I’ve decided to move away from working on and advocating for the Canonical’s Ubuntu release for this cycle. Instead I will be working more with Debian, Ubuntu Studio, Edubuntu and perhaps Xubuntu instead.
But wait Martin, I hear you ask, why would you be working on Ubuntu spins? Well the Ubuntu platform is a fairly strong bases to build good distros, the various distros just need more love. And who doesn’t like Debian with a better installer?
So what am I really quitting? The version of Ubuntu that is focused on customers, the Canonical mainline which most people know as “Ubuntu Desktop Edition”. This version of Ubuntu is no longer an attractive to work on for me.
Basically I’ve run out of patience with the Ubuntu direction as moves away from creative people and more and more towards consumerism. In Oneiric, as far as I can make out, there will be no creative tools installed by default. To me this is an indication that the mainline distro is not in accord with my own wish to promote independent creativity and sharing.
Perhaps we’ve accepted that anyone can install anything and there for there isn’t a need for anything to be installed, perhaps we should remove everything but the installer and package manager? Or maybe we’ve grown beyond an ability to look at the desktop through fresh ideas and imagine the excitement and possibilities offered by the default tools on offer and make the leap that there might be more on offer.
The lack of support for Free Software philosophies, it’s gone from the website and is talked about with affection in decreasing frequency. Possibly in error, but the promotion of open source as interchangeable language isn’t good.
So why will I quit advocating for Ubuntu to normal users? This latest release has been problematic for my users; they’ve been complaining about doing the upgrades themselves and them having a desktop that either doesn’t work or is annoying to use. If Canonical can make 11.10 _much_ better for non-technical users, then I might revisit advocacy.
So there you have it, my general directional change for Oneiric. I’ll reassess what I want to do after this cycle, but I have work to do…