Canonical fails to step on Community: Shock, Gasp

The blogger Anthony Papillion has penned an article about how Canonical has taken another step against the community. It’s all about how Canonical have shut down the sounder mailing list and irc channels because they’re off topic and wildly out of control.

I have many concerns relating to Canonical and it’s conduct, but this isn’t one of them.

The first point Anthony raises is easy to debunk. The Community Council was the body to shutter the group, not Canonical. This was a community decision to help make sure the community is healthy. You can check what people were involved and if they work for Canonical or not.

Secondly, It would be hard to argue that the people in Canonical and even Mark himself have complete disregard for the community. They spend a lot of money maintaining various parts of the community, with staff and resources and while sometimes the community team does come out with some amusingly one sided posts and ideas, over all they’re here to both help the community grow and improve education within.

Finally, there is this mistaken belief from far too many people that Ubuntu advocates (or even Canonical staff) would be sad if users started to leave Canonical’s distro for other Free Desktops like Debian or Fedora. This is nonsense. We do our best here to provide a pretty cool desktop and the code is on offer for any other desktop too. I’m pretty happy about users finding their way onto other Free Desktops and I’m bemused when upset users try and use their move to Fedora as some kind of stick to lay into Ubuntu.

Please, go to Fedora, go to Debian, have a crack at Gentoo. Just enjoy yourself and be free.


14 thoughts on “Canonical fails to step on Community: Shock, Gasp

  1. What are the odds that you and I published the same exact thing at the same exact time? You added more to the topic, I just debunked that guys ignorance. 🙂

  2. I didnt even hear about the sounder list until it was shut down. It sounds like one of those lists that works when there aren’t that many people using the distro but then when it becomes bigger the list gets out of control and off topic. I don’t agree with most of the stuff people say about canonical and in particular that they don’t care. Id say Mark would be the first to say that every “controversial” decision was made purely to produce a better product and to make Ubuntu move into a more mainstream direction.

  3. I actually did move to Fedora from having been a Ubuntu user since 2006. It was not cause of the above reason or any other mishap from Canonical. I did it cause i wanted to use Gnome-shell with a distro that will support it. I first tried the Ubuntu PPA but it was far from stable so decided to jump ship.

    I am little sad though cause i liked Ubuntu. Mark should have listened on the community more before deciding on Unity especially when it is so far from ready. I used Unity two whole months before i jumped onto Gnome3 and i do not regret it. Unity have many shortcomings compared to Gnome3.

    I think Mark underestimated the value of Gnome and he shouldn’t have cut it off so abruptly. Gnome was one of the pieces that made Ubuntu popular. The sad part now is that Gnome will probably not grow as quick as it would with Ubuntu onboard. I guess Mark wanted more control…

    And Fedora have something really good going on. I got an unexpected performance boost. But who knows… maybe i get home sick and come back in a few months 😉

  4. @Almehdi – Yes, Unity is a bit of a weird one, I believe Gnome Shell has benefited from having Unity designs.

  5. The “I’m leaving for competing distro X over decision Y” is a universal emotional blackmail technique. I don’t like seeing people engage in it nor do I encourage people to use that sort of tactic regardless of the distros in question.

    Generally speaking I think boycotts can be useful tool for non-paying product consumers, if and only if, its done without overt advocacy of a competing replacement. There is a long history of advocacy by fans of Television shows to draw on to try to convince TV networks from making unwanted programming decisions. Quantum Leap’s run wasn’t extended by telling NBC that that loyal viewers were going to jump ship to CBS if it the series was canceled. Neither was Cagney and Lacey’s run as a crime drama. And on and on.


  6. Please, go to Fedora, go to Debian, have a crack at Gentoo. Just enjoy yourself and be free.

    This is a very common blackmail technique. Someone saying this is in his own little world that using this line would overnight turn the decision.

    Replying to these kind of messages is also very tough as there are chances of getting flamed for “not respecting the opinion of others” and “Not respecting the freedom of speech”. I have already stopped replying to any such comments.

  7. Almehdi, I expect Gnome Shell to be better integrated and installable in 11.10. Staying with Gnome 2.32 was the safer route for 11.04; Unity alone was enough of a transition.

    Fedora does good stuff too though but it just hasn’t been the right fit for me at this time.

  8. I am not sure about “blackmailing”.. just told my thoughts and why i switched. It’s pretty common people oppose when they think something is changing for the worse. I wouldn’t switch if the PPA had been good. I am not saying Ubuntu is bad.. it is just that as of recent changes it has become something that is not for me.

    Yes, 3.0 is better than 2.91. I really like it.

    I really miss the PPAs from Ubuntu in Fedora. I have had to build 3 packages myself already. I guess the mindset of Ubuntu doesn’t work well on Fedora. A beta is really a beta in Fedora.

    I think i’ll give Fedora 15 a month or two. If i still like it i will stay.. so far i am impressed. But am little tempted to test Natty when it comes final.

    One thing i am sure of and that is that i’ll be running Gnome-shell no matter what the underlying dist is.

  9. “there is this mistaken belief from far too many people that Ubuntu advocates (or even Canonical staff) would be sad if users started to leave Canonical’s distro for other Free Desktops like Debian or Fedora. This is nonsense.”

    This indeed is nonsense. But not the way you mean it. Canonical has been *forcing* people to other distributions for many years. Most of the people thats been using Ubuntu for years are fan{bois/girls} and contributors. Casual users found their way to mostly Mint if they continued using Linux or in much larger scale back to Windows.
    Canonical doesnt care about Linux users. They are not their target audience.

  10. No numbers, just pragmatism.
    Like it or not people and especially casual users who treat their computers as a tool to get things done and not as a hobby dont like constant change. And especially Ubuntu changes all the time.
    Since 6.06 onwards its seen radical changes on each release, every 6 months. The unity interface is only the latest, but also most radical change. Windows on the other hand hardly ever change.
    I guess its not so bad as i made it sound considering many people will still dual (or even multiple) boot many things, including a Linux distribution or two, along with MS Windows.
    The usage lines have been blurred even further if you take Virtual Machines into account, but were mostly talking about hobbyists here as well.
    I think its pretty safe to assume that most people who arent hobbyists and didnt get involved with the Ubuntu community either went back to Windows or at best treat Ubuntu and Linux in general as a specialized operating system for some task, for example writing latex for their uni thesis if they dont already own a Mac.
    Ubuntu, and Linux on the desktop in general, cannot be dependable as an all around OS. People have to devote time into learning something that they are not familiar with, and then you are making them learn something new. And devote more time. And again. And again. Just to accomplish the same task.
    Here’s one other example besides the Unity interface of radical change in Ubuntu. The infamous button from right to left change. Its not just the change itself. Remember when that change took place? Let me refresh your memory. It was *days* before the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release. While Canonical claims that the 6 month release cycle is also a testbed for LTS, changes of that magnitude so close to release is pure madness and completely unjustifiable.
    I hope the OEM deals with unity work out well for Canonical but i doubt it.

  11. @Paul – The problem with your extraordinary claims is that they are lacking in real data and counter to my own experiences. I look after and have gotten many tends of people onto Ubuntu over the years. Only 2 of them no longer use it and they both moved to Apple (one iphone, the other mac). All of the other people, the normal users, they’ve been quite happy so far.

    This is before unity of course. But I think you might be a bit hysterical about the effects of the bad politics on normal users. Canonical’s bad politics effects it’s community relationships, not it’s users directly. Their relationship breakdowns could cause a reversal of advocacy, but you’ve have to be a special kind of jerk to move your friends and family from Ubuntu to Windows just to spite Canonical.

  12. @Paul – You could not be more wrong. And no one is forcing them to upgrade. There are people still using 10.04 LTS which is supported for two years. The server are supported for five years.

    My stroy is similar to doctormo.. those i have converted to Ubuntu still use Ubuntu. Until before 11.04 Ubuntu have just gained a larger user base.

    My experience is that Linux and Ubuntus only problem right now is compatibility with Windows games. Most people do not like to tweak with Wine although most games works through that.

  13. sory but the last past is as worthy as any other opinion.
    Ubuntu fanbois are by far the most annoying of the Linux ones.
    THey take all their social cues from apples fanbois and thats not a compliment.

    Too many Buntuers have the `invented here` syndrome where Linux innovations available everywhere else are pimped as Buntu exclusives.
    Of course, Buntu has a high newbie buzz status so a lot of new users are still in
    preaching mode (we all do it when we discover Linux).

    Your position is the exception.

    Again, thats a personal opinion and debating who is right is meaningless but talk to non-Buntuers (im a buntu in law since I use Kubuntu sometimes) and Ubuntu fanbois do NOT have a good reputation outside its own group.
    Of course, that too is pretty meaningless since you can be responsible for some immature young BUntu user acting like a total douchebas online.
    You have no control over users and their actions.
    But whether it is controllable or not, those fanbois help create the negative view many have of them.

    I NEVER force a desktop on new users unless its old hardware and then its XCFE by default.
    I think the USER knows best. Not me or you or some UI genius who thinks small and sleek is desired by all.
    So I always offer a choice between two distros (fully optimized and configured…. default settings mean nothing) on a test laptop and let them try it out.
    Gnome is always 2nd when it comes to free choice. Considering that many people come from Windows background, Gnome is too foreign looking to them (even the fonts look `funny`) and I get the reasons.
    I will be trying Unity as an option just to get an idea but from what Ive seen so far showing to friend and family, the first impressions have been underwhelming.

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