2c about the development of ubuntu

Udo 'Robos' Puetz robos at muon.de
Sun Jan 1 15:47:33 GMT 2006

Hello List and happy new year everybody!
First off, thanks a lot to all the people who contribute to ubuntu!
Regarding my comments below, I know I have no real right to voice my
criticism except that I'm a ubuntu user (and distributor) and a fellow human
with a brain.
I've been a debian user for some time and absolutely loved the idea of
debian with a little more userfriendliness. Hoary's been great and I
installed it happily on 15 machines of friends. There were still
shortcomings but hey, this was only the second release and it was great for
that. I liked the idea of how ubuntu concentrated on improving gnome. Debian
has been around for ages, as have some of it's problems: "Hard" to
administrate except you master the steep learning curve (which is not a bad
thing). On my homepage I have written down my experiences and tips on how to
run debian on my R31 IBM laptop. Took me ages to get it right. So, I was
more than happy to see installing hoary was a breeze and it simply worked.
Part is to attribute to improvements on the foundations of linux but also a
lot is hard work on ubuntu's part.
Then the community driven kubuntu was integrated into "main" ubuntu. Well, I
thought, this shouldn't drain too much resources since kubuntu was already 
going steady before the integration.
But since then ubutu has taken too much in in my opinion. Edubuntu,
ubuntu on the server, ltsp and also the amd64 part.
As I said above, the "problems" in debian are as old as debian itself.
Developers see programs differently than an average user and if it works for
them developing something new is more interesting than making something
"userfriendly". I understand that and since they do it in their free time I
cannot blame them. That's why Ian Murdock founded progeny, since paid
developers can't refuse to work on that, they get paid for this. Progeny's 
story aside, ubuntu looked more promising because of Mark's deep pockets and
the further evolution of linux in time. So, when ubuntu employs 20 people
(right?) to work on userfriendliness they can do only this much. If you
spread these resources of making gnome userfriendly, that's fine. Spreading
it over kde, educational stuff and server development, I think it runs thin.
Since the problems are old and no "free" developer cared up to now I doubt
that the paid developers get that much backing now regarding making apps
I even think I see and experience the problem already: breezy has exploded in
my face on 5 machines. My laptop didn't work too well after the upgrade so I
reinstalled - to also test how the installer worked (I *hate* reinstalling).
After that, hibernation works only strange, if at all, and my wireless mouse
doesn't work at plugin-time, I have to modprobe (-r) stuff to get it working.
My machine at work can't log in with gdm or xdm, I have to use kdm. This is
also after a normal upgrade. My main machine also didn't survive the upgrade
too well so I reinstalled but that didn't help much. Burning software (like
nautilus and gnomebaker) worked very bad so I thought, what the heck, let's
try dapper on my main machine.
I ran unstable for years and have never seen these problems with it as I see
with dapper. I also got bitten by the "network not being up" thing, where a
simple "auto eth1" is missing in /etc/network/interfaces. Why doesn't that
get fixed?
My suggestion: KISS! Keep it simple stupid. What has worked for unix/linux
for decades can't be _that_ wrong. Concentrate your resources on a small
part and do this *proper* instead of doing something everywhere. There are
lots of base things that need some care. Like for instance modem/isdn stuff.
A computer is near useless unless you can connect to the internet! This is
fundamental stuff where a (good!) wiki entry isn't enough.
Other areas where I see dire need of work is in bootup times - both of the
kernel and gnome - and in memory footprint. Also, what's biting windows at
the moment the most are bugs. If you concentrate your work on a small part
you can audit that good and afterwards it's near bug-free and *works*. And
what I don't like on windows and lots of other people too is that you have
no control. You can't see what's happening. That's where linux/ubuntu is
already better but can still be improved. If the user can see the network
traffic and see harddrive activity he (w|c)ould maybe also see the (in the
future inevitable) spam worm use his bandwidth and harddrive activity - and
be able to act!
And why does ubuntu have to cater the servers? Doesn't debian do this *very*
good? Why do you need 2.6.15 on a server? I think an admin should even be
kicked for using this on a server! Leave debian a little breating space and
the collaboration will be lots better.
I'm still giving ubuntu a chance on my machines - but I know people who have
given up on ubuntu and gone back to debian. 
So, thanks again for all your work and I hope you find a little sense in my
babbling :)
Udo 'Robos' Puetz
P.s.: as my name implies I'm no native english speaker, please forgive my
Robos - 
gpg --recv-keys --keyserver blackhole.pca.dfn.de 6EEADA09

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list