May 202012

Article By Giuseppe Sanna

Anyone who knows the world Linux will surely heard of Ubuntu. A distribution that has done so much for Linux and the Open Source world itself! In fact, thanks to the hard work of Canonical, Ubuntu is one of the first user-friendly distributions that have brought many people in the Linux world. Especially those most skeptical!
But if Ubuntu is a distribution that has done so much in the past, now we must curb our enthusiasm. In fact, for some time now, this same distribution is becoming a lot more criticized by veterans of the Linux world.
According to these, in fact, the distribution of Canonical is becoming more and more into a sort of Windows operating system. Of course, always free, but very similar for both choices regarding the publicity of the Operating system that the choices for the operating system itself. If these choices, however, are much discussed at the same time they are having a big success ! And for this reason that doubts arise and that the same Canonical is criticized by the loyal fans of the penguin!

You might ask: but what Ubuntu is doing so bad?
Perhaps the choice of a graphical environment increasingly chaotic and asking for more and more resources is one of the choices discussed in the Linux community. If fact, first, Linux was known to consume very little system resources, for some time now, Ubuntu is going against this. With some questionable choices, in fact, Ubuntu lately is preferring applications that sacrify the speed and stability, focusing mostly on eye candy graphics. An example is Unity, the Window Manager. This WM, popped up some version ago, he immediately met much criticism. Criticism, that even today, can be found in many forums! But who is right? This is a question very symbolic … Unfortunately it is difficult to answer! Choices are very personal … But precisely for this reason we must listen to the older Linux users!

Another much-discussed decision by the “fathers-founders” of Linux is concerning the choice of codecs and software. More and more people, in fact, find within this operating system some of the most discussed codecs. Codecs anything but free!
These decisions, along with many others have been for some time, sent away some users who love the Linux philosophy from the famous Ubuntu. But, on the other side, if these users prefer distro more “pure” such as Debian, Slackware and others, these decisions are increasingly bringing new users! it’s obvious that a user accustomed to an environment rich in chaotic and excellent graphics will prefer a Ubuntu compared to healthy and pure Debian or Puppy Linux, for example.

This fact should make us think, but above all should make think Canonical itself. With these decisions the Ubuntu distro is done for the “mass” of people that want to approach the Linux world but could be destined soon to be abandoned by those new “Ubuntian” when they start to know the true philosophy of Linux.
In short, Ubuntu is becoming more and more just a starting distro … you think this is a good choice? Or a wrong choice? What do your say ?

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  6 Responses to “Ubuntu more “commercial”, but always free …”

  1. Yet another baseless story bagging the linux desktop!

    While I don’t like unity myself, It has come along way since the first release, and I think you will find plenty of people who do like it. As with any Distro you are free to install whatever DE/WM you like. If you want a lightweight distro then one of the off-shoots such as Xubuntu or Lubuntu is probably a better choice.

    As for codecs, last time I checked, Ubuntu does not install any non-free codecs by default and they are not on the live cd.

    Canonical maybe going off and doing their own thing, perhaps they don’t contribute as much upstream as others such as Red Hat. That is not to say this has become a commercial distro, everything is still open-source, just no one upstream chooses to use the stuff.

    • I fully agree with your thoughts about Ubuntu scope and usage. I am using Linux since 1996 and I feel me comfortable with Unity, even if I used to work with Gnome and Xfce (still installed) desktop. The normal user can choose between different Ubuntu flavor and the power user can optimize/modify/configure everything, enjoying the advantages using a up-to-date Debian based distribution.
      My opinion is that what Canonical is following is the right way.


  2. Your articke seems to be reinforcing some common misonceptions. Unity is currently lighter on system resources than ever before and will be even lighter in 12.10.

  3. Only suggestions are allowed… No Criticisms in the Linux world!

    My personal opinion is, criticizing any Linux ditro is absolutely wrong and foolish.
    This is not like other platforms(like Windows) where you have little choice.
    There are hundreds of distributions available. Each one of them have their own design goals. If you do not like a distro, chose the other which suits you but do not try to criticize other distros as there may be people who ike it that way. Otherwise, it would’nt have existed.

    If you don’t like codecs to be available easily in Ubuntu, leave ubuntu and choose something like Debian (as already mentioned in this post).
    If you want a light weight distro use Arch.
    If you did not like any distro, make your own spin. It is not that hard.

  4. Constructive criticism is always a good thing. I have personal reasons for believing that canonical has lost its way and that Ubuntu is actually a problem for the Linux community. Whether unity is “lighter” than what it was is really not the point. It is a heavy interface and many Ubuntu users never get past it. What I mean by this is that part of the beauty of Linux is the ability to control just about everything and that it somewhat forces you to understand what is going on underneath that pretty desktop. Canonical has been increasingly making decisions for users, making it harder and harder for the user to get what he wants, how he wants it. This means a loss of freedom and a loss of choice and that is never a good thing.

    What has been happening overall in the ‘nix world is also somewhat frightening. Part of the original philosophy of Unix and then Linux was a collection of small tools or apps that specialized in doing one or two tasks. This meant that there were lots of individual parts to comprehend and adjust but it also increased the flexibility and openness of the system. Increasingly we are seeing (with Ubuntu at the forefront) apps that do everything but clean the kitchen sync. This causes redundancy, bloat and confusion. It also means that most users of Ubuntu have become what I call car people. They get in the car and turn the key. If it starts great but if it doesn’t they don’t know where to begin. I realize this is part of getting wholesale adoption but it is also part of the overall decline of the community. It means that there are fewer craftsmen and more mass consumers and it means less is given back to the community. A community never thinks it will die, it never believes that the next generation will not be as interested in understanding their arcane art than they do. But as tools become more user friendly, broader based and therefore bloated this is what happens and is happening in the community now. Look at the recent dbus/hal changes or even the lack of user configuration available in something like Gnome.

    Finally, my biggest complaint about Ubuntu and Canonical is something touched on by the author but I feel should be stressed. Canonical does go their own way and does not give back to the community. If you research the statistics regrading contributions to core code theirs are dismal. This makes them a black hole and the inertia they have means that a large portion of new users of Linux are not really users (in a sense) at all. Long-term this is a disturbing trend. In my opinion it is a case of be careful what you wish for. For a long time the Linux community hoped, prayed and begged for someone to come along and make the desktop more popular. Now we have that but I feel like we have sold our sole to get it.

    Personally, Ubuntu was the second distro I ever really used. I was a fan from about Dapper to the first Unity roll-out (sorry I forget the cute little name they used). The moment I saw the direction they were going I bugged out, but I had been disturbed by the signs mentioned above and more, prior to that. One of the biggest things that bothered me was that none of their stream partners like them (Gnome, Debian, etc.) researching this I became much more uncomfortable. In the end I would like to think I was a Ubuntu user prototype. I started on Mandrake, migrated to Ubuntu fairly early and once I felt the ground under my feet I moved on. I wonder though what the actual statistics are for people who move on, people who stay with it and people who give up on Linux all together after using it. Again, there are a lot more criticisms that I could mention regarding Ubuntu, Canonical and why I think it is an evil influence but this is long enough already and think that despite my poor writing skills you get my point. I am always glad to hear people who question things and appreciate the author’s intent to at least try and get people to stop and think for a moment.

    FWIW: I agree there are lots of distro’s out there and encourage everyone to find what is right for them. With VM’s and such there really is no reason not to try them out. For myself I am an ecstatic Aptosid devotee and find that when I need to put a beginner on a system that Crunchbang gives them all the ease of use that Ubuntu promises but without the restrictions. Best of all it is a real Debian distro (no, I won’t go there). I am not sure where Canonical is going, my guess is more towards the Apple formula than the Microsoft direction. I hope I am wrong but I would guess that “always free” will be true in a more limited sense in the future.

  5. Look here, you knock Ubuntu, but don’t overlook what this distro has done for Linux. For those of us who found Linux enjoyable early on, for me ubuntu 5.4 was my introduction to easy installs and full desktop usability. It was a revelation.
    Slackware? Gentoo? Arch? Whose got time for that.? I sure don’t.

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