Way, way back in the history of Ubuntu I remember hearing a speech by Mark Shuttleworth about how Ubuntu can invest small amounts in key places to cause large changes for the better. I thought it was very hopeful and forward looking as we did have a lot of interesting technologies that weren’t being used or simply not delivered to users in the best way.
But lately the easy wins are all won and it seems at least to me that what we have to look forward to is a much more serious investment into infrastructure projects, design projects and other large projects involving a lot more developers than anyone can even now afford to work on Ubuntu to push it further.
Of course the fact that Ubuntu has been trying it’s best to invest the smallest amount to achieve the largest positive outcome might have given us a reputation with other groups (ahem, fedora/red hat) of being abusive and not really big enough to live up to the name we’ve hyped up for ourselves. But then what to do other than take the awesome work done by the whole free desktop community and combine it together into something for your target audience? Well that was the plan while we were all skint in the Ubuntu community and the people doing most of the work just happen to be over there in fetching red hats.
But perhaps that’s all over, we’ve pushed all the easy stuff and now it’s hard work. I sometimes question the logic on Canonical’s part of investing so much in Launchpad, landscape and other ancillary projects which don’t seem to make much of a difference to Ubuntu development or deployment and yet investment into infrastructure is starving for more attention, more testing and more core development.
The only other thing the community could do is working less on ui playthings and more on interesting core development. But that’s asking a lot considering most gnome, fdo and kernel developers tend to use Ubuntu and yet avoid the community (not a bad thing if that’s the best way to get things done).