Shuttleworth defends Mir, strikes out at Open Source Tea Party

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.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

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."

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