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DON'T Boycott Ubuntu

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Summary: Response to an impulsive decision to reject Ubuntu

THE short story is that Tux Machines made an informal call to boycott Ubuntu because of something that Mark Shuttleworth had said. This is not a final thing, but it is saddening because Tux Machines is my favourite news site.



In my humble assessment, the biggest problem Free software might be facing is software patents; womanisers, resistance to feminism and misogynists are true issues, but they exist in many aspects of computing; they are not exclusive to Free software or specific to particular distributions of software and there is nothing about "closed" or "open" in the software sense which implies openness or closeness when it comes to other religions, sexes, races, and nationalities. Instead of "Mark Shuttleworth", that remark which rubbed Susan the wrong way could just as well come from "Steve Ballmer" or "Steve Jobs". Making a tactless remark is not impossible; it happens now and then by accident. Mistakes happen, especially when people have no chance to reread or rethink a spoken word (where there is no opportunity to 'proofthink', either). Microsoft, for example, stages in advance so-called 'interviews'. It's all just theatre, it's fake. Like the 2008 election, it is conducted by the PR industry with advisors rallying and combing past every single thing that the candidate said or might say; there are secretaries and aides, which Mr. Shuttleworth might not enjoy the company of.

“Making a tactless remark is not impossible; it happens now and then by accident.”To neglect Ubuntu is to lose far too much. We have always been rather supportive of Ubuntu, with the exception of other people putting words in this site's mouth, i.e. misrepresentation. Where we criticise Ubuntu it is usually opinion or advice, purely factual. We actually defended Ubuntu when it came under attacks from critics inside the GNU/Linux world.

At the end of the day, let us remember that Ubuntu is really fighting for broader acceptance of GNU/Linux on the desktop. Here it it from the latest news:

Shuttleworth: Don't Give Up the Linux Desktop



Speaking at the LinuxCon conference late Wednesday, the Canonical founder pitched his approach for expanding Linux to provide a better user experience and broadening its appeal. The approach involves having a degree of cadence and coordination between projects and distributions, as well as improving quality and design.


More here:

LinuxCon: Shuttleworth's Three Methods to Improve FOSS Development



[...]

Speaking before a combined session of LinuxCon and the co-located Linux Plumber's Conference, Shuttleworth drilled home the importance of these concepts in the Linux development ecosystem, particularly cadence.

Shuttleworth has long maintained that if free and open source software projects can begin to sync their development cycles with each other, then both upstream and downstream developers (and, ultimately, users) will benefit. This is large part of the strategy behing Canonical's strict six-month release for the Ubuntu distribution and the 18-month Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) cycles.


IBM is now working with Canonical/Ubuntu to actually advance GNU/Linux on the desktop. That's more than IBM ever does for the platform on the desktop.

Tux Machines has been critical of Ubuntu for years, so Mark's remarks were probably a trigger. Mark will hopefully apologise in public.

As for the technical criticisms from Tux Machines, as it showed just hours ago, the looks of Ubuntu can easily be changed. As a blogger who was cited by Tux Machines only hours ago stated in the headline, Ubuntu may be "the most promising Linux distro in the world." In summary, he writes:

Given the recent spate of expansion of the ecosystem surrounding Ubuntu- from Ubuntu One, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu -Dell partnership among others- there is no gainsaying that Ubuntu is sure to be the Linux distro of choice in the future for both individuals and corporate customers.

For these five and possibly more other reasons, i strongly believe that Ubuntu stands among the lot as the most promising OS in the Linux world.


Even a hardcore user of GNU/Linux, Penguin Pete (Trbovich), is now embracing Ubuntu.

So, here I am! I think I am probably the the most die-hard power user to have ever adopted Ubuntu as their main system, not counting the Ubuntu development team itself, so this will be interesting.


I personally have Ubuntu installed on 3 computers, so those who wish to characterise me as "anti-Ubuntu" (as some people tried) are simply delusional or highly misinformed. I even used the first-ever version of Ubuntu.

In conclusion, why throw the baby out with the bathwater? Mark Shuttleworth is not Ubuntu. The millions of Ubuntu users are part of Ubuntu and to throw away a distribution because of a single remark from a single person is hugely different from rejecting a company like Novell for its policies that it was unwilling to change even after strong opposition from its very own community, even its own employees (Samba developers for example).

Don't boycott Ubuntu. Nothing is perfect, but Ubuntu is not a real threat to Freedom; it's also the basis for development of gNewSense.

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