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Apoplectic? Moi?

November 10, 2013

I can imagine that in the wake of, um, events over the past few weeks regarding Mark Shuttleworth’s and Canonical’s, um, behavior, many of you might think that I was apoplectic about it; green-enraged, up-the-wall-and-across-the-ceiling furious about being tagged a Teabagger by The Mark, to say nothing of the cease-and-desist letter sent by Canonical to Micah Lee regarding fixubuntu.com.


Shuttleworth needs to learn a lot of things, one of which is a closer look at the American political system, not to mention how the closely the playbooks of Canonical and the right-wing Tea Party are related. Also, we already know that The Mark has offered a non-apology apology — akin to the “non-denial denials” we used to get from the White House during the Watergate scandal — where he says, among other things, he might have offended the Tea Party with his remarks (note FOSSForce.com — no smileys here, so I guess he was serious) and he says our framework may vary when judging Canonical’s behavior.

You nailed it on the last one, Mark.

But the big picture? It’s saddening moreso than maddening.

One thing from this whole situation that bears pointing out is that when long-time Ubuntero Aaron Toponce leaves Ubuntu, it’s a serious matter. Aaron’s blog item is worth a read, as are the comments. Especially the comments: What’s monumentally ironic is that Jef Spaleta — with whom I run neck-and-neck for the title of Canonical/Ubuntu Public Enemy No. 1 — actually urges Aaron to rethink leaving Ubuntu and sticking it out, trying to change Ubuntu from within. Jono Bacon? He waves and says “good luck.”

There’s a conclusion to be drawn there, but I’ll leave you to make your own.

Actually, what has kept my attention is looking at doing some more testing now that I have some more hardware to test upon. The two distros I’m going to give a test-drive this week — wait for it — are VSIDO Raptor Fluxbox because, well, it looks like Terry Ganus has been going great guns on his Debian Sid-based distro and he just released this guy at the end of last month, and Korora 19.1, now coming in Cinnamon and MATE flavors.

But that’s for next week. See you then, if not sooner.

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. November 11, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Excellent article. I completely agree with you and more. I add to that. Canonical is creating schism in the Linux community with their MIR project. The future of their display server is going to be a radical departure from the rest of Linuxdom. For some app developers that is of little concern. To others it means two versions of their apps. Not a move that helps progress.
    Meanwhile Ubuntu has become the adware/malware of the Linux world.

    • jspaleta
      November 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Mir is no more radical than SurfaceFlinger is and has been. There’s nothing new in Mir really. Mir is essentially a replacement for SurfaceFlinger.

      The problem with understanding what Canonical is actually doing with Mir is one of context. When you label Canonical evolving technology stack as a linux distribution… it looks like a radical departure. But if you stand it up against Android as a “linux based operating system” its far less radical. I’d dare say its not very different all all.

      Once you drill down into the codebase, you realise that Canonical has lifted heavily from Android..forking stuff as they go. Canonical is effectively attempting to Androidize the desktop…taking Android way of architecture things and trying to make it work for a general desktop…. before Google figures out how to do it.

      The Mir/Wayland controversy is just a sideshow. The real question, the unanswered question, is why didn’t Canonical just take Android’s SurfaceFlinger as a starting point and fork it or just run with it? They used SurfaceFlinger in their conference demo for their mobile stuff several months ago.

      Moreover, take a hard look at the Linaro roadmap. Remember how involved Canonical was early on with Linaro. At one time there was a real synergy between Canonical and Linaro’s backers (The ARM chip manufacturers) but in the last year or so.. the roadmaps are diverging widely. Linaro’s published roadmaps moving forward talk about wayland and systemd and absolutely nothing about Canonical backed technologies. Noone is really talking about it, but the divorce between Canonical and Linaro is significant….especially as ARM servers for data center and enterprise use cases are maturing. Even for mobile, the Openembedded project roadmap is becoming more important strategically for Linaro than anything Canonical is working on in-house. Noone is talking about it…but its a significant strategic partnership change. Canonical is more isolated than ever, even in the ARMs race now. If Linaro really isn’t putting Mir enablement on its roadmap… can the mobile push Canonical wants to make really be serious? Linaro is suppose to be where this sort of hardware enablement is suppose to be happening…right?

  2. Colonel Panik
    November 11, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Stop wasting ink and paper Larry. Ubuntu and Canonical are as dated as that
    Watergate thing you mentioned. Watergate? Eighty percent or more of
    Linux/FOSS users were not even born when that one happened.

    The Colonel has awarded Mr. Shuttleworth the 2013 Captain Joseph Hazelwood
    Excellence in Directional Leadership for driving the Ubuntu Ship upon the shoals
    of user discontent. That ship is in danger of being superfluous.

    The only thing keeping Ubuntu from being a footnote in computer history is the
    oldtimers who still talk and write about it.

    Forward…. VISIDO
    Great distro, perfect install. Community is wonderful. Alas I cannot figure out the
    desktop. I may try it again now that I know how to add new options for WM or desktop
    managers. Wasn’t #! a spin of VISIDO? You will enjoy playing with that one.
    Mrs. Panik has used Korora at least in the Live form, Good stuff there.

    Larry, maybe you could find a Peewee Reese analogy or something about the
    Hudson cars?

    • November 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

      VSIDO is only related to CrunchBang insofar as the lead developer of VSIDO, Terry Ganus, was once a #! user and community member who set out to prove, successfully some (including me) say, that a Debian Sid-based distro can be a daily-use distro. Surely you remember that I wrote about VSIDO back in March.

      Funny story about Korora — Someone asked on the Google+ Linux page for suggestions for his laptop, and many came up. Chris Smart, lead developer for Korora, said something like, “Well, I use Korora.” I would hope so. Chris lives up to his surname and he does a good job making Fedora spin for the masses.

  3. Colonel Panik
    November 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

    You wrote…I tried. We do listen to you FSG.

    • November 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Awwww. Thanks!

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