Unity, consistency and password-protected web pages

Mark Shuttleworth mark at ubuntu.com
Mon Mar 28 11:39:58 UTC 2011

On 28/03/11 04:32, Dylan McCall wrote:
> Something I've noticed lately has me a little concerned. I am hoping
> you folks can put my fears at ease! When I look at bug reports for
> Unity, I often encounter links to what I assume are design documents
> internal to Canonical. Here is one of those bug reports:
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/729009
> (I realise this one was filed recently on an issue noticed after
> implementation, but let's view it as an example).
> The description points at an image:
> https://chinstrap.canonical.com/~sabdfl/11_04/desktop_and_netbook/dash/Dash_desktop/unity_desktop_dashboard_23_02_11_stages_fixed_01.png
> I'm going to wander out on a limb here and assume Unity's design is
> finalized and this isn't a matter of people (sensibly) holding off on
> publicizing stuff until it's actually useful. I can understand the
> need (and the desire) to do some things internally, but I wonder if
> this is always happening intentionally, or if it's something being
> done by accident.

In this particular case, the image in question could be attached to the
bug and the description updated.

In general, there won't ever be a perfect line between what we're
talking about with customers or partners, and what's being discussed in
public. For example, there's a constant stream of bugs and mailing list
threads about Unity, some of which overlap with things we're working on
commercially. We can't say "don't discuss this please", that would be
silly. We equally can't publish unfinished concepts, because anything we
say carries a lot of weight and turns into a commitment before it's
necessarily appropriate for it to be so.

So I think some sharp edges in the communication are inevitable. I know
that causes some distress. The flip side is we get to work on a platform
which is actually part of the commercial ecosystem, and stands a
reasonable chance of having a meaningful impact in bringing free
software to the "real world" desktop. If I could see a way to do it
without those rough edges, which was also compatible with the needs of
our customers and partners, I'd steer us that way instead.

Whenever these crossed wires, or links to unavailable content occur,
it's a reasonable question to ask if the material can be published more
widely. Obviously, it's not ideal for us to have links to internal
content. *Sometimes* it will be necessary, in this case it isn't.


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