical has contributed immensely to FOSS and Linux. I know plenty of people have said this too, but I wanted to add my voice. Thanks for all you do.

  167. Prekates Alexandros says: (permalink)
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I Recognize Ubuntu contributions and congratulations for your and ubuntu’s community great efforts. But an issue not touched is the problem of monetary returns distribution in that ecosystem. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flattr .
    Debian community is starting to embrace it..Why?

    The core issue that put negative sentiments towards ubuntu (in my opinion) is not necessarily code distribution but that ubuntu is part of the businness side of foss ecosystem that tries or achieves to monetize the foss ecosystem’s efforts.

    But who decides how that will be distributed? For now the answer is ‘that who gets the money!’(as you says above ‘Beyond my own personal time, I also support various projects through funding.’). Well,… thats doesnt sound very democratic. Is short of like giving tax collectors the power to spent the tax income at will!.Is all that money ubuntu’s people money? Is economically sound to make such a claim? Of course a part is , but i think a significant part isnot.

    I think a first solution to that problem is a flattr like system embedded in ubuntu. Analogous to use of packages a part of a foss monetizer entity should be distributed back to the developers. Such a structure would be a good base to alleviate the economical core problem. Although i would understand if someone said to me that it’s really hard for the moment to achieve even the current monetary returns so that issue must be postponed for a more mature and stable monetaty future. But from another optic that issue deserves more current attention since its in a sense part of the foss’s community architecture.

    Also it would be interesting to learn how ubuntu currently makes donations. For example, does gnu,kde,gnome get the biggest donations due to their core position (acknoledged by mark) or is there another thinking for donations . For example:(‘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?’). I understand that monetary issues could create friction in an ecosystem but sooner or later must be faced.
    For example wikipedia foundation has an annually report for public. Does ubuntu has one? (i havent search it thoroughly , i just ask :-)

    ps: sorry if sent more than once. i got errors from firefox, and non feedback from other browser

  168. Cloyd Steve Wiseman says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:25 am

    I am as much a computer technician as someone is a mechanic who can only change his own oil or change a tire. I was able to partition a drive, dual boot with Ubuntu and Vista, and eventually decide to get rid of Vista. Thanks for Ubuntu. I dearly wish that more people knew about it . . . TV ads here in the US, I don’t know what else. The sticker on the back of my car just isn’t enough. Ubuntu isn’t hard, it works, it makes my life easier just to do things like surfing the net, watching videos, burning cd’s, listening to music, balancing my checkbook, and most of all, word processing and email. It is great, dependable, easy, stable . . . what else can I say. Ok, the compiz cube is great to show off, but I really don’t get much productivity out of it. But it is fun to play with. THANKS FOR UBUNTU!!! I am a dedicated fan of UBUNTU and Linux.

  169. meforubu says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Ubuntu was a wonderful surprise when I tried it for the first time. I could not imagine that it was possible to exist anywhere in the world, an Operating System that was as good as the dominant existing one. In fact, in many key aspects, Ubuntu was still better for me, and I’m not even thinking about it’s freedom, at cost and in usage.

    Of course, at that time, it come to my mind that Ubuntu would pose a very serious threat to that O/S.

    Today, after reading a few comments placed here, I’m almost in shock realising that at the end, it’s inside the Linux / Open Source campus where people are coming to publicly state that Ubuntu does pose a real threat, but… to the FLOSS. And they react to this fact in a more virulent way than what I could expect from a well known micro software company. Strange position’s….

    The reason, they say, it’s because Mark Shuthleworth does not contribute back with code, and is looking to make money with Ubuntu, at the cost of the work of the Open Source community of developers. I thought that the Open Source community did not include only developers, but… OK.

    Going back to that micro software company. To face the threat and the concern they felt about the growing Linux and Canonical’s reach, at the beginning of this year they started hiring high profile employees directly from the Open Source communities, with no less than 10 years of experience inside it. Certainly, this happened because they thought that it was more easy to compete and win against Linux and the Open Source from inside it, than in the way it should be done: writing better code.

    This issue was largely commented in the net, at that time, with some people predicting that someday we would face those boys around us. It makes each day more difficult to know who is who and what each one is up to.

    For those who may be in doubt, just think about this: from whose pockets would Canonical find money enough to generate inside it, two or three of the most rich persons in the world, in the years to come?

    To end with, I’d like to congratulate Mark for bringing choice and freedom to the PC market. And also, to encourage him to keep his altruistic attitude among people, although it’s assured that unexpected fights may come in the way, from where no one would expect them to come.

    To know more about the shameless job description of the boys hired by that micro software company, please follow this link, or google it and press “cached”:

    http://www.microsoft-careers.com/job/San-Salvador-Initiative-Marketing-Manager(717317-External)-Job-SV/864893/

  170. Bhaskar Chowdhury says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Hey Mark,

    I am running Arch,Gentoo,Fedora,Debian and Slackware in my laptop for ages and at the work places I am bound to use RHEL and SLES for quite some time.So there is no sign of Ubuntu!!!! Yes you are right I am not so fond of it and I must say I have tried few version of Ubuntu for certain months personally don’t find it exciting..may be my fault.

    But kudos to you and your thinking.You have done a great job by making it so popular(honestly).Everyone talking about it around me and I am left stranded,because I have seen it lees.I have a principle that if I have less knowledge about something I prefer to keep shut my mouth and listen to others.That exactly what I do when people talk about Ubuntu in front of me.

    Ubuntu community is growing like anything and I am pleased to see that more people using GNU/Linux then other OS.

    Great post and it seems you are a wonderful human being.I have seen lot of monied person and really detest them,but your work and thinking stand out man.

    Cheers Mark!
    Bhaskar

  171. kikl says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I would like to add a few words of praise.

    First of all many projects contribute to the ubuntu experience. Therefore, all the upstream projects such as openoffice, evolution, firefox,… must be praised. But, ubuntu’s job is to tie all these bits and pieces together into a coherent experience. A couple of ubuntu projects are outstanding: 1. The installer, 2. The notification system, 3 Ubuntu one service and last but not least the 4. software center.

    I have been testing the maverik beta for a couple of days. It is extremely stable for a beta release, running smoothly on my netbook. I love the way chat, e-mail and broadcasting are tied together. I appreciate the way ubuntu one lets me synchronize key files, contacts and bookmarks in a very simple way across multiple computers.

    The software center is evolving wonderfully. Finally, software can be purchased, albeit hardly any software is available for purchase at the moment. A history button lets you track the changes to your system. I would be glad, if this history could be backed up with ubuntu one, such that setting up a new computer with the same configuration would be a very simple one-click procedure. But, this may come with time. There are many subtle changes to the software center. I just noticed that it now tells you where the application is found in the applications folder…

    In my opinion, the user experience of ubuntu is superior to the windows operating system.

    Keep up the great work. We ubuntu users appreciate it a lot!

  172. More on Canonical’s Contributions | @tuxguru says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    [...] GNOME contributors given at July’s GUADEC convention, Mark Shuttleworth, posted his “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption.” As I reporte [...]

  173. Linux News Watch | More on Canonical’s Contributions says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    [...] GNOME contributors given at July’s GUADEC convention, Mark Shuttleworth, posted his “Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption.” As I reporte [...]

  174. sllih says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I think that software moves very fast this days. I recently saw Internet Explorer 9 beta and its ability to put Web(site) application into task bar. It is very important for Ubuntu and free desktop to move even faster.

    I consider GNOME Shell as a real milestone that shoud be made as soon as possible. I am sad about cooperation on Shell that goes so hard. So everyone who whant to make free desktop really competitive: please support GNOME Shell and bringing the Web into desktop.

  175. anzan says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    As always, thank you to Mark, Canonical, and the Ubunutu community.

  176. roger says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Linux desktop share is stuck around 1%, and it’s not showing any signs of improving. Shouldn’t the Linux community be discussing about that instead of the usual blame-shifting and ideology that users don’t care about?

  177. Andrei says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Well, let’s rant… Mark, thank you for being honest. Thank you for throwing off the Ubuntu mask.

    “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.”

    So you admit that Ubuntu is a leecher of other projects and almost a marketing organization… The reason for all criticism and the big flamewars in the last months. You don’t need to ask any more, You have the response in your words.

    Contributors to GNOME – your REAL mainstream -, Debian – Ubuntu source – and many other projects see that Ubuntu takes their work, “polishes” some aesthetics and “sell” their work like “being the ones who made it all”… They feel like scrap, Mark, and your beautiful diatribe about “we sell it very well” doesn’t hide that Ubuntu people had bad attitude with the sources of the project, and they have now.

    Ubuntu Papercuts project is ONLY an Ubuntu Project. The results could be used by other projects, but the spirit would remain “Ubuntu-only”, and other Ubuntu projects – Unity, for example – are Ubuntu-only too. The new word: “Ubuntucentrism”

    Like me, many old-school linux users thank Ubuntu project for its marketing and usability – aesthetics above all -; but the project is closing itself in its own ecosystem, like Debian did too many times. And the number of fanatic Ubuntards are growing dangerously… I’m really tired of fanatics from all sides, and tired of ubuntu over-hype too.

    Mark, Ubuntu is getting close to a civil war in the free software world. Be careful, if you and the other Ubuntu guys really care abot Free Software.

  178. Andy says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I am a true believer in Open Source. But maybe I’m a bit of a stuck in the mud. To me Karmic desktop was as close to perfect functional style as it gets and Lucid gave me pause for thought. It took me some time to decide to upgrade to lucid. In the end I upgraded and kept my old desktop style. But now I have come to terms with the new Lucid style I like it. BTW I always liked the netbook style interface on my Eeepc 701 on Karmic or Lucid. I wonder what Maverick will be like? MAC style or keep it unique?

  179. Andrei says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/517/comment-page-4#comment-333582

  180. Andrei says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I must agree to this excellent comment

  181. zelrik says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    @Prekates Alexandros,

    I am not sure you understand FOSS. First of all, this is not a democracy, Canonical is not a democracy, it’s ultimately a for-profit organization. Secondly, Open Source doesn’t belong to anybody: GNU, KDE, Gnome, Debian, if they don’t have a business model monetize their work, it shouldn’t be Canonical’s problem. The code if for everybody to use, profit or non-profit doesn’t matter as long as you do not violate the GPL (or other) license (It doesn’t say that you should give money back to Gnome in their license).

    There is nothing new here, if you have the money, you get to chose how to use it.
    If you code on your spare time and decide to release the code under GPL, nobody owes you anything, people might like your work and support you but that’s it.

    So to conclude, I think it’s very nice that Mr Mark Shuttleworth is investing his money/time into open source projects and where the money goes is mostly Mark’s problem :).

  182. Dazza says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I think the answer you seek is that people don’t trust you.

  183. David says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    @ Mark

    Thank you for your reply. I’ll relay the gist of it to others who share(ed) my concerns. Unfortunately Humphrey’s own site gave no indication to its viewers that action had been taken to address these concerns and his stance appeared to be that he had widespread support from within Ubuntu projects…I accept that you’ve stated this not to be the case but a misconception was, and is, given by the statements on his site.

    A further issue is in play regarding dissatisfaction amongst 3PD (third party developers) regarding requests being made by Cannonical regarding copyright assignments…please see Aaron Siego’s blog posting for details http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2010/09/copyright-assignments-gone-wild-or-why.html

    In brief Cannonical is asking 3PD to give virtual signatures to copyright assignment legal agreements when they contribute to Cannonical funded projects but these legal agreements contain terms that fall far short of the standard agreements from the likes of the FSFE or KDE (also OO.org) in that their terms are flawed:

    To quote Aaron Siego:

    “Para 3 allows Canonical to adjust what is covered at their discretion with no boundaries. By adding an entry to http://
    canonical.com/contributors Canonical gains access to my copyrights in that project. There is no express boundary or definition to what Canonical can add to that list. As a result I can not guarantee that my contributions to any possible project listed there could be held under this contract. Therefore, I can not in good conscience sign the document.

    Para 4 does not provide sufficient definition of what “submited to Canonical by me” means. In this case, I committed code to a repository. How is that submitting it to Canonical? The problem here is that, due to it being so vague, that nearly anything I commit to a repo that Canonical claims maintainership of (regardless of where it is hosted, it’s previous history, etc.) could fall under this wording.

    Para 6 says, “Canonical may also, in its discretion, make the Assigned Contributions available to the public under other license terms.” This means that the “ordinarily” wording of the first sentence in the paragraph is a “gentleman’s agreement” and not actually meaningful in the least. Canonical is fully within its rights to release such code under, for example, a proprietary license. It could hand those rights over to another party as well, given how this agreement is worded. That runs counter to the ethics I hold which have led me to dedicate my professional life to Free Software.

    Para 8 would put a legal requirement on me to notify Canonical if I even become _aware_ of any possible patent (or other IP) issues relating to my contributions. That is highly onerous, and I do not have the time or financial resources to be able to commit to such an absurd burden.

    There are no termination clauses, meaning that no matter how I feel about Canonical (or Canonical about me) or what actions Canonical (or I) perpetrate in the future, there is no clear provision for how to terminate the agreement cleanly.”

    As this seems, to me, to be a genuine grievance and needs to be sorted out at a high level within Cannonical I bring it to your attention…let’s see if we can put this one to bed too please!

  184. Mackenzie says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    @Felipe:
    There are no stockholders. Canonical is not publicly traded.

  185. Mackenzie says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    @foxoman:
    Jef Spaleta does not work for Red Hat and (according to a bunch of Red Hat employees I was hanging out with last weekend) never has.

  186. Marketing et ergonomie, la touche finale d’Ubuntu qui fait avancer le logiciel libre « Injazz Consulting's blog says: (permalink)
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    [...] Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption [...]

  187. crazyPenguin says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 2:09 am

    OMG canonical doesn’t contribute upstream to GNOME! it’s funny because other distros don’t even use GNOME! Gnome is so popular because Ubuntu

  188. Peter Popov says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    The arguments against Ubuntu are only too familiar in the software industry. Developers just don’t dig non-developers, period. Those of us in the industry know how much more difficult it is for a dev team to be managed, led, or even coached by someone who doesn’t write code for a living. They just don’t earn developers’ trust that easily. That the person in question might have a mindset, education, skills and education that make them a much better leader, tutor, mentor, coach, or manager than any CS course would have, seems to evade them. That this is the case seems to evade everyone else about as often :) Take it from someone who’s been through QA, HMI/UI, Support, project management, product management, and who’s also been coding on and off for over twenty years.

    Mark, you hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been a Linux user since Slackware 2.0, then switched to Debian when I grew tired of managing packages manually, then to Warty as soon as it came out. I never liked DE choice but have always respected it and appreciate what it’s doing for the average user. I’ve introduced several people to computing via Ubuntu on computers too old to run or at least be supported by Windows, and it’s been working wonders for them out-of-the-box (with the sole exception of restricted extras which I installed for them). Ubuntu has made its mark on the world (pun intended).

  189. Adam Williamson says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    foxoman: Um, if you read my comment and think that I’m ‘bashing’ something, I’m really not sure what to say. I’m clearly not, and bent over backwards to make it *clear* that I’m not. Offering suggestions and different interpretations is not, at all, in any way, bashing. What do you want? A world where no-one is allowed to disagree with Mark, Canonical, or anyone involved in Ubuntu?

  190. faical says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    thanks mark your are the best :-)

    faical from algeria

  191. Peter Down says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for this blog. I know that there are many ways of being part of the free software movement. But fore Ubuntu it is unlikely that I would be a member of that movement. And although I do not have programming skills to contribute code I do contribute by encouraging others to consider using free software and, where I can, helping them to do that.

    Ubuntu has done a great job in getting free software used and in setting a standard for all in the movement to aspire to. There are many people like me out there who will use free software if it “just works”.

    Many thanks for Ubuntu.

  192. Putu Wiramaswara Widya says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I’m proud with you, Mark.

    You have made an ugly free and open source software to be more user friendly for anyone :D

  193. tz says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    If it only were true. Wifi is broken – it can’t roam, often misdetects cards, and upon installation will say all it needs to do is download a driver – which it can’t because it is a wireless driver. The last few versions have had at least one critical flaw in Bluetooth. Grub2 is still badly broken – I can’t boot my Mac partitions in either 32 or 64 bit (without manually editing the files), nor can I prevent the clutter. Nor does it find DOS.

    The 100 papercuts were YOUR idea of which 100 defects were most important, not mine or anyone I know. Is having major pains with any wireless technology not important to fix – for over TWO YEARS? Apparently clarifying some obscure and rare error message takes priority.

    Also replacing a fully functional but clunky part of the system with some broken early alpha attempt makes it harder whatever you may belive. Grub1 works, you moved to grub2 – fine, but you didn’t and I expect will NEVER FIX it for several years if at all. Notification worked and still work (e.g. on Fedora). Yours has serious problems and breakages and incompatibilities, was done without asking, consulting, or enlisting the community to figure out how to preserve the functionality and produce something that actually works better in all cases with all programs. When notifications are designed for interaction, you just break.

    I wish I could use Ubuntu on older hardware, but some of those have wierd drivers and need the old manual configuration (e.g. to say use VESA at 1024×768) but all those are gone. A few versions ago – “HH” it actually fixed more things than it broke and I was hopeful that I would end up with a series of versons that just got better. Instead the next was at best a break-even, and then it just got worse and worse. Old bugs were not fixed, and new problems and incompatible (broken/breaking) changes were introduced – and eventhose weren’t fixed. Some of the bugs are well over 2 years old and serious, but you prefer the badly integrated vanity UI changes to expend effort – at least enough to introduce them but not enough to even fix them enough to be both functional and beautiful – they are like a sleek sports car that belches acrid smoke when you press the accelerator. No matter how much prettier, the purpose is not aesthetics but to accomplish a task.

    Even on the developer side. ./configure is horrible – and it always returns the same settings even if it is going to spend another 15 minutes getting to the fixed failure on an ARM system. No restarts, no preserved Makefile so it takes longer to ./configure than to make.

    There is a big difference between improving the actual quality of something and merely making it more marketable.

    And a lot of others including me are trying to fix these problems. And that is probably where I think the accusation of leeching has some truth. You are picking and choosing what you want to contribute, and it is often not the most significant bug, the most difficult problem, or even the most important one. And when your ideas break something you seem to expect the community to fix it or otherwise change their thousands of lines of code to adapt to your pet idea. You are the Steve Jobs of GNU/Linux and Launchpad is the AppStore.

    And no, it is not a democracy – it is your dime, so it is your song. But at some point it is also no longer a community, unless a collection of sycophants and their object are a community.

  194. Is Ubuntu contributing to Open Source or not? – Robert's blog says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2010 at 9:10 am

    [...] Ubuntu contributing to Open Source or not? Mark Shuttleworth wrote an interesting piece as a rebuttal for complaints from the community that Ubuntu and Canonical are not contributing enough. He states [...]

  195. Με αφορμή τις πρόσφατες σκέψεις του Mark Shuttleworth. | Libre Bytes says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    [...] ‘Reflections on Ubuntu, Canonical and the march to free software adoption.’ [...]

  196. John Cockroft says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    I’ll start this by saying thank you – although those words are not enough.

    You have given the Linux community a distribution which is better than anything that Microsoft have to offer and better than most of the commercial Linux distributions (such as Red Hat, SUSE Enterprise, Mandriva and SimplyMEPIS).

    Why is this?

    It just WORKS on the vast majority of hardware, is easy to install and understand (both my children use (Ed)ubuntu as they are doing this morning) and is free to use – but you have to use your BRAINS when installing any software.

    When you use any operating system, whether it be Ubuntu, Windows 7, Windows XP, HP-UX, Solaris, Red Hat Enterprise Linux – you make sure that you buy hardware which is supported on that software not just hope that it MIGHT work. There are plenty of pieces of hardware (for instance) which worked on Windows XP but no longer work on Windows 7. People are not complaining about that – they just accept what the great God Microsoft tells them :( throw away the old and buy kit which is supported. When something doesn’t work under a Linux distribution, the usual comment is “what a pile of trash” (or something similar). Whoa! Check things out first with a Live CD (can’t do THAT under Windows and no BART-PE doesn’t count as it isn’t the full Windows ‘kernel’/HAL) and see if things work FIRST!

    I buy hardware I know runs under Linux (by checking hardware compatibility lists, Linux kernel notes and blogs), I don’t buy hardware and then HOPE I can get it working (except when I’m feeling lucky ;) ). This IS a problem for new users (I am a Technical Architect and have written device drivers both for Linux and Windows) and some sort of ‘Penguin Mark’ is needed on hardware along with a minimum Kernel/Xorg version on which it works. Getting hardware manufacturers to buy into this is another matter – it is always hard to break into a monopoly/established market.

    What is needed is to increase MINDSHARE – i.e. let users SEE what that they don’t HAVE to run Windows and that running Linux has many advantages. The best way (I think) would be some sort of TV advert comparing Linux (say Ubuntu) and Windows run when the most people would see it. This will cost money so perhaps the solution is to have some sort of donation portal on the Ubuntu site labeled clearly as going toward a TV Linux promotion. I for one would contribute!

    I’ll just finish off by saying that I used to work in the Microsoft team for a large corporation and am now self-employed and work almost exclusively with Linux (both Red Hat/CentOS and Ubuntu/Debian) and do not regret for a second that I made the move. Linux is FAR more stable and easier to work on than Windows and Ubuntu (or derivations) are FAR more suitable for the work/home than Windows in ALL circumstances. If only more major governments would make the switch. (I am typing this on a Lenovo laptop running 64 bit Ubuntu 10.04 of course :) )

    Lets all try and get Linux in the mainstream (for instance if I am at a ‘standard’ computer shop such as PCWorld – I ALWAYS ask why they don’t offer laptops/desktops with a choice of operating system e.g. Linux pre-installed and usually get stupid stony silence). I was also asked (by other customers) what Linux was – I told them and gave web links – and was then asked to leave for being disruptive (as they were trying to sell Windows 7 to one of these customers)! Information (such as an advertising campaign) is the only way I think.

    The Linux/Open Source way of doing things is to get us all to help – perhaps someone with a less ugly mug than my own could star in the advert!

    Keep up the fantastic work. Ubuntu is NOT perfect but is better than most of the competition (beware of Mono by the way – we have better alternatives). Microsoft IS very worried about Linux and is fighting back. That is a very good sign – it means we are starting to win.

  197. stjohnmedrano says: (permalink)
    September 19th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Mark thank you very much, in return ive created a community here in cebu city philippines the goal is very simple spread ubuntu in cebu city.

    Thank you again.

  198. Shuttleworth responde às críticas pelas contribuições do Ubuntu | Linux Ajuda says: (permalink)
    September 20th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    [...] a resposta é bem longa e cheia de informações sobre qual é a contribuição que a Canonical e seu fundador buscam [...]

  199. Christian Hudon says: (permalink)
    September 20th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Very well written. Thanks for taking the time to write this, Mark.

  200. Tiago Vignatti says: (permalink)
    September 20th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Mark, you forgot about one of the most important communities, X and all low-level graphics development. Recently I published an article about this community in my blog, and I hope you’ll find it interesting.

  201. Shuttleworth responde às críticas pelas contribuições do Ubuntu | Ubuntu com Hardware says: (permalink)
    September 20th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    [...] 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 [...]

  202. Yannick Warnier says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 1:09 am

    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.

  203. stjohnmedrano says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    thank you very much Mark.

  204. Der Maik says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    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

  205. Mark Shuttleworth response to Ubuntu’s critics | Cebuntu says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 3:59 pm

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

  206. Ubuntu – Driving Linux Forward or Stealing the Credit? « Musings of a Beardy Gnome says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    [...] 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 [...]

  207. Jonas says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    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.

  208. Jonas says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    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.

  209. William says: (permalink)
    September 21st, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    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.

  210. dirn says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 2:53 am

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

  211. Steffen says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:23 am

    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

  212. Zac says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:34 am

    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.

  213. mark says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:30 am

    @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

  214. Adam Williamson says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 am

    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.

  215. Filipe Soares Dilly says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    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! =)

  216. MK-82 says: (permalink)
    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    “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.

  217. Steffen says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2010 at 3:15 am

    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

  218. Leysan says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Thanks, very interesting, relevant post.

  219. mark says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    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.

  220. mark says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    @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

  221. raips says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    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.

  222. Christopher Barry says: (permalink)
    September 24th, 2010 at 1:40 am

    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

  223. tired says: (permalink)
    September 24th, 2010 at 2:19 am

    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?

  224. John Kerr says: (permalink)
    September 24th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    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

  225. topones says: (permalink)
    September 25th, 2010 at 5:09 am

    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…

  226. major says: (permalink)
    September 25th, 2010 at 11:03 am

    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.

  227. arthur m says: (permalink)
    September 25th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    “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.

  228. Filippo says: (permalink)
    September 25th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    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.

  229. MK-82 says: (permalink)
    September 26th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    @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

  230. MK-82 says: (permalink)
    September 26th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    @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.

  231. foxoman says: (permalink)
    September 26th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    @ 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 :)

  232. kikl says: (permalink)
    September 27th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    @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!

  233. David Smith says: (permalink)
    September 27th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    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.

  234. MK-82 says: (permalink)
    September 28th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    @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.