After a week that everyone, including me, could (and probably should) have switched to decaf for a bit, I only have a couple of items to touch on this week.
First things first: Regarding all this hubbub about Ubuntu not carrying its weight in the FOSS world, the firefight seems to have simmered down and cooler heads — not the least of which was Greg DeKoenigsberg who apologized for calling out Canonical — prevailed in the end (though I don’t think you should ever apologize when you’re right, but maybe Greg’s mea culpa is Exhibit A when it comes to discretion being the greater part of valor).
In a blog entitled “Old Wounds,” Greg answers the question why he felt “so compelled to shoot my mouth off in the first place.” Most compelling about this blog post is this paragraph toward the end, which speaks volumes to the core issue:
“As Canonical grows, I hope that it lives up to similarly lofty standards — and part of living up to such standards is bearing an ever-increasing share of the weight. It is my very strong, honest, and believe it or not, largely impartial opinion, that after five-plus years of building a global brand on top of the GNOME platform, Canonical should be doing way more to sustain that platform. And although I understand and agree with the arguments that Canonical contributes in many important ways, I contend that it still isn’t nearly enough. Not if you want to claim the mantle of leadership. You cannot simply talk the talk; you must ultimately walk the walk.”
Agreed. That trumps everything that comes before, my blog on the item originally, Mark Shuttleworth’s ad hominem responses to both Greg and me, and we can get on with life in the happy, healthy FOSS world.
And, to quote Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
Singing in IRC: I was demonstrating the /nick feature, for lack of a better term, to someone watching over my shoulder recently and came up with a way to sing on IRC. I put the folks in #scale on OFTC.net through the following ditty:
17:19 lcafiero is now known as Space_Cowboy
17:19 Space_Cowboy is now known as Gangster_of_Love
17:19 Gangster_of_Love is now known as Maurice
17:20 * Maurice speaks for the pompetous of love
17:20 Maurice is now known as lcafiero
And so on. I did the WEEEEE WOOOOOO! verbally, though I probably should have typed that in, too, in retrospect. Thanks, Steve Miller.
Yesterday, Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote a blog item outlining Canonical/Ubuntu’s weak numbers in participating in development for GNOME.
Rather than address Greg’s blog item with a reply that addresses the issue, Mark Shuttleworth decided to take a page from the Fox News playbook — not to mention the Sarah Palin dictionary — in responding to Greg’s blog.
Clearly, Mark can do better than this, and if I were a Canonical/Ubuntu advocate, I’d be a little sheepish about the response. Criticism can be handled by either addressing it or deflecting it, and clearly Mark chose the latter. To call someone a “hater” and calling them “stupid” because they present an argument with which you don’t agree — especially when the numbers are there to show that Canonical/Ubuntu does not pull its weight — is, quite frankly, a load of crap.
Rather than address the fact at hand, we get a liturgy of how “tribalism” (whatever that means) is bad — yes, that’s true, Mark, as you define what “tribalism” is — but how does that apply to the fact that Canonical/Ubuntu has only 1 percent of contributions upstream in the GNOME project? Without begging the question that if it’s 1 percent in GNOME, what is it for Xorg? For the kernel?
Does pointing out that the emperor has no clothes make you a “hater,” or does it just make you observant? Taking it one step further, if Greg is right — and I think he is — doesn’t that call for more intelligent response than “you’re a bad person for pointing this out, and anyone who thinks like you is a divider”?
A more honest response would have been, “Yes, we are lacking in contributing upstream. We have not been involved as long as others, like Red Hat, but we hope to be up to speed in the near future.”
But no: What we get is some of the mudslinging and divisiveness that, ironically, Mark himself rails against.
True leaders know that having shortcomings pointed out to them helps an organization grow, assuming the shortcoming is fixed. It’ll be interesting to see if the true “leaders” in Canonical/Ubuntu actually try to close the gap in contribution upstream, or if they hold fast to Mark’s dictum of “those who are not with us are against us.”
Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote a blog item which wraps up with the following quote: “The world is full of talkers and doers, and in the long haul, people are usually smart enough to figure out which is which.”
While the blog itself is based on a recent presentation by Dave Neary of GNOME regarding contributions, or lack thereof, by FOSS companies and individuals to the GNOME desktop, the underlying theme (for lack of a better term) returns to the upstream argument where, frankly, some entities aren’t pulling their weight on the development end of things — and it applies not only to GNOME, but to the kernel, to Xorg and so on down the list.
So I’m just going stand aside and let you read it, and comment on it if you like.