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Ubuntu's Bug #1 is fixed (launchpad.net)
690 points by daker on May 30, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 191 comments

Shuttleworth's well-articulated comment and decision to close bug #1 show the kind of open-minded, flexible thinking I wish I would see more frequently from other project leaders in the free/open source ecosystem.

The decision to close the bug reminds me of a quote attributed to John Maynard Keynes. During the Great Depression, he was accused of changing his position on monetary policy, to which he responded, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

As an Ubuntu user, I'm happy to see the project shifting its long-term goal from "dethroning Microsoft on the desktop" to "delivering the best possible experience for developers and regular people across all devices."


Edits: added "on the desktop" to "dethroning Microsoft."

The bug wasn't ever about dethroning Microsoft, though. The first few lines:

"Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix."

This bug hasn't been solved. Mark's comment is really saying that he doesn't think it's a relevant bug any more - that desktop is no longer important.

I actually find that a particularly sad comment, and I'm not even sure it's true.

Edit: I want to add (given your edit ;) that just because this was bug #1, it doesn't mean it was the raison d'etre of the project. Maybe this bug is less important now than in 2004; I disagree that it's "fixed" or that it's so unimportant it should be closed. #1 being open doesn't mean Ubuntu is a failure, far from it.

Don't look at it as the Desktop not being important anymore, but as the market having expanded.

This means that there are alternatives to the Microsoft monopoly, even if those are not on the desktop; therefore the original problem is no longer that severe and thus has been solved, but in an unexpected way.

I agree with part of that - it's not longer that severe. So, in technical terms, reduce the severity of the bug. Or mark it 'wontfix'. 'Fix released' is inaccurate: MS still have the whip hand in the desktop PC market, and that market is important to many people (me included).

If this were a real bug and not a political statement, I'd be complaining that the bug is badly written and leaves too much up to interpretation.

The title makes a vague reference to "market share", but doesn't specify where. The body then limits it to desktop PCs. However, it then goes on a big discussion about proprietary software, and how the goal is to make sure PCs come with only free software.

So, what does the person who filed the bug want? Is it:

A. Undo MS's majority share in consumer computing, as the bug title suggests?

B. Undo MS's majority share in desktop PCs, as the beginning of the body suggests?

C. Ensure that a majority of desktop PCs are sold containing only free software?

These are all quite different. The submitter seems to have assumed that the desktop PC would continue to be the only segment of consumer computing that mattered, and that the only possible alternative to MS having a majority market share is for free software to have a majority market share. These assumptions are clearly untrue today.

Don't get me wrong, it's a fun bug and an interesting statement, but I'd be careful about being too precise about trying to figure out exactly what it's about. If it were technical, I'd probably kick it back to the submitter and ask him to figure out what he actually wants. Since it's a political "bug", this is a nice political "fix".

I totally disagree with this. There's a really succinct test case on the bug: "Visit a local PC store, Attempt to buy a machine without any proprietary software".

So "the submitter" (Mark) wants to be able to go into a PC store and buy a PC without proprietary software. Even in those general terms, the bug is clearly still evident and clearly has not been fixed: saying "ah, but you can go into a shop and buy an Android tablet" is pretty unsatisfying.

That's supposed to demonstrate the bug, but it's not necessarily the end-all and be-all of fixing it.

In a hypothetical world where Apple somehow took over the PC market, would this bug be fixed? The title suggests yes. The first paragraph suggests yes. The rest suggests no. The bug is vague and contradictory.

Apple taking over is a hypothetical state in which you could argue the bug is fixed. I don't see anything in the actual state of things which allows that argument.

Vagueness is a continuum, not an absolute. The bug could be less vague, sure. I don't think it needs to be less vague in order to evaluate it right now, though.

The vagueness which applies to the actual situation today is: did they really mean desktop PCs only, or did they mean consumer computing, with desktop PCs being the only pertinent example of it in 2004? And, did they mean no proprietary software on a majority, or just no MS software?

Because right now, MS does not have a majority in consumer computing, but the majority is no longer desktop PCs, and the majority still ships with plenty of proprietary software. It's not possible to know whether or not this fits with the intent of the bug, because it's not sufficiently clear.

Who cares what crapware is on the machine? You can wipe it out and install whatever free OS you like. I would argue that your test case isn't particularly relevant any more.

Not without accepting microsofts terms of service you can't..

> saying "ah, but you can go into a shop and buy an Android tablet" is pretty unsatisfying.

Particularly because it's doubtful that you could buy one without pre-installed software which is not only proprietary, but reports a great deal of information about you and your contacts to Google.

"Fixing the bug ideally requires more resources than we have available, but here is a simple workaround" is actually a pretty common bug resolution.

> he doesn't think it's a relevant bug any more - that desktop is no longer important.

I don't think the former implies the latter. The desktop can be (and is) still important, it's just that such a narrow view isn't healthy for such a large project.

> t's just that such a narrow view

I'd argue its focus and specialization, something Ubuntu lacks. The TV and Ubuntu-on-Android products have not yet seen anything noteworthy happen, the phone might do something but they are jumping in a big pond. Their lack of focus on the desktop and the resulting obsolescence of their software (the software center, from 2008, mainly, but also compiz and upstart) is hurting the primary product people engage with them for, and it is for a grander scheme that isn't playing out.

Yet, at least. I would never write Canonical off from eventually having one OS and thematic style to run on everything from phones to tvs to pcs to cars etc. It just doesn't look like it is coming soon, and their core product suffers for it. (I've switched my relatives to openSuse just because systemd + yast + software.opensuse.org is much nicer than searching launchpad).

> something Ubuntu lacks

If Ubuntu lacks a solid base from which to build the rest of its empire off of, then that's likely worth its own defect. That prerequisite is just kind of common sense in most business models.

I don't use Ubuntu or know enough about it to say for sure, but I don't think probing other spaces for opportunities is a bad idea. It's not difficult to understand the desire to not be a one-trick pony. However if those probes distract from their main offering (which has been the desktop, though this sort of discussion makes it seem like it may not be for long) then they are obviously a bad idea.

The desktop is still relevant and really its pretty close to as relevant as it was in the 90's. It's just there are more ways to use computers now than there were then and those new ways of computing have been largely dominated by new devices. In other words, the desktop doesn't have to lose relevance just because there are other relevant technologies.

It's the Vietnam war- just declare victory and move on. Better than the promise of the "year of the linux desktop".

Huh. I think what Mark is saying is: it's never going to happen, and we might as well get over it.

This is ridiculous. There's nothing "open-minded" about this. To quote the bug description:

> What should happen: A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software.

This does not happen, so marking this bug as fixed is bullshit.

The Ubuntu project used to have as its goal that the majority of PCs for sale should include only free software. This attracted people to the project who were motivated to contribute because they shared that same goal. I don't think Ubuntu would be anywhere as successful as it is today were it not for its community at the beginning. The "leaders" of the Ubuntu project have now shown that they don't really give a shit about free software, but they're still benefitting from the work of those who do and who did that work with an understanding that Ubuntu did give a shit about that stuff.

This is like a leftist political party presenting itself as a movement for the abolition of capitalism and the creation of a fully classless, stateless, communist society; this attracts many dedicated people who make huge sacrifices to achieve this goal (or at least they think so). Then, as soon as the leftist political party takes power (e.g., by winning an election or whatever), the "leaders" of the party talk as if that was the entire revolution rather than a first step on the road to it. And then the "leaders" of the party start using their newly obtained power to actively eliminate the elements within the party who are still seeking a genuine revolution, labelling them "counter-revolutionary" or whatever.

To the extent that this analogy holds, this is what Ubuntu is doing and has done. A few years ago at least, it seemed like Ubuntu was the vanguard of the free software movement. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but it was the best we had and it seemed like there might just be a small chance it could succeed (and it really did aim to). But let's make no mistake about it, let's not have any illusions about this: Ubuntu has betrayed the revolution. Fuck it, let's not use it, let's not promote it, let's have nothing to do with it. If "flexible thinking" means betraying the revolution then there's nothing virtuous about it and I hope we don't see more of it from the "leaders" of free software projects. And I hope we in the free software community learn a lesson from this about the power dynamics within communities and how it's important for our communities to have structures that prevents these kinds of co-options by individuals and companies with vested interests. In retrospect, it should have been obvious from the start (at least for me, as an anarchist) that the Ubuntu project was doomed to fail. You can't have a "'benevolent' dictator for life"; a dictator for life is dictator for life, and power corrupts. But you especially can't have a benevolent dictator for life who is/was the CEO of a corporation, whose sole purpose, by definition, is to maximise shareholder value. Now I accept that there are cases where the short-term goals of a corporation maximising its shareholder value can converge with the goals of wider communities, and I'll even admit that there are times when communities can benefit from the actions of corporations, but it must be recognised that ultimately their goals diverge. It should have been obvious that Ubuntu/Canonical's relationship with the wider free software community was doomed to end in this kind of betrayal. I just hope that people in the free software community learn from this and that it doesn't happen again.

> In the rare cases that they come with a GNU/Linux operating system or no operating system at all, the drivers and BIOS may be proprietary.

In select markets, such as the US and UK, Hardware with a GNU/Linux operating system and open drivers and BIOS is now available from the Google Play store and your local Best Buy -- it's known as a Chromebook.

I admit that Chrome OS itself does ship with proprietary software, but AFAIK, the BIOS and drivers for all x86-based Chromebooks is FOSS, and thus all of the software on the system can be modified/replaced/tinkered with to your heart's content.

IIRC, the ARM-based Chromebook isn't quite as pure, but it's still reasonably straightforward to put your favourite distribution of Linux on it if you so desire.

First of all, if you really are an anarchist you need to think a little bit more about the implications of an anarchist society (or whatever) and grow up a little bit.

I sometimes feel sad for Linux as a platform, the whole computing landscape changed beneath their feet (desktop to mobile) and they never really grasped old one to begin with.[1] It's like the rug was taken from beneath their feet.[2] And then I think that a lot of that is unwarranted, by most metrics linux is doing very well today. You can casually find Linux users on college campuses and linux developers working on the most popular websites but it feels like it would never be the tidal wave of change that some people expected. I never did (and I say it as a long time linux user) and as long as the FLOSS community keeps working on creating the best desktop the FLOSS movement can make I don't need it.

[1] This also means that there are a lot of new opportunities for the linux platform to take advantage of.

[2] And yeah I know, "android is Linux" yada yada but I mean the traditional Linux platform.

> First of all, if you really are an anarchist you need to think a little bit more about the implications of an anarchist society (or whatever) and grow up a little bit.

Are you serious? Do you really think that, as an anarchist, I haven't considered the implications of an anarchist society? I can guarantee you I've spent more time thinking about it than most people have (probably more time than you have). Maybe you have thought about it a bit, and maybe you have come to different conclusions than I have, and that's okay, but it's ridiculous for you to assume that the reason your conclusions are different to mine are just because I haven't thought about it enough or that I'm just not mature enough, especially as you haven't given any supporting reasoning or facts or even stated what you think the implications of an anarchist society are. It's pretty disrespectful as well.

> especially as you haven't given any supporting reasoning or facts or even stated what you think the implications of an anarchist society are.

Because it almost always results in a waste of time. But you're right and I probably went a little bit too far with my characterization of you.

To me the fundamental mistake that anarchists make is failing to realize that by getting rid of the state they're pretty much enabling any other citizen or group of citizens to impose their rule eventually. Everybody just won't fall in line with the anarchist utopia (even though they might for a while) and it will be just a matter of time for a group of people to take advantage of the situation. It make take years or decades but in time, you will be just substituting one bad for another.

But anarchists don't think that if you just "get rid" of the state, everything will magically fall into place. And anarchists don't just want to get rid of state: they want to get rid of capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, heterosexism, and every form of systemic domination. Some see civilisation itself as a form of systemic domination. But most of us recognise that it's probably impossible to change all of that stuff, at least in our lifetimes. Does that make anarchism unrealistic/impossible/idealistic/whatever? Not at all.

Because we recognise that there's not going to be a singular moment of history ("the revolution"), after which we'll live in an eternal anarchist utopia, anarchism in practice is about creating new (and/or influencing existing) institutions, communities and social movements towards structures and practices that are resistant to take-over, co-option and sabotage by the interests of power. This maximises their autonomy, which should hopefully allow them to serve their own interests instead of serving the interests of power (where "power" can be any form of systemic domination). This is an ongoing (never-ending) and imperfect process in which lessons are constantly being learned and relearned by everyone involved.[1] Anarchism as a theory (or theories) is the cumulative body of knowledge derived from people's (up until now, mostly failed) attempts at creating and sustaining anarchist institutions, communities and social movements.

[1]: My original point was that I think there's such a lesson to be learned from the recent actions of Canonical/Ubuntu and that I hope the free software movement learns from this, even if it is generally not explicitly anarchist (though certainly anarchists are for free software (if they're for software at all, that is)).

A literal money quote right there: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Facts don't change. Our understanding of the facts change. The quote is ridiculous, and the question is fallacious.

If I have a list of true statements, that is a list of facts. If some of them become no longer true, and some other statements become true, the facts have changed.

If the statement changes from true to false, then it wasn't true in the first place. If the statement was dependent on some other criteria, and those other criteria change, then the fact doesn't change as it was dependent on the criteria that changes.

e.g. My rooster crows in the morning.

I ate my rooster.

My rooster no longer crows in the morning.

The criteria is that the rooster must be alive. When the rooster is no longer alive, the above fact should have been stated as "My rooster crows in the morning while it is still alive".

That's completely ridiculous for a number of reasons. First, the usage of fact is not regulated by SI or something, it has a number of definitions and connotations. Second, stating that all facts must be stated with tautological and temporal boundaries is beyond pedantic.

"I have two legs at this moment of Planck time, and not before they were formed in the womb and not after any possible incident in the future where I lose one or more legs."

No. If you measure something, those measurements can change. Yes, the new measurements do not overwrite the existence of the old, that's generally understood. If your measurements change, you change clothes. That makes sense.

On top of all that, the original quote is "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions."

On top of all that, the original quote is "When my information changes, I alter my conclusions."

I don't disagree with this statement. That's not what was said.

If Keynes was alive today, I cannot imagine the failures of stimuli based on his monetary policy would change his views on it.

So the company that created vast, stable, open and insanely backwards compatible ecosystem is now dethroned. The majority of what displaced it is locked bootloaders, no root and censorship enabled app stores.

Everything is open except the end user access to computing resources. Pyrrhic victory if I had ever seen one.

Oh my god I am so tired of seeing comments like this one on the internet.

1) Most users do not need or want root access to their mobile phones or even any of their devices. There's a reason that in UNIX land users and root are separate things.

2) If you really want root, you CAN get it. Yes some manufacturers make it harder than others, but that's again because 99.99...% of users have no need or desire for it, and making it easier for the tiny, tiny number of people who want it is not a worthwhile investment.

Now you can argue that their efforts to make it even harder to get root access are shitty, and I won't disagree with you, but nobody's forcing you to buy these devices.

3) DOS/Windows 95/etc. are not awesome. Pretending it's awesome just because it was "open" (no permission system) and "backwards compatible" (debatable in many cases) is stupid. You're letting nostalgia or your hatred for "closed" systems bias you. Just because thing A isn't perfect doesn't make thing B great. Both thing A and thing B can be shitty, or they can both be good.

4) Linux is fucking everywhere in 2013. It owns the web. It is on most mobile phones. Even Apple devices are running a fork of BSD. So, how is this a Pyrrhic victory? Just because it's not exactly what you want? I'm so sorry.

There's a, frankly, revolting tendency in geek culture to be absolutist. That if something is not 100%, exactly, totally, purely aligned to your personal vision it's fucking garbage, or worse, evil and bad. This is childish and it's time to grow up.

1) When the user owns the device it is up to him to decide what to do with it and not the manufacturer. So while they may not have the need for it, they definitely have the right to it if they so desire.

2) No you cant. You must use exploits/vulnerabilities usually. The only vendor that I know of that just sends you unlock code on request is HTC.

3) Yesterday I played Diablo 1 on my windows 8 machine. 3 months before that - Lotus (the game). That is measured in decades. How backwards capability is debatable.

4) Yes linux is everywhere. But invisible - moving the servers, or hidden below deep layers of customized software in the consumer devices. The linux ideology - nowhere to be seen.

Having the ability to run simple firewall to control what processes use your data plan is hardly absolutism. Or editing memory value of a running process.

Edit: Do you support the Chinese Great Firewall - because there is no difference in restricting access to internet and to software in principle?

On point (3), virtualization beats backwards compatibility. You can create a much closer replica of the original environment, without creating compromises that may affect stability, performance, and security of your new system.

You're going to create a virtualized replica of a system that is no longer supported, and that won't affect the security of your system??? Might want to rethink that one.

With proper sandboxing, it is safer than keeping deprecated, proven-unsafe APIs, and not even being able to fix bugs because some applications depend on them. In the worst-case scenario, you can restart the sandbox from a known-good snapshot.

EDIT: I realize we may be imagining different scenarios. I was thinking about the example given, of running original DOS programs in modern computers.

There seems to be a leap you've taken there. I don't think you've demonstrated that an old API is unsafe by virtue of being old. A platform company not wanting to maintain an API is not the same as that API being dangerous. This is the fallacy that some of the big guys have taken lately, to remove perfectly working stuff simply to be jerks.

1) Your response has nothing at all to do with my original point.

2) I didn't say you can do it easily, I said you CAN do it.

3) Yes and I can run decades old UNIX software on OS X or Ubuntu. So what?

My point about debatable backwards compatibility is that some old DOS software does NOT work well in modern Windows. Some does, some doesn't. If you haven't experienced problems, lucky you.

4) You made my point for me here.

I'm not arguing any further, you're clearly a zealot, and have exactly the kind of attitude I was talking about.

> That if something is not 100%, exactly, totally, purely aligned to your personal vision it's fucking garbage, or worse, evil and bad.

> I'm not arguing any further, you're clearly a zealot

On number 2 - you also cannot do it legally not only easily. The legality of jailbraiking is quite grey territory.

"1) When the user owns the device it is up to him to decide what to do with it and not the manufacturer. So while they may not have the need for it, they definitely have the right to it if they so desire."

Is this not part of a wider discussion about ownership and 'unregulated rights' for stuff such as books, music, films as well as hardware?

Global comment: Shuttleworth can do the public relations can't he?

Okay - the problem is ownership. When you rent a car in Hertz you know that you cannot modify the vehicle and must return it. So is with the library book you borrow.

But if Subaru tell you that you cannot tune aftermarket your Subaru or you must drive it only on Subaru approved roads in California (but not Nevada) it is stupid.

Currently we are in the reverse dongle situation- in the 90s you need that dongle so your software (OrCAD back then) can work. Now is the opposite - you may like the hardware but we actively prevent you for using it with other software.

The problem comes from the fact that modern devices are general purpose PCs in ultra small factors. You couldn't change nokia 3310 OS back then, but you needed not because the thing was a phonebook with antenna. But nowadays with so much of your life stored in the smartphone the idea that someone has higher privileges/easier access to your data than you is between repulsive and frightening.

4) The linux ideology - nowhere to be seen.

I think you're confusing Linux with the Free Software movement. Linux, the kernel, is all about open source producing high quality software - at least from Linus Torvalds' point of view.

You're just intolerant of other people's principles. Everyone is an absolutist about the rights they care about, but since you don't find software freedom to be particularly important, nobody else can complain about the status quo.

Well, to some of us, and after the Really Important Things™ that most of us agree with, we also find software freedom to be extremely important.

I'm intolerant? I'm not the one ranting about how something I disagree with is evil and bad. I'm the one preaching tolerance here.

Since you know absolutely nothing about me I find it hilarious that you would make assertions about my values.

You are the one ranting about how something you disagree with is bad, actually. (The only uses of "evil" have been by you, except for venomsnake discussing censorship.) Your comments have been much more nasty, dismissive, vitriolic, and over-the-top than those of venomsnake.

I tried a little experiment: I supposed that venomsnake commented in good faith, and isn't crazy. I could not find disconfirmation. In his/her first sentence, there's a proposal that there are some virtues to MS's approach, and that dethroning those virtues might not be an unalloyed good. In the second sentence, there's an observation that the new regime has substantial drawbacks (for some people's values, including many HN readers). The third sentence is a bit hyperbolic, true, but the fourth sums up fairly even-handedly by calling the victory pyrrhic (which does still mean victory, btw). What's the problem?

On the other hand, your first sentence is nothing but vitriol, your last sentence is nothing but vitriol, and you allocate time in the middle to a sarcastic "I'm so sorry", and to misrepresenting venomsnake's comment (about "open" and "backwards-compatible"), just so you can call it "stupid". All in all, not very nice.

And venomsnake replied to you with far more politeness than you deserved, and for that you called him-or-her a zealot.

I totally missed the bit where you're "preaching tolerance", sorry if that's thick of me. Could you point it out?

venomsnake was criticizing things (closed products), you were criticizing people. Yes, I find your position the intolerant one.

Well censorship is evil. Apple have the ability to censor what they put on their stores. (The drones tracking program) So we got the evil part.

The 30% apple cut increases the software prices for the end user or prevents a software for even coming to the platform (thinking of skydrive here). That is bad for the end user.

Censorship is evil, I could agree with that.

About your second phrase now, you need to take into account the entire picture:

* If you plan to sell an app on Windows Store you will need Microsoft approval, no app will be published without that. Also, Microsoft will take 30% from your app price (until you make $20k, after which the cut is 20%).

* The only free market seems to be Google Play, after you pay a fixed fee you can publish your app. I'm sure even Google has the right to remove your app if you infringe the rules of your developer contract.

Nobody actually uses the Windows Store. The app store for windows is the web: put an installer on your website, user clicks it, IE runs it. No jailbreaking required.

The only relatively free market is the web (which doesn't mean all the products sold through it are free, of course).

"Linux is fucking everywhere ... Even Apple devices are running a fork of BSD."

BSD's not Linux!

I know that. Everyone knows that. But BSD is also free and if you're in favor of people using Linux you should be in favor of people using BSD, IMHO.

The freedom of BSD is irrelevant to people using iOS.

Which is the ultimate problem of the BSD licence.

Problem with BSD license? We are discussing two separate issues here

1) Ability to unlock or root your device to run any OS

2) Having access to an open App Ecosystem.

The GNU license doesn't help with either of this issues. There are plenty of GNU/Android devices shipped with locked boot loaders. And nothing is stopping Google from locking down their App Store like Apples except a different corporate policy.

I don't think there's a problem with the BSD license, but the GNU license is actually supposed to help with those issues, just not the version used by the Linux kernel (v2).

Actually it's the only thing that has the potential to convince me to buy a product from Apple. I haven't yet but if it were closed, no way I would even consider it.

As I understand it, the BSD licence (which BTW only some elements of Mac OS X have, as happens with some elements of Windows) allows to redistribute binaries, modified or not, provided you keep the copyright notice. In that case, how are Apple products "less closed" than, say, Microsoft's?

Note: I barely use Apple or Microsoft, so the question is NOT rhetorical.

In addition to UNIXgod's comment, I can refer you to:


There you will find:


"... Apple Inc.'s iOS and Mac OS X, with its Darwin base including a large amount of code derived from FreeBSD."


"Darwin is an open source POSIX-compliant computer operating system released by Apple Inc. in 2000."

Yes, Apple has used free BSD code to build an OS that is not open source. I don't think anyone would dispute that.

Referring to the Berkeley TCP/IP stack?

Indeed. How does using the stack makes windows any less closed? Since you can't even tell to which degree it was modified, I think the answer is "it doesn't at all". And I think the same reasoning goes for mac OS X.

You seem to be conflating two separate things - the question of whether the core principles of GNU, Linux and other 'free' software are important, and whether they have been achieved.

Venomsnake's point very much seems to fall into the latter category - having devices that you need to jump through hoops, exploit holes etc, in order to be able to get full access to them is hardly a 'victory' for Linux (even if those devices are mostly running a form of Linux).

You seem to be trying to argue against this by saying those principles aren't important to most people. That may or may not be true - but regardless of that, it's not achieving what Linux set out to deliver.

> Most users do not need or want root access to their mobile phones or even any of their devices.

Irrelevant: they may not _want_ it, but they have a _right_ to it.

> That if something is not 100%, exactly, totally, purely aligned to your personal vision it's fucking garbage, or worse, evil and bad.

Sometimes it _is_ evil and bad not to do exactly the right thing.

>Oh my god I am so tired of seeing comments like this one on the internet.

Me too, please stop making them. The fact that you don't care about owning things you purchase does not imply that the entire concept of owning things you purchase is stupid and nobody should talk about it.

"Average end users" will always be put in the positions of choosing between either: (A) stability/"security" or (B) open access to everything - give them root and the ability to install everything and an "all open" app store and you'll only have viruses and buggy everything. And a lower quality bar for everything - people are cheap and they don't recognize good quality software when it heats them in the head, so any well crafted program will always have to compete with crap-freeware (and no, "average users" don't know or care about the difference between open-source or freeware even!), so "walled gardens" like Apple's also increase quality and, more important imho, the revenue people get for making quality software. "Average end users" can't have the cake and eat it too! Now, I don't say this is right, and I don't like app stores like Apple's, but they definitely bring real value to the end user, that's why users pay for it when they can afford!

(and I've put "security" in quotes because I know this is not "real security" what you get when you trade "full openness" for it, but it's generally a "good enough substitute for security" for the "average end users", as "real security" is only possible if you are either willing and skillful enough to be responsible for it yourself or pay top dollars to get it tailored for your needs, so it's not an option for 99.9%)

I think people ought to look past current mobile/platform way of doing things. I think there should be a second wave coming of net/webapp integrated OS in the near future.

For one I am very displeased that I have three choices of web, html5(ie phone gap apps) and native platforms. I think web should seamlessly integrate into the mobile OS. At this point most of mobile OS software has been debugged and worked out. But web is still not the desktop on the mobile device. I think there is still an enormous place for innovation that can make appstore like infrastructure irrelevant.

Ubuntu can fix that, that would be a huge plus.

Web apps are exactly the kind of locked down environment we should be fighting against. They are only allowed to function within a highly restricted javascript sandbox that is dictated by a small cabal of powerful organisations. The web is more locked down than just about any previous platform.

> The web is more locked down than just about any previous platform

No. Just no. Anyone, anywhere, with minimal understanding of JS and HTML can pop out a web app mashup today that would have required a hoard of cash, servers, and developers a decade ago to build. Further, for pennies a month they can run and scale it on a 'cloud' service that would have been an investment of millions in the past.

The web and web apps are very open. Don't conflate it with copyright trolls and mobile walled gardens. Remember, much of HTML5 started from Konqueror, an OSS browser not belonging to a 'cabal of powerful organisations.'

One type of freedom (that there is no gatekeeper on what apps can run [1]) does not make up for the loss of other types of freedom.

I can't use a kinect with web apps without browser extensions because there is no 'open web standard' for the kinect (and probably never will be) and web apps can't talk to USB devices. The web locks developers into the limited set of functionality that the standards provide and the standards are tightly controlled by a small group of companies. On a real open platform anybody is free to create software that interacts with hardware (ideally with the users permission first) so you don't have to rely on the platform maintainers to bless support for certain things.

I'm glad you mentioned cloud services. From the users point of view they are the most locked down type of software of all. Your data is locked away from you. You can't even reverse a proprietary file format. They are usually closed source (and even if the source is available, you can't change the version that you actually use). You can't even reverse engineer a binary.

Native software was scaling up to millions of users before any marketing hack even came up with the term 'cloud'. You are confusing running a web app a decade ago with distributing software a decade ago. You certainly did not need hoards of cash and servers to distribute native software a decade ago. People 20 years ago were writing native software and distributing it to hundreds of thousands of people, and I can assure you the typical shareware author was not investing millions to do that.

>The web and web apps are very open.

Open until you wan't to do something that isn't allowed by the standards, and then you (and your users) are screwed. On HN we get a lot of submissions about people 'hacking' with web technologies, but nearly all of them are just making use of some new API that has been gifted to them by the browser creating overlords. Which is all well and good and there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not a substitute for hacking on the platform itself and doing things that the creators perhaps didn't want you to do.

The real test for an open platform: can it be self hosting? Can I write a web browser as a web app? Not without shunting all the real work to a separate machine that is not limited by the web sandbox.

[1] which also applies to nearly all of the evil native platforms that the web is supposedly freeing us from

> can't use a kinect with web apps without browser extensions because there is no 'open web standard' for the kinect (and probably never will be) and web apps can't talk to USB devices.

Funny you should say that, because I have actually done this. You can get a driver for the kinect that makes the depth camera appear as a normal webcam, and the media api in the browser allows you to access the kinect depth webcam.

I am wondering if under linux with its everything is a file ideology this may not be so impossible. After all a browser can upload and download a file so with proper rights you could just read/write the proper /dev/... yeah it will pain in the unmentionables but theoretically should be possible.

HTML and JS are the most irrelevant parts of a nontrivial web app -- all the important stuff is done server-side.

The key difference between HN and /. moderation is the "funny" moderation option. On the positive side, it seems to encourage more serious discussion. The downside is that, to the degree that HN has inherited the hacker culture, it has not retained much in the way of hacker humor.

It took a second reading to realize that this comment was not intended to be humorous -- which makes it even more entertaining.

Also, in reply to your subsequent post, there are web browsers written in javascript, so your self-hosting capabilities are realized, as well as all your browser-Inception needs.

> there are web browsers written in javascript

Really? Where?

Apple, New Mobile Metro Microsoft and to lesser extent google to less extent pretty much enjoy the gatekeeper position, the 30% cut and the sense of power over developers and users. They are in position to stifle innovation as much as they like.

Ubuntu would fix that? I doubt it. Ubuntu has not even fixed its desktop fully yet. It's breaking, and breaking even more with every new release. In 12.10, I can't safely write to my NTFS partitions, can't say if my Desktop Manager won't crash, can't say if the startup screen (plymouth) won't freeze....

Ubuntu is not going to fix anything anytime soon IMHO.

Not a victory, but a "now we will focus on dethroning Android, now that Android has dethroned Windows".

"Non-free software leaves users at the mercy of the software owner and concentrates control over the technology which powers our society into the hands of a few."

Does anyone else think that things have gotten worse since bug #1, not better? I feel more trapped and locked in by today's platforms than I ever did in an MS world. E.g. app store, google play, amazon whatever, cloud-hosted applications that all charge monthly fees, hosts of applications changing their terms and locking you out of your data or randomly shutting down their services entirely... r.i.p. google notebook, reader, knoll, etc. r.i.p. sims, jet-set-secrets

Indeed. It doesn't surprise me that the actual freedom available to users wouldn't be important to them, but it surprises me that the Bug#1 would have spoken so clearly about it if they didn't understand the issue.

Bug #1

"Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix. As the philosophy of the Ubuntu Project states, "Our work is driven by a belief that software should be free and accessible to all."

"Ubuntu software is free. Always was, always will be. Free software gives everyone the freedom to use it however they want and share with whoever they like. This freedom has huge benefits. At one end of the spectrum it enables the Ubuntu community to grow and share its collective experience and expertise to continually improve all things Ubuntu. At the other, we are able to give access to essential software for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it – an advantage that’s keenly felt by individuals and organisations all over the world." * http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu/our-philosophy

Non-free software leaves users at the mercy of the software owner and concentrates control over the technology which powers our society into the hands of a few. Additionally, proprietary software stifles innovation, maintains artificial scarcities, and enables malicious anti-features such as DRM, surveillance, and other monopolistic practices.

... etc ...

A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software.

     * http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
     * http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
     * http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd

  What should happen:

  A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software.
This bug is still far from fixed by this measure. There seem to be only a tiny handful of PCs that only include free software.[1][2] Only a single laptop includes a free BIOS!

1. http://www.gnewsense.org/Main/LaptopGuide

2. http://libreplanet.org/wiki/Group:Hardware/Freest

My real beef is how readily Ubuntu installs proprietary software (like binary drivers) while having this "bug" in its tracker.

Yes, yes, if you want to get anything done now, you need those drivers. And a lot of users wouldn't use Linux at all if they couldn't get what they wanted now.

But the long-term implications of giving into hardware manufacturers is you will never get an open driver. Ubuntu does not care about free software at all (whether or not for good reason) and it annoys me that they pretend to.

I agree that the bug should be closed, but it should be closed as INVALID, or perhaps WONTFIX (since Ubuntu certainly won't be the one to fix this 'bug').

Closing it as "Fix Released" doesn't make sense.

The fix has happened, it's just that most of the lifting came from other people and a change in circumstances. I think it makes sense.

From the bug:

> What should happen:

> A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software.

So exactly what definition of "free" are you using to believe this bug is now fixed?

Do you always follow the suggested resolution 100%?

"Cannot reproduce"

Two very important snippets from comment #1834 on Bug#1.

[1] : But it's better for us to focus our intent on excellence in our own right, rather than our impact on someone else's product.

I can't help but remembering a similar move by Steve Jobs once he took over Apple in 1997. Ubuntu doesn't mean "anti-Microsoft" it means (or should rather mean) "great Ubuntu". Now, whether they are able to do that in practice is a different thing but intent is a good place to start with.

[2] : For Ubuntu, our goal remains to deliver fantastic experiences: for developers, for people building out production infrastructure, and for end-users on a range of devices. We are doing all of that in an environment that changes completely every decade. So we have to be willing to make big changes ourselves - in our processes, our practices, our tools, and our relationships. Change this bug status is but a tiny example.

The key phrase here for me is the one where he lists changes - in our processes, our practices, our tools, and our relationships. This shows aversion to rigidity and adapting to times. I also think the little change there titled "relationships" means a lot. I don't think as an organization you want to be particularly hostile towards your competitors (in particular in words). I always feel that if one needs to be hostile (and/or aggressive); one needs to do that in deeds and not in words i.e. build the best product possible out there using your skills and beat your competitors fair and square. I would assume, nothing is (or hope so) more satisfying than that.

I edited the bug itself to include a direct link to Mark's comment: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1/comments/1834

Somehow I felt like I was disturbing the universe doing such a thing.

Anybody feel like taking a shower after reading that or is it just me?

I mean the bug was basically the inability of customers to purchase a computer with the software/OS of their choice.

As far as i can tell i still can't purchase a system without windows unless i build it myself.

So what is the reason for closing the bug? Some marketing speech about changing goals etc. I'm sure that's inspirational and all and I'm glad they found a better goal but that doesn't fix this problem.

>As far as i can tell i still can't purchase a system without windows unless i build it myself.

Well the good thing is we are not living in 1996 either. You can purchase any of the below devices and none of them run Windows:

[1] Chromebook - https://www.google.com/intl/en-US/chrome/devices/buynow.html

[2] Dell - http://www.ubuntu.com/partners/dell

[3] Apple Mac - http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac

[4] HP - http://www.ubuntu.com/partners/hp

[5] Asus - http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/make/Asus/


You can totally buy a system without Windows - System76, Emperor Linux, Asus, and Dell all offer PCs that come pre-installed with Ubuntu and never pay the Microsoft licensing fee. I'm pretty happy with my System76 laptop.

> As far as i can tell i still can't purchase a system without windows unless i build it myself.

I've bought a laptop from System76 which I've been very happy with. Everything they sell runs Ubuntu.

I've just bought a desktop from ZaReason; I'm looking forward to it. They list all the major distros (to include Debian!), and appear to be willing to load others if you ask nicely.

Umm.. Macs?

Well, specifically running only free software. While Ubuntu falls short of that goal, OS X is not even in the same league.

I guess it is also time to put that old joke to bed as well:

"Question: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: None, they just change the standard to darkness."

I always heard the joke as:

Answer: More.

I thought of this as less of a jab at Microsoft software quality and more of a jab at Microsoft's attitude towards software complexity. If we keep using the lightbulb as a metaphor, we keep the old on/off API and add a dimmer switch which can be controlled over the network, an access control list, and a structure which can define the light bulb's color, direction, luminosity, et cetera. With enough engineers, you can design the last light bulb you'll ever need.

The Open Source way is to have seventeen different teams design seventeen different lightbulbs, including one that can scale to 5000W and cause immediate retina damage, and a 1/4W red LED barely bright enough to read by which light bulb users on forums swear by because it's not bloated, and a Gnome light bulb which removed the dimmer in version 3 because only 5% of the user base was even aware that the dimmer existed. It still takes tons of engineers, only now they're all working on different light bulbs.

The Apple light bulb is a plain white CFL, with a CRI of 96, a 6500K temperature, and a proprietary on/off switch with no moving parts. It is available as both 14W and 24W. The light bulb has not been updated in a while now that Apple focuses on the flashlight business.

My version is from the days when Microsoft software was completely bug free. It had no bugs, only "features". True arrogance.

I think I prefer your version though!

So, ironically, your version of the joke would apply perfectly well to Apple today.

My how the tables have turned - everything old is new again!

We need a new joke then.

Question: How many Ubuntu engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: 900. 1 to log the bug, 2 to start a flame war over it, 896 to upvote the defect to encourage a developer to work on it, and 3 years later 1 to close the defect as won't fix - no longer needed.

You forgot the 3 engineers to develop a replacement for light bulbs based on firefly goo. Granted, it only lasts for a few hours, and it's not very bright, and the firefly population is now almost extinct, but it's a really slick colour!

Light bulbs are so desktop-oriented, anyway. Fireflies are _mobile_!

Shouldn't it be "None, it's a hardware problem."?

Watching this thread shows us exactly why Linux never made it on the desktop:

Instead of acknowledging all the change which has happened since this bug was filed, you have endless bickering about details and a "Linux"-community full of people unable to agree about anything, not even their own victory.

Only when these people were removed from the equation and replaced with market and user-oriented people (ref the creation of Android), was Linux able to garnish a majority share.

It's sad in itself, and sadly enough, it's even predictable.

It's kind of a silly bug report (IMO).. so I don't oppose it being closed.. but the first line of the report is "Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace."

That's still true.


"...it's better for us to focus our intent on excellence in our own right, rather than our impact on someone else's product."

This, in my view, is the salient point for startups when faced with competition. It's too easy to get distracted by zero-sum thinking.

The problem reported by the issue is

    "A majority of the PCs for sale should include only free software."
This may have been "resolved" but I don't think this has been "fixed". Shuttleworth's comment makes it sound like this issue is either invalid or a won't fix.

Even Chrome and Android devices that are available in local PC stores almost always include proprietary software. Perhaps I am missing something but is Shuttleworth now saying that non-free software isn't a problem?

I don't know about Shutlleworth, but for me the big deal is not whether or not they include proprietary software, but whether or not free alternatives are readily available for those who care.

And there we've seen a massive shift. I ordered my laptop without OS from a major vendor. I can buy dozens of cheap Android or "real" Linux boxes at Amazon, and every bit of software on most of them either are or can be replaced by free alternatives.

A valid concern, but x86/x86_64-based Chromebooks have a F/OSS BIOS and drivers -- for example, Google went out of their way to contribute the relevant bits to coreboot.

Installing GNU/Linux on such systems is straightforward and well-documented (flip the physical or virtual developer switch; enable USB boot from a shell; boot installer or OS from USB) too.

Proprietary firmware means dealing with stupid things like hard-coded checks for "Windows Boot Manager" or "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" in UEFI firmware (http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/20187.html).

That's good to know. So are we now saying that proprietary software on a device is fine, as long as it can easily be replaced with fully open source software?

I personally think that the proprietary software on Chromebooks is a means to an end -- the functionality provided by the proprietary software appeases retailers enough to get them to sell it.

Agreed. This is definitely good progress, but (going back to the bug report) this issue hasn't been completed yet, so should still be open.

Where should one go for a future proof DESKTOP OS these days?

Many are ruining the desktop experience because "mobile". KDE seems to be the only UI remaining that is sane for the desktop.

> future proof DESKTOP OS

This is something I obsess over.

Use minimalist software that you are fairly confident that you could fix or recreate in another environment if necessary; for example, don't use gnome-screensaver but instead use slock. Where possible, use software suites where being future-proof is a first-class priority; for example, wherever possible use TeXLive. Consider something standards complaint with a rabid user-base over alternatives; for example, use Vim instead of Kwrite. (In fact, take a list of the packages in the current Ubuntu livecd, and the packages in the current Kubuntu livecd. XOR the lists. The result is a list of software you should not spent time building skills in if you don't want your skills to become obsolete in 5 years.)

Where you are not confident that you can pick something that meets any of these suggestions, pick the simplest software that you don't have to customize and that you will miss the least. For example, don't roll your own X window manager and don't use BerylFusion after setting three dozen options. Use firefox or chrome, but don't marry yourself to a combination of two dozen highly specialized extensions.

In an effort to future-proof my computer experience I follow these self-imposed restrictions. Additionally, I have a strict whitelist of software that I am willing to configure: zsh, vim, tmux, elinks (only because I could bare to lose it. It is not future-proof), urxvt (very begrudgingly, I only set my font and background color), and Awesome (very very very begrudgingly. The only configuration of it that I am willing to do is set my terminal to urxvt.) Any other software I use "as is", with the expectation that it could be obsolete and abandoned tomorrow.

Brief example of something that drove me to adopt this sort of attitude: I used to use Amarok to play all of music, and got very used to my setup. Amarok 2 came and wrecked everything, completely erasing all the mental effort I had put into Amarok over the years. Upset by this, I decided that life would be simpler if I just wrote my own very simple xmms2 client that I would never change out from under myself. This worked great for about two years until the breaking changes to xmms2 (requiring me to make changes to my client every few months) wore me down. Now I just use mplayer, a shell, and standard unix utilities. Even if I have to swap out mplayer I am confident I will never have to change my workflow again on a unix-like computer with keyboard.

I've been happily using Gentoo since 2006 or 2007 across different machines and expect to continue using it for at least the next 5 years, but it's not for everyone. I usually hear nice things about Arch, it's been around just as long. For an Ubuntu replacement that looks like it's going to be around for a while, there's Mint.. though I tried it recently and didn't like it and thought parts were poorly designed if they're trying to target an audience that doesn't even know what a shell is.

On Gentoo I'm still using the last release of gnome2. Xfce4 is almost as good, and for newbies I tend to recommend Xubuntu and Mint together for them to choose... MATE is a community fork of gnome2, a version of which is on Mint (that I don't like as much as vanilla gnome2).

> I usually hear nice things about Arch

That's because you're hanging out with too many Gentoo users.

The Arch Way[1] is stupid. Less broadly, it's a poor, knee-jerk reaction to Debian maintainers' over-zealous patching of software. Trusting upstream software maintainers to properly tag "stable" releases (which means something different for everyone) and to work with the rest of the software in the system is a mistake. Also, that's the entire point of package maintainers maintaining repositories.

But that's OK. Something went wrong (again)? Just downgrade[2]!

1. Hope that the old package is in your cache

2. Hope that some repo mirror is out of date

3. Profit???

[1]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/The_Arch_Way

[2]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Downgrading_Packages#Fi...

I don't know why people claim that gnome 3 is for mobile. On my nexus 7, it's an unusable piece of crap but on my desktop/laptop, I've never been more productive with anything else.

I don't know whether it's for mobile or not, it just seems that whenever a sucky change is made to a desktop UI it's "for mobile". All I see is that it (and other products) are, despite a previous evolution of 20+ years of desktop UI history, now getting worse instead of better.

But maybe you're right, it's not always mobile, sometimes it's making a UI noob-oriented at the cost of productivity. Which is just as annoying.

I just switched from GNOME to XFCE after upgrading my main home machine running Debian. I knew the changes were coming, but didn't think they'd be as bad as they were. The transition has been . . . interesting, but mostly tolerable because I pretty much live in Emacs, Firefox and the terminal.

I'm actually kind of liking having way more screensavers than I really need (with XScreenSaver versus whatever the GNOME pared down version was), and having less crud and cruft bogging down my lowly old laptop.

I'm debating going to XFCE too. The only thing I'll miss is extending my desktop with Javascript. I see XFCE has extensions too, but they're in C. I like C, but when I see how many lines a simple CPU frequency plugin needs [0], while a comparable extension for GNOME would only be a few hundred lines...

0: http://git.xfce.org/panel-plugins/xfce4-cpufreq-plugin/tree/...

Bug #1 #open -> #won't fix

I only find this sad, while everyone goes mobile Ubuntu could have stayed with a focus on desktop and maybe become dominant in that market, at least for developers. Desktop computers won't die since it's the platform of choice when producing software, digital media etc.

Ubuntu is building a common platform for Desktop, Tablet and Phone devices, and actually a consequence of that is that some very vocal desktop users do not like it at all.

It is seen everywhere Ubuntu is mentioned, with a comment along the lines of "forget Ubuntu, install Mint! (because it looks like Ubuntu used to do about 4 years ago)".

This bug closing has more to do with aligning the general strategy towards multi-form-factor, that is, less focus on desktop-only stuff.

Having said that, I think Ubuntu desktop is absolutely great for power users, you simply learn some new shortcuts and that's it.

Oh, we're still fighting this "war"?

Software is about choice and productivity. It's great that we have choices and I embrace a variety of them throughout my personal and professional life, but this "us against them" philosophy belongs in a boardroom and not in the hands of users and creatives.

We can say Ubuntu has come a long way (and it has) and that it's done a lot for gaining mind share (bingo), but a huge turn off for me in OSS is this "us against THE MAN" philosophy, why can't software just be software, a means of expression that you gives you choice?

>Oh, we're still fighting this "war"?

No, we're not. That's pretty much the point of the comment and the closing of the bug.

Maybe it's an age thing, but I remember a time I could walk into most major computer stores and have literally no choice but to buy a PC loaded with Windows. The market had been distorted, and this prevented software being about choice and productivity, and instead about who had the larger marketing muscle.

To some extent this is still the case in some major retailers today, but they at least recognise that they're not offering choices. Their brush-off of Mac OS and Linux may be flawed (or not), but that the existence of alternate OSes is even acknowledged is quite a marked change from about a decade back.

> Software is about choice and productivity.

I'm pretty sure software is 'about' whatever the hell one wants it to be.

> It's great that we have choices and I embrace a variety of them throughout my personal and professional life, but this "us against them" philosophy belongs in a boardroom and not in the hands of users and creatives.

That's rather prescriptive, don't you think? If users wish to make this particular choice - by 'telling them off' for behaving in such a manner, in what sense are you being any less pushy and 'us vs. them' than are they?

You may have a personal distaste for their approach, but indeed their personal distaste for someone else's approach to software is what drives many[1] to stand behind this in the first place!

[1]: Of course there are always some who just want a fight - any fight. They're even less likely to change 'just because they're told to'. :P

> Oh, we're still fighting this "war"?

Microsoft is certainly shooting. Less effectively than ever, true, but they don't seem like they'll surrender anytime soon.

So, no. We are still at war. We didn't choose to be, but, as long as they attack us and our freedom, we'll fight them.

Every patent extortion attempt, every standard body manipulation, every "Secure Boot" that prevents users from booting anything not signed in Redmond is an act against user freedom and user freedom is the point of Free Software.

Ubuntu decided to focus on quality and this is good. But don't think that, because Ubuntu's bug #1 is closed, because the desktop is becoming irrelevant fast and Ubuntu has other goals, that we are all friends.

Either you haven't read mark's comment entirely or you have serious reading comprehension issues.

His statement addresses your complaint.

> There is a social element to this bug report as well, of course. It served for many as a sort of declaration of intent. But it's better for us to focus our intent on excellence in our own right, rather than our impact on someone else's product.

So you're right, and he agrees, Ubuntu should be focused on being the best it can, rather than trying to "fight" the competition.

Because software freedom is important?

The topic is that the bug has been closed. Surely it is not fair to interpret that as a divisive action.

> Oh, we're still fighting this "war"?

I'm disenchanted with your double quotes.

This war is real and it will remain so as long as motherboards of generic PCs/laptops come preinfected with microsoft's signing key (which is even more evil than DRM).

Bug #1 https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1

The comment thread is a great read.

Some comments have said: it's a silly bug, but the condition is still true so WTF? I would like to think that it was finally closed at least partially because it was a silly bug and this is an acknowledgement of its silliness, and the degree to which it become ever more silly over the years.

It would've been well-intentioned but probably misguided if it existed in 1997. It was mildly silly in 2004, but monumentally silly in 2013.

In the Linux community (or politics, or business, or professional sports, or entertainment gossip, or any number of other things that people follow), people have a natural tendency to create ongoing dramatic narratives about what's going on in whatever thing it is that they're following. These narratives (certainly the Linux and sports and politics ones) always involve divvying up the participants into goodguys and badguys and us and them, in the most reductive and intellectually dishonest way possible. But, I guess it makes everything fun and exciting, and for people who don't actually know (or want to know?) how complicated and unknowable everything is, it gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel like they understand what's really going on in the world.

Rush Limbaugh has often said things like, "I take things that are complicated and make them simple. I figure all of this stuff out so you don't have to." That tells you pretty much all you need to know about him, and the people he appeals to. I'm not picking on the right, I could throw any number of demagogues on the left into the same category. Anyway, unsurprisingly, the simplified narratives that these people always present are all about how everything's black and white and how this one group of people have all the answers. They could make everything better if only this other group of people, who are chock full of evil and malice towards you, would let them.

In politics, this kind of reductionist tribalism is actually really messed up, because it influences the government in real ways. Among sports fans, being a reductionist tribal idiot is not that big of a deal, because it's all in good fun and the worst case scenario is you might have to stumble across some guy's stupid rant about how the Raiders are the root of all evil and the people of Oakland are actually bad human beings by mere association.

In the Linux community...I don't know. If you think of it as a fun hobby for a bunch of CS students, engaging in a little reductionist tribal idiocy is possibly amusing, possibly annoying, but pretty harmless. However, at some point as a project becomes larger and more meaningful to more people, I think it actually gets in the way of the community's ability to cohere around truly meaningful goals and ideals. It needs to grow up, basically, and it doesn't need to engage in dumb demagoguery to move forward- it's reached a point where dumb demagoguery may actually hold it back. In 2013, fear and loathing with regard to MS is a pointless distraction. Brain cells devoted to hand-wringing about some imagined Evil Empire are brain cells not spent creating cool and useful things.

Yeah, damn those silly kids engaging in a little reductionist tribal idiocy. Those same silly kids whining against DRM in HTML; that's some serious attack against progress, those kids that are against the right of the government to see your emails; that's some serious attack against our beloved authorities, and those are the same kids that will stand against the government if they decide to force a required pre-approval of any message we post on the internet; but they would have some good reason for doing that so those silly kids are just going against the truly meaningful goals and ideals that will improve our society.

That's a complete misreading of what I wrote, I wasn't talking about a single thing you brought up. But if you think everything is that simple and black-and-white, and think that anyone who who disagrees with you just doesn't know the facts or is some sort of hollow, evil person, then have fun with that. It feels very empowering while it lasts.

I'm just pointing out those are the same people; so yeah; I want more of those silly kids; all you are saying about capitalism leading us to "greater values" is just bullshit; we have seen in from hundreds of years now and is just getting worst if you take a look around. Sony patented a system where you have to say out loud the name of the product being promoted to close an advertisement; just 10 years ago that would be material for a parody, today is a reality (not kidding).

Of course is not black and white but that includes your "black & white" version of the world.

My only problem is that it's marked "fixed." I'd rather the bug be OBSOLETE or WONTFIX (I guess LP's closest status to those is "Invalid" which is fine, too). That would short circuit most of the arguments about the fact that the desired action isn't verifiable, and anyone that disagrees would have to argue at a higher level: is owning the desktop/laptop market a worthy goal, especially now that OS X is a serious contender? Is it sufficient that Android is Linux-based in the mobile/tablet market?

Yeah, he could've phrased it better or gone through the mechanics of closing it in a better way. I totally respect so many things about Mark and Ubuntu and what they've accomplished, but he can flub his delivery sometimes. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. What I wrote was what I hope his motivations were and I may be giving him too much or too little credit.

My interpretation was that Mark didn't want to focus on MS so much and he wants to reorient Ubuntu's goals somewhat, and this was a slightly weaselly and not 100% honest attempt to do that. It's totally conjecture based on watching the guy over the years, though. I think his heart's in the right place and I hope I'm right.

Well said....

Ubuntu's new bug #1: Linux Mint

This is an excellent example of leadership. Shuttleworth describes their accomplishments and new goals very clearly.

Ubuntu has certainly been a pleasure to use on the cloud. Congratulations to all the contributors.

Despite the small detail that Ubuntu was not at all instrumental in the progression of Android, I think that this was a well written piece, and came at a time where Linux as a whole deserved it.

From the original bug report:

> Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace.

If they were entirely honest, they would've set it to wontfix.

That's not a bug thats a pious and wishywashy mission statement.

Does Linux and FOSS movement want to be known as the Lib-Dems of the software world :-)


By far my favorite response to a confirmed bug. We use Jira, and unfortunately don't have that option configured, it's always a fun one to use ;)


At least mark it as "rejected" -- the problems presented in the ticket have not been fixed.

I'd say this bug will be fixed only when Windows tax will be gone forever.

>bug Closed, overtaken by events.

Not exactly fixed. Also, moving the goalposts.

Now if I could just get Ubuntu running bug-free on my Nexus 7...

This is pretty cool. thanks for posting

Microsoft just become irrelevant :-)

I don't think irrelevant is appropriate. Microsoft has very talented people on board and it keeps introducing novel products (Kinect, WP8,etc) You might like them or not but one has to give credit to try new approaches.

They are not the unstoppable force that they were before but I think that calling them irrelevant is a bit too much.

I have a WP8 phone and love it, but even I can admit that with ~1% marketshare, WP8 is irrelevant. Most people don't own a console, so having a slice of that market doesn't really help either. Having talented people doesn't automatically make people care about your products.

Windows Phone is great... until you run afoul of stupid restrictions.

You probably will never come across them, but one of my cousins got a Lumia, and made the mistake of not lying when registering the phone.

She ran afoul of two things:

1) Marketplace simply does not work if you're a minor

2) Almost nothing works if you set your place of residence to Uruguay.

So I had to create a false account for her, and reset her phone twice, before she had a passable user experience.

It might "work" if you live in the U.S., but I absolutely do not recommend it for small third world countries, and will only recommend Android here.

Btw, I'd add a third caveat:

3) Most software doesn't have "free" alternatives like on Android (absolutely deal-breaking if you don't have access to a credit card, which most Uruguayans don't)

It's sad, because the hardware beats the crap out of Samsung phones, the UX is better, and I love the Camera button. Too bad Nokia chose Windows, I loved my Nokia phones (still use one, an N86).

I don't think it's the 1% market share that's their biggest problem. The problem is that Microsoft isn't competitive as an ecosystem. Bing search, Hotmail, whatever Microsoft has for music or maps etc. are not what people are using. Yahoo is doing more to attract and retain ecosystem users.

Or look at it this way: It's not about selling a phone OS. It's about the ecosystem behind the devices.

There are a lot more who use their ecosystem than you think. All of their services work very well together, the Music and Video services have anything I could ever want (seriously, more current TV shows than anywhere else I've seen), the email calendar and other things work together, Skydrive is incredibly useful.

If you don't think Microsoft's ecosystem is competitive, it tells me you haven't tried it.

I didn't even know MS had a video service. A little Googling and I got to "Xbox Video". I thought that was only available via the Windows 8 app (or Xbox) but it looks like any Silverlight-capable browser will work. e.g. http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/TVShow/The-Guild/Season/0/...

The integration with specific sevices is impressive. On one screen, I can see all my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn connections' updates. On another I can see all notifications across all connected services. The lock screen can show how many emails I have waiting in each account, Twitter messages, Facebook messages, texts, missed calls, and voicemails at the same time. The rest of the "ecosystem" would be a lot more liveable if they only had a decent web browser! The browser on this thing is terrible. It doesn't even have a basic password manager, which is really painful on a touchscreen keyboard.

I would be very happy to be a tenth as irrelevant.

We're talking about Microsoft, the giant of the computing industry for 15-20 years. Their overall influence is a tiny fraction of what it was.

Apple and Google are the major players now. Microsoft is an also-ran.

As someone else stated here 'you don't work in the enterprise, do you?'

Where money is being spent, Google and Apple are no where to be seen. They're just fighting over the fickle and low margin consumer market.

> Where money is being spent, Google and Apple are no where to be seen. They're just fighting over the fickle and low margin consumer market.

That theory would be more convincing were it not for the fact that Apple makes more money than Microsoft...

Famous last words, if you've ever read The Innovator's Dilemma. Google is definitely moving up-margin into Enterprise with a fair degree of success; I'm not sure about Apple, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are too. In tech the companies who are successful in low-margin market segments are predators and the ones in higher-margin market segments are prey.

They still have a lot of influence in business computing - from PCs to servers. Don't be so quick to dismiss Microsoft.

5 years from now most of the currently installed PCs will be gone, and many of them will be replaced by tablets. Will those tablets be running iOS, Android, or Windows?

Again, enterprise. Business. Not consumer.

It doesn't matter if the tablets are running iOS, Android, or Windows. What does and will matter is, which can run Excel, which can run Word, and which can run Eclipse or Visual Studio? Because, besides IE6 apps that will continue to slowly fade, that's what businesses actually care about.

> What does and will matter is, which can run Excel, which can run Word

That's an open question. I would ask instead which ecosystem - Google, Bing/Hotmail/SkyDrive/Azure, Apple, Yahoo, etc. the customer uses as their "home" ecosystem.

Maybe. Until iOS or Android can run the whole of Windows x86 software, Windows will continue to exist and earn shitloads of cash for Microsoft.

Bug #2

Proprietary software and adverts in Ubuntu

God bless.

Microsoft are still scary and evil (cf: the new XBox and its snoopery), they are just scary and evil and small. For which I can only say thank goodness, and long may it last.

Microsoft is small? In comparison to what?

How many phones run Microsoft? What else matters?

7 million+ units [1].. Grant not big as Android or Apple but if everyone was to follow your ideology, Firefox OS or Ubuntu OS will never make a dent in the market. This will not only lead to duopoly but eventually end up hurting the consumer choices.


You are correct that there is a big danger of a duopoly. The previously Microsoft-dominated world of computing was boring and in places stagnant. Repeating that hegemony would also be boring and stagnant.

That's one reason why I think viable ecosystems are valuable. The question is whether someone can stitch together a Tizen/Yahoo/OEM or Jolla/Baidu/OEM, etc. axis and make it work.

How many business workstations run Linux? How many enterprise mailservers run Postfix? How many governments have /actually/ switched to LibreOffice?

I would say very many businesses these days use Google Docs, which is compatible with every OS. That's the way we are actually progressing here; everything is multiplatform.

How many mainframes run windows? It doesn't matter, because mainframes are not where the computing mainstream is.

The typical computing customer today would have no idea what Postfix or Libre Office are, nor would they know what Azure is. The whole issue of what matters has shifted out from under those things.

Nor do they care about AWS, Linode and anything related to servers for that matter.

Yet those domains earn a lot of cash for everyone involved, billions of dollars. There are a shitload more things that matter 10 times more than Angry Birds devices.

Because businesses don't buy computers?

>What else matters?

76 Million XBoxes and 40 Million XBox live users.

Source: http://www.computerandvideogames.com/389080/xbox-360-life-to...

Laptops, desktops, tablets and servers?

You don't work in enterprise, do you?

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