Home > Canonical, linux, Linux, Ubuntu > Nothing to add here

Nothing to add here

March 7, 2013

As hard as it may be to believe, there are times when even I am speechless.

I keep the goings-on of Canonical and the Ubuntu community at an arm’s length — the real reason is to keep my blood pressure down. But actually, the gravity with which Canonical pulls Ubuntu further from its original FOSS orbit is nothing short of tragic, and it’s something that weighs heavily on any FOSS advocate.

Two influential Ubunteros — Martin Owens and Elizabeth Krumbach — weighed in on the situation recently and both of their recent blog posts deserve a good reading.

Martin writes in his most recent blog item:

“But I have to be honest, there isn’t an Ubuntu community any more. There’s a Canonical community, an ubuntu-users gaggle and maybe an enthusiasts posse. But no community that makes decisions, builds a consensus, advocates or educates. It’s dead now, it’s been that way for a while.”

What’s interesting is the discussion in the comments in Martin’s blog, especially the observations made by Jef Spaleta, who has always maintained an even keel in pointing out that the emperor had no clothes.

In my opinion, Elizabeth’s detailed blog post goes into great depth around the current situation, and it sheds a lot of light on it. But I think she’s unnecessarily hard on herself when she wraps up her blog with this:

“As a Community Council member I do feel like I’ve let the community down for not realizing what was happening to the community sooner. The duo of optimism and trust is not always a strength, it blinded me to some serious truths about how things have changed and our responsibility in this new community dynamic.”

Frankly, I am hoping that this works itself out, but I don’t hold out much hope. So I really have nothing to add to the two blog posts above, other than for those who are in this position to think carefully about the future.

POSTSCRIPT: There has been talk — some of it coming from the higher, orbital echelons of Canonical — that this potential schism is just about the rolling release or some other superficial issue. Let’s put aside for now how dangerous and counterproductive this misperception is, on a leadership level. Rather, let’s take a look at one example, outlined very eloquently by Aaron Seigo on a Google+ post here (I had read this earlier, but did not realize until now there was a link available to it). I’m sorry I am unable to comment on Aaron’s post since the comments are closed, but I would completely agree with his assessment. Oh, and one more thing: What does it say to a community when the project leader turns off comments in a blog post, as Mark Shuttleworth did in today’s offering?

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. March 7, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Reblogged this on Cutting Edge Linux and commented:
    Sounds like its time for a lot of Ubuntu users to leave the distribution, They should have done so years ago when it stopped standing for what Ubuntu originally stood for, when Ubuntu first came out I was amazed at how it changed Linux. That is now lost, It’s now just a corporate entity trying to make money at the expense of what made them great to begin with, The users and community.

    • March 7, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Agreed, cuttingedgelinux, and bear in mind that the link above goes to a “Well, this is embarrassing” page-not-found page. My blog has a Creative Commons license detailed at the end of the blog and I’d gladly grant you permission under those terms.

      • March 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

        Sorry About the deletion of the post. I used the reblog feature and did not use press this, The post was left looking like a garbled mess with all the links you have at the bottom showing up as large squares at the top and little information shown prior to continuing reading, This left me thinking nobody would read the truth of your post from my site. I will certainly reblog this again later today and of course give you credit for your work, I have no issues with that.

      • March 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

        If you would like to update the post link it is now here: http://wp.me/p2KE1H-r8

      • March 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

        Thanks for the update.

      • March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

        No Problem, Always happy to spread valid linux infromation and news :).

  2. Colonel Panik
    March 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Head explodes, words flying everywhere.

    As per the FSG’s instructions I read Martin’s post, yeah, what he said.
    More coffee and on to Elizabeth’s submission, wow and I mean that wow
    in a bright red, uppercase, bold typeface about 48 points kind of way.
    If there ever was a “Poster Child” for Ubuntu it had to be Liz. Alienation
    of affections anyone? I only know Liz from los internets but she is real
    people to me. That focused the issue back to a personal one. Liz is just
    one of a huge number who have been caught up in this problem. These
    are people, people damnit who are way more important than any software
    or device. pleia2, take a personal day, go to the movies, have some food
    that is dangerous.

    The posts of Martin and Liz lead me to this:

    Communities, I the famous Colonel have posted my thoughts about communities
    all over the cyber terrain and likely too often. But one more time, eh?
    When you add the corporate mindset to all of the problems of communities
    it is impossible. Corporations always co-opt the community.

  3. March 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Thanks Larry (and Colonel Panik!).

    • March 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

      No, thank you, Elizabeth, for all you do for FOSS. Truly, much of the responsibility you shoulder as a Community Council member (nobly, I might add) for “letting the community down” is not your fault, but the fault of those above you in the Canonical management leadership.

  4. Colonel Panik
    March 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    @Elizabeth Like Larry says, thanks for your work, at all levels.
    @Larry, gracias for the edit, I even knew it was wrong but didn’t go back
    and correct it. It was Mark’s fault.
    This one might set new records for hits.

  5. Mark
    March 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    But what does JONO BACON think?!

  6. Colonel Panik
    March 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Well, now we know what Jono thinks. The comments to his post were very interesting, they seem to be coming from people who are/were involved with Ubuntu the Distro or with Canonical the Corporation. All of the links from this blog and others were very interesting, the comments were telling. Nobody seems happy.

    Please join us on IRC for the Portales Linux Users Group week meeting.
    Friday at 11AM you can have your virtual coffee at FreeNode #PortalesLinux

  7. goossbears
    March 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for writing this…the comments and links are MOST enlightening! In going over the above links and Liz’s post, I am reminded of two relevant anecdotes; one a New England seafood joke and the other a recurrent theme in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic-strip.

    The New England seafood joke goes something like this: A traveller who is a huge fan of seafood arrives in Boston for the first time. He leaves the airport and hails a cab. After he gets in, he excitedly says to the cabbie, “Hey, I’m new in town. Can you tell me a good place to go to get scrod?” The cabbie replies [in a thick Boston accent], “Pal, I’ve got to congratulate you. I’ve heard that question a lot over the years, but that’s the first time I’ve ever heard it in the pluperfect subjunctive.”

    The recurrent Peanuts theme is the infamous Football gag (http://peanuts.wikia.com/wiki/Football_gag ). The characters involved in the gag are Charlie Brown and Lucy van Pelt. Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she will hold a football while he kicks it. Charlie Brown usually refuses to kick it at first, not trusting Lucy. Lucy then says something to persuade Charlie Brown to trust her. Charlie Brown runs up to kick the ball, but at the very last second before he can kick it, Lucy removes the ball and Charlie Brown flies into the air, before falling down and hurting himself. The gag usually ends with Lucy pointing out to Charlie Brown that he should not have trusted her.

    I sincerely hope that Martin Owens and Elizabeth Krumbach will never figuratively “get scrod” by “having the football pulled away at the last second” through being taken in by the ever-evolving assurances coming out from the higher, orbital echelons of Canonical!!

  1. March 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm
  2. November 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm
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