2c about the development of ubuntu

Udo 'Robos' Puetz robos at muon.de
Tue Jan 3 01:22:16 GMT 2006

On Mon, 02.01.06, Stephan Hermann <sh at sourcecode.de> wrote:
> Hi Udo,

Hi Stephan and List.
Unfortunately, since it already took me 10 mins to read this, I will have to
trim it down a little...


> nevertheless, his [Mark's] money is not growing on a tree (as far as I know ;)) so he 
> has to ensure, that his money he invests will give him as well a return. To 
> do this, it's good to know that there is a company or two or three, that is 
> doing this purpose. 

I thank Mark very much and I am very impressed by his commitment, but to be
honest I understood him that way that he sort of thinks ubuntu is a money
lost. A financial lost - but a HUGE culture win! I think he said something
similar in his speech in norway or where was it?

> Canonical is paying the devs, is paying the wonderful, free for the users, 
> shipit cds. But please be mature enough to think about a revenue stream. 
> Thinking about that, it's quite fair, that Canonical can earn money with this 
> free software, the same way as RedHat or Novell or Mandriva is earning money 
> with Free Software.

Well, I am mature and I have thought about the monetary side of this but I
think you see Mark's idea of ubuntu a little too cold. I believe he is in
this for the "good thing" (TM) and not the money side. But we obviously
differ there in our opinions.


> Support means here, that they're able to update from Dapper to each new 
> release in the coming future in the 3 or 5 years timeframe.

Huh? As in "apt-get dist-upgrade"? Then debian has had support for debian
for a 10 year frame already... You could always do this with debian and,
without any blunt mis-step by ubuntu, you would be able to do this
naturally. If you call this "support", okay.


> So, do we have a switch from "linux for human beings" to "linux for the 
> corporate environment - free!"? 
> For me no, because everyone human being is participating, and Canonical itself 
> can earn the money, to invest again into making Ubuntu the better choice of a 
> Linux distribution. But in contrary to RedHat or Novell/SuSE, Canonical is 
> not earning the money with selling a special "Brand of the Community 
> OS" (RHEL or Novell/SuSE EL). 

As isn't RH for instance. All their great money they make at the moment is
from subscribers and not from the selling of RHEL. So, the shipment of a
cd/dvd package to a company is to be viewed as support in my eyes there.

> > Like 
> > I said, and microsoft said, the licensing cost is - for a company -
> > neglectable to the cost of support and the cost of e.g. oracle.
> To be honest, if you have to care about < 50 servers/workstations those costs 
> are not neglectable, because the company is not as big as e.g. a company 
> which runs >100 servers/workstations. Yes, yes I know, MS Select contracts 
> are there, but those costs are only payable if you think about companies with 
> more then >500 employees, but even those costs are reoccuring and for me as 
> well not neglectable.

Well, I work only a short while in support but from what I have seen there
the cost of (over-dimensioned) hardware and support is a lot higher than
buying a RHEL. A lot. 

> Oracle is again different, you have different license models, different ways 
> how to see the work of Oracle Software. But even those costs are not 
> neglectable. 

That is what I say: if you "need" your certified OS for oracle the cost of
that certified os is neglectable to the cost of oracle and the support of a
oracle "certified" support person. He will easily cost you $1000 a day (at
least what I heard in my part of the world) and will take 3 days to
"optimize" your oracle install. And this is probably not his only visit. So,
the $800 IIRC for a RHEL is not that big a share. And this is for <30

> To be honest, Linux is ready for desktop since 2000, that's what I said during 


You don't have to tell me, I run linux exclusively since 2000 too. But there
are other people too and they simply have a queer sense of desktop readiness.

> But because their was no one who made this clear, who ran a "loud noise 
> marketing and PR campaign, nobody wanted to see this fact. 
> But since "Warty" (2004) and most likely "Hoary" (2005) the world came to the 
> conclusion "Wow, their is this Ubuntu OS and it 'just works' on my 
> workstation". Well, the Linux World could have this earlier, but neither 
> RedHat/SuSE was able to promote this (or they didn't want that) neither 
> Slackware/Debian/Gentoo was able to establish this feeling. 

That is my point!! "Ubuntu OS and it 'just works' on my workstation" and the
quote from the ubuntu.com/about page "a clear focus on the user and
usability (it should "Just Work", TM)" point, in my understanding, to the
fact that ubuntu is about "normal" (i.e. only M$ computer savvy users - at
most) people using linux. RH already dropped their desktop product for the
server and suse is also aiming more for the server in my view. But, like I
said in an earlier mail, if no _paid_ developer is working hard on
userfriendliness to normal people then there is too slow a change. See
debian. Ages old, lots of packages but the normal (in the above sense) user
friendliness lacks. 

> Actually, Mark is doing a great job with this idea, and he has all the respect 
> I can give a man/woman doing this. But even then, he or his company has all 
> the rights to earn money with supporting the "corporate users" and he has to 
> do it, because without Canonicals work and efford, Linux (speaking not about 
> the kernel but about a complete distribution) will stay only as a server OS 
> choice, and will not be ready for the Desktop in the next 20 years.

and if you spend the small (and I consider 20 people small) developer time
all about the place the desktop parts still doesn't come forward. THAT is my
_whole_ point.

> And you know why? Because many of the clients for special software will always 
> run only on Windows, and that won't change, if nobody is pushing it.

If you would invest in wine (rms side of "should move to linux software
aside) THAT would be userfriendly because nobody would run a server app on
wine (who is in their right mind) but users could use a desktop program on a
linux desktop. The failure rate of that program would then be similar to
being run on windows so the transition would even be simpler for the user :)

> Thinking about Novell/SuSE. Please think about, where Novell came from...and 
> their favourite choice is still Windows. SuSE Linux was only a way away from 
> their old Novell Server OS, which is old and obsolete since 100 years.

When I just looked a little around novell.com I saw more either general
stuff and linux - not specific windows. 

> Thinking about RedHat, even they play a role in not pushing Linux to the 
> Desktops. Because they don't want, because the client software for e.g. 
> SAP/Oracle/you name it is running on, take a guess, yes, right, Windows.

Aha, and that will change if you don't push the desktop? Old hen-egg
problem, hmm? And there is a client for linux for oracle btw.

> > Make linux more userfriendly to the human behind the machine 
> > on his desk. THEN companies will approach canonical about support contracts
> > for linux on the desktop. 
> No. You will gain more "support contracts" if you are forcing the media to 
> push a word. WIthout PR or marketing like MS or RH is doing you can forget 
> about being a first class workstation OS. 

And you get lots of PR if you experience lots of workstation specific bugs
like I did? I don't have problems with apache or the kernel, I have problems
with nautilus-cd burn and pornview. And my laptop not
hibernating/suspending. And my mouse not working.

> But for this, you need a first class, well supported, operating system, with a 
> lot of supported killer app software. And secondly you need to make sure, 
> that the software vendors can trust you.

Killer apps for the desktop? All a machine nowadays needs is internet and
you are ready to go on the desktop. You *could* even use those hype-ajax
office thingies on the internet and forget OOo. You need a good browser and,
above all! Internet! See my comments about modem/isdn (<- take a look at
support of isdn) "it should "Just Work", TM".

> > Fewer, in smaller volume, but _that_ was what I 
> > understood Mark was spending his money on. 
> I think we don't have to care about where and why Mark is spending his money. 

If you work for ubuntu - being paid - I really think you should care about
where Mark is spending his money on. Or more precisely, realise in what he
is spending his money. I don't think he is spending it in a commercial
endeavour, he is spending it in doing something good.

> > Surely ubuntu will amortize 
> > itself faster with more focus on the server - but was that the intent? 
> This is not correct. Please have in mind, that most of the work on OSS is done 
> by people like you or me, who don't get any money from anyone working on OSS.

Don't think so. Like I said multiple times already, too few is being done on
the ui/polish side. Because it's uninteresting to devs.

> There is no such thing as Enterprise Ubuntu. There is only Ubuntu (and their 
> flavours like Kubuntu/Edubuntu/XFCE Ubuntu (TBD)) and a company who is giving 
> support to other companies.

See the other comments, there will be. 

> > From 
> > what I read in Mark's remarks about dapper drake he wants it to go head on
> > against vista - not windows server 2000something. I think there is this
> Well, Windows 2000something is obsolete, when Vista will hit the market. So

One "0" to many, I was refering to windows vista server or whatever that is

> Ubuntu has to fight on the Server market against Vista, and, this is a bigger 
> problem, as well against Vista on the Desktop.

Why? Doesn't linux already do *very* good on the server, with the likes of
novell, rh and such? But I see no real fight going on on the desktop. 

> And yes, Canonical pays a lot of people, who are doing a lot of work for 
> Ubuntu to make it better, and it doesn't matter if it's on the Desktop or on 
> the Server. 

To call 20 people "a lot of people" is a little overstatement in my opinion
when M$ is having looooots more people working solely on their desktop
environment. And they even don't have to care about certain applications
because external companies are offering products. Despite XP being able to
burn cd's nero is still selling strong. But if there is no burning software
at all on linux that is normal user friendly then there is trouble. And
please don't say that nero is also on linux...

> Regards,
> \sh
> -- 
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Robos - 
gpg --recv-keys --keyserver blackhole.pca.dfn.de 6EEADA09

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