EOL for couchdb and desktopcouch

Shane Fagan shanepatrickfagan at ubuntu.com
Tue Nov 22 14:09:46 UTC 2011

> I'm rather dismayed by this, I have to say. First you convince developers to
> rely on your infrastructure for their apps, and then, out of the blue, you
> remove key parts of it? It's not the first time, either. One thing is
> removing it from Ubuntu One. If you can't manage the large amounts of users
> and data, then that means U1 shouldn't have been taken out of beta and that
> it in no way is ready for general use. This is another example of Canonical
> showing poor judgement in its communication.

In fairness to the original idea of using couchdb it is a great idea
and showed a lot of promise and it was a fair amount of time ago that
the choice was made to use it and between that time they got it to a
state where it was doing more or less what they had envisioned. The
problem here is there is no other company using couchdb at this scale
and there is a point where its not quite feasible to keep it going.
This isn't canonical flip flopping between technologies on a whim its
the scales of feasibility tipping to the wrong side.

> However, removing support for tools that apps depend upon to store and
> retrieve data locally is something else entirely. It is incomprehensible to
> me that you would even consider this. If you want to attract developers,
> then you simply cannot just remove tools that developers depend upon.
> Storage infrastructure is a fairly critical part of most computer systems.
> If you can't rely on that, then how on earth can you expect people to invest
> time and money in developing for Ubuntu? I've spent months on my app, and
> now it's lost most of it's value, if not all. I'll have to re-write it from
> scratch. Should I add support for Unity at all, or might that also suddenly
> be dropped? This is not the way to create enthusiasm. Except for SSO, the
> database functionality was the one big USP that Ubuntu One had. Speaking of
> SSO... We can't know what's going on internally in Canonical, but we know
> for a fact that it is willing to drop support without warning. This is a
> very good reason not to rely on Ubuntu SSO for anything. After all, who
> knows if it'll be there tomorrow? It is really sad to see myself writing
> something like that. It's what Windows users use as an argument for sticking
> to Windows.

I know what you mean here there are a few apps using it but if you
think about it wouldn't you cause inconvenience to a small minority
(and yes it is a bit of a minority using desktopcouch at the moment)
to improve the scalability and sustainability and pick or make
something that is a lot more suited to the task. That is the choice
that they had to make. Personally I had nothing to do with the
decision and im not even going to pretend that but its really
important to read the EOL email with care and see it from the business
point of view that they had to make a choice and do it before they ran
into serious issues.

> You're not only making fools of developers, however. You're also making
> fools out of advocates. As late as yesterday, I wrote about Ubuntu becoming
> a very attracting platform with focus on phones, tablets, etc. One of the
> things I wrote about, was the ability to sync databases between your
> devices, enabling you to keep working even when you're offline. Yesterday,
> that symbolised the strength and potential of Ubuntu. Today, the same thing
> symbolises uncertainty and unreliability.
> I'm flabbergasted. This is not a wise decision.

Deprecating things is a natural process of development. Out with the
old and in with the more suited until something different comes along
that is better its a cycle. It might seem rash and I know the
disappointment but still its something natural that happens to systems
over time things have to change before you hit the wall and you run
into an issue when thousands of programs depend on a library that is
fundamentally flawed and you have to ship it rather than break too
many things. The truth is the sooner the better that they pushed out


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