Thoughts On Recent Community Concerns

Recently there has been some fire flowing about Canonical in the community. These concerns started off as sporadic at first and then we saw a small blog avalanche (blogalanche, if you will) as a number of folks piled onto the ride.

I feel somewhat trapped in the middle of all of this. On one hand I work at Canonical and I believe Canonical are acting in the honorable interests of Ubuntu in helping to build a competitive and forward-looking Free Software platform, but I also feel a sense of personal responsibility when I see unhappy members of our community who are concerned with different aspects of how Canonical engages. Essentially, I sympathize with both sides of this debate; both have the best interests at heart for Ubuntu.

From my perspective there is a balance that needs to be struck. Our community needs to be transparent and open, but also nimble to react to opportunities (such as the convergence story), but also Canonical play an important role in helping us to drive Ubuntu to the masses. We need to be able to work in a way that maintains our Ubuntu values but also gives Canonical the opportunity to get our platform out to the market effectively to reach these users.

I believe one cannot exist without the other; Canonical cannot deliver this vision without our community and Ubuntu would be significantly debilitated if there was no Canonical providing staff, resources, and other investment into Ubuntu. Canonical is not evil, and the community is not entitled; we all just need to step back and find some common ground and remember that we are all in the circle of friends.

This symbol is as potent to me as it was back in 2004.

When I got interested in Linux back in 1998 and wanted to make it my career, my primary motivation was to bring freedom of technology to everyone. This is what attracted me to Ubuntu and ultimately working at Canonical. I don’t want to be rude to other distros who are quite happy within their remit of making a great OS for Linux enthusiasts, but I frankly don’t want to settle for that. I want Ubuntu to be the choice for Linux enthusiasts, but for us to not stop there and also bring Free Software to people who have not yet been blessed by it, and who may be new to technology and the opportunities it provides.

Achieving that goal is not just as simple as making the source code available for the platform and setting up a bunch of mailing lists. It means delivering simple and elegant user experiences built for the needs of our users, consistent and beautiful design, professional-grade quality, strong hardware and software partner relationships, certification across a range of hardware profiles, training, responsive security, diverse marketing and advocacy campaigns, and many other areas. Both Canonical and the community contribute extensively to provide these things that we need to get over that chasm, and importantly, each provides things that the other cannot.

It turns out that building this simple, ubiquitous Free Software experience for everyone is hard. We can’t just settle for the tried and tested approach of pulling the latest upstream software and integrating it into a single Operating System. That is tough, intensive and grueling work in itself, but to achieve the goals I mentioned above we need to be constantly challenging ourselves to innovate and go faster in how we deliver this innovation to our users. We need to always challenge the status quo…not for the sake of being different, but for the sake of not restricting ourselves to tradition and instead helping us to be better at what we do, and ultimately achieve our goals of getting Ubuntu into the hands of more people.

We saw this challenge with Unity: that was a tough, but necessary decision. While we suffered over the firestorm around Unity, I think it ultimately put us in a better position, and now we have a single convergent user interface that spans across multiple devices and we will soon have a single convergent Unity code-base across these devices too. In an era where desktop shipments are down due to the impact of phones and tablets, we are no longer trapped in a form factor that has had a decreasing scope of opportunity for us; the desktop is just one part of our wider convergence vision. This opens up the market for Ubuntu and the Free Software and Open Source values we encompass. While some people in some comment boxes will still bring the hate about Unity, I think that overall it has put us in a position to get Free Software in the hands of more people than if we didn’t make that difficult decision, and the sheer level of interest in Ubuntu for the phone, tablet, TV, and desktop is testament to that.

Put it in my pocket, on my lap, on my desktop, and hang it on my wall.

While making tough decisions is important, it is also important that we maintain our Ubuntu values too. One core value is that our platform and community are open for discussion and participation, so everyone is welcome to help put their brick in the wall. Our archive has long been open and there are many ways to contribute, and while some of these projects were secret before-hand, now everything is out in the open and available for participation. Some may disagree with the rationale of keeping things private, but particularly in the case of Phone and Tablet, the “big-reveal” helped us to have a big splash and generate more press interest and partner inquiries, and thus help us along to our vision.

Importantly though, we made the source and community on-ramp available as soon as we feasibly could. The code for Unity, Ubuntu Touch, and Mir is publicly available, and we are eager to invite people to join and shape those projects. This week we also ran our very first online UDS, with the goal of making the Ubuntu planning process as open and accessible to all as possible, not just those who could travel, and on a more regular cadence. All of the videos, notes and blueprints from that event are archived here. I am confident for the next event we will have an even smoother, better-run UDS, with even more participation.

We are now in a position with a clearly articulated vision around convergence and cloud orchestration, full source availability, daily builds of images, and public mailing lists and IRC channels to have those conversations. Everything is available in public blueprints and tracked at status.ubuntu.com, and we have many outreach campaigns to help our community participate in this vision, such as the core apps project, port-o-thon, regular cadance testing, charm quality improvements, SDK participation, and other areas. Our community should expect our projects to be open, accessible and collaborative, and if they are not, please raise your concerns with the Canonical engineering managers, or talk to me either publicly on my weekly Q&A video hangout at 7pm UTC every Wednesday on Ubuntu On Air, or privately at jono@ubuntu.com, or by contacting me on Freenode IRC – my nick is jono. My door is always open.

Things are never perfect in a community, and I am not suggesting we are perfect either, but I believe we are at the cusp of an incredible opportunity to get Free Software and open technology into the hands of the masses, not just by wishing it to be true, but because there is genuine market opportunity for it to be true.

  • Alex

    I think the feeling in the community is not that Canonical is doing bad things, but that they are doing good things in an assholish way.

    Also, the whole Mir vs. Wayland thing REALLY didn’t help. Basically, it has become clear that the decision not to use Wayland was based on a lot of ignorance, and that troubles people.

  • Alan Bell

    I think the CoC and CoF are really really important. I hope that the new community is also inspired by them.

  • Thomas Kluyver

    Mir has really been the disturbing thing in the recent developments. Canonical saw shortcomings in Wayland – fair enough, I can believe that, and I don’t have enough technical knowledge to evaluate them. So air those concerns publicly, and see if the Wayland design can be improved to better suit Ubuntu. Don’t hunker down and develop an incompatible alternative in secret for 9 months.

  • Andrew Wahl

    Well said !

  • http://benjaminkerensa.com/ Benjamin Kerensa

    “as a number of folks piled onto the ride.”

    With good reason it would seem.

    “This symbol is as potent to me as it was back in 2004.”

    That symbol looked much different in 2004 :)

    “While we suffered over the firestorm around Unity”

    There was only firestorm because the community had little or no say.

    “the “big-reveal” helped us to have a big splash and generate more press interest and partner inquiries, and thus help us along to our vision.”

    Whos vision is it really if it was kept secret from the community? If only Canonical knew about it then it was not a Ubuntu vision… Sure we all want to see Ubuntu on phone and tablet but saying something is the vision of Ubuntu when the Ubuntu Community didn’t even know about it seems dishonest.

    “we have many outreach campaigns to help our community participate in this vision, such as the core apps project, port-o-thon, regular cadance testing, charm quality improvements, SDK participation”

    As others have pointed out these areas were never considered part of Ubuntu when people like Mackenzie was on the DMB… They were considered upstream and working on them would not get you membership because they were Canonical products. It seems Canonical has pushed these products into using the Ubuntu name and its been accepted as the norm even though in reality they had never been previously considered part of Ubuntu.

    “Our community should expect our projects to be open, accessible and collaborative”

    I think thats the major issue that people are starting to see… Canonical is being Less open… Less accessible and not allowing Ubuntu Contributors to be as involved in the calloboration…. There is a difference between a Contributor and Collaborator…. Last year the Community Team was much more about having people Colloborate… I remember you would invite us on calls with your team and ask for our input… That pretty much stopped this year because were no longer colloborators just contributors who can submit some patches gratis while Canonical decides what the vision is or is not and if we don’t like it well we can move on like Mark has suggested.

    In closing can please stop pretending that the vUDS had anything to do with making it more accesible? We know it was a money decision.

  • http://benjaminkerensa.com/ Benjamin Kerensa

    The CoC and CoF are both great aspects of Community v1.0 and someone needs to report a bug on v2.0 of the Community that these things are missing.

  • Michael

    I really appreciate this response but I feel almost as if you still think your current actions are just. I dont think doing something wrong (causing more fragmentation for linux, and potentially hurting Wayland adoption) is justified by “getting free technology into the hands of the masses”, we already have that with android, Google have put open source free technology into the hands of the masses already.

    Other than the technology being used whats the difference between what Canonical is trying to do and what Google has already done? If things proceed like they are we will just have a second Android like option (although it may run smoother since its not running on top of dalvik) its the same situation and it will be the same outcome for the community where the code benefits Ubuntu (Google in the case of Android) but none of the other linux distros or users.

    The whole concern is not that Canonical is trying to do their own thing, I dont think anyone minds that a company full of software developers are doing something they want to do, the issue is that their actions hurt everyone else who is not Ubuntu, thats the real problem that needs to be addressed.

  • http://twitter.com/dec200269 Dave C

    I have always believed that Openness would give everyone the opportunity to speak their peace collaboratively as a community and everyone benefits with many eyeballs and brains gathered together to build something wonderful and enjoyable to use with our technology of our choice. This is our opportunity to show how technology can be used for the collective good to improve everyone’s quality of life and integrating with us and the world we live in, more harmoniously.

    Just an idea.

    Jono, great job. Keep up the great work. And thank you for discussing this with candour.

    I enjoy using Ubuntu and showing people the possibilities of choice that Open Source offers them and how I use it in-house as well as for clients.

  • Serf

    I think you totally missed the point of all the contributors who have been blogging and maybe that goes to show how far disconnected Canonical is from the community.

    Your post does little to address the concerns of the community and toying with terms like blogalanche is not helping… If you were in touch with your community’s contributors you would know that these concerns are not new and are discussed on IRC regularly and had been simmering for some time.

    Why not sit down and engage the community contributors and try and resolve some of these issues… Is that not a role of a community manager to resolve conflicts?

    Inviting contributors to a Q+A seems like you are treating the community like serfs with you being the king.

  • http://jamesmcminn.com James McMinn

    The problem, at least for me, is that all of the “big” decision are made behind closed doors and away from the community of developers that have helped Ubuntu grow to what it is today.

    Every few weeks there in an uproar because a decision has been made that doesn’t make sense, and the reasons given sound more like excuses than anything else. If a decision is made because of money, say so, don’t mess around and try to pull wool over our eyes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Mir was the prerequisite to some unannounced product that Canonical is working on – of course we’ll only find out once it’s too late to have any input.

    Basically, Canonical needs to realize that you can’t keep the community out of the loop if they want the community to stay happy. It just results in a lack of trust between Canonical and everyone else in the open source community.

  • Daniel Sprouse

    I agree with Canonicals direction, and for the same reason as the author. This is the best shot since 1992 to make the moves needed to get linux into the hearts, minds, and hands of the masses. MacIntosh became popular with graphic artists because Apple gave college students good prices on hardware and software, linux doesn’t own the hardware and would therefore have far less ability to do that, but taking it to libraries and/or school districts might work, but there is an easier way. And Canonical has found it. Getting people familiar with the tablets and phones will go a long way towards getting people to say yes to linux, as android has proven the case for open source, Ubuntu will for the first time be able to make deep and lasting inroads onto the desktops of the enterprises of the world. Rock on Ubuntu.

  • Michael

    they are doing exactly what google has already succeeded at doing, android is running a version of linux, which is open source and already in the hands of the masses and that has not helped the linux mindset / adoption at all. If canonical is successful it will be the same situation where people know of “ubuntu” (much like they know the name android) but it doesn’t little to nothing to help the linux community.

  • Daniel Sprouse

    well if the one machine that acts as a tablet and can run full fledged linux as well is a bit more appealing to businesses than a PC and a smart phone and maybe a laptop per employee. All in all this is going to offer business far more than android can.

  • Michael

    True, but you have to remember that an ubuntu tablet cannot yet do that, and their images for nexus devices were a little more than a slideshow of screenshots and possible solution, I love the concept in theory but canonical can not currently do that. It wont be exactly full fledged linux either if canonical keeps trying to redo things under their control, it will be the ubuntu version of linux much like android.

    Also you have to remember if this is something businesses show interest in you can be sure that microsoft,google, and apple will have their tablet variants doing the same thing. Come to think of it thats the exact thing microsoft is currently doing with windows 8 (minus the security part :p ) metro screen its like a standard tablet interface and they have a full fledged desktop the user can use if they need to when docked or if a mouse or keyboard is plugged in, although I would rather have a linux option for this I think canonical is going to need to do much more than have a tablet/pc hybrid, they need a community to succeed the very same community that is angry with/leaving them right now =

  • http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com Anonymous

    The issue of whether those are part of Ubuntu or not was at the crux of my decision to quit the DMB. The answer to “Canonical doesn’t contribute upstream” was “yes we do, we ARE upstream.” That declaration became inconvenient when it started seeming useful to have Canonical upstream products count as Ubuntu development (in a way upstream KDE, Xorg, OpenOffice.org, or Linux development didn’t).

    To paraphrase Animal Farm: All upstreams are equal, but some upstreams are more equal than others.

  • http://winael.blogspot.com/ Winael

    There’s something very weird.

    As I read blog post, I understand that Ubuntu = Canonical’s flavor of Ubuntu.

    So people want to leave the community because of the decision that Canonical made with their flavor.

    Maybe I’m wrong but I thought that Ubuntu was in fact a family with different flavors not controlled by Canonical. The (K/X/L)Ubuntu or the Gnome one or the Studio one are Ubuntus too. And it’s still the same community.

    So when people arguing their leaves by the decision made on one particular flavor, I really have he impression of non-respect of all the work and community leading of the other flavors.

    I really can understand their are frustrated to learn things about Canonical’s decision at the last minute and to discover that Canonical works behind the gate on their vision, especially when you’re help developping Ubuntu, because those vision impact directly your work.

    As an evangelist, and not developper, I have a chance to participate from an farest point, that offer me a more global view of the Ubuntu project, and I can feel the change. Unity was pre launched more than a year before it was landed on Ubuntu by default, but we could fell the change since UNR, the phone and tablet things was a question of time, you just have to read the complains about Unity.

    The only aspect that could help to fix the issue between Community and Canonical for the High tada value new thing, is to offer the participation to those project not to everybody, but to the official Ubuntu members as a sign of thanks for their effort all along the years. For my point of you is the only way to made that Community and Canonical works toghether hand in the hand

  • http://basshero.org/ Jason Robinson

    Thanks Jono, keep up the good work. Personally I see the future of Ubuntu being very bright and totally look forward to this even if it requires hard decisions. Ubuntu is evolving. Some people will not be able to evolve with it but that is natural when changes appear.

    To give a little critique though (not to you but Canonical) I do tend to agree that maybe it wasn’t so important to keep Mir a secret and announce it without informing first community stakeholders of the plans. I understand doing this with the tablet and phone – but Mir is something that isn’t really a mainstream media item. Even though it is something that needs to be done the community might have felt it better if it hadn’t been hidden from them.

    But in general, I believe strong leadership and direction is required to push Ubuntu onwards – and that can only be provided by Canonical. Keep pushing :)

  • KuKuKaChu

    as long as i have gnome-“fallback”, i shall be staying with Ubuntu. i am disappointed that Canonical has abandoned the desktop form factor, but clearly they have their own commercial priorities and limitations. users perhaps invested too much hope in just one company to promote and develop the Linux desktop.

  • Anonymous

    But android is not linux distribution, it’s os based on linux kernel.

    Success of ubuntu means that apps and games made for ubuntu will be available for all distributions. Better drivers and hardware support for ubuntu means better for all distributions. If Dell and HP test their systems on ubuntu it means other distributions work better too.

  • Timo Jyrinki

    First, Ubuntu is open to development and community for also mobile and tablet – Android has none of that, just code drops that get modded.

    Second, I disagree – even in current way Android has done tremendous things for free software community, mobile driver support and making things like Replicant possible. I feel people get too attached to software projects or even the desktop in general – like Wayland, it has been the promise for 5 years, yet no products use it. I’d love to see more push to have actual competitive Wayland and other using products, since otherwise we don’t get Linux to the masses. If Mir helps Ubuntu to do that so that there’s not another multiple years of finalizing Wayland, fine (I don’t know how it’s going to be). If Android would be open as a project, it wouldn’t hurt if it was the superior alternative making all of X.org, upstart, systemd, Wayland, Pulseaudio, D-Bus, glibc legacy projects while the interest of development would go to the Android. It’s not so now. Ubuntu will keep using a lot more of the traditional stack anyway than Android which also just got rid of BlueZ, but I have zero problem of changing any of the components if it’s visioned to be required to get finished, ready to use products out.

    IMHO the key is to get products out, and I hope all the parties manage to do that. Of the traditional distributions only Ubuntu seems to be adapting for the future. The other distributions in the mobile playing field are Android/Replicant, Mer/Sailfish, Firefox OS, Tizen, possibly added with OpenEmbedded based distributions. I feel KDE may bring with its Plasma Active (currently focusing on building on top of Mer) some mobile power to the traditional GNU/Linux distributions, but otherwise it’s all up to the new players – and Ubuntu.

  • http://twitter.com/kaczer Viktor Machek

    It’s a strange situation, is not it?

    I’ll try to add my point of view: Canonical is completely self-contained commercial company with a business model and set goals and projected revenues. That’s just business. On the other hand, to achieve these objectives also uses a community of people and their enthusiasm, who think that they can also influence the direction of this distribution. But this is not the case, we must realize who’s holding the steering wheel and adds speed.

    Community has a choice: accept the rules of the game set by Canonical or dissolve and pursue useful work.

  • Anonymous

    Well said!

    One of the problems with building a big, diverse community is that the community you built is big, and diverse. The bigger and more diverse a community you build, the more the edges try to move the center. Eventually you get vocal factions attempting to shift your goals. Some of them don’t even have the community’s best interest at heart: they are agents provocateurs.

    Responsible leaders accept that “we can’t please everybody.” There is more than one path to progress, and you’re going to lose some along the way. By remaining focused on raising the bar ever higher, on remaining open and accepting of dissent while continuing to choose goals and charge fervently toward them – this is the path to victory.

    In my mind with its diverse builds Canonical delivers a distro that does more, offers more flexibility and choice than any other. It’s driving more progress to more hardware platforms, innovating in more spheres than any other. It’s staying open and free. And these are great standards that make it a distro worth sticking with even when some of the default options aren’t my favorite choices.

    Now if your army revolts, the mob riots, your people desert you, then you have to acknowledge that perhaps you were charging toward the wrong future. But I don’t see that now. What I see now are some clusters of people who would be unhappy no matter where they were. They want to be unhappy. You should give them that.

    Of course if you push forward with Microsoft signing keys to run Ubuntu on UEFI platforms for SecureBoot, well, that is too much. Compulsive nerd that I am I would still rather revert to pencil and paper than let The Beast of Redmond have anything whatever to do with my Linux – most especially not have signing rights over the code. I would migrate to ARM first, or limit myself to Westmere and before and BSD if I had to – but when the last of the old tech failed: a pencil and paper before I would run code signed by Redmond. Not only don’t I love Canonical and Ubuntu or Linux or the Web that much – I don’t even love technology that much. That is following Novell’s path to forgotten history.

  • http://www.dylanmccall.com/ dylan-m

    Hey, Jono, I’m a little unclear on how these decisions work once they reach Ubuntu itself, so I’m wondering if you could help me understand. So, as I understand it the Ubuntu Technical Board is community-run, and makes lots of final decisions about technical things like the X Server.

    What I’m wondering, then, is how the Mir announcement fits with that. How is it set in stone that this is the direction Ubuntu will go? (Or is it?). Is the announcement just running on the assumption that the technical board will be thrilled with that direction, is it out of their control, or did they already say “yes?”

    Thanks! :)

  • http://blog.jalcine.me/ Jacky Alcine

    For all they know, someone might have had patches or been willing to fix it.

  • Cynic

    The Mir issue is being understated. It will fragment a core part of Linux(in a broader sense)! It will set Ubuntu further away from the Linux community, maybe it will come to a point where “Software X supports Linux and Ubuntu”.

    Will Chrome/Firefox/openjdk/eclipse/flash/… support Mir and/or Wayland? Will Intel/fgrlx/radeon/nvidia/nouveau support Mir and/or Wayland? Two competing display servers will set the effort to replace X further back.

    The technical reasons for Mir have fallen apart under scrutiny (which could have happened much earlier). Despite what some people were led to think, Mir still has a long path to even come near Wayland’s current state.

  • KarlNapf

    … not if ubuntu keeps separating itself from the rest of the herd. Ubuntu uses notifications that are not accepted upstream in gnome, it uses a desktop environment that is ubuntu-only (no other distributiton even ships it AFAICT, due to it being hard to package anywhere else), ubuntu is the pretty alone with using upstart, etc.

    Mir could be seen as a step to have ubuntu-only display drivers.

  • http://twitter.com/JoelOtter Joel Auterson

    This really reminds me of something. Can’t quite think what – oh yes, OpenSUSE signing the patent agreement with Microsoft, and Mark sent out a call to developers who wanted to be part of “an open, inclusive community”. Now Kubuntu are calling to Ubuntu developers fed up with Canonical’s closed doors. What goes around comes around, I suppose.

    Yes, I understand that things like Unity, the phone interface and Mir are pushing Ubuntu out to becoming ever more popular and mainstream. But Canonical seem to have lost sight of Ubuntu’s core philosophy, choosing instead to focus on bug #1. I’m not hugely involved with Ubuntu development (I submit bug fixes and translations from time to time, that’s about it) but I do follow it closely, and it has been a long, long time since I’ve seen a major change in Ubuntu and thought “man, our community’s great”. Usually it’s “I don’t remember seeing any discussion about this, were the community even told?” The fact that we talk about Canonical so much now is something that wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. It’s changed from “the Ubuntu team have developed” to “Canonical have announced”.

    One meaning for ‘ubuntu’ is “I am who I am because of who we all are”. I think Canonical may have lost sight of this. The clue’s in the name, and this whole situation upsets me a bit. This isn’t the community-developed distro I was so enamoured with six years ago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hauser.quaid.3 Hauser Quaid

    If Canonical wants to succeed it needs to have its own infrastructure so they’re not dependent on the others and their actions. From that perspective I understand why is you’ve created Mir. I I know it may seem like the reinventing the wheel, but it’s the only way you can implement your vision without making design compromises.

    However Mark Shuttleworth needs to rethink his attitude about rolling release. having to wait for 6 months for updates is ridiculous.

  • Brady Merriweather

    I can understand the feeling of disconnect, the reading of all these posts seem to bring up that social viral marketing which seems to have been a driver for the OS, has been more polished. Created careers for the first adopters, while others feel they are spinning wheels without feeling their contribution is valued on local levels. I seen some good improvements. Not just in the Distribution, but in sites like askubuntu & new info from places like omgubuntu. I know there had been efforts to keep that social driven marketing and content going, but much of that side seems to be self driven out of a few user pockets. I was hoping with the integration of social services from outside players, that there might of been by now integration of that Ubuntu community for new faces right in the notifier. I tell people about what is out there when I hand a disc to someone, but without me being right there to show them, it’s usually forgotten and find out day/ weeks later: some fall back to their comfort. The community’s help for new permanent end user helps if they can access it with a click. It’s them (community) that keeps bringing those user number up. The communities should be “integrated” in Ubuntu. It’s apart of it.

  • Cynic

    “If Canonical wants to succeed it needs to have its own infrastructure so they’re not dependent on the others and their actions.”

    In other words, set itself apart from the broader Linux community.

  • puppetmaster

    Puuuuuppet

  • Scott Lavender

    “All upstreams are equal, but some upstreams are more equal than others”

    Brilliant!

  • puppetmaster

    Wayland has none of the problems they claimed but they wouldnt know as they could not be bothered to check.

  • http://twitter.com/mangecoeur mangecoeur

    Anecdotes aren’t data points, but for what it’s worth for years i tried and failed to get my parents to use ubuntu, until i showed my dad – who’s been on Microsoft OSes since DOS 2.1 – Ubuntu with Unity and his exact words were “well this is much better than the mess you tried to sell to me before”. 2 years on and he’s a happy man, running Ubuntu Unity every day, and is excited by the prospect of getting it on a tablet.

    I thought i’d contribute this, because my dad is the kind of person Ubuntu needs, and exactly the kind of person who will never show up in the mailing lists, blog posts, and flame wars of those who consider themselves the Ubuntu community. Please remember that there are plenty of members of the Ubuntu family who’s voice is never heard – it’s therefore the responsibility of active community members to keep them in mind when they form their opinions about what’s “best” for Ubuntu. Don’t confuse what’s good for the Ubuntu community with “what I personally do and don’t like”.

  • http://www.jorgecastro.org/ Jorge Castro

    Uhh, different projects work on different things and work differently. You don’t hear people saying “This isn’t a real linux because it uses RPMs instead of debs” and so on.

  • http://www.jorgecastro.org/ Jorge Castro

    Ubuntu hasn’t abandoned the “desktop”, it’s just that these days people’s “desktops” are phones, tablets, and desktops.

  • Cynic

    I hear people saying “Android isn’t real GNU/Linux” because it has deviated so much from the common GNU/Linux stack.

    Packaging is fragmented, so lets fragment the display server as well. The display server is a core part of the stack. Fragmenting it means fragmenting drivers, GUI toolkits and applications.

    To support Mir, there’s already a patched branch for Mesa, GTK and Qt. Only XUL, Google Chrome, KDE, Eclipse, Openjdk… left to patch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timrcc Tim Chavez

    “The technical reasons for Mir have fallen apart under scrutiny (which could have happened much earlier).” — Do you have a link to an analysis handy? Thanks

  • Cynic

    I’m not answering your cynical question. The way you’ve phrased the question… you will dismiss any link I provide. You’ve probably read a lot about it, and know what is avaiable…

    This “analysis” should have been made 9 month ago together with experienced X/Wayland developers.

    How about addressing other parts of my comment?

  • http://www.facebook.com/timrcc Tim Chavez

    Wait what? I’m not being cynical. My apologies if that’s how it came across. I’m simply interested in what people that know what they’re talking about (e.g. display server experts) are saying about Mir.

  • Cynic

    Oh, sorry. My bad. :)

    Much of it is just comments from X/Wayland developer. The most informative is this talk between Wayland lead developer and a Mir developer: http://pastebin.com/KjRm3be1 https://plus.google.com/100409717163242445476/posts/jDq6BAgdpkG

  • Anonymous

    Those developers are clearly unbiased about their own creations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hauser.quaid.3 Hauser Quaid

    Why not? It’s their choice, freedom of choice is the key of free software.

    If they can’t agree what gnome does (and in my opinion it does a terrible job) or wayland, why would they beg them to make what suits them best?

    You’re also looking the things other way around, maybe some of the things Canonical does will be used by other distributions, maybe we’ll have cool forks, you never know.

    If they can do it, they should do whatever they think it’s best for making their system succeed. We might like it or not, but no other distribution was able to make any significant impact, and maybe there is a reason for it, of course people will always be against change, but that’s part of the problem, not part of a solution.

    I’m a Kubuntu user, but I respect what they’re trying to do. Don’t be afraid of change, if they fail, because of it’s product diversity, something better will take their place, that’s what’s open source software is all about, not following someones else ideas and dreams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hauser.quaid.3 Hauser Quaid

    And look at success Android has, perhaps they were right for deviating from standard paths.

    Ubuntu’s goal is to became a mainstream OS, they need to find a strategy that works, none of the current ones does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hauser.quaid.3 Hauser Quaid

    True, now that I got nexus 7, I spend more time on it than using my desktop.

  • Anonymous

    “no other distributiton even ships it” Edubuntu

  • http://pgrytdal.tk/ Parker Grytdal

    I totally get why the Tablet and Phone versions of Ubuntu were kept secret… The press that created was very beneficial to Ubuntu. But Mir? Most end-users don’t really care about the display server. You should have made that open from day one.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net/ AdamW

    Canonical’s criticism of Wayland was removed a day or so after it was posted, which is an implicit admission that it is incorrect. I don’t think anyone from Canonical has actually disputed that the criticisms were inaccurate.

  • http://www.happyassassin.net/ AdamW

    FWIW, it doesn’t really mean fragmenting drivers, as both Wayland and Mir just sit on top of the GL stack. They can both use the same GL stack and the same KMS drivers underneath that.

  • http://twitter.com/mikhas4711 Michael Hasselmann

    Jono, you wrote a nice wall of text. I try very hard but other than your “witty” word games, I found nothing that explains the “whys” in a way I could understand it.

    Could you please provide an exec summary?

    Also, call me old-fashioned, but I actually expected an honest apology for the ruckus and the misinformation that has widely been spread at this point. You are the community manager after all.

  • http://www.cavedon.it/ Dario

    So many people leave the community! Something is changing, maybe it’s time to think if this is good for Ubuntu, I’m sure this is NOT good for community – if it still exists.

  • Guest

    His question was a valid one. I’m getting tired of people all over the web making claims that they don’t back up with facts.

    So Tim Chavez asked for the facts so he could learn from what you stated.

    Your response was not helpful to Tim nor to anyone else that is interested in learning the facts that you base your opinion on.

  • Anonymous

    If Linux doesn’t stand for Innovation what does it stand for??

    The good thing about Open Source and linux is that people always have choices. Even with Ubuntu and Unity… you can choose to still use Gnome3, xfce etc. ??

    If MIR turns out to be great… then wonderful… people will use it and it will be adopted.

    If MIR turns out to be less than Wayland then people will adopt Wayland and use it.

    Why does everyone criticize innovation. Sometimes innovation breaks the trendline… sometimes it fails.

  • Anonymous

    I work at a Fortune 50 tech company and one thing I have learned over the years as that key decision making by large committees/groups usually leads to long delayed projects and less strategic direction/vision.

    Right now with Windows 8 and with the rapid expansion of Cloud computing there is a HUGE “opening” for Linux but that “opportunity” may not last forever. Microsoft may not be loved by the linux community but they have a tremendous number of great engineers and $10s of Billions to spend to try to fix their problems.

    I look at what Canonical is doing with Ubuntu on Phone, Tablet, TV, PC and Server right now as trying to drive the Linux wedge into that Opening and take advantage of it to bring more of the Business world into the Linux user community.

    Red Hat’s doing the same thing in many of the same ways. They too have been taking criticism for not getting permission first before starting toward a goal.

    These companies have to set a strategy and work toward that strategy if they are going to be successful in these kind of key efforts.

    I’m not saying forget the “community” but sometimes you can’t let the “community” debate critical strategy directions or it just takes too damn long and time is NOT always on your side.

    Canonical includes the “community” in many projects… look at JuJu, look at their OpenStack efforts or LXC efforts.

  • http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com Anonymous

    Note that I would’ve actually been fine with that state of affairs if the membership criteria had said as much. It was lack of transparency about the “more equal” that bothered me. The membership criteria still say upstream contributions don’t count. Revise those to say “contributions to Ubuntu or Canonical-sponsored projects” and my complaint goes away.

  • Anonymous

    I would say that Android is a linux distribution, the one that didn’t used GNU and X.Org softwares.

  • Craig

    “Ubuntu would be significantly debilitated if there was no Canonical providing staff, resources, and other investment”

    Sorry, what does Ubuntu offer above above stock Debian again? How many upstream commits did you make last year? I forget if it was 2 or 3.

  • Craig

    Oh they did know. There are no technical problems with Wayland and I think Canonical know this. They are simple trying to outpace it’s development with a project they started, so that they can get the copyright of all contributions assigned to them and control the project top-down.

    Instead of developing some influence upstream, they just screamed “I’m taking my football away and starting my own game — I’ll play by myself if I have to”. Quite pathetic really.

  • Bruno Girin

    As far as I know, Ubuntu notifications are an implementation of the freedesktop systemtray spec: http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Specifications/systemtray-spec Now the reason why GNOME would not accept an implementation of a freedesktop spec I don’t know.

  • http://blog.jalcine.me/ Jacky Alcine

    I can’t agree with that. A desktop is meant for heavy use, for document editing with charts and graphs, for writing programs, for creating and authoring video. Good chance that’s something that’d be on a desktop for a while just because of display and keyboards.

    I do get what you’re saying, though. A desktop is a user’s primary interface and nowadays, a primary interface for the (average) user is their phone or tablet.

  • Jeannie

    Begging for donations and showing payed ads on the dash by default is not what I call free software,sorry