Many of you will know my general policy for not getting involved in flame-wars and I was not going to comment on this story, but I just wanted to share a few words.
Of course, the story is saddening: a woman bought a computer to do her classwork, it contained Ubuntu, and her expectations were not matched. Thus developed frustration and annoyance with the things that she wanted to do that she couldn’t do. That is both frustrating for her and for us. Fortunately, as we continue to work hard to improve Ubuntu, these problems will be resolved in time, but you know what…life happens…and Ubuntu doesn’t always work for everyone. We just need to learn, move on and improve in that area in the future. Problems are merely opportunities to do better next time: our OS is young, and there is plenty of time for us to rub off the rough edges. These may not be rough technical edges: in this story the problem seems to have been in the hands of setting expectations around the technology, be it in Ubuntu or with the hardware provider.
What saddens me more is the attitude of some members of our community. Some were rude, derogatory and in some cases offensive to the woman in question. Unfortunately, in some cases vitriol replaced reason in some commentators.
Our community is one built on communication. It is how we share ideas and problems and their respective implementations and solution. Communication is the river that flows inside our own community and out to our users. When we compromise our communication, we compromise our community.
There is simply no excuse to be rude and offensive, and when someone paints Ubuntu in a bad light, it doesn’t justify it This is not about “unbelievers” or “freedom haters”, it is about basic respect. Sure, it is annoying when people rag on Ubuntu, and in some cases even inaccurate. What is worse is to insult our users: irrespective of their actions. Not everyone is well versed in Ubuntu, its capabilities and what it can provide. Not everyone knows how to navigate our desktop, and people are going to make mistakes that many of us would be embarrassed to make. Irrespective of the criticism or carping, we are made of strong stuff. Lets take the criticism and instead use our efforts to fix problems and make Ubuntu better for everyone.
I am so proud of everything we are doing in our community, but these kinds of situations let the side down. We all get frustrated, but lets keep the positive energy flowing, and continue to kick arse and take names at every possible opportunity.