And, again: It is about respecting the customer rather than expecting the customer to be happy with what he gets even if it was not what he wanted. For what the community gives back to Canonical in terms of testing, desktop customer service and product evangelism, some modicum of respect is right and appropriate. What, after all, is the meaning of "ubuntu"?
In 1909, Henry Ford said "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it's black." Canonical seems to feel that way right now. Ubuntu, like the Model T, is a good product. Like the Model T, the price is right. But if Ford had offered the T for free and
his former employee, Robert Hupp, had done the same, what would have been the outcome of the neck and neck race between Ford, Chevrolet and Hupp up until the eve of the Depression? What if Louis Chevrolet had offered his cars at a better price than Ford and Hupp actually had? Would GM have been able to buy Chevrolet? In the end, since all three charged for their products, a price/value comparison sealed their fates. Hupp shrivelled and died. Chevy was bought by GM. And Ford prospered with a monstrously racist, ill-tempered captain at its helm. Ford did not make his cars inexpensive so that people could buy them as he claimed, he made them inexpensive so people would buy them.
What would have been Ford Motor Company's fate if they had taken down all the customer service signs, carted them down to the basement and left a tiny note tucked under the door saying "Look downstairs." It's a good thing General Motors didn't. They wouldn't now be the single largest automobile manufacturer in the world -- because they have incredible customer loyalty.
This is a world in which free Linux distributions abound. There are three or four that take the lion's share of the very small market. Being free of charge, they can't compete on a price/value footing. They are bound to the loyalty of their communities for their continued well-being. All of them. Nobody but Canonical did something so foolish as taking "Community" from the top of their web page, got bull-headed about it, told their community that they weren't going to change it, then said they would talk about it at the UDS and then came out and said that they really had planned to put it back all along. Honest!
Ubuntu is not the only game in town -- nor even necessarily the best one -- and some people, particularly those in the Linux community, don't like black. Even if it's free. It wouldn't be hard for me to disconnect my monitors from my Ubuntu machine, plug them into my Fedora machine and NX from Fedora as my primary OS to Ubuntu as a second string.
What has kept me from doing that to this point is this community. It deserves more respect than Canonical has given it. In some respects, I don't give half a care about Ubuntu or Canonical. Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE... one's as good as the other. I do, however, care about the community that has grown up around an OS with a name that evokes the image of community.
It seems to me that perhaps Canonical should consider a different name and branding. Perhaps it is no longer a circle of friends.
For me, I'm out of the argument. I've avoided been terribly emotional about it and have been, if gruff, rational. I'll have nothing further to say about it. I'll go back to helping people on the forum and shrugging when Canonical shoots itself in the foot. If I had not taken part in this discussion, as a Moderator I would have closed it. Probably the best thing that could be done right now.