Mark Shuttleworth “Alright, Alright. I’m sorry!”


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The Ubuntu issue is complex and hard to pinpoint exactly. I agree with Shuttleworth that the trademark response was blown completely out of proportion. However, I find some things about his apology confusing.

For example, why would Shuttleworth call fixubuntu.com a “sucks” site without even having the courtesy to mention it by name? The name sounds kind of derogatory.

I also should say that I don’t agree with Shuttleworth that vocal non-technical critics of software are wasting time. There’s at least one person behind every software project, and it shouldn’t be considered a bad thing to know about the people and circumstances outside the actual code. If anything, I’d think Shuttleworth would agree with that.

Lastly, it’s a bit peculiar that he didn’t address the elephant in the room: Why Ubuntu’s online search lenses aren’t disabled by default.

I find difficult to make a constructive criticism of Mir, but I can try to make a constructive contribution to the conversation by giving you the background that in another message acknowledge we all have missed.The current general controversy around Canonical and Ubuntu has it’s roots in several decisions taken by Canonical since 2010. It’s not like Ubuntu didn’t receive any criticism before, but the situation has deteriorated notably.The first signs of the “new Ubuntu” start with the divorce between Canonical and Gnome, and the decision to build Unity.On that time it all seemed to me like a huge overreaction by both sides about a silly feature, but I sympathized initially with Canonical even if I disliked Unity as a DE. However, as the time went by I started suspecting that the reasons given by Canonical where not completely honest. The fact that Unity was not built with portability in mind, and the iron fist policy against criticism of any kind in ubuntuforums (general “hater” labeling, abortion of conversations by abusive moderation…) made me think that something was not being told.

Around that time the only paid Kubuntu developer was fired from Canonical and people started speculating about the fate of derivatives.

The inclusion of ads in Unity was an unexpected move in the free software world, and hinted at the not confessed motivations to develop Unity. The way Jono Bacon dealt with Mr. Stallman’s criticism offended me deeply.

They then confessed to develop in secret, behind closed doors. That was against the way of doing things in the Free Software world, it meant a frontal rejection of it’s collaborative nature.

The previous proud mentions to the community completely disappeared from Ubuntu’s web site, reappeared after much complains, only to be marginalized again.

They finally announced their plan: A phone. And they announced the central piece of the puzzle: Mir.

Arguing some technical weaknesses in Wayland that they had to retract immediately, Canonical announced their plan to depart from the agreed standard with a piece of software they’d control completely thanks to the CLA added to the license. Unlike all the previous movements this one affected the whole Linux community, because it would introduce an incompatibility in a fundamental piece of the OS.

There’s much to say and discuss about the implications of each individual movement and about the general picture they paint, but Canonical doesn’t like that conversation. During this whole process the message given has been a message of denial (We are not going to fork Gnome, Unity is not a DE for touch interfaces, the ads are not ads but search results, the derivatives are still a priority, the community is as important for us as ever…) and they insist in diminishing the actual criticisms (there’s no technical discussion it’s only political, they simply hate us because we are popular…).

This is just a quick and dirty summary, but I hope this gives you some tools to understand better the motivations of the so called “haters”.

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