PDA

View Full Version : Putting the bad press about Karmic in perspective



aysiu
November 6th, 2009, 01:11 AM
Everyone knows polls have flaws. That doesn't mean they're totally useless, but they can't just be taken at face value. You have to understand there are margins of error. There is also context.

A lot of the tech "journalism" out there has painted Karmic as a disaster release. Those of us who have been at the forums a long time know that every Ubuntu release is labeled a disaster release at the time of its release.

I thought I'd just put things in perspective here based on the Karmic poll, but also based on previous polls:
Karmic poll (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1305924)
Jaunty poll (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1133869)
Intrepid poll (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=963853)
Hardy poll (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=764847)
Gutsy poll (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=580852)

Here is how it all really breaks down comparatively speaking:

Percentages

9.10 9.04 8.10 8.04 7.10
Upgrade - worked flawlessly 18.32 17.18 9.99 11.06 10.33
Upgrade - worked but had few things to fix, nothing serious though 19.76 23.19 21.1 25.63 20.73
Upgrade - got many problems that i've not been able to solve 17.38 18.2 24.57 15.64 16.94
Install - worked flawlessly 15.77 13.34 11.11 11.85 11.66
Install - worked but had few things to fix, nothing serious though 12.45 13.44 13.46 20.14 23.25
Install - got many problems that i've not been able to solve 16.32 14.65 19.78 15.69 17.08

Raw Numbers
9.10 9.04 8.10 8.04 7.10
Upgrade - worked flawlessly 431 354 196 475 566
Upgrade - worked but had few things to fix, nothing serious though 465 478 414 1101 1136
Upgrade - got many problems that i've not been able to solve 409 375 482 672 928
Install - worked flawlessly 371 275 218 509 639
Install - worked but had few things to fix, nothing serious though 293 277 264 865 1274
Install - got many problems that i've not been able to solve 384 302 388 674 936
A few things of note: Right now Karmic has the comparatively (out of the last five releases) highest percentage of flawless upgrades. Karmic is also only in the median when it comes to upgrades with many problems out of the five releases. Karmic has the comparatively highest percentage of flawless installs. Again, Karmic is only the median for installations with problems that couldn't be solved. So actually if you do take these polls at face value, they show Karmic to be the best (at least out of the last five) Ubuntu release, not the worst.

Food for thought.

lethalfang
November 6th, 2009, 01:20 AM
Hmm, interesting.
I have started using Linux with Intrepid, and it has been the least problematic version for me. In fact, it worked seamlessly "out of the box" on all 3 of my computers. My impression with Linux started out very well.
Jaunty had some major problems. It took me months to fix them all. I was pissed off, considered switching distros but didn't feel like I had the time to extensively test.
Karmic has been pretty good to me. There were a couple of very minor problems that I hardly noticed.

hoppipolla
November 6th, 2009, 01:21 AM
I think Karmic just got a lot of press in general, and so problems were highlighted. I mean at the moment hardware support still isn't perfect due to lack of support for Linux and there's the occasional niggle here and there, so it's no wonder it got blown so out of proportion by the media. But hell at least it's IN the media! :)

I have high hopes for Lucid :)

FuturePilot
November 6th, 2009, 01:25 AM
But when you happen to be on the bad side of things it certainly doesn't feel like the best release ever especially if something broke that worked for you in every previous release.

Even if statistics show that it may be the best release so far, that doesn't mean it works for everyone.

aysiu
November 6th, 2009, 01:29 AM
But when you happen to be on the bad side of things it certainly doesn't feel like the best release ever especially if something broke that worked for you in every previous release.

Even if statistics show that it may be the best release so far, that doesn't mean it works for everyone.
I never said it worked for everyone. I'm just trying to put it in perspective for people.

Best just means better than the rest. It doesn't mean perfect.

18.32% may seem like a pretty low flawless upgrade percentage, but when you compare it to 17.18%, 9.99%, 11.06%, or 10.33% from other releases, it makes Karmic seem better, doesn't it?

hoppipolla
November 6th, 2009, 01:48 AM
18.32% may seem like a pretty low flawless upgrade percentage, but when you compare it to 17.18%, 9.99%, 11.06%, or 10.33% from other releases, it makes Karmic seem better, doesn't it?

yuppers! :)

SunnyRabbiera
November 6th, 2009, 01:49 AM
Karmics percentages are being way over-hyped in terms of how many people have had issues with it I agree, but i wont deny it has issues, all new releases of OS's do.
Its a matter of how its patched up that matters, take jaunty for example my hardware did not get along with it but after a few updates here and there Jaunty was working almost flawlessly.

Vostrocity
November 6th, 2009, 02:12 AM
Karmic seemed pretty well-hyped though it wasn't a major revision. I personally ran into more problems upgrading to Karmic than to Jaunty. They are minor problems, but I haven't been able to fix all of them (two-finger + side-scroll for example).

23meg
November 6th, 2009, 02:43 AM
Here are two recent blog posts that attempt to put release quality myths and the post-release reactions (not specifically Karmic) in perspective:

"The Myth of the Bad Ubuntu Release" (http://laserjock.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/the-myth-of-the-bad-ubuntu-release/) (Jordan Mantha)
"The Trough of Disillusionment for Ubuntu?" (http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2009/11/05/the-trough-of-disillusionment-for-ubuntu/) (Dave Neary)

aysiu
November 6th, 2009, 02:49 AM
Here are two recent blog posts that attempt to put release quality myths and the post-release reactions (not specifically Karmic) in perspective:

"The Myth of the Bad Ubuntu Release" (http://laserjock.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/the-myth-of-the-bad-ubuntu-release/) (Jordan Mantha)
"The Trough of Disillusionment for Ubuntu?" (http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2009/11/05/the-trough-of-disillusionment-for-ubuntu/) (Dave Neary)
Nice links.

Icehuck
November 6th, 2009, 03:00 AM
According to your RAW numbers section, it appears the amount of users using Ubuntu has declined since 7.10.

JDShu
November 6th, 2009, 03:02 AM
According to your RAW numbers section, it appears the amount of users using Ubuntu has declined since 7.10.

poll takers

23meg
November 6th, 2009, 03:11 AM
poll takers

Which could arguably be interpreted as (or at least as indicative of) the amount of people having to visit a support forum to sort their problems out.

Regenweald
November 6th, 2009, 03:11 AM
Ubuntu is growing in popularity and getting better, as it does it attracts all kinds of users: advanced, average, below average... The more users, the more voices. Some will express valid opinions and concerns, some expectations will be met, some will not. Some will contribute to the community to help produce a better product, some will say stupid ****. Such is life in an OS with a growing community.

c2006
November 6th, 2009, 03:12 AM
According to your RAW numbers section, it appears the amount of users using Ubuntu has declined since 7.10.

I think it might have something to do with how large the forums are becoming, which makes the poll a bit more obscure, reducing those that get to the poll. I don't think it's a reducing number of users.

As far as my own install experience, It was nearly flawless. A few issues with sound, but I've been getting similar issues with *every* distro (I have an ALC1200 chipset on the motherboard, and it's known to be a problematic chipset, although it does appear to be getting better with each release. Flash is working fine (though sometimes it won't pause, I think this has something to do with the actual implementation in 64-bit, not anything the ubuntu folks are responsible for).

Of course, I may be biased, I'm also running a VM containing Arch, so I'm not a dunce when it comes to Linux (I'm thinking of using it when I nuke my Windows install after finishing this course (for which I need Office).

Some Compiz oddities at the moment, too, but nothing that's a showstopper.

JDShu
November 6th, 2009, 03:18 AM
Which could arguably be interpreted as (or at least as indicative of) the amount of people having to visit a support forum to sort their problems out.

Which may or may not be indicative of the number of people who use Ubuntu.

Also note that the previous polls have been around for much longer.

BuffaloX
November 6th, 2009, 03:23 AM
So actually if you do take these polls at face value, they show Karmic to be the best (at least out of the last five) Ubuntu release, not the worst.

Food for thought.

Very nice overview. :D
I expected Karmic to be at least more solid than 9.04, since the dramatic kernel changes should have matured now, I'm glad to see that it seems to actually be the case.

23meg
November 6th, 2009, 03:29 AM
Also note that the previous polls have been around for much longer.

Right, in closed threads.

JDShu
November 6th, 2009, 03:46 AM
Right, in closed threads.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1133869

In addition, if the above thread is anything to go by, the closed threads were closed when their 6 months as the newest release were up. The karmic thread has been around for a week.

wilee-nilee
November 6th, 2009, 04:41 AM
Good perspective OP, I think part of the problems are using polls on a support forum where some will post the success but the larger amount will be the problems probably. What about all the people who never come near the forums who have problems then decide to join , and those that have no problems and don't join.

SunnyRabbiera
November 6th, 2009, 04:43 AM
Good perspective OP, I think part of the problems are using polls on a support forum where some will post the success but the larger amount will be the problems probably. What about all the people who never come near the forums who have problems then decide to join , and those that have no problems and don't join.

That is a very good point, personally i only make a topic about linux in a serious manner if I have an issue of some kind.
Which is rare

wilee-nilee
November 6th, 2009, 04:50 AM
I had lurked the forums for years before joining what I have noticed, this is a personal opinion is that since the public is becoming more aware of open source os they are trying it. Fortunately Ubuntu is a non geek system, and most things can be done without knowing a lot of cli and when you do need it it is available by posting here and in on line manuals. I suspect a certain percentage of people just don't have multiple computers and a back up of the important stuff. When you can buy a terrabyte external HD now for about a 100$ it is easy to keep your stuff safe. Personally the only thing on the 3 laptops I own and 2 desktops are the OS everything else is on a external HD, so if something were to go amiss I have a cd just itching to reinstall.

wilee-nilee
November 6th, 2009, 04:57 AM
That is a very good point, personally i only make a topic about linux in a serious manner if I have an issue of some kind.
Which is rare

Yes and you know how to post; not the Help I am a Newbie in the header then a set of questions that cover many problems I haven't had to post for problems yet I doubt I will have to any time soon. I also have multiple friends who are techs that can fix MS, Apple and Linux OS, so I just chill and ask them for help and run another of the 5 computers I own which has cost me about 1200$ for all including the 2 thumb drives and 320gib external hd, I buy used computer I only have a new netbook now.

Exodist
November 6th, 2009, 05:43 AM
I never said it worked for everyone. I'm just trying to put it in perspective for people.

Best just means better than the rest. It doesn't mean perfect.

18.32% may seem like a pretty low flawless upgrade percentage, but when you compare it to 17.18%, 9.99%, 11.06%, or 10.33% from other releases, it makes Karmic seem better, doesn't it?
Sad part about those numbers is that if Pulse Audio was removed by default, this would have been the best release out of them all. /sigh

papangul
November 6th, 2009, 07:38 AM
Sad part about those numbers is that if Pulse Audio was removed by default, this would have been the best release out of them all. /sigh
A lot of people who had not faced any wi-fi related problems earlier are experiencing some nagging low signal strength/intermittent connection loss problems lately.

That compounds to the problem of wi-fi not working on some machines.

automaton26
November 6th, 2009, 12:02 PM
Interesting - although some percentage of clean-installs are likely to be on new hardware, which may be the cause of some problems.

I have a question - has Canonical ever considered making the LTS releases clean-install only ?

It might be worth considering whether this would make negative reporting any better/worse, or the same.

[actually there's a poll here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1316466&highlight=poll)]

JDShu
November 6th, 2009, 06:05 PM
Hmmm what happened between Hardy and Intrepid anyway? Theres less than half the number of poll takers... probably more to it than jumping from an LTS to non-LTS since the number of participants fell between Gutsy and Hardy as well.

BuffaloX
November 7th, 2009, 03:11 AM
Maybe that was when backyard aka omg pink ponies, was removed, and stricter policies for the cafe began.
The Cafe used to be much more fun, so maybe fewer people visit the it now?

michaelzap
November 7th, 2009, 03:45 AM
Interesting. I've definitely seen a few articles in "tech" journals that listed minor or completely bogus flaws as reasons that people were upset with Karmic. And at the same time I'm one of the unlucky ones whose primary hardware just doesn't work at all in Karmic.

I liked this quote from one of the articles cited above:

Ubuntu arrived with a bang, and certainly has had inflated expectations over the past couple of years. And yet due to quality issues, it has recently been failing to meet those expectations, especially around upgrading from previous versions (by no means an easy problem to get right, donít get me wrong).

But then, you donít get upset about things you donít care about.

This disillusionment, if it doesnít turn into resignation, could be a sign of health in the Ubuntu project and community Ė on condition that the lessons of quality are learned and put into practice.

23meg
November 7th, 2009, 03:59 AM
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1133869

In addition, if the above thread is anything to go by, the closed threads were closed when their 6 months as the newest release were up. The karmic thread has been around for a week.

I don't have any data to back this, but it's my impression that those polls are mostly filled in by people flocking to the forums right after a new release, thus most votes actually get submitted in the first week or two of a release cycle. And since the absolute number of users increases with every new release, it's no surprise that more people may end up voting in total.

handy
November 7th, 2009, 04:03 AM
For all it's worth aysiu, I've never been disappointed when reading any of your posts. I like the way your mind works.

Not that I have read all 3 trillion of them though... :lolflag:

[Edit:] Slight exaggeration in the number there... ;)

Endolith
November 8th, 2009, 04:11 AM
I've been tracking these polls, too, in bar-graph form: http://www.endolith.com/wordpress/2009/06/24/ubuntu-isnt-getting-any-better/

Karmic's an improvement, but that's not saying much, with a full third of users still having major problems. The green is increasing, at least, but I'd rather see the red decrease a lot.

It's sad, but Canonical doesn't seem to care about making Ubuntu work for the majority of people out of the box. Instead, they waste time on things like developing new notifications (http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/253) (which were never broken in the first place) and reducing (http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3816901/Ubuntu-Jaunty-Touts-Faster-Boot-Time.htm) boot time (http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/06/ubuntu-aims-for-ten-second-boot-time.ars) by a few seconds, when there are still major show-stopping problems (http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/most_popular_ever/) like lack of suspend and hibernate, or hardware that just won't work. They need seriously different priorities if they ever hope to compete with Windows (and they do claim to (https://launchpad.net/bugs/1)).

Ubuntu's not a realistic solution for most people, and it has a lot of problems. The sooner we openly admit this, the sooner it can be fixed.

Unfortunately, too many Ubuntu users try to downplay the information and minimize the bad press instead of redirecting effort towards fixing the real problems. It's like a cult. :/

Bring on the bad press! There are real problems to solve, and embarrassment is a great motivator. :)

michaelzap
November 8th, 2009, 04:24 AM
ubuntu's not a realistic solution for most people, and it has a lot of problems. The sooner we openly admit this, the sooner it can be fixed.

Unfortunately, too many ubuntu users try to downplay the information and minimize the bad press instead of redirecting effort towards fixing the real problems. It's like a cult. :/

bring on the bad press! There are real problems to solve, and embarrassment is a great motivator. :)

+1!

Icehuck
November 8th, 2009, 04:34 AM
Bring on the bad press! There are real problems to solve, and embarrassment is a great motivator. :)

This is why Win 7 was created in such a hurry.

Frak
November 8th, 2009, 04:35 AM
Bring on the bad press! There are real problems to solve, and embarrassment is a great motivator. :)

See sig for great links then.

23meg
November 11th, 2009, 08:48 PM
Gerry Carr from Canonical has a piece on the official Canonical blog covering the obvious, which the "bad press" "missed":


"The much misunderstood Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade poll (http://blog.canonical.com/?p=284)"

aysiu
November 11th, 2009, 08:54 PM
Gerry Carr from Canonical has a piece on the official Canonical blog covering the obvious, which the "bad press" "missed":


"The much misunderstood Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade poll (http://blog.canonical.com/?p=284)"


I am linking to these polls not because I want to provide evidence that the Karmic upgrade experience is or was good or bad, there are other more qualified to comment on that, but that there is nothing new here. I disagree. As I explained in the original post, to the extent to which the polls have any validity, they clearly show that Karmic is an improvement over previous releases (slightly more success, aggregately).

michaelzap
November 11th, 2009, 08:58 PM
...to the extent to which the polls have any validity,...

Probably none, unfortunately. We also need to take into account the expanding Ubuntu user base and probably lots of other factors. If we really want reliable data, these polls are about as informative as the ones in website sidebars asking people what their favorite color is.

23meg
November 11th, 2009, 09:07 PM
I disagree. As I explained in the original post, to the extent to which the polls have any validity, they clearly show that Karmic is an improvement over previous releases (slightly more success, aggregately).

My interpretation is that he doesn't dwell on the small and unsubstantiated fluctuation in success rate, since it's, you know, pretty small; hence "nothing new". Had there been a 15% jump, we'd have something (not necessarily valid) to talk about.

michaelzap
November 11th, 2009, 09:11 PM
Anecdotally, I think that it's probably accurate that the percentage of people having trouble with Karmic isn't that much different from other releases. What does seem different to me is both the severity of the issues that some people are having (system instability that can't be resolved) and the extent to which a lot of these issues seem to be regressions from previous releases. But then again I had major Karmic issues, so I'm sure that my opinion is colored by that.

markbuntu
November 11th, 2009, 11:55 PM
Just watching the forums it seems there are fewer people posting for help with karmic than with previous releases in the first few weeks, certainly a lot fewer basic sound and graphics issues which I watch closely.

There seems to be a lot more installers asking for help with Jaunty than Karmic right now but I expect this will change as it always does.

handy
November 12th, 2009, 04:22 AM
I could certainly be wrong, though from past experience of observing the forum user numbers, I don't think that there was as many new users attracted by Karmic.