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Questioning Ubuntu's Direction

Wizard of Oz

Summary: Now that the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux pushes users into the Microsoft 'cloud', doubts rightly increase when it comes to the project's vision

IN ORDER to keep this constructive, we won't repeat old explanations about why Matt Asay was not a good choice for Ubuntu. This is not a personal attack, just a simple factual observation.

Several days ago we spotted remarks from Asay (Canonical's new COO) which we found rather concerning but not surprising at all. We decided not to remark on these remarks, but Pogson has done just that when he scattered some thoughts about the ramblings of Asay:

Matt Asay wrote this on his blog, “Microsoft became the biggest software company in the world by creating an ecosystem of software that works well together.“.


I know I take the quotation out of context, but I found it a shocking view for someone of influence in Ubuntu. Later in the article he writes, “I didn’t like the Linux “desktop” until Lucid’s release.“. At the same time that M$ could not keep me happy for more than a few hours, GNU/Linux (eDesktop from Caldera Systems) purred for six months on five machines without a hitch. That was in 2000 and GNU/Linux has constantly improved since.

I am glad Mark Shuttleworth is the one working on the user interface… Matt Asay does not seem to be in touch with reality.

Mark Shuttleworth at least has a long history as a GNU/Linux user who respects Free software. Asay, on the contrary, has been promoting "open core" and the whole Fog Computing paradigm. As a follow-up from Pogson shows, Asay is still buying into the whole 'cloud' hype, which is just a new marketing identity/name assigned to old ideas that Richard Stallman criticises as it achieves nothing that defends the users' freedom. In some ways, it's even worse than proprietary software.

“Mark Shuttleworth at least has a long history as a GNU/Linux user who respects Free software.”The gist of Stallman's thesis is that any so-called 'cloud' (we call it Fog Computing to emphasise the risks) gives tremendous power to the owner of this 'cloud'. As we pointed out earlier this year, Canonical decided to take money away from Mozilla developers and instead pass it to Ubuntu developers, who willingly sell Ubuntu users to the Microsoft 'cloud' [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It's about search, which leads to other services. Whose masters are they anyway?

Anyhow, for those doubting the situation with Microsoft and Yahoo!, the following news from India is an early sign that not only US queries will be passed from Yahoo! to Microsoft (as expected all along).

Microsoft will be offering positions to 400 of Yahoo’s software professionals, most working on search technology, to boost the search-domain collaboration the two technology giants announced sometime back.

These are the people who will deliver search results that discriminate against Ubuntu. These are the people whom Canonical will send Ubuntu users to. In summary, Ubuntu is not going in the best direction, to put it politely.

"Anyone who doesn't fear Microsoft is a fool."

--3Com CEO Eric Benhamou

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