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Author Topic: Not bad article on The Sins of Ubuntu  (Read 3698 times)
40hz
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« on: June 09, 2011, 12:25:18 PM »

From the good folks over at OSNews, a quick rundown of some sticky points when it comes to Ubuntu and Canonical's current modus operandi.



Quote
The Sins of Ubuntu
posted by Howard Fosdick on Mon 30th May 2011 22:04 UTC


IconCanonical Ltd., the company behind Ubuntu Linux, estimates that the product has over 12 million users worldwide. And why not? Ubuntu is free and it runs more than ten thousand applications. It has a vibrant user community, websites covering everything you might ever need to know, good tutorials, a paid support option, and more. Yet I often hear friends and co-workers casually criticize Ubuntu. Perhaps this the price of success. Or is it? In this article I'll analyze common criticisms and try to sort fact from fiction.

I should mention that I'm a big Ubuntu fan and have used it for five years. Even so, it pains me to see the obvious ways it could improve. As I'll explain, I believe Canonical's business model holds Ubuntu back from fulfilling its potential.


Why It Matters

One obvious response to anyone who criticizes Ubuntu is to say to them: why don't you just run another operating system? There are so many competing Linux and BSD distros out there.

True. But there is a larger issue here. Ubuntu's great popularity means that it represents Linux to many people. It's the distro vendors pre-install. It's the distro the mainstream media always review. It's the one distro everybody's tried. It's been ranked #1 in DistroWatch's yearly popularity ratings for the past six years (1).

Fair or not, Ubuntu reflects on the Linux community as a whole. How well Ubuntu meets criticisms matters even to Linux users who don't use it.

So what are common Ubuntu criticisms? Here are those I often hear...

Full article can be found here.

Nothing hyper earth-shattering. Just some very good observations - even though I think Howard Fosdick could have gone a bit further and maybe not pulled his punches quite as much as he does. But I suppose you can always get the professional penguin bashers out there to provide some 'snark' if you feel a sudden craving for vitriol. So maybe a more rational (and less hostile) tone makes for a nice change of pace after all...

Worth a read IMO.  Thmbsup

« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 08:29:47 PM by 40hz; Reason: Corrected spelling. » Logged

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Deozaan
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 06:29:09 PM »

Nice article. Thanks!
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zridling
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 03:00:57 AM »

Saw this article last week and 40hz pulled its essence. I've long been critical of Ubuntu, one, because I don't think it's where newbies should start when coming to Linux. As the author states, if they have a bad experience with Ubuntu, they tend to conclude that other distros must be worse! Two, the Ubuntu community lulls into thinking "this is as good as Linux gets." Nothing could be further. Although I've enjoyed openSUSE for years, Fedora runs circles around Ubuntu year after year. And if you want to stay in the Debian family, Mint fixes some of the worst annoyances that Ubuntu ignores. Speaking of that, and this is my biggest peeve: Canonical is all too happy to ignore the same problems ("issues") version after version after version. Makes you want to ask: "What the hell are you people doing over there!"

Finally, Canonical head Mark Shuttleworth wrote a lot of checks in the past five years his company and millions couldn't cash. It's not that Ubuntu failed per se, it's that Ubuntu never measured up to the standard it set for itself.
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zridling
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 04:31:10 AM »

Here's Adam Overa's in-depth review of Ubuntu 11.04, including the inefficiencies of the Unity desktop environment:
http://www.tomshardware.c...4-natty-narwhal,2943.html
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40hz
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 06:43:55 AM »

I personally think Canonical's current focus is on partnering with someone to produce a tablet with Ubuntu's name one it. That's their single biggest chance to make some serous money, hence their new online store and blind infatuation with the Unity front end they're trying to shove down the Ubuntu community's throat. (I don't consider Unity a true desktop widows manager.)

People who don't learn from Apple's mistaken vision are doomed to copy it.  tongue

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Edvard
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 12:31:03 PM »

I could write a book replying to this article point by point, but I just don't have the time at the moment, maybe later, I don't know.
Suffice it to say I agree with many of his points, wholeheartedly even, but I found myself disagreeing with where he lays the blame.
In other words, as bad as some of their decisions have been, I just can't say that it's all Canonical/Ubuntu's fault.
Sometimes you gotta go with what works, and when somebody else breaks it for you...

I use Xubuntu because it was the first distro I used that I didn't have to fight with in order to get and use software that didn't come bundled with the distro.
Believe me, after my initial go-arounds with Slackware, Mandrake, and a few others I was always left wondering if it couldn't be made just a little easier.
Ubuntu answered that.

I've tried the latest versions of OpenSuse, Fedora, etc. and while they've both handily overcome the package management beast, I still prefer the APT/Synaptic system over Yum/RPM, and there was always something I didn't like; usually something starting with a K or a G. tongue
Sorry Zaine, nothing against you, but I just cannot stand KDE no matter how many times I try to use it, and Gnome consistently insults my intelligence.
Xfce is my DE of choice and I'm quite glad I have that freedom.

So much more to say...
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 01:12:19 PM »

Interesting read! In the final section the author gives us a master explanation of the various problems described earlier:

"One underlying explanation ties all this together. Canonical embraces the same philosophy of product development as Microsoft. The emphasis is on introducing new features. "

I also have the impression that Ubuntu quickly adds new features, and break some old ones, in ways that can confuse users who had just gotten to grips with the old. Fosdick seems to think that the root cause is a design philosophy choice made by Canonical. But couldn't there be a deeper explanations? Maybe coders contributing to Ubuntu tend to be more motivated to work on new, cutting edge features rather than perfecting old and tried applications and solutions? Such coders themselves of course have expert knowledge on how the system works and can more easily adapt to even abrupt changes and new features.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 01:18:22 PM by Nod5 » Logged
app103
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 01:16:11 PM »

I also have the impression that Ubuntu quickly adds new features, and break some old ones, in ways that can confuse users who had just gotten to grips with the old.

And this is why I removed it from my computer. If they didn't keep breaking stuff on every update and weren't so hell bent on making you get lost every time you booted up, it could have been a nice OS.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 01:58:34 PM by app103; Reason: Nod5 said something about typos in his quote » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2011, 01:17:31 PM »

Aw, you quoted me before I had time to fix the typos  embarassed cheesy
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zridling
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2011, 03:00:15 PM »

I use Xubuntu because it was the first distro I used that I didn't have to fight with in order to get and use software that didn't come bundled with the distro.... Sorry Zaine, nothing against you, but I just cannot stand KDE no matter how many times I try to use it, and Gnome consistently insults my intelligence. Xfce is my DE of choice and I'm quite glad I have that freedom.

No problem. You base your response on experience. Your statement is the core of Linux: freedom (to choose something else).
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Edvard
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2011, 06:32:58 PM »

Quote
No problem. You base your response on experience. Your statement is the core of Linux: freedom (to choose something else).
Pre-zactly.
I knew you'd understand.  Thmbsup Thmbsup
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2011, 09:31:59 PM »

Edvard - Your experiences mirror my own.  I too am a fan of Xbuntu over the others and have pretty much settled on Mint Xfce as my preferred distro.  I know many who prefer Gnome and hence Ubuntu or even the main Mint, but it just isn't me.
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40hz
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2011, 12:39:40 PM »

I prefer Mint (in any incarnation) over Ubuntu these days. It's also refreshing to see the latest main release as their attempt to provide users with the absolute best Gnome 2 experience possible before Gnome forces us all to walk away from it and down the path of the, in many ways misguided (IMO), "new direction" Gnome 3 wants to take.

That being said, I still prefer Xfce to Gnome as my main desktop. Just hope #! (aka CrunchBang) continues to crank out their excellent distro.  Because that's my current "go to" Linux for day-to-day use.   Thmbsup

« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 03:15:13 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2011, 03:11:11 PM »

O_o Uh, Okay... With a name like CrunchBang I just gotta try it!
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40hz
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2011, 03:16:27 PM »

O_o Uh, Okay... With a name like CrunchBang I just gotta try it!

I think you're gonna like it... Thmbsup

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