Ubuntu development...

Tim Hull thully at umich.edu
Sun Aug 26 04:26:20 UTC 2007

On 8/25/07, Sarah Hobbs <hobbsee at kubuntu.org> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Heya!
> Wow, that previous response was quite harsh - that was probably why it
> was sent off-list.

Just realized that.

I'm still unsure which key components you want to change, or how you
> want to change them.  You may want to clarify, because that will effect
> the answer you get.

A few examples:

(Please don't flame.  I know some of these may sound stupid to seasoned
developers, but they are just my ideas.)

1.  The desktop task (meaning the default Ubuntu one, not Kubuntu or
Xubuntu) doesn't contain adequate iPod support for syncing/transferring
songs/etc.  Rhythmbox has *some* support, but it is so bad it is almost
worse than nothing (it transfers at ~USB 1.1 speeds, won't delete tracks,
and has no sync).  What I suggest here is either 1) including Banshee
alongside/in place of Rhythmbox or 2) including GTKpod.

2. The current default fonts look dreadfully ugly. For one thing, they are
MASSIVE (on Gutsy at least), and they use a type of hinting which makes them
look quite ugly when compared to OS X. What I suggest here is to 1) revert
the auto-DPI-detect/change to 11-pt font in Gutsy - things look much better
in Feisty with the settngs where they were 2) investigate changing the
default hinting to either autohinter or no hinting - this, while a little
blurry, seems to look eons better than the "native" hinter.

3. Currently, each Ubuntu release is based on a new version of the core
libraries and toolchain, synced from Debian testing/unstable.  While this
may mean that each version has the absolute latest and greatest, it also
makes them more prone to stability issues and breaks the ABI every 6 months,
which ends up requiring users to update more often because they want to run
program X and the version they need is compiled against the new version Y of
glibc.  Why not base Ubuntu on Debian stable+backports (for latest GNOME,
KDE, kernel, Firefox, OO.o, etc) instead?

> A lot of conversation between developers (which is, what I suspect, that
> you're looking for at the moment) is done on IRC.  You'd probably have
> to speak to the individual developers relating to what you want to work
> on.  The lack of response to your emails is likely because they're still
> quite broad (in the area of what you want to do), and the developers
> tend to be busy people, so don't reply to everything.

OK.  I've actually seen you on IRC a few times.  I figured that this may be
the case, though I was looking for something along the lines of debian-devel
(yes, ubuntu-devel exists, but it is mainly for semiprivate developer

Anyway, it's nice to see a developer respond.  I'm still unsure about
Ubuntu, but for other reasons besides that one e-mail.  My main concern at
the moment is that the Technical Board seems to decide much of what happens
regarding the base Ubuntu distribution internally without much external
discussion.  Or at least that's what I've gathered from the web site, after
looking deeper into all of this.  I'm a big supporter of openness and
transparency (just ask my student government), and this doesn't instill
confidence in me.

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