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Are you a fool?

December 11, 2013

Mark Shuttleworth thinks you’re a fool. It’s up to you whether you prove him right or prove him wrong.

Yesterday, C|Net posted a story about how Ubuntu Touch OS has found its first smartphone partner, complete with a photo of a fully bearded (about time) Mark Shuttleworth beaming from ear to ear.

Fantastic. Which carrier/partner/vendor would this be so I can line up and get the hardware? From the article: “He wouldn’t say which company has agreed to use the Linux-based OS, but said it will be offered on high-end phones in 2014.”

Oh. He won’t say. OK. This, of course, would elicit from the most skeptical of us this simple demand: “Partner, or it didn’t happen.”

It goes without saying that we’ve heard this before — grand announcements from Canonical which are only that and nothing more. A huge fanfare at CES in 2012 for Ubuntu TV and nearly two years later, just in time for next year’s CES, it’s not here yet. Two more words: Ubuntu Edge.

And with every grand announcement from a self-appointed leader in the FOSS world, you have to ask yourself how this plays to the wider world outside the Open Source paradigm. If — as some people claim — Canonical/Ubuntu is the “leader” of Linux promotion to the wider public while consistently failing miserably in producing on the projects it proposes, what are folks left to think? One takeaway is that FOSS is a failure because Canonical/Ubuntu can’t or won’t deliver.

Shattering credibility, in large part, is Canonical’s profound “contribution” to Linux and FOSS as of late.

Speaking personally, I’ll just pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, and I’ll get on my knees and pray . . . .

What will it be? Are you a fool?

See you Sunday, 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. Colonel Panik
    December 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    No MicroStuff
    No MAC
    No CanoniSoft
    No Butt Monkey products on these computers.

    This is a Linux house.

    But…yeah, I am still a fool. Ya gotta work with what ya got.

  2. December 12, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I realize there’s a history here, but isn’t it a little harsh calling an answer to a reporter’s question at a trade show a “Grand Announcement”? As far as I can tell, there is software being produced for Touch, and it’s running on Nexus 4 phones, and probably some others.

    True, Shuttleworth could just be blowing smoke, but sometimes it’s hard to make a hardware deal. Just look at Aaron Seigo’s Vivaldi tablet project, which went so far as to take pre-orders for a device that was to be delivered in May 2012. They’ve since made some progress, but if nothing else, they’ve proved how hard it is to get free hardware to go with free software (yes, that’s different from the Touch project, but the analogy applies).

    I wish both of these projects well.

    • December 12, 2013 at 8:35 am

      “Grand announcement” or not, the fact remains that C|Net picked up a ball and ran with it. How hard (or easy) would it have been for Shuttleworth to go off the record on this if a deal isn’t ready? If he’s making a hardware deal, then let him make the deal and announce it with the vendor when its done. That’s the drill with most, if not all, successful companies. Otherwise, he looks like an idiot, and when the self-appointed “leader” of “the most popular Linux distro” looks like an idiot, it rubs off on the rest of us.

      • December 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        Sure, it would have been easy to go off the record. To the extent that he walks the transparency talk, I think that’s probably a good thing. He could also have been trying to put some pressure on his would-be partner(s), but it’s all speculation anyway. If February comes, and there’s no name associated with this, I’ll concede your point.

      • December 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        It’s a deal 🙂

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