Current front page of Ubuntu.com, featuring the Microsoft-dominated Dell (with Linux patent tax)
Summary: How the leadership of Ubuntu has changed and how it may relate to some strategic decisions inside the project
I ADDRESS this issue not from a position of hostility but a position of concern. I write this from a *Ubuntu box, my main workstation for years. I started using Ubuntu in 2005 (first release) and have since then publicly posted links to around 10,000 pro-Ubuntu articles, installed Ubuntu for many (even relatives of mine in the States), and helped people with all sorts of technical trouble related to it, never for a fee. I really contributed a lot to the project, not just as a user. Back in the days some people used to call me “Ubuntu shill”, accusing me of working for Ubuntu in some ways (I never had).
Ubuntu changed recently, but I perpetually tried to ignore it and dismiss all negative moves as illegitimate reasons to turn my back on the project. It has been a gradual process of consistent exacerbation. There was no last straw.
“Back in the days some people used to call me “Ubuntu shill”, accusing me of working for Ubuntu in some ways (I never had).”In short, the project became less recognisable since upstream got abandoned, some time around 2010. From not contributing to upstream (or barely contributing to it, notably the kernel, Linux) Ubuntu turned to drying up upstream, inadvertently perhaps, by creating other routes that are exclusive to Canonical. The list of such projects has been named completely in several other blogs, so I’ll spare the details. Ubuntu has been upsetting many in the community and closed down development recently (the process went into private hands). Ubuntu is deviating from upsteam, ignoring decisions and even developing in secret (neither source code nor access to read-only decision-making). How can that be? It’s evidently against the spirit, the philosophy and the motto I put my weight behind around 7 years ago.
Earlier this week it turned out that Canonical is closing down a community participation site. I heard some Ubuntu proponents trying to justify this, but their reasoning was weak and hardly persuasive. The other day I saw a link about a Ubuntu.com redesign that would further de-ephasise the community in favour of the shareholders community. Right now it’s promoting Dell, which pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux and deserves a boycott for it.
“That person, who from Microsoft, became Vice President (VP) of Ubuntu some months ago.”More relevant to my perspective is Ubuntu signing deals with Microsoft, usually accompanying those with promotional language for Microsoft, the abusive monopolist. Even UEFI Restricted Boot got assisted by Ubuntu, aiding an agenda that harms many distributions of GNU/Linux (yes, GNU too, by demoting GRUB [1, 2]). The same applies to Mono and Moonlight.
The person behind some moves that were beneficial to Microsoft, such as indirect Mono promotion (concurrent with GNU demotion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and adding Yahoo as a search supplier for Ubuntu (Yahoo is just a Microsoft front end), came from Microsoft itself. Guess what? That person, who from Microsoft, became Vice President (VP) of Ubuntu some months ago. Yes, Mr. Spencer is now the head of Ubuntu. He got promoted some months ago, climbing up the ladder over the years until becoming “Vice President, Ubuntu at Canonical Ltd.” He still lives in “Greater Seattle Area”, far from Canonical and much closer to Microsoft. Who might he hang out with in his spare time?
I stated a couple of times this month (in microblogs) that I had ceased promoting Ubuntu in microblogs. It’s just not worth the time and the future of the project seems less clear now that the Microsoft friendliness can be explained in terms akin to entryism.