Friday, March 4, 2011

Ubuntu Linux - Not yet a Pariah but heading there

Yes, the most popular Linux distro is working hard to become the pariah of the FOSS community. To give you a typical example, take the case of the GNOME / UNITY switch.

If I were Shuttleworth, I'd not ship Ubuntu with my in-house DE just yet. I'd rather ship the usual GNOME but put a small script somewhere to inform users that "look, we're planning on shipping our own DE but think it's not ready yet. We'll need all the feedback we can get from you before shipping it as default. Click here if you want to install Unity and help us test."

That is how you ship something as default that digesses radically from the norm. How much testing can be done between now and April? Why the rush to ship Unity when the effort used to develop it can be contributed to GNOME? Of course I know there's always been a not so cordial relationship between Ubuntu and the upstream GNOME devs, but that is still not an excuse.

Then there is the case of that bloated music player called Banshee. A player that virtually crawls on my 1GB laptop is going to be shipped as default, and even that choice was also mirred in controversy. Did Canonical think because Apple can get away with whatever percentage it charges app devs using its app store so they can as well?

Oh but I forgot! Ubuntu takes a lot of inspiration from Apple? Remember the window button switch? Or the default themes? Ah yes Mac OS. I really like Ubuntu. It's the only distro that I've used consistently on my personal computer and really admire the philosophy upon which it was founded. Hey the word Ubuntu is from my continent Ok? :-D.

That not withstanding however, I honestly can't just understand why Canonical keeps committing one blunder after the other. Yes I'm aware the company must eventually make profit, but the strategy used to attain that goal should not be such that will alienate it from the community that is its lifeline! Errors are bound to be made, but are we learning from them as we ought to?

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

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