Loving Ubuntu Linux

Loving Ubuntu Linux

Summary: Ubuntu has always had its critics, but it remains the most popular personal Linux distribution of them all.


My writing compadre Bruce Byfield wrote that while "Ubuntu first appeared, the free and open source software (FOSS) community was delighted. But, "In 2011, that honeymoon is long past. Although Ubuntu remains the dominant distro, criticisms of its relationship with the rest of FOSS seem to be coming every other month." To which, I can only reply, "So what else is new?"

Ubuntu started as a Debian fork almost seven years ago and I can still find Debian developers who are ticked off about it to this very day. Since then, as Byfield notes, Ubuntu, and its parent company Canonical has gotten into hot-water with one party after the other in open-source circles.

A short list would include Debian's continued jealousy getting in the way of co-operation between the closely related Linux distributions; countless accusations that Canonical/Ubuntu is all about promoting Ubuntu and not Linux; and that Ubuntu doesn't contribute its fair share to the Linux kernel and other up-stream open-source programs.

But this, this is all old news. Ubuntu has long endured these criticisms. So have the other Linux distributions.

For years there was a site called Boycott Novell, now called Techrights, which pounded on Novell for its Microsoft partnership and related issues. Back in 2004, I wrote about why Linux users hated Red Hat. The reason then was that many Red Hat Linux users felt betrayed by Red Hat leaving its personal distribution behind for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

I could go on and on, but you get the point. FOSS fans tend to be passionate. They don't dislike something, they "hate" it. They don't like anything, they "love" it. To which I can only say, "It's just software people!"

I don't see Ubuntu being any less "loved," then it ever has been. Sure, there have been recent issues, such as the dust-off between Banshee and Canonical on music sales fees, but I really don't see any change in either how Ubuntu approaches the Linux community or how Linux users view Ubuntu.

What Ubuntu has done for Linux is to market it to the masses. CIOs and CTOs, know Red Hat and Novell's SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), but if ordinary people know any Linux, it's Ubuntu.

Without Ubuntu I know many people who never in a million years would have touched Linux. It was too strange, too techie. Ubuntu has made it possible for pretty much anyone to use Linux.

Indeed, as Byfield points out, Ubuntu is also trying to get business customers, but I don't see how that has disappointed any one's original "initial expectations" for Ubuntu. Any Linux, any software project, that hopes to gain a large audience has to become more business like and look to other businesses for work. Even as Ubuntu reaches for the business clouds, it remains true to its intention of providing everyone and anyone with an excellent, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

While I've never 'loved' Ubuntu, I like it quite a lot and I'm sure many more people will continue to both like and love it. Sure, some people won't like the changes, but that's the nature of change--you can never make everybody happy. That said, I see Ubuntu continuing to make the vast majority of its users happy for years to come.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

    Steven, I am with you on this one 100%. I don't have any great love of Ubuntu or its derivatives, but they are good, solid distributions nevertheless, and when you put Ubuntu and all of its derivatives together, collectively there has been more distribution related developments, primarily aimed at users in a wide variety of niches. Is Ubuntu the only easy to use distribution? Again, no, but it has had a significant impact on the development of other distributions. So what if they rarely contribute to the kernel. They have contributed as much free marketing as any other company, and possibly more than over half of the existing distributions combined. Does it always mention Linux? No, it doesn't, not any more than Android does, another major contributor to bringing free software technology to more people. Who cares about the names? Who cares about "the love" or "the hate"? As long as stuff goes out under the GPL and is shared so that others can also benefit from good ideas (or change them to make more new ideas), I am all for it!
    • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

      How awesome is it that Canonical can produce a finely tuned OS, called Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu does everything you need it to, its beautiful, stylish and fast.

      No need to worry if a patch is going to brick your system. No need to pay for a new version.

      Freedom to choose, Hooah!
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        @choyongpil Is it? I couldn't tell. It couldn't even coordinate the click location with the location of the mouse cursor on the VM I was running. What good is a distro that can't at least match the click point to the mouse cursor?
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        I have no problem running VM?s, using one now and mouse works just fine.
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    • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

      @brian.masinick <br>Brian, without Ubuntu, Debian would have been dead by now! If Mark didn't employ the few developers from Debian, but from say any other one, Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, etc, one of them would be in the forefront today, not Debian.<br>It is Debian, who has to be dependent on Ubuntu, rather than the other way! <br><br>If not for Ubuntu, there won't be any 'forks' of Ubuntu and any forks of Debian. <br><br>If Mark had put his head in to say, Slackware, Debian would be dead by now, and Slackware would be on top of the Linux world!
  • Ubuntu may be good, but the programs available for it

    are so second rate compared to their proprietary counterparts.
    Will Farrell
    • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

      @Will Farrell elaborate.... what are you referring to?
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        @nickdangerthirdi@... I don't know what he's suggesting but I can tell you I spent the better part of this morning mocking up 4 different versions of a letterhead for a non profit group I belong to, using OfficeLibre and none of the other people could open the files to view.
      • Elaborate...

        Nicky, Nicky, Nicky, Nicky! Did you catch...PLOK!!!

        Will Farrell (v.o.)
        &ldquo;<em>...now return you to your normal programming...</em>&rdquo;
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        @spin498... <i>I spent the better part of this morning mocking up 4 different versions of a letterhead for a non profit group I belong to, using OfficeLibre and none of the other people could open the files to view.</i>

        You not understanding this included software function is <b>NOTHING</b> I'd be bragging about, spin498, because this "<i>defect</i>" is user ignorance, nothing to do with Libre Office!!!

        Don't blame the software for you not understanding how to use it!
    • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

      @Will Farrell You mean more so than another Linux distribution? I don't think so...or are you comparing Open products in general to commercial ones? ...Or just trolling.
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        I say just trolling.
  • Ubuntu puts together the moving parts best.

    Of all Distros, my vote goes to Ubuntu (Canonical) for having done the most for Desktop Linux in terms of polish, fit and finish, and overall ease of use.

    Oh. Sorry. Almost forgot.
    I stake my reputation on it.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      Sorry Linux was supposed to take over Windows XP and that never happened... MAC OS X is the way to go!!

      Linux is stuck in 2001... time to move on, it may be good on the server but it will never catch on in the desktop.
      • Clueless


        You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.
        Tim Patterson
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        @Hasam1991 yeah MAC OSX otherwise known as BSD rebranded, its still a *nix OS....
      • RE: Loving Ubuntu Linux

        @Hasam1991 i'm guessing 2001 was the last time you used Linux. Linux was the first OS to work with USB 3, and the first to use Kinect on a PC.