After announcing his company was abandoning Unity for GNOME, Shuttleworth posted a thank-you note to the Unity community Friday on Google Plus, but added on Saturday:
"I used to think that it was a privilege to serve people who also loved the idea of service, but now I think many members of the free software community are just deeply anti-social types who love to hate on whatever is mainstream. When Windows was mainstream they hated on it. Rationally, Windows does many things well and deserves respect for those. And when Canonical went mainstream, it became the focus of irrational hatred too. The very same muppets would write about how terrible it was that IOS/Android had no competition and then how terrible it was that Canonical was investing in (free software!) compositing and convergence. Fuck that shit."
"The whole Mir hate-fest boggled my mind - it's free software that does something invisible really well. It became a political topic as irrational as climate change or gun control, where being on one side or the other was a sign of tribal allegiance. We have a problem in the community when people choose to hate free software instead of loving that someone cares enough to take their life's work and make it freely available."
Shuttleworth says that "I came to be disgusted with the hate" on Canonical's display server Mir, saying it "changed my opinion of the free software community."
Full story here.
I agree about Shuttleworth's whiny tone here, however it simply isn't true that no one wants his ball. Ubuntu is still one of the most popular distros (even after losing a bunch of users to Mint and others because of Unity). And go read the messages about the announcement about abandoning Unity and Mir: lots and lots of people are not happy about losing Unity, and many of those are very unhappy about the idea of going back to Gnome3. I'm not a Unity fan myself, I've never even used it in fact, however I have used Gnome3 (and am kinda stuck with it at work) and it SUCKS. From what I've read about Unity it definitely looks at least better than the shit-show which is Gnome3, so I can definitely see why many people would be very unhappy about Ubuntu abandoning Unity. But what I didn't see almost anyone lamenting was the abandonment of Mir.
IMO, Mark is making yet another stupid mistake here. Ubuntu isn't going to regain lots of users by just being another me-too Gnome3 distro, and Gnome3 simply is not very conducive to customization (by design). Mark even has said they won't try to go against what the Gnome3 devs have done by modifying it. WhyTF not? The whole draw of Ubuntu was to be a unique, user-focused distro that's easy to install and use, which concentrates on innovating on the user-facing elements. I guess they're giving that up for their cloud and other crap directions, and giving up on making world-leading Linux desktop distro. If you want a Gnome3 desktop, you might as well just use Fedora or something, and if you want something that tries to do better you can use Mint. What Mark should have done is abandon Mir, and adopt KDE, and then make a custom version of kde-plasma which pushes the Unity design elements that those users like so much. KDE allows this kind of customization easily, in different ways, and KDE doesn't have the "our way or the highway" mentality of the Gnome3 devs. KDE also has significantly lower resource usage than Gnome3, while simultaneously offering far more features and customization. How Gnome3 manages to be such a bloated, slow mess while also being so minimalistic with features is a genuine mystery; what the heck is it doing with all that RAM and those CPU cycles? With the Unity devs now no longer working on Unity, Canonical really should have the resources to do a really great distro using the KDE libraries and making their own customizations for it. And also unlike Gnome, the KDE team is likely to accept upstream contributions, whereas Gnome is notorious for refusing such things.
Spot-on. My approach would have been to merge with or adopt as default the Ubuntu Mate distro honestly since that'd be a return to form (mostly; as of 1.18 Mate is gtk3 only and I *really* do not know how to feel about this...). But yeah, Plasma has been taking more and more of my time from Xfce recently and it's nicely matured, and configurable as you said. Either of these is preferably to Gnome 3, which has disappeared so far up its own ass it can eat its own lunch again.
The whole draw of Ubuntu was to be a unique, user-focused distro that's easy to install and use, which concentrates on innovating on the user-facing elements.
It was? Before the whole Unity thing* from what I remember the reason to go with Ubuntu was that it Just Worked(tm). It had a GNOME desktop but so did everybody else, so it was all about the internal tweaks and shiny tools to make everything smooth.
*think my first Ubuntu install was Gutsy
So? The motto was "Linux for human beings", which covers "user-focused" and, given the implication that other distros were for nonhumans*, "unique"; you don't seem to be contesting "easy to install and use", so all that's left is "concentrates on innovating on the user-facing elements."
Early on, the user-facing elements they "innovated on" were package management, configuration tools, that kind of thing. Once they ran out of innovations there (or I'm sure as they would say, once they had those polished enough that the desktop environment was a worse problem for "human beings"), they moved on to Unity, etc., but to me that's just two phases of manifestation of the same idea.
*As someone who's always believed in making things as simple as possible, but no simpler, and sees Ubuntu's approach as creating hordes of users unaware of, and thus unable to handle, internal detail that matters, I was not unpleasantly surprised to learn that I, my fellow hackers, and really anyone who doesn't view "learning" as a bad, scary thing, were superhumans.
My point was that most OSs should have at least some awareness of making life easier for their users, so if that's the only thing that sets you apart ("we do it better than everyone else") that doesn't really make you unique. Cf. Apple I guess?
Overall I'd say Ubuntu has a positive balance of worth. Maybe they wandered off into the weeds a bit with dubious-privacy-search and Mir and whatnot, but we got Mint and various other grandchildren out of the deal so hey.