Shuttleworth defends Mir, strikes out at Open Source Tea Party

Shuttleworth defends Mir, strikes out at Open Source Tea Party

Summary: The founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, has caused a stir in open-source circles as he calls Ubuntu's detractors the Open Source Tea Party.

TOPICS: Linux, Open Source

The man providing the financial backing for Ubuntu, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, has lashed out at his project's critics in a blog post over the weekend.

Shuttleworth called out a group that he named the Open Source Tea Party for the storm of criticism directed at Ubuntu following its decision to abandon the emerging standard of open-source display servers, Wayland, in favour of the Ubuntu-built and managed Mir server.

"Mir is really important work," wrote Shuttleworth. "When lots of competitors attack a project on purely political grounds, you have to wonder what their agenda is. At least we know now who belongs to the Open Source Tea Party ;)"

The Canonical backer said that Mir was only relevant for 1 percent of developers, as most others will not deal with Mir directly, and will instead continue to implement applications written in toolkits such as Qt and GTK+ that abstract away any interactions with Mir directly.

Shuttleworth reserved particular scorn for systemd, an init system replacement that is fast becoming the standard system management daemon on Linux.

"By contrast, those same outraged individuals have NIH'd [Not Invented Here] just about every important piece of the stack they can get their hands on ... most notably SystemD, which is hugely invasive and hardly justified.

"What closely to see how competitors to Canonical torture the English language in their efforts to justify how those toolkits should support Windows but not Mir."

The criticism of Mir began with its inception at the start of year, when Canonical reversed its 2010 decision to support Wayland, and said it would instead throw its resources behind creating the Mir display server for the Ubuntu desktop and phone distributions.

Mir was due to make its debut in the latest edition of Ubuntu, 13.10, which rolled out over the weekend. However, earlier this month, a decision was taken to hold back the release of Mir on the desktop in the wake of problems with its X server compatibility layer, XMir.

"Mir has made tremendous progress, and is currently available on the Ubuntu archive for use, but there are still some outstanding quality issues that we want to resolve before we feel comfortable turning it on by default," Canonical director of product strategy engineering Oliver Ries said at the time.

"Many of these issues live in the XMir part of the stack, which provides the integration between the X server and the underlying Mir system compositor. More specifically, the multi-monitor support in XMir is working, but not to the extend [sic] we'd like to see it for all of our users."

Despite the problems with Mir, Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu is still pressing on with the system.

"We'll get it done, and it will be amazing," he said. "From what I've seen on the smartphone, Mir is going to be a huge leap forward for gaming performance, battery life, and next-generation display capabilities."

Shuttleworth's attack on Mir's detractors prompted a quick response.

"It amounts to libel at worst, and name calling at best. You would not accept that done to you, yet you do it to others. Shame on you, Mark, shame," wrote KDE developer Aaron Seigo on Google+.

Seigo challenged Shuttleworth to a live debate on the topic of Mir and Wayland.

"Yes, I am challenging you to a public debate on the matter. Seems appropriate as you seem to feel this is a political matter."

Topics: Linux, Open Source


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Aaron Seigo is right....

    He is right... We only need one open source platform.

    First up all stop all other desktop environments other than KDE and merge others to KDE.. That the only best one.
    Why we need so many browsers.. I even confused which to use.. Stick to only one (Aaron Seigo, kindly decide).
    Libre office and open office look almost same… why we need two or more
    Can we stick to one media player.. one development tool… one cloud.. etc

    Can we select One linux distro itself ( which Aaron Seigo thinks the best)and ditch others…

    I think, this will create a good working linux distro which I can easily use.

    (I also thinks its better that, all the people to wear the same dress, eat the same food etc, it creates more productivity)

    • First up all stop all other desktop environments other than KDE and merge o

      if we focus on that linux will never go mainstream but be a freeloader version of windows, i say we go for unity8, because unity is unique and not a wanna be aero interface
      Wyllie Chilunga
      • But the reason of Linux and the open community is to give options

        I don't know why people state that don't like the homogenic and locked-in nature of windows and MAC but also dislike Linux heterogenious and open nature.
        I thought that the open community appeared to bring options and give people the power to choose what they need or want, as long as there are options and give users access to options nothing seems wrong.
    • merge into @#$??!!? stop all other desktop environments??!!?

      I REALLY hope you were being facetious...variety and customization is linux's greatest strength. I HATE KDE--it needs to have another letter added to the name so it's a four-letter word, and unity isn't much better...more of a GNOME guy, although the last couple of revisions were irritating. I like Firefox and occasionally chrome (on windoze), and QT's IDE rocks, but I also like others, depending on what I'm trying to do. merging things eliminates competition and as a result, innovation goes away, too.
      Jason Nichols
  • Outsides perspective.

    Name calling is just dumb; stick with the facts and just leave it at that.

    I think I see both sides of the argument but correct me if I am wrong. Mark is disappointed by the criticism of the continued development of Mir because Wayland (maybe better maybe worse) is being accepted by more distributions?
    Wayland came out slow and Ubuntu wasn't waiting any longer and came out with Mir? Maybe I don't know I could care less.

    I tried out Wayland a week ago and wasn't really impressed so far; I haven't looked at Mir but I don't think until more apps are written to utilize Mir or Wayland that we really will see much of an improvement. Eye Candy ooh wow.

    I do like open source competition I don't like when any developer claims it is purely political (like Mark did)

    I'd like to see Mir and Wayland take off. I want to see eye candy. I want to see the projects I use, use them and have better support for crazy effects maybe virtualbox will be able to use some of the graphics improvements to better emulate 2d and 3d acceleration?
    Maybe with the talk about the raspberry pi we could do more graphics stuff with less hardware? The talk about network improvement by wayland has me interested but until this weekend(some talk about vnc direct support for Wayland on slashdot) I haven't heard any vnc or remote display for Wayland or Mir except for how bad X is. I use Mythtv, xvnc(to control my machine), vitualbox(for Netflix on a windows VM)) I use to experiment with wine All the time maybe wine could utilize the 2D 3D acceleration better with Wayland or Mir? Really what else with eye candy do we really want?

    About systemd vs systemV. I liked creating bash scripts and all and wasn't comfortable switching to systemd. However it is much cleaner for most processes using systemd I don't know about the overhead claim I'll look into it but I got into linux using bsd style startup from slackware so pffft.
    • About Mir

      "Mark is disappointed by the criticism of the continued development of Mir because Wayland (maybe better maybe worse) is being accepted by more distributions?"

      From what I see it is not that Wayland (maybe better maybe worse) is being accepted by more distributions, but that Mir is being developed to get to the true convergence Ubuntu is targeting with one device that scales across many form factors.

      I also think Intel's quick rejection of Mir driver support is politically motivated to support Microsoft and try an hold back Ubuntu Touch from devices that run Intel processors. I say that given the clear edge (pun intended) Ubuntu has over Windows on the phone and tablet space in achieving true convergence on schedule next April, while Microsoft clearly has no schedule for that goal, just a claim that it will get there.
      • Ubuntu Touch

        "I also think Intel's quick rejection of Mir driver support is politically motivated to support Microsoft and try an hold back Ubuntu Touch from devices that run Intel processors..."

        Actually, having worked with some of the groups in question, I doubt that this is the case, more likely to hold back ubuntu Touch from NON-Intel devices. For the most part, Intel really doesn't care what you run, so much as they care what you run it on.

        Granted, there are groups that are heavily devoted to Microsoft, but not all.

        I believe that part of this rejection was mainly due to Ubuntu wanting to run on everything well, which is somewhat counter to Intel's goals.
  • The 'T' word


    Intel is on the Board of Directors of the Tizen Association. And, last I heard, Tizen is going with Wayland.

    P.S. Samsung is also on the Board of Directors of the Tizen Association. Canonical, Ltd. is swimming upstream with Mir.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Mr Shuttleworth should stick with what he knows, because, he's

    politically naive and stupid and ignorant, if he thinks that the "tea party" represents evil or wrong.

    Perhaps he's really the same way with his business decisions, and people should start wondering what he's really about.
    • Neither "evil" nor "wrong" appear in the article (nor in the linked blog)

      Whatever Mr. Shuttleworth thinks of Tea Partiers, I'm sure that your post has confirmed it.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Not very bright are you?

        "Shuttleworth called out a group that he named the Open Source Tea Party for the storm of criticism"

        That statement points directly at how Mr Shuttleworth feels about the "tea party". The tea party is not the object of this discussion, but the left-handed strike at the tea party is very evident. The phrase "tea party" was obviously used to demonize and categorize the Canonical detractors, and liberals have been using "tea party" as something that is evil or wrong: their use of tea party is intended to create a negative perception. Though the discussion here is about open source and Canonical, it's quite apparent that, the phrase was used to categorize the opposition as evil and wrong.

        For people like you, it's quite apparent that, things have to be spelled out in great detail, otherwise, everything will be way over your head.
        • Here's what a Tea Party slur looks like

          "a collection of "gun-toting" racists and "fundamentalist Christians" who have "hijacked" the Republican Party"

          One could easily imagine Mr. Shuttleworth believing tea partiers as being uncompromising. Take a deep breath and count to ten ...
          Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Its a great look !!!

    Its really, really great to see this in fighting between these 'groups', common goal !!!

    Its great to see how the average user is benefitting from these (pointless) but continuous spats !
    Lets just fork off another version to go with the million others, increase incompatibility, and divide you development community until you have 1 or less developers on each project, then publicly fight each other, its such a good look.

    Shows just how mature this 'community' is.