Feeds

Mark Shuttleworth: Canonical leads Ubuntu, not 'your whims'

'I have no interest in being 1337'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

After several months without posting, Mark Shuttleworth has returned to his official blog with some harsh words for those in the Ubuntu community who have been critical of Canonical's recent efforts to transform the OS into a multi-faceted platform for mobile devices and the cloud.

"If you've done what you want for Ubuntu, then move on," Shuttleworth wrote on Thursday morning. "That's normal – there's no need to poison the well behind you just because you want to try something else."

Clearly miffed by critics who say Canonical has wielded too much control over Ubuntu development of late, Shuttleworth called such comments "nonsense," adding that it is the combination of Canonical and the Ubuntu community that make the OS great.

At the same time, he described Canonical's contribution to the project as "massive," and he cautioned other contributors not to expect Ubuntu to function as a purely community-driven Linux distro – because to Shuttleworth's mind, that kind of development model simply doesn't work for a project as ambitious as Ubuntu.

"There are lots of pure community distro's. And wow, they are full of politics, spite, frustration, venality and disappointment," he wrote.

Shuttleworth said his goal is for Ubuntu to be not just another hobbyist Linux variant, but a serious challenger to the likes of Android, Apple, Chrome, and Windows. Achieving that, he said, would take leadership.

"By 2009 I was convinced that none of the existing free software communities could create an experience that could challenge the existing proprietary leaders," Shuttleworth wrote, "and so, if we were serious about the dream of a free software norm, we would have to lead."

So far, that leadership has manifested itself in Unity – Canonical's controversial desktop GUI that has divided users – and more recently in a grand vision of an Ubuntu client OS that can scale to suit every device form factor, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs.

Along the way, Canonical has made decisions that have angered many in the Ubuntu community, such as inserting paid links to Amazon into Ubuntu's desktop search results. Feathers were ruffled yet again on Monday, when the company announced plans to write new display-server software to replace the venerable X Windowing System, ignoring other, similar projects already underway.

But while Shuttleworth says he understands that some in the community will be resentful of the "disruptive change" that Canonical has brought to Ubuntu and the Linux world at large, he believes that if you're not on board with Unity and Canonical's broader vision, it's probably because you're stuck in and old-school geek mentality that has no place in Ubuntu.

"I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. 'Linux is supposed to be hard so it's exclusive' is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say," Shuttleworth wrote.

To Shuttleworth, Ubuntu isn't about catering to hobbyists, but about building an open source OS that is so compelling that free software becomes the norm, rather than the exception.

"What I'm really interested in is this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a free and open platform that is THE LEADER across both consumer and enterprise computing," he wrote.

Shuttleworth added that there is plenty of room for developers who are on board with that vision to make positive contributions to Ubuntu, in all sorts of areas.

"Just roll your eyeballs at the 1337 crowd, roll up your sleeves, find something interesting to improve, and join in," Shuttleworth wrote. "To the extent that you can master a piece, you will get what you want. If you think the grand vision should follow your whims, you won't." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.