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Thread: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

  1. #1
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    Question Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Something that I've been thinking about lately. Technically, Ubuntu is being developed opensource, but when it gets down to it, the OS really doesn't embody what the opensource community is all about. Take, for instance, Ubuntu's new display server, Mir. I strongly suspect that--just the same as Ubuntu One and Unity before it--Mir will be an Ubuntu-exclusive piece of software. Not because it's not possible, just due to the fact that it's not worth the effort on the part of the other developers. I feel as though (and correct me if I'm wrong) Canonical is taking the stance that just making the code opensource is good enough, as though they've done their part. If you look at other distributions, they pull together a very modular set of packages to produce a complete system. Every piece of software written by the XFCE team is made to work independantly, like the XFCE panel, which I can install on virtually anything and have excellent usability.

    It's that kind of modularity that drew me to Linux in the first place. The GNOME desktop has been being used by countless distributions for years, including Ubuntu. Now, though, Ubuntu has ditched GNOME and developed something that you only get on the Ubuntu desktop. Which brings me to my main point: Ubuntu's leapfrogging behaviour.

    Since its creation(?), Ubuntu has been built on a Debian base. You would think that would make it part of the Linux community, being such close cousins with the opensource giant. However, Ubuntu has been building itself up (marketing-wise) and seems to have cast aside the rest of the Linux community. Apple's OSX is based upon a BSD, if I remember correctly, yet has it improved public knowledge and use of the community which was its beginning? I'm affraid that Ubuntu is becoming synonymous with Linux, which is very bad for the broader Linux community.

    Although technically Linux could grow to be a used on a majority of consumer products, the Linux community as we now know it would be left behind in the dust. Android is a good example of this: whenever a discussion of Linux's marketshare comes up, someone inevitably brings up Android. And almost without fail, they are shot down by experienced members of the Linux community. I've heard it referred to as "bastardized Linux", which oddly enough is also what a friend of mine who used Linux in the early Debian days described the original Ubuntu Netbook Edition as...but I digress.

    The point is, who among you see Ubuntu as forsaking its Linux roots and moving towards a more Applesque model. And--before everyone gets all worked up--I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Ubuntu/Canonical has made huge progress in pushing the operating system into the general market. As an example, if you watch the Phonebloks video at https://phonebloks.com/, you'll notice that Ubuntu's brand is listed with the likes of Intel and Motorola, which is huge for Canonical/Ubuntu (congrats, guys!).

    But the question I want to leave in your minds last of all is this:

    Is it enough to simply get the Linux software out to the general public, or should Ubuntu be trying to uplift the whole Linux community and its ideals?
    Last edited by clappboard; November 4th, 2013 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Please use paragraphs rather than this massive blob of text. You may get more of a response because many won't be bothered wading through this. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Whoops, thanks for pointing it out. Didn't seem so long when I was writing it...

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Quote Originally Posted by clappboard View Post
    Didn't seem so long when I was writing it...
    Heh. I know the feeling!

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    "Leap-frogging" is actually a core Linux idea, ie that people improve upon code, over and over again. Ubuntu was the first to take very strong code (from Debian, the strongest at the time) and improve upon it with commericial backing. This obviously led to some butt-hurt. Ubuntu then became so drunk upon its own success that it thought that it could re-write the whole core of the "linux desktop" and abandon Gnome and attempt its own version, Unity. This has failed. I really hope that Canonical can learn from its own mistakes and move on, its done so great so far..
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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    What do we mean by "Linux ideals" here? Free software ethics? Bazaar-style development? Modular design? Using the same software stack that other distros use?

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldierboy View Post
    ... attempt its own version, Unity. This has failed.
    Some people love Unity and wouldn't have it any other way (admittedly I'm not one of them), so for those folk it has been a success. Also, the idea was really to have a desktop environment which would be suitable for both desktops and mobile devices.

    I've used xfce4 for ages now so I'm untouched by the whole Unity/Gnome thang, but the debate continues ...

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldierboy View Post
    Ubuntu was the first to take very strong code (from Debian, the strongest at the time) and improve upon it with commericial backing.
    Hrm... think you need to check your history here. Progeny Linux? Corel/Xandros Linux? Lindows/Linspire? All commercially-backed Debian forks, all predate Ubuntu...

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soldierboy View Post
    Ubuntu then became so drunk upon its own success that it thought that it could re-write the whole core of the "linux desktop" and abandon Gnome and attempt its own version, Unity. This has failed. I really hope that Canonical can learn from its own mistakes and move on, its done so great so far..
    This has happened because Red Hat decided to take full control of the gnome project, for her own reasons and interests, obviously. But, Ubuntu still uses a lot of stuff from Red Hat.

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    Re: Is Ubuntu leapfrogging off of the Linux community?

    And don't forget...actually the gnome project uses gnome shell...that IS the standard Gnome desktop now...not the older desktop environments you find in say, xubuntu, lubuntu, etc...
    Canonical tried to work with the Gnome project to develop the shell with combined ideas from Gnome and Canonical but they wanted full control so Canonical found they couldn't work with them and thus had to go in it's own direction...To me, Canonical developed the BETTER version of the Gnome shell...while it may not have all the customizations possible with shell, it is sleeker, smoother and more streamlined...better designed to work not only on desktops but various other devices as well...

    And thanks to Canonical, for the first time in it's history, Linux has a real chance of actually going more mainstream...and in that regard i think they are beginning to succeed...
    So, i don't think they are really leapfrogging at all...just helping to take it in another direction

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