Amidst all the drama stemming for Ubuntu’s announcement of the the Mir display server, their new secretive approach, and the increasing commercialization of the product, the easy thing to do is point a finger. And where do you point it first? You might point it at Mark Shuttleworth. You might point it at Jono Bacon. You might simply recognize vocally that we’ve all been sheep in the grand scheme of this and are now off to slaughter.
This is increasingly obvious considering all of the targeted outpour of resistance towards Canonical’s new approach to Ubuntu by leaders in the community. It seems that people like Riddell and Martin Owens are starting to realize that they’ve been raising a barn for Ubuntu, and their work is just about done. Have Kubuntu, other Ubuntu derivatives, and community members simply been a means to an end? I’ve been feeling the rage in the community build since Martin Gräßlin made clear that Wayland FUD was more FUD than he could wade through, but since Miguel de Icaza came forward to announce he is abandoning Linux for Mac, Riddell has been full of Twitter-length one-liners that are not too far from reality. He writes:
Planet Gnome is headed by a curious blog today, Miguel moving to Mac.
“To me, the fragmentation of Linux as a platform, the multiple incompatible distros, and the incompatibilities across versions of the same distro were my Three Mile Island/Chernobyl.”
No mention that it was him who started the fragmentation.
I occasionally get moaned at for having a policy of removing unconstructive blogs from Planet KDE. This sort of blog confirm for me why it’s not healthy to let anyone post anything on our Planet.
p.s. I’m single and eligible incase any cute slashdot ladies in the 30±5ish age bracket are interested
Dating segways aside, that stings. I am inclined to agree with him on a very primal ‘we were first’ sort of a way, but as I understand it, the Trolltech license for Qt was the catalyst Gnome was built from. Either way, he continues today aligning himself with Martin Owens who yesterday published a very honest and forthright account of the current status with the Ubuntu community. Riddell writes:
If like Martin Owens you’re feeling the lack of Ubuntu community and wanting an Ubuntu community that cares about everyone’s contribution, doesn’t make random announcements every couple of days that have obviously been made behind closed doors and cares about a community made upstream desktop (and err.. whole graphics stack), you’d be very welcome here at Kubuntu. Join us in #kubuntu-devel
Absolutely no subtlety here. Though you don’t always need tact to point a finger, and I feel that it is a finger worth pointing. But who am I? Here are some of the things Martin had to say regarding his recent decision not to renew his Ubuntu community membership.
Launchpad asked me if I wanted to continue to be an Ubuntu member. I thought about it, and have decided that I don’t. The one thing I’ll miss is being able to post to Planet Ubuntu. 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.
The thing that scares us the most, and what should scare Ubuntu derivatives is the fact that Ubuntu is moving away from using things that all Linux distributions share, like an X server. When Ubuntu 14.04 rolls around, it’s perfectly reasonable that Ubuntu will replace many of its core user applications like Rhythmbox and Thunderbird, for shiny new QML ones built in house and in secret. What will be Ubuntu’s motivation for maintaining those applications and the dependencies they require past the expiration date that will most likely set? Will the community be able to take the reigns on large chunks of the project like X and Wayland? This is quickly becoming a terminal nightmare.