Wither Ubuntu ? was (Re: The, "Edgy in the news" thread)

Peter Garrett peter.garrett at optusnet.com.au
Wed Nov 1 02:42:45 UTC 2006

On Wed, 1 Nov 2006 11:43:18 +1100
Jeff Waugh <jdub at perkypants.org> wrote:

> <quote who="Cybe R. Wizard">
> > Does anyone else find it ironic that this thread is being pursued on
> > Sounder?  
> > Wouldn't the information involved get (and deserve) better
> > distribution on the, "Ubuntu user technical support, not for general
> > discussions," list?
> sounder is for chit-chat and discussions, ubuntu-users is for technical
> support. 

So it has been decreed, yes. 

> The traffic on ubuntu-users is already so great, that it makes
> sense to use the lists as originally intended. 

Who draws the line, Jeff? Answer: you can't, and neither can anyone else.
People are free, and will continue to express themselves as they see fit.
If not, they will leave. Simple, really. If they leave, Ubuntu loses
breadth, because the kind of people who will leave over such issues are
people who do not see computing purely through technical eyes, but rather
as a means to an end, and as a part of culture.

> It's also more clear for
> people considering which list to subscribe to -- for instance, I'm not
> wildly interested in technical support issues, but am interested in the
> random pranks and amusements here on sounder.

So i take it that any  "meta-discussion" , in your view, belongs on
sounder? And where does serious discussion belong if this is the list
for "random pranks and amusements" ? The problem with this, as I pointed
out at the time that the "Topic" for ubuntu-users was changed, is that
what we end up with is an artificial and arbitrary division between
"technical" and "< insert your terms of choice here >

Since part of the philosophy behind Ubuntu is to be inclusive, to be
human, to be what we are because of what we all are, it grates for me and
evidently quite a few others, when decisions like this are made.

That would be why my reply to Cybe's post was sarcastic - not directed at
him, at all - in fact during the discussion about the topic change he was
one of those who objected to it - but regarding the philosophy behind this
kind of arbitrary division. Of course the majority will sign up for the
"help" mailing list - that is so obvious as not to require comment. My
question would be "What is Ubuntu for? Is it to empower people to make use
of computing ?" If so, then issues of education and of philosophy are not
irrelevant to a "help" list. Nailing a list down is not in my view in the
spirit of ubuntu as I understand the term.

The counter argument is that we have to be specific and keep the noise
level down, and that the list becomes too diffuse and difficult, or too
irrelevant. I have been subscribed to ubuntu-users since early 2005, if I
remember correctly, and only occasionally have I felt that a thread had
become truly absurd. Mailing lists *always* drift off-topic - it's
practically a truism.

There is a drift in the "community" towards blaming the messengers. We
already have divisions between various "factions" . That is also
inevitable in the process of forming a "community" and is inescapable. I
insert "community" in quotes because really, describing an international
group of people, mostly communicating via the Net, using that term is ...
highly metaphorical to say the least.

If it becomes uncomfortable for people to express themselves, they won't
hang around: and if decisions are made by the wrong means, people will be
alienated. I suspect for example that the handling of the Edgy artwork
issue has already alienated some of the art team, and I personally would
sympathise if this is the case. It appears that aesthetic decisions were
made by people who perhaps have greater experience in technical matters.

To sum up: this thread started as "Edgy in the News" - the good news is
that Ubuntu is a great distribution, and that's why we are all  here. The
bad news is that our very success is planting seeds of failure, unless we
listen to those who are criticising us. In the end we have to be
transparent and good listeners. We can't do that without input from people
who want to discuss the broader issues, and we won't reach many people by
merely discussing those issues on sounder.

I expect this will be an unpopular post with some people. Some people
won't even read this far. Some people will dismiss it with a shrug.

I suggest the honeymoon is over. This is a new phase, and we won't keep
people unless we retain a view of Ubuntu that transcends "Information

And yes, I'm cross-posting to "users" .



More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list