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Ubuntu in 2013 (markshuttleworth.com)
42 points by zimbatm 1854 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments



That is the vomitous self-congratulatory thing I've ever read and what I've come to expect from our multi-millionare South African marketing overlord. Mark: if you're reading this, please take note.

Translated:

We're going to push our own goals rather than asking what people want, you know like Amazon again.

We're including everyone in our statement, apart from those people with an opinion other than ours.

Giving, giving, giving dammit giving giving!

We're lying about Unity with a sample size of 15 people that we all knew already, even though the community hates Unity. It's like Ballmer saying how everyone loves Windows 8 Metro but it's not selling.

Mobile bandwagon jumpy jump. Let's dumb it down so it can be use for gefingerpoken as well as anything else (not going to happen - probably worse than Windows 8).

More cloud tie in - we want your data just like all the other vendors.

Completely ignore the foundation that everyone else such as GNU, Linux kernel people, Xorg and surprisingly Debian have provided them.

Completely ignore the humongous bug database which makes Ubuntu like a pre-Alpha release of Windows for reliability.

Ugh it makes me sick. Sorry to sound cynical, but the above is 5 years of using Ubuntu canned in a few statements.


So how much did you contribute back in these 5 years ?


Cash, promotion, merchandise, landscape subscription, bug reports, forum help (I have over 3000 posts on Ubuntu forums), stackoverflow, testing to name a few...


And Mark with his millions out of pocket to invest in a company he believes in. If they were votes, he wins.

Do the capitalist thing and stop giving them money if you hate it ohsomuch.


I doubt it. Much as myself, I wouldn't invest without expecting a sensible return.

I did stop giving about 2 months ago and poured it all into debian.

Now I'm doing the capitalist thing of whinging about how my investment was misused.


"And in this regard, we know, scientifically, that Ubuntu with Unity is better than anything else out there."

Quote from the linked article, emphasis added. I'm actually interested in the methodology in use by Canonical. I can find the following reference easily...

http://design.canonical.com/2010/11/usability-testing-of-uni...

together with some work on application software

http://design.canonical.com/2011/08/thunderbird-evolution-us...

Anyone got anything else solid from Canonical?

PS: I know and rather like Unity as manifest in 12.04/12.10. It will be interesting to see how the UI changes and what implications the UI have for the underlying system as the transition to mobile device moves forward. I think that users should stick to LTS or move to a 'rolling distro' if they need very reliable and/or specific interfaces. Of course, that will reduce the pool of testers and the range of hardware tested, but it looks as if Canonical will be working with hardware manufacturers anyway.


it's hard to read that without feeling the huge weight of criticism (all the kow-towing and talking about experts). and then i come here and 2 out of 4 posts are complaining.

really, can't you just go somewhere else? ubuntu is fine for my laptop. it might even do for my mother's next time i visit. if you want something else, either use something else or at least have the graciousness to complain without "fuck up" and "muckety muck". you're beyond tiring. go away. please.


Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe there's something to the huge amount of criticism? You know, maybe we should all consider listening to it?

The Ubuntu community got so large because Ubuntu was something that people found very useful. Then a few years ago, questionable decisions started being made. They brought a very poor experience to a huge number of people, without offering any benefit.

The criticism is valid, and it should be voiced loudly and often.

It's not isolated to Ubuntu, either. There are other major open source projects that have started to actively defecate upon their existing user base. Firefox and GNOME are two big ones. We see the same kind of widespread, large-scale anger from their communities, too.

The leadership of Ubuntu, GNOME and Firefox have all chosen to essentially ignore the ever-growing disillusionment within their existing communities. I think it will cost them dearly. We've already seen a lot of people moving to alternatives.

More importantly, these are the power users who are moving away. These are the very people who are needed by any project that really wants to succeed. They're the ones who help drive others to use the given product. Without them, the project is nothing. It may take a few more years, but I do think that we'll see GNOME, Ubuntu and Firefox go the way of XFree86, if things don't change today.


This post is nothing but a nice heaping of FUD. Looking at it from a distance the decisions made the Ubuntu brass have largely paid off. I like many others had my doubts when I initially played with Unity in 11.04 when it was slow and lumbering, however in 12.04 I doubt there are many people who would categorize Unity as a substandard experience. I haven't played with the latest GNOME so I can't comment there but Unity definitely blows KDE out of the water. I doubt lens-shopping makes it into the next LTS released, if it does it will be turned off by default.

I know we live in the age of hyperbole but statements like this "There are other major open source projects that have started to actively defecate upon their existing user base." are not constructive in any way. Ubuntu adoption is growing not shrinking, Firefox market share while not growing is holding steady. Claiming that these projects are going down is nothing but FUD. (I know many people would love to see Ubuntu and Firefox go down just so they can have a chance to see their pet distro on top and Chrome on top but alas it ain't happening any-time soon)


How exactly have their decisions "paid off"?

The level of anger and displeasure within the Ubuntu community is at an astounding level. It's not a healthy community these days.

Clearly, the growth isn't there. Android has become the most popular Linux distribution around. DistroWatch shows more interest in Linux Mint, and a declining interest in Ubuntu. The general sentiment when following discussion online is that people are unhappy with Ubuntu, and trying alternatives, including Windows and OS X.

The same goes for Firefox and GNOME. The sentiment within the existing user communities is not pleasant. The only "positive" (more like non-negative) articles are coming from the leadership of these projects, and they often read much more like advertising or propaganda than informative articles. Much of the user-generated discussion is some expression of displeasure.

Contrast this to some of the other major projects. We see people openly happy to use Chrome or Opera. We see people happy to use Xfce and KDE. We see people happy to use Linux Mint or Debian. The difference is like light and day.

Ignoring, or even denying the existence of, the simmering tension within the Ubuntu, GNOME and Firefox communities just isn't helpful. It's going to boil over at some point, unfortunately.


I see nothing in what you said other than subjective anecdotes.

>> How exactly have their decisions "paid off"?

The main complaint over the last year and a half against ubuntu esp in 11.* days was Unity. At this stage in its life can anyone with a straight face claim that Unity on 12.04 is a substandard experience? I highly doubt it, and if there is that person is most likely still holding on to the bitterness of their initial experience with it rather than any substantial criticism against how it is currently.

>> Clearly, the growth isn't there. Android has become the most popular Linux distribution around. DistroWatch shows more interest in Linux Mint, and a declining interest in Ubuntu. The general sentiment when following discussion online is that people are unhappy with Ubuntu, and trying alternatives, including Windows and OS X.

Saying that Android is the most popular Linux distro out there is grasping for straws, our discussion here is obviously in context of desktop OSs, bringing up Android is a non-sequitur and like comparing apples and oranges.

>> The same goes for Firefox and GNOME. The sentiment within the existing user communities is not pleasant. The only "positive" (more like non-negative) articles are coming from the leadership of these projects, and they often read much more like advertising or propaganda than informative articles. Much of the user-generated discussion is some expression of displeasure.

Once again this is all anecdotes. It's funny you mention Firefox, I use both Chrome and Firefox but the strongest criticism I see against Firefox is something as trivial as version numbers. In pretty much every Firefox related thread there is atleast one person complaining about the rate at which new versions are being churned out all the while not appreciating the irony of being a Chrome user and making that complaint. I read an article today with some guy ranting and leaving Ubuntu for Windows after his web-cam stopped working in a newer release, I consider this kind of trivial criticism to be irrelevant and sadly that's the kind of criticism that is directed at these projects these days.


> The level of anger and displeasure within the Ubuntu community is at an astounding level.

I have called you on this above, and I will call you on it again. You make this statement as if it is fact, yet you have provided no justification.

The only noises of displeasure come from those who don't use Ubuntu anyway. You might argue that they left when Unity was created, except that real community members (edit: who don't like Unity) still use Ubuntu through Xubuntu, Lubuntu or simply a stock Ubuntu installation with GNOME added. Every argument made against Ubuntu does not apply to these users. Thus the arguments cannot be being made by members of the Ubuntu community.


Remember that Ubuntu flavors such as Xubuntu and Lubuntu exist, and that their existence is supported from the top (just read TFA). Members of the Ubuntu community who don't like Unity just use them instead. No dissenting voices are needed within the community, since all are accommodated.

> ignore the ever-growing disillusionment within their existing communities

You assume that the voices of dissent come from within their existing communities. I don't think that's true. I think they come from people who wish their own favourite project/fork were as popular, but fail to see why it isn't.


Any time I've tried Xubuntu or Kubuntu in the past, I've found the experience to be quite horrible and unpolished.

I got the impression that they were second-class citizens within the Ubuntu world, whether they're intentionally held down, or just neglected and without as much attention.

I have consistently found that the integration of Xfce and KDE with Debian, for example, is much more robust and sound than what's offered by Ubuntu "flavors" like Xubuntu and Kubuntu.

Deny it if you wish, but the anger within the Ubuntu, Firefox and GNOME communities is coming from long-time users who have known better times. It's much more about people who now suffer from a far worse experience when using said software. People who have seen their productivity drop because they've been forced to use Unity, or because Firefox's UI has been screwed up, or because GNOME 3 embodies just about every bad decision that can possibly be made.

I think it's an extreme minority of people who complain out of some ideological want for their chosen project or variant to be more popular.


> Any time I've tried Xubuntu or Kubuntu in the past, I've found the experience to be quite horrible and unpolished.

Then please spend some of your time making it better. Your contribution will be welcome.

With fewer people helping, any open source project will suffer from being horrible and unpolished.

> whether they're intentionally held down, or just neglected and without as much attention.

There is definitely no intentional holding down that I'm aware of. It is clear that the flavors do receive less attention, but that's just down to popularity. Those who care about them more than the Unity route should contribute!

> People who have seen their productivity drop because they've been forced to use Unity

Nobody has been forced to use Unity. Xubuntu has existed for a long time, and more recently so has Lubuntu.

If anything has been forced, it is the dropping of GNOME 2. But that has happened upstream (including in Debian) and Ubuntu cannot reasonably be held responsible (even though this seems to be an unfortunately common misunderstanding). AIUI, difficulties with GNOME upstream is one of the reasons that Unity was created.


How has Firefox's UI been screwed up?


If Ubuntu pushes the wayland path, xubuntu will be dropped as desktop 2D is now dropped. There will be a split in applications and user base. Good luck in trying to compete with iOs and Android by hijacking volunters work.


What's your problem with Firefox?


Well, the changes to the UI starting with Firefox 4 made it much less productive to use. Maybe they didn't realize it at the time, but the toolbars, traditional menu bar and status bar provided a lot of useful functionality. Getting rid of them, or at best forcing the use of extensions or reconfiguration to bring back such functionality, hurt the usefulness of Firefox. The minute gain in space for displaying the web page has not been worth the loss of usability.

Then there are the performance issues. They remain to this day. We constantly hear from Firefox advocates that it doesn't have poor performance, or that it doesn't use excessive memory. Yet somehow the release notes for each major release talk about "fixing" such problems.

At some point, one just gets tired of being strung along. The alternatives aren't necessarily perfect, but at least they're better in some way. If Firefox is going to try to look and behave like Chrome, yet have far inferior performance and consume more memory, we might as well just use Chrome.


You don't need extensions to bring back the menu bar, you can just enable it from the view menu.

I don't really know what to say about the performance issues though, as I don't have any. Also, Firefox uses far less RAM than Chrome on my PC. I don't understand why people worry about RAM use so much anyway. If it's not it use, it might as well not be there.


Maybe you should practice what you preach. Complaining about complainers is the bottom of the barrel, and asking people to go away from a community just because they disagree and maybe don't use the right wording is a mis-understanding on your part.

People are genuinely upset about Canonical's direction, the tech community knows the context and history here, it does not need explaining. A simple "fuck you" reaction is sometimes appropriate.

Canonical is clearly taking the wrong direction and the simple solution is to switch to a better community, there are literally tons of them,

http://distrowatch.com/


Perhaps the issue is that Mark hasn't been the only one working on Ubuntu. Maybe other people who have contributed their time and effort in some form are unhappy to see it go to waste. (You probably don't want those people to go away, by the way.)

Maybe people who haven't contributed anything are unhappy to see a good thing go seemingly bad, as a matter of principle. Or, like someone mentioned, they're sad that Ubuntu's remaining community resources (which might not strictly be Mark's to spend) will now be spent in a way that doesn't benefit them and their friends.

Then there are people who might be offended that they were excluded from Ubuntu's audience in the name of "not excluding people from Ubuntu's audience".


It works on your laptop, but not on my father's in law desktop, where it used to work. Ubuntu used to work on this machine and, somehow, after each upgrade it has become less stable. It freezes completely and there is no way to solve the problem. In fact, there are some bugs in Ubuntu's buck tracker that might be related, but they are marked as "won't fix".

Anyway, today I'm transitioning my parents in law to Windows 7. It will be a pain for me, but at least it will work for them. It won't freeze.

Good luck Mark S. You will end up with a "very interesting" user interface that nobody will use, because of stability problems or because of the pain caused by such an interface.


"Anyway, today I'm transitioning my parents in law to Windows 7. It will be a pain for me, but at least it will work for them. It won't freeze."

Glad you found something that works for you and your father in law.

I'll just mention that CentOS 6.3 (and the other RHEL 6 clones, Scientific Linux and Springdale, formerly PUIAS) have a kernel and applications that are similar roughly to Ubuntu 10.04. Ubuntu 10.04 is still supported on the desktop until April 2013 so people have three months to explore alternatives should they have hardware problems or find recent Ubuntus not to their taste.


Thanks for your tip. I was also thinking about trying Debian stable.

There is another option, which would be to change the video card of the computer.

But I don't have much time. This is my parents' in law computer not mine, and when I go to visit them with my wife, I don't want to stay the whole day in their office doing computer maintenance. So I decided to use W7, which was already installed in their computer.


Yes, video cards and hardware drivers generally is the difficult area.

I was posting my suggestion for others in the same boat. I detect a 'blind spot' sometimes in some replies to discussions like this about the fact that the operating system is GNU/Linux, and a distribution is just that, a convenient collection of packages and an update system/policy. If someone else finds (say) Ubuntu 10.04 works really well on their hardware, they are likely (but not certain) to find that CentOS 6 will do just as well.

I use a recycled Thinkpad with Intel graphics, so any major Linux distro is a half hour install, with most things working out of the box. Debian is strict about proprietary binary blobs, and so needs a wired connection to install and add the firmware appropriate to the wifi card. CentOS I recollect 'just worked'.

My reason for using CentOS on the laptop is that there is a definite update life published. Debian release their new version 'when it is ready' and the current stable then drops to old-stable with a year of updates. This approach admirable, but I find it easier to slap CentOS on and forget about it until the laptop dies! Sort of the XP of the Linux world.


"Works on my machine!"

I'm more pissed about the fact that there are so many show-stoppers moving from 12.04 to 12.10. I like 12.04. It's solid. 12.10 is not. I'm going to bitch about it.

edit: By the way, I did not know "muckety muck" had a negative connotation. I just use it as a synonym for boss. I should probably quit telling my boss he's a muckety muck.


This goes without saying but no one is forcing you to upgrade from 12.04 to 12.10. 12.10 is not an LTS release so naturally you should stick to 12.04 if you don't want any of the kinks that are a side-effect of being on the bleeding edge. For me personally, I upgraded from 12.04 -> 12.10 last week and after a 'apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping' I can barely even tell I'm running 12.10!


The problem is that bitching about past issues adds little value. We all know that they made bad choices in the past, it just isn't really useful to keep reminding everyone about those facts every time something about Ubuntu comes up.


I'm not talking about the past. I'm talking about their latest release which came out two months ago.


So a major distribution being used all around the world should stop being criticized because it's "fine for your laptop"? That seems astonishingly myopic.


Ubuntu has the big advantage of being the most widely supported Linux distribution.

Of course if you don't like it you could switch to arch or something, but then you have the problem that you want to install program X that only has ubuntu install instructions and you end up having to read forums just to install the thing.


> "That’s why Unity in 2013 will be all about mobile"

Cool, but don't fuck up my desktop experience with your experimentation like you have been doing.


After hanging on to vanilla 11.04 (the last gnome2 release) until it became too out-of-date to use, I switched to xmonad with a dzen workspace display in place of gnome-panel. It took a fair amount of time to customize (which I can do now, no thanks to you, Ubuntu), but now my DE is optimal again.

I eventually wound up switching off Ubuntu altogether when I realized that I seriously disagreed with its general direction of removing customizability and features for marketing reasons, that I disliked most of its core applications, and that Arch, with its AUR, had a more complete and up-to-date repository of software that I cared about. That particular switch was pretty time consuming, but I learned a decent amount about the modern Linux userspace. I have a nice sleek system now that does what I want it to, and not the other way around.

Have a nice life, Ubuntu. Good luck getting grandma to install you.


Just switch to Xubuntu. Xfce isn't changing any time soon. None of the "interface innovation" Unity is notorious for.


I'll switch to Xubuntu too because I need remote access. It's not just a matter of UX. Cloud service doesn't solve my problem.

The future looks dark because applications won't be able to support Wyland and X11. There will be a fork and Ubuntu is betting on it with the goal to compete with Android and iOs. On this path, users like me are left as orphan. I've change OS before, I can do it again.


It's not just Ubuntu pushing Wayland, though. The Wayland project was started by a core X11 developer and seems to have the support of most X11 developers.


I've been switching DE like crazy the past year or so trying to find a comfy fit, I've settled on XFCE (Xubuntu) with the bottom panel replaced with Plank, and have completely fallen in love with it.


Is there a way to drag / drop arbitrary files onto the panel (ie, directories, executables, scripts, etc)? Setting up launchers and what not is so cumbersome.


I don't know about drag/drop, since I don't use that much, but it's easy to add panel applets for various things, including launching software and viewing directories. I usually just set up keyboard shortcuts for all my software using the Win key though. It's a lot faster than mousing over to the panel and clicking on an icon.


I just reinstalled it on my arch partition, they do now have that drag / drop to panel I mentioned, but it doesn't act like a dock still, so I had to put Cairo dock on. Going to toy with it some more tomorrow.

My use case is disjoint it seems. All I want is a pinnable launcher dock panel (preferrably with app integration, but that gets nutty), systemwide smart learning search with system key, a working system tray and clock, and decent multiheaded monitor support. None of the current Linux desktops really provide all those in tandem.


If Cairo does what you want out of a dock, then just use it alongside a regular Xfce panel for the system tray/clock. You can set up whatever system search software you want with an Xfce shortcut (in the Xfce settings). What problems are you having with multimonitor? I use ARandR to configure my monitors - again, in the Xfce settings, just set it to run when you hit the Fn key combo for monitor settings.


I may eventually, but for the time being I'm going to stick with 12.04 and Unity 2D which I like a lot.


Unity is all about fucked up. And gnome3 in 12.10 has been very unstable for me, getting rather frustrated.


Well, Unity 2D was actually really ok for me, but Unity 3D -- now the only option out of the box -- is really FUBAR. I just rolled my girlfriend's laptop back to 12.04, and am going to sit there until next LTS probably.


Didn't they kill Unity 2D recently?


Yeah, Unity 2D isn't an option in 12.10. Unity 3D doesn't support the video card driver in this laptop (a Radeon M6xxx series) so I'm pretty much hosed with my HDMI out. That was a dealbreaker for me.


Rolled back? Can I do that, or did you just reinstall? 12.04 was solid.


Yeah, just reinstalled.


I just switched to lubuntu, i recommend it even for powerful pcs


If Canonical could make a pretty interface that is as fast as Lubuntu, that would be great. For example Lubuntu works much better on Cortex A9-based Nexus 7 than Ubuntu.


Been using LXDE with Ubuntu for over a year now.

HUGE fan of LXDE, stable as a rock and perfect for my requirements. I require a couple of minutes of fiddling around with the launcher to get the positioning right but apart from that it's a very solid desktop.


LXDE's multi-monitor capability is broken in several ways, otherwise it's pretty good


Indeed. I used arandr to make an xrandr script that runs at login. Works beautifully.

Xrandr is a great program to know, especially if you use projectors a lot.


It's a shame they are pissing away the opportunity to become stronger on the desktop while Apple/MS focus on the tablet and phone market.


I assume they must be getting deals with some relatively big hardware manufacturers in that case. And hoping those manufacturers don't simply take the open source code from unity and use it to build their own system cutting canonical out of the loop altogether.


I think it's too late for that :). I can't even upgrade beyond 11.10 and I'm looking for alternative Linux flavors if anyone has some good suggestions. I've heard Mint is nice.


"Cool, but don't fuck up my desktop experience with your experimentation like you have been doing."

Yes, Microsoft has a patent on that with the release of Windows 8... :D


I wish there was a new great desktop environment focusing on THE DESKTOP.


Cinnamon desktop - the same one that powers Linux Mint


xfce. it's not new but it's great.


This blog-post refers to, but doesn't cite, Ubuntu's recent integration of Amazon search results to the desktop and the inclusion of non-free apps in their App store. I liked the pragmatism and neutrality of this post.


Er, Mark Shuttleworth is a big muckety muck for Canonical. This is a marketing piece.


If you like the ease-of-use of Ubuntu, but don't like Unity nor Gnome 3, just use Xubuntu (or Lubuntu).

Xubuntu in particular provides what I think of as a regular no-surprises desktop --- exactly what I want and expect from a desktop OS.


Zorin [1] (based on Ubuntu) looks sweet, has anyone played with it?

[1] http://zorin-os.com/gallery.html


Zorin is really good. Personally, I grew tired of little bugs with their window manager switching stuff.

Also, worth trying is crunchbang(debian w/ openbox) and pinguyos(ubuntu w/ gnome2).




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