Home > GNU/Linux, linux, Linux, Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu > Mark’s reality distortion field

Mark’s reality distortion field

May 4, 2012

Here’s a bet: I’d be willing to bet either a dollar, a cup of coffee or even going an entire day where I only say nice things about Canonical/Ubuntu, that Mark Shuttleworth comes to the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland later this month in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans.

After all, he’s got Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field down pat.

Don’t take my word for it. Here are some examples:

20 million new Linux PCs in 2012: That’s a prediction that Mark Shuttleworth made which was reported by the tech press. Let’s take that word-for-word, so we don’t misunderstand. We get the amount — 20 million — which is a lot. We understand “new” to mean “not old,” or “not used,” to go along with Linux PCs. So “20 million new Linux PCs” in 2012. New PCs, not installs on other PCs. Needless to say, I’d give my right arm for Mark to be right on this one, but I can tell you that on New Year’s Day seven months from now, I’ll have both my arms intact.

So yeah, if saying it made it so . . . .

Blocked by Red Hat: After reading this, I am truly moved to tears. No wait, those aren’t tears of sadness, but tears of rage. The small amount that Canonical/Ubuntu has contributed to both GNOME (when it was using GNOME) and the kernel have been widely reported, both here and elsewhere. And for those who need a primer, let me explain how a meritocracy works: Those who do the majority of the work essentially get to call the shots. Note to The Mark: Whining is very unbecoming, especially for someone who considers himself an industry leader. Oh, and Steve never did it.

In fact, Mark and others, take a look at the first comment on the aforementioned item, a submission by TheWholeTruth. It speaks volumes to why Shuttleworth and the Ubuntero flock might find less resistance in some FOSS circles if you worked with everyone instead of going off on your own.

Debian is part of the Ubuntu ecosystem: If there ever was a non-starter, it’s this ridiculous statement by The Mark. Truly. I’d be willing to bet that, failing history being rewritten, that Debian begat Ubuntu, not the other way around, and that Debian continues to do much more for FOSS than Ubuntu will ever do. So who is responsible for who? I think Debian is owed a huge apology.

And so on. So while I wait patiently here for the ad hominem attacks from the Ubuntu faithful, I’ll go grab some popcorn.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides true FOSS solutions — which no longer includes Canonical/Ubuntu products — in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. Colonel Panik
    May 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    20 million new Linux PCs in 2012? Really?
    Mr. Space Cadet, (emphasis on Space) Don’t Bogart
    that roach, my friend.

    Blocked by Red Hat? Kudos to Red Hat, eh?
    I don’t think the Imperial Wizard cares but he is
    also being blocked by Colonel Panik.

    Debian is part of the Ubuntu ecosystem? Another ecosystem
    despoiled, befouled, and being strip mined by by uncaring

    Larry, hold the butter on my bowl.

  2. aitvo
    May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I’m glad to see more people finally saying enough is enough. When he started Ubuntu, he had his heart in the right place. Now though, Ubuntu and Canonical seems to be only about keeping Mark’s ego in the clouds. By trying to be the next Steve Jobs he’s all but destroyed his once great distribution, eliminated any chance at relationships with the upstream community, and still hasn’t become Steve Jobs.

    Wait, I mean M$ $hill, you know you were paid for this post!!!1 /joke

    • May 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      wow accidental old dead account revival there.

      • May 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm

        Old account, new account — no matter. Good to see you, Andrew.

  3. May 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Larry, where did you get the “Debian is part of the Ubuntu ecosystem” quote from? I’d be interested in seeing the original.

  4. May 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I’m actually more impressed by what Ubuntu is doing on the server these days than on the desktop.

    Regarding this ecosystem pissing match, Shuttleworth seemed to dig himself a bit of a hole there on the popularity of Ubuntu vs. RHEL. The landscape (small l) is too complicated for such generalities, and while MS usually gives Debian its due, he’s slipping a bit here.

    We will see how the SABDFL method works vs. those of Red Hat/Fedora and Debian as time goes on.

    For good or ill, Ubuntu still seems to be the only player willing to even try to do preload deals with OEMs. I’d love to see them succeed.

  5. May 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I’d like to say the bloom’s off the rose and all that, but having a company with some money knocking around actually care about the Linux desktop — whatever they’re calling it (i.e. hiding GNOME and the word “Linux,” or not) — is still encouraging and inspirational to a degree.

    I watched SABDFL’s keynote for UDS Q, and I find myself thinking, “that guy’s all right.” He’s doing something. Couple that with my not hating 12.04 so far (just running the live environment), and I’m swinging back toward liking Ubuntu.

    We’ve got plenty of diversity in the space, and Ubuntu’s “innovation” on the desktop over the years has provided quite an opening for distributions with a different approach to community (Crunchbang, Mint, etc.) to grab some attention and users. Good for them (and for us).

    Meanwhile, I didn’t pull the trigger on replacing my Debian Squeeze-with-Backports install with Fedora, Ubuntu or an upgrade to Wheezy. Instead I got a newer Icedove from the Debian Mozilla APT Archive, and that made me happy enough to hold the line on leaving Squeeze.

    • May 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Would love to agree with you here, but I’m not sure I can. I don’t believe having a sugar-daddy running roughshod over the FOSS paradigm is good for said paradigm. Also, describe to me what “innovation” that Ubuntu has provided, other than throwing things up against the wall to see if they stick.

      Oh, and lest we forget taking advantage of a paradigm for personal gain.

      So it looks like we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. And I’ll just keep calling it as I see it regarding Canonisoft.

  6. May 10, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    It’s about 60 percent marketing, 20 percent aggregating existing technologies, 10 percent polishing same and maybe 10 percent true innovation. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Nobody else is doing any marketing, so I understand the emphasis.

    However, SABDFL should be publicly displaying more respect for all the upstreams and major contributors, including the kernel, Debian, GNOME, Red Hat, etc. The beating up on Red Hat, I don’t agree with, for sure.

    He can fork GNOME, but it’s still GNOME under the hood.

    Ubuntu remains a gateway drug for Debian … and that will benefit the latter just as it has for the past few years.

    To the famous Google “Don’t be evil,” and what I thought came from the community aspect of Ubuntu, “Be good to each other,” I’d add, “Don’t be an asshole,” to the Ubuntu executive task list …

    • May 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Heh. Very funny, Steven. 🙂

    • Ryan
      July 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      10% is generous. Come to think of it. I can’t even think of 1 single innovation, let alone 1%.

      Every time I take a look at a commit log on git.gnome.org, or a Kernel changelog or check up on the progress of the various FreeDesktop.org projects I follow — it’s @redhat.com email addresses everywhere. Literally everywhere.

      It’s not even funny how much work Red Hat are doing while remaining quiet and humble about it. Meanwhile Shuttleworth is making his bold. phony statements and fervently patting himself on the back at every opportunity.

      Even Wayland, which has been largely developed at the expense of Red Hat and Intel, has somehow been widely and falsely attributed to Ubuntu because Shuttlecock made some phony PR statement about it.

      One of the biggest true innovators in the Linux ecosystem is Lennart Poettering. Yet for some reason, the Ubuntu “community” love slinging abuse at him for no apparent reason.

      Canonical is just a sleazy, parasitic marketing company, masquerading as an engineering company.

  7. May 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I still don’t see them making any money out of all this.

  8. May 11, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Steven Rosenberg :
    I still don’t see them making any money out of all this.

    I don’t see them making any money from any of their hair brained initiatives. There just isn’t a lot of money to be had in the “desktop” segment. How does a platform that doesn’t easily run the latest off the shelf software like Quickbooks compete with OSs that already come with your PC or Mac? (It can’t)

    The “Desktop Linux” concept is sound, but I don’t see them (or anyone else) breaking even on it. It’s already been 7 years and without Mark giving the company his pocket change they still wouldn’t have any operating budget.

    Sad, but true. They won’t make it in the enterprise space either, because RedHat owns it followed closely by Oracle and then CentOS. Why? Certified hardware, certified software, and RedHat actually fixes the deep problems, unlike Canonical.

    • Ryan
      July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      The last setence there is key. Canonical are demonstrably incapable of delivering there. They’re not going to get any better at it by leeching off Debian either.

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