I don't think everyone is on the same page about Ubuntu being a consumer distro and not a hacker's only distro... I have definitely noticed a decrease in the stability of Ubuntu releases over the years and it's attitudes like this that seem to be in part responsible for it.
Oh I kept reading, this is better:
"Rainer, a better solution for international calls is to stop using Skype (which is closed source, and frequently has problems with its Linux client) and change to a service that supports standard protocols (SIP etc.), e.g. using Ekiga"
Yes, the client should change their software and infrastructure to better suit your product...
This makes it pretty much impossible for me to "sell" Ubuntu to any of my friends who aren't programmers AND tinkerers (many of my programers are too busy being productive to be interested in dicking around with making things work anymore, and increasingly I hold this view).
This. I switched to OS X from Ubuntu about a few months ago simply because of this reason. I was too tired of tinkering and configuring endless .conf files, adjusting my GNOME/Xfce panel layouts for optimum productivity, and changing my display manager because all of them sucked.
In my final days with Linux I was running Ubuntu Minimal with twm -- I went completely old-school. Fewer things at the core, fewer things to go wrong.
I caved and bought a MacBook Air. While I miss the endless configurability of Linux, I find that most of the time I spend trying to configure OS X is only spent to make things more suitable for my workflow -- changing the number of desktops I have, changing the applications in my dock, or adjusting Exposé to show all app windows.
I never have to configure something because it breaks or isn't compatible with something else. I could have gone the FreeBSD way, but then, well, you know. OS X just works. As a Ruby and Java developer I find it perfect. I probably will try the 13.04 release on the Mac (I tried the beta and liked it), and I'll see how it goes.
It looks like a solid release, so I'd really like to keep it (but I probably won't because I'm cheap and only have the 120gig SSD).
But I don't spend days tweaking the UI, I have a baseline of UI expectations that's not too difficult to meet. (But Windows 8 doesn't meet it... 'nother story for 'nother day...)
Something is wrong here. The massive shift of devs from linux to OSX should warn some people somewhere about the overall quality of their stuff. A quality that we have been proud for decades.
As a Mac user that runs triple boot, the "just works" mentality in OS X is present only as long as you don't step out of the typical use case scenarios. It's great to say be a writer on OS X; there are very good tools and apps to write in a minimal, esthetic environment (WriteRoom and others). On the other hand, as a "hacker", I've always had trouble in OS X -- from Page Up/Page Down not registering properly in Terminal, to full NTFS and EXT4 support (FUSE used to work, but I think it was not maintained) to getting vim, gcc and other tools of the trade working on OS X (yes, there are ports-like systems on OS X, but hardly ones that I'd say "just work").
On the other hand, in pure Linux world, brightness controls, backlighting controls, volume controls and multiple sound card support were all rather tricky when I tried using Gentoo on the same Mac for a time. Some of those I solved, but some I just gave up and was content that it kinda-but-not-completely works.
Ubuntu seems to be tested enough on Macs, so those things work on my laptop now without having to configure too much. It may not be the perfect "just works" experience, and I have seen a lot of things going the wrong way on Ubuntu, but currently it's a good mix of being easy to maintain and being easy to start doing actual work with.
There's a huge QA process for Ubuntu now -- packages have to go through a large swath of automated tests, and the alpha/beta versions are kept working on a daily basis. It was only 2 years ago or so that most Ubuntu developers didn't even expect the unstable release to be usable until the feature freeze milestone had well passed.
This is a sign of maturity. Time is our one true finite resource, and we need to prioritize what we do with it.
So his recommendation is proven to work and yours is....?
In the end, if his purpose was to install Ubuntu, then good for him. However, I wouldn't give it as general advice out of voiding their warranty alone.
So... yes, the user should use software that isn't deprecating support for their platform.
Edit: also, they're still sitting on version 5, which introduced group video calling. It's a pretty sad situation overall.
I don't think this is the problem with recent Ubuntu releases.
That's an interesting attitude.
Backwards compatibility is a generally regarded as a feature. If you read Raymond Chen's blog about the length's Microsoft went to in order to support old software on new versions of Windows you'll see how important some operating system vendors regard it.
Linux generally seems to have an interesting attitude to backwards compatibility. "It works on old hardware" is something that used to be regarded as a huge benefit of Linux.
These days - especially for Ubuntu - it doesn't seem to be regarded as a feature at all. Additionally Ubuntu seems to introduce breaking API changes in every release. I find that to be quite a surprising route to take for an OS that is trying to build desktop share.
I'd be quite interested to hear why people think they do this. Is backwards compatibility just not seen as important at all or is there a bigger strategy here?
They are not obligated, but it is in their best interests to build a reputation of not breaking things.
I do think that Linux lacks a reputation of not breaking existing programs as much as it lacked a reputation of ease of use before Ubuntu.
Now, ease of use, and not breaking things? I bet that kind of reputation is worth millions of dollars.
Even Linus agrees about it, when it comes to the kernel breaking userland programs. The kernel developers have no control over userland programs. Nonetheless, the kernel developers try very hard not to break userland programs.
Ubuntu bug #1, for reference https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1
The person you quoted isn't even a developer as far as I can tell.