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Ask Matt Asay About Ubuntu and Canonical

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the life-after-alfresco dept.

Open Source 310

A week after the announcement that open source advocate and blogger Matt Asay is leaving Alfresco for Canonical, in the role of COO, Matt has agreed to answer your questions about his role at Canonical, his vision for the future of Ubuntu, or the prospects for open source as we begin to emerge from recession. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply. (Disclaimer: Matt is on the board of advisors for Slashdot's parent company, Geeknet.)

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310 comments

Juuuust switched to Zimbra (0, Offtopic)

Dunkirk (238653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160464)

I and my employer have been long-time Gentoo fans. We've recently switched almost everything over to Ubuntu. Also, I've just installed Zimbra at home. Because it's looking good, I am also in the process of installing it at work. I am already convinced that Ubuntu is in good hands, and Matt's appointment only strengthens this impression. What I'm concerned about is what's going to happen to Zimbra under VMware. I'm working on my management about buying the full-featured version for our Blackberry-using salesman, but please tell me that the current free version will continue to be loved.

Adoption Stories and Influences (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160530)

Every so often I see an adoption story about so and so taking up some open source solution [slashdot.org] and sometimes I think "Wow, French government? Now it's really going to take off. This is it. It's time." And then I wait. And wait.

Are these stories at all positive for the project? I mean, you would think with states and governments using Ubuntu or Red Hat that it would catch on like wildfire if the savings are there so why isn't that happening? I know Microsoft sends out a lot of Wormtongues to stick in the ears of important people, do you plan on targeting governments in a similar manner? Does/will Canonical work on making a presence in things like the EU Commissions where we've seen corporations collecting members in their pockets?

Re:Adoption Stories and Influences (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161058)

I like linux, I like programming on a linux machine, I like learning on a linux machine but I can't really game on a linux machine and that's a big thing in the home PC market.

What are the plans to induce game makers to port their games to linux?
What moves are being made to try to encourage graphics chip companies to create good drivers for linux?

Re:Adoption Stories and Influences (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161630)

I think the plan is to wait for another couple of years until PC gaming has finished destroying itself with DRM and piracy. (Dons NOMEX suit.)

Re:Adoption Stories and Influences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161802)

The thing is, Apple is doing quite well and they're not exactly bending over backwards to move the gaming market to their platform. Why?

I think it's because since Microsoft stepped up the competition in the game console market, the consoles are actually pretty good. I've been a PC gamer for my whole life and I just bought a PS3 last month and I'm actually quite happy with it overall. Sure, I'd rather have a mouse to control stuff with, but that's kind of negligible.

I actually think this shift towards game consoles has created an opening which Macs are clearly exploiting, and which Linux kind of is, or at least has the potential to. When most people are using their PS3 or Xbox360 to play games, they have less reason to need a Windows machine. Aside from gaming, the average user needs to be able to use the Internet, write email, use a web browser for Facebook, possibly write a paper for class every once in awhile. Some people need specialized apps (maybe Adobe stuff if you're a graphics pro, Finale or Sibelius if you're a musician, etc), but for average users what does Windows really do that you can't live without? I know people who are buying Macs now basically because they want to try out MacOS, and they know if they don't like it they can put Windows on it.

Re:Adoption Stories and Influences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161884)

I like linux, I like programming on a linux machine, I like learning on a linux machine but I can't really game on a linux machine and that's a big thing in the home PC market.

What are the plans to induce game makers to port their games to linux?
What moves are being made to try to encourage graphics chip companies to create good drivers for linux?

If you took the words "graphic chip companies" and replaced them with "hardware companies"... I feel that would echo many of the complaints I hear and have about Ubuntu.

What moves are being made along those lines?

Your Version of Their Vision (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160590)

Late last year, you heralded some moves by Shuttleworth [cnet.com] and you said:

This, I believe, is an opportunity for Canonical to tighten its focus. While Shuttleworth suggests that Silber's appointment "doesn't mark a change of direction," perhaps it should. With over 300 employees and products that span mobile, Netbooks and other personal computers, cloud computing, enterprise servers, and more, Canonical has its fingers in a lot of pots.

As COO, what are you going to do to improve the products you highlighted above? I'm not looking for a soft answer like "I'm going to promote Ubuntu on netbooks" but more so an itemized list of measurable goals, with milestones, dates and areas of focus (for instance, power minded ARM distributions). Is there anything about their vision you intend to change or influence the most?

Re:Your Version of Their Vision (0, Flamebait)

paperdiesel (809538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160764)

As COO, what are you going to do to improve the products you highlighted above? I'm not looking for a soft answer like "I'm going to promote Ubuntu on netbooks" but more so an itemized list of measurable goals, with milestones, dates and areas of focus (for instance, power minded ARM distributions). Is there anything about their vision you intend to change or influence the most?

Or, to put that first part in non-douche: "Do you have any specific, tangible ideas about how to improve the products highlighted above?"

You raise a good question, but dude, come on. The way you worded it made it sound like a condescending PHB preparing for a departmental meeting.

Re:Your Version of Their Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161458)

like a condescending PHB preparing

'condescending' is redundant.

What about WINE and Mono? (2, Interesting)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160620)

I'm curious as to what efforts will be made to keeping frameworks like Mono, Java and WINE current in existing releases. It seems that by the time a release happens these frameworks are already several versions behind. It would be nice to have an "edge" set of repositories that keep up with this in addition to backports that is.

Re:What about WINE and Mono? (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160886)

The frameworks aren't the only things behind. What about all of the people who think "Linux is broken" or "Linux doesn't support new hardware" because Ubuntu ships with old versions of ALSA and the kernel (so old video drivers)?

Re:What about WINE and Mono? (1, Insightful)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161282)

NO! These need to be REMOVED from the distro.

mono is tainted from the start, and is nothing but a future huge legal liability.

wine is also just asking for trouble in providing possible hooks for all kinds of malware, it too needs to go.

We do not need anything but native apps on Linux.

Re:What about WINE and Mono? (4, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161326)

I'm guessing we should remove SAMBA and FAT support while we're at it. Hope you don't like to access those USB drives. Oh yeah, you shouldn't be using h.264, mpeg (of any kind) or a number of other container formats other than Ogg + Vorbis/Theora.

Re:What about WINE and Mono? (1)

dshk (838175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161548)

Personally I don't trust in any native apps. Not even in the OS. However, I agree with you on the legal state of Mono.

Re:What about WINE and Mono? (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161736)

Especially on LTS releases. For most non-geeks, a major upgrade every 6 months is too much. Going from LTS to LTS is more realistic. Right now, 8.04 is the current LTS and installing new software (e.g. gtkpod, songbird) is very difficult because it too often requires upgrades of major libraries. For an OS only 2 years old, that's not good.

Ubuntu's (and other Linux distros) heavy use of dynamic libraries are a major contributor to this problem. It would be great if Ubuntu could provide updates to libraries to allow newer applications to run. I don't know how it might be done. Maybe having multiple versions or just insuring backwards compatibility. A 3 year old Ubuntu PC needs to be able to install the latest versions of software easily.

How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160624)

How come NESticle and Stella (emulators) work flawlessly on Windoze but only play one-quarter of the roms on Ubuntu?

How come I can't connect to my Netscape dialup ISP?

Why can't I find a simple way to look-up my computer's RAM space, or how many tasks are running, or to kill a misbehaving process?

Why when I switch to 640x480 mode (gaming), why doesn't the desktop properties window fit (thereby leaving me stuck)?

Why, when I tried to upgrade from 8.10 to 9.04, was I told that I don't have permission to change the folders on my laptop?

Why can't I get Opera Browser installed?

Why. Is. Ubuntu Linux. So. Damn. Unfriendly? Hell my ancient Amiga 500 or Quadra Macs are easier to use.

And no this is not a troll.
It's an opinion.
Learn the difference mod. :-)

General answer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160654)

because your an idiot.

Re:General answer (3, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160812)

This should be modded up as insightful.

Re:General answer (1)

RobDude (1123541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161118)

I don't know.

I'm a fan of Linux in general and Ubuntu in specific....and I don't think of myself as an idiot. I'm even fairly tech savvy - I'm a full-time software developer.

And yet, even after two weeks of really, really trying to get Ubuntu running on my desktop - it wouldn't install. I had a 2-3 page thread on the Ubuntu forums detailing my problem and everything I'd done to fix it. Eventually, people stopped offering suggestions.

So, yeah, maybe he's an idiot. And maybe I'm an idiot too. And maybe all the people at the Ubuntu forums are idiots too....but sometimes things are actually pretty darn hard to accomplish.

Re:General answer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161612)

Having trouble getting things that are not well supported working isn't what makes for an idiot, posting a bunch of random offtopic questions is what makes for an idiot.

A question like "I'm still having trouble with x,y and z, do you see Canonical focusing on improving these areas?" would work just fine, but instead we get a litany of problems, composed of a mix of third party issues, obvious cases of obtuse-user-syndrome, and potential real problems.

(For instance, the first Google result for "Ubuntu task manager" is this page:

http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-331065.html [ubuntuforums.org]

I'm not using Linux/Gnome system, so I have no idea if the "System Monitor" mentioned there is a piece of shit or not, but I would bet it works fine, in which case OP really is to blame for not being able to figure it out)

Re:General answer (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161770)

And for every one of your kind of story we have one kind of mine, which is that 9.10 works flawlessly out of the box on all of the computers I use. Better so, actually, because things like the wireless drivers and CUPS eliminate the need to manually install the drivers I would have to on a Windows Box.

I'm running 9.10 on a 1.6gHz 512MB laptop and the default window dressings work without skipping a beat, even after adding a little cube-action. The only problem I saw, a minor one, was the installed version of OpenOffice broke some documents, and bug reports have been filed.

Ubuntu is the Windows-killer. They're doing a bang-up job of making things easy to switch. I'm not one to shill, but I would suck Shuttleworth's cock and ask for seconds.

Re:General answer (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161826)

I'm even fairly tech savvy - I'm a full-time software developer.

My advice is look over your hardware more carefully as you buy it. I try to make sure every system I build can run both the latest Windows and Linux as close to flawless as possible. Every once in a long while a part will sneak past that isn't compatible, but that's usually because I was careless and just made assumptions that it would work. If you were complaining about a laptop have issues I wouldn't be overly surprised. But with a desktop you really have the option to get parts that are guaranteed to work so its not really Ubuntu's fault that its not working.

Re:General answer (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160860)

Seeing "your an idiot" never fails to bring a smile to my face. Thanks for making my day just that much brighter.

Re:General answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161400)

The error was intentional (to lampoon the op).

Does that rune it for you?

Re:General answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160986)

because your an idiot.

Yeah! That's the attitude we need to make Linux user friendly!

New Linux user who got talked into using Ubuntu by his geek friend:

"Um, I'm having trouble. I was able to do it in Windows, how do I do it in Ubuntu?"

Linux/Ubuntu/Slashtard: "You're an idiot."

User: "I guess so .... for switching to Linux."

Re:General answer (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161076)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

because your an idiot.

Yeah! That's the attitude we need to make Linux user friendly!

Nice sarcasm, but you hit the nail on the head. The people who program for Linux have an elitist attitude, such that when a customer encounters a problem, rather than admit the problem exists, they blame the customer as an "idiot".

It's the same business acumen that made Circuit City so successful.

Oh. Wait.

Re:General answer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161672)

The Linux Community - "Blaming the Victim" since 1991. Dumbasses.

Re:General answer (3, Insightful)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161556)

because your an idiot.

Yeah! That's the attitude we need to make Linux user friendly!

Except there's an actual case to be made that the OP is an idiot, as much of what he considers problematic is hopelessly outdated, even in Windows. RealPlayer? Nesticle? Does Netscape even run a dial-up ISP anymore? Gaming in 640x480? This sounds like a rehashed troll post from 1996, and despite his tacked-on claims to the contrary it should be treated as such.

Re:General answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161596)

The guy wasn't an idiot for not knowing how to do stuff, but an idiot for asking a few ridiclolus questions:

1) Real Player ( no one wants it on windows, or anyother OS. If they do, they are an idiot.)
2) Main complaint about video game emulation. Any questions about games are inherently stupid. You have a ridiculously powerful machine at your fingertips the like of which we could only dream about ten years ago ... and your biggest complaint is about not being able to play games??

The rest were semi-legit questions, even if they were in part tainted by the video game question.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160712)

it's also off-topic

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160762)

Right -- hear that, mods? Not a troll. Just Off-Topic. :b

(You admit that it's an opinion, after all, and this is more an interview than a promote-your-opinion discussion...)

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160880)

It may not be a troll but it's a sign of not knowing what you're doing. Hell, one of the first things I did when properly moving over to Linux was install Opera on Ubuntu. I don't think the process could have been any easier.

You'll need to speak to the developers of Nesticle and Stella as to why their ports may be interior.

System ->Adminitration -> System monitor will give you all sorts of stats on your CPU, memory, processes running, etc.

Not sure why the hell you need to go down to 640x480 but holding the Alt key allows you to move the window. You'll find this sort of problem on any OS. When I remote desktop into my work machine (dual screen) which is XP, if I need something that was on the second screen, it can be a nightmare to get it when Windows don't move things to fit my laptop screen.

I haven't used dial-up in ages let alone attempt to use something like Netscape ISP but searching for ubuntu netscape isp returns a few results form the wonderfully helpful ubuntu forums

Not sure about your file issue but sometimes I lose ownership of my drives when re-installing Ubuntu so I ust make my new username the owner of them and it's sorted. Look into using the cli command chown ( https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FilePermissions [ubuntu.com] ) or do it through the GUI by right clicking on the the folder, clicking properties, going to permissions and modifying permissions.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161148)

>>>Not sure why the hell you need to go down to 640x480 but holding the Alt key allows you to move the window. You'll find this sort of problem on any OS.
>>>

No. You don't. On Windows the desktop properties usually fits, and in those *rare* times it does not fit, you do not need to move the window because pressing "enter" will auto-select the okay button and thereby switch back to 1280x1024.

Oh and I already tried the fixes on ubuntu's forums. Did not work.

Then I was told I was stupid.

See?

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161830)

I am gonna guess they diagnosed the problem correctly. Windows does not autoselect ok, it selects cancel.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161094)

why doesn't the desktop properties window fit (thereby leaving me stuck?

you're not stuck, although that does sound like bad design. Fortunately, Gnome has a solution to the general problem of poorly sized dialog boxes going off the screen for whatever reason. Hold the [alt] key and click anywhere in the window and drag. Which is a far sight better than what Apple has chosen to do with windows that go off screen: Resize automatically sometimes, only allow moving windows from the thin strip at the top, and only allow resizing windows with a small tab on a single corner.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161210)

Apple also lets you press "enter" and will auto-select the okay button, so you can escape from 640x480 back to your original larger size.

Windows too. Why Ubuntu does't do the same solution indicates to me that the programmers behind the thing are the true idiots. They overlook the obvious that any common person would immediately think to do.

What is it my coworkers used to say at my old retail job? "College people have all kinds of degrees, but don't know how to change a tire, fill-up the oil, or any other thing the common idiot knows how to do."

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161604)

I had a lot of trouble installing on my netbook (1024x600) because most of the screens during the install weren't designed with 800px high displays in mind.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

IshmaelDS (981095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161660)

Holding the [alt] key and right clicking is a far better way of doing it. I'm sure your used to just pressing enter, but what if you needed to change more than one setting, you would run into more issues in windows than you would in Ubuntu as you would be able to move the screen to see and select those options. It's just a matter of training, you had to learn that hitting the enter button would do that(yes it seems intuitive now but was not always the case).

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161848)

I have a college degree yet can do all those things, but I have enough money that I don't bother with doing it myself.

Go ahead and blame your betters for your short comings.

Re:How come I can't install RealPlayer on Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161530)

For one, I'd have to tell you to get a better ISP. Hell, that's not even Linux advice, that's common sense.

Since you are a Linux user (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160628)

Do you ever bathe?

Re:Since you are a Linux user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161136)

Yes, twice daily. Thanks for asking!

Re:Since you are a Linux user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161576)

Do you ever bathe?

Only with RMS.

Mono (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160638)

Do we really need Mono in the default installation?

Re:Mono (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160844)

F-Spot uses it. Enough said.

Re:Mono (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161036)

along with that question is : "do we really need fspot in the default installation?"

Re:Mono (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161622)

Considering the number of applications that use a managed/dynamic runtime. Including perl, python, ruby and others, I'd say that including said runtimes is probably better in terms of application support out of the box, over a particular application.

Enterprise Versus Desktop Emphasis (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160666)

You used to write a lot about desktop Linux distributions [cnet.com] but now that you're COO of Canonical, the revenue comes most from enterprise support. Do you plan on trying to change that or maintain any value in pleasing the at home Ubuntu user? Your blog post talks about your kids achieving basic tasks with Ubuntu, will you still keep them in mind despite the fact your new employer doesn't see a dime from them? Any plans to make it more user friendly or make it more mainstream and less server room [cnet.com]?

Microsoft Pac-Man : gobble! Ubuntu? gobble! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160694)

Now that Mark Shuttleworth has stepped aside, how long until the Microsoft coyotes come in and either implant a new CEO or insert stealth ex-employees into the fold to subvert Ubuntu or suddenly announce a new pact with Microsoft and Novell? How long can we expect Ubuntu to continue free of Redmond's grasp? Many won't speak of this, but you know the feelings are there. Just you wait, the "let's make a deal" Microsoft fairies will swarm in and around Ubuntu eventually.

: We promise we won't sue you today for the hamburger you eat from out of our interoperability kitchen, but we may always change our position once you become addicted to our hamburgers!

I know there are skins, but (0, Troll)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160708)

... I was just wondering if there were plans to move the default color scheme away from burnt orange.

It just seems that if Ubuntu wants to appeal to more mainstream users, a good approach would be to have a color scheme that doesn't look like a desert wasteland.

Re:I know there are skins, but (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160964)

I heard they were making a big switch to mud brown in the next edition. As for looking like a desert wasteland, it also looks like the inside of every trendy coffee shop and Panera Bread, so you know a lot of thought went into its innovation. In fact, that's the very measure of original-ness: is it found in thousands of trendy stores nationwide? Then it's originique!

Two things (0, Troll)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160714)

Will Ubuntu continue to periodically suck my focus away from whatever task I'm doing with sociopathic notifications that refuse to leave until they're good and ready, however politely I ask.

Will Ubuntu avoid unnecessarily fiddling with applications as part of the default install [OK Pidgin/Empathy is the only case I can think of]

How much influence over Debian's future direction does Canonical have?

[Disclaimer: Big fan of Ubuntu, use it for most server installations and al personal desktops.]

K-ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160718)

The Ubuntu brand has worked well while KDE4 was working out the kinks, but as KDE is now (or becoming) better than Gnome, will there be brand name confusion, when people praise Kubuntu, and say Ubuntu is inferior?

Can you do anything about ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31160728)

Can you do anything about duplicate posts on Slashdot?

Performance Measurements for Ubuntu? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160738)

As over watch of operations management, what kind of performance measurements are you going to make to decide which direction Ubuntu development is heading? Number of bugs? Just cash flow? Number of supported packages?

Simply put: what are you going to improve Canonical's operations and how are you plan on measuring it to prove you're making a difference?

Ubuntu and KDE (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160790)

Will Ubuntu continue to treat KDE as a second-class citizen?

I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrude people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?

The GNOME community is fragmenting. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161042)

More importantly, we see GNOME falling further and further behind KDE. We need to know exactly when Matt will be pushing for GNOME to be deprecated in favor of KDE (or even XFCE). He really doesn't have a choice; GNOME needs to go, and it needs to go very soon.

Even if it wasn't as great as everyone was expecting, at least KDE managed to get their 4.0 release out the door quickly, and have been making great improvements on it since then. We see them innovating, and creating a desktop environment that keeps getting better and better. Their underlying toolkit, Qt, keeps improving rapidly thanks to the efforts of Nokia and others.

GNOME, on the other hand, has been spinning its wheels for years. It has no real leadership, and we aren't seeing any innovation out of them. GTK+ is basically in maintenance mode.

We're seeing the GNOME community fragmenting, and quite badly. Some people still advocate using C, others are saying that Mono is the way to go. And yet others are pushing for Vala. Frankly, the internal strife will tear the GNOME project apart, much like happened to XFree86. I, for one, sure hope that Ubuntu has moved away from GNOME far before then.

Re:The GNOME community is fragmenting. (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161216)

I do think that Qt is a better framework to build upon, but I think there is room for the Gnome desktop.

They have different goals and philosophies. I think KDE 4.4 right now is a far more advanced desktop than Gnome 2.x, but the work on Gnome 3 and Gnome Shell shows that they do have an eye towards the future.

However, given that even many diehard GTK developers seem to have serious issues with GTK, and there is some dissent over how to proceed with GTK 3 in the future, why not at least consider a future Gnome built upon Qt?

It would make it far easier to apps to fit in naturally with both Gnome and KDE desktops. Qt ships with a Clearlooks engine out of the box. You could build a Gnome desktop on top of Qt that has the design and appearance Gnome developers strive for, with better portability and better performance.

If such a huge migration were ever going to happen or work, Ubuntu would have to spearhead it.

Re:Ubuntu and KDE (1)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161064)

As a KDE fan, and Kubuntu user, I think your comment is not quite fair. I would mod you up if I had any points, because I like the concept, but not the way you ask. The question implies Canonical doing something actively bad to KDE, and that may automatically put Matt on the defense. So I would have preferred you stated it otherwise, such as "Does you have any plans or personal hopes to invest more into the KDE SC?" Just my opinion, and I hope he addresses this.

Re:Ubuntu and KDE (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161270)

I think Ubuntu is actively hurting the KDE community by giving it a bad name.

When Canonical works on new features for each Ubuntu release, they work indepdently of the Kubuntu team. Kubuntu is constantly trying to play catch-up on base issues.

Even worse, they put out unstable, buggy, and sometimes flat-out broken KDE packages. Almost every I've talked to that has had really bad experiences with KDE complain about bugs and constant crashes they had when testing KDE packages from Ubuntu.

Read KDE forums, mailing lists, etc. You'll see some serious hate and vitrol from users who blame KDE devs, not realizing that the same packages on other distros work just fine. They don't realize it is their distro that is causing their problems.

I've seen several KDE devs walk away and stop contributing because of all the hate their getting. If Ubuntu wasn't putting out broken packages, it would remove a lot of this backlash.

That is not to say that 100% of KDE backlast is Ubuntu-created. Some people just don't like KDE 4.x. I didn't like the 4.0 release, and was pretty worried about the future direction of KDE at the time. But Ubuntu certainly hasn't done KDE any favors the past two years with the packages they've put out.

Re:Ubuntu and KDE (3, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161122)

I loathe Gnome personally but don't begrude people the freedom of choice. However, with Ubuntu becoming almost synonymous with Linux, do they have a responsibility to try and put out a quality KDE desktop along with a quality Gnome desktop?

Yep. Coming at this from a slightly different angle, I use fluxbox on ubuntu rather than gnome. One of the big problems in karmic is that I'm being affected by multiple new regressions that seem to arise from the lack of any serious testing on any desktop environment other than gnome. Two examples: (1) Previously, sound used to work fine for me in fluxbox. Now, sound works sometimes in Gnome, never in fluxbox. (2) This [launchpad.net] bug appears to arise because they decided to implement a new signal from the Gnome desktop to let xsplash know when it was done starting up, but nobody appears to have bothered to check what would happen in desktop environments other than Gnome, which don't implement the signal.

I understand that Gnome is the primary desktop focus of the standard version of ubuntu. But is is really that much to ask that someone at least start up the other desktop environments once to see if they work? Both of the problems above were evident to me within five minutes of upgrading from jaunty to karmic.

Re:Ubuntu and KDE (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161156)

I have always said part of the appeal of Ubuntu is that they have so many packages.

I also think that is a mark against Ubuntu because I don't think they have the staff to properly test all those packages, hence the buggy releases.

If you have projects like Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and the new Lubuntu, you need to either properly support them, or drop them.

Re:Ubuntu and KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161146)

Good question. Especially seeing what 4.4 is bringing to the table and how we're still in waiting mode for Gnome 3.0.

Quality Control (5, Interesting)

davidm2005 (1453017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160792)

I have been using Ubuntu as a software developer for the past several years. I have been extremely disappointed with the most recent release of Ubuntu, 9.10, as it has been extremely buggy and seems like a step backwards to me. The conclusion of this review http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ubuntu-karmic-koala,2484-13.html [tomshardware.com] also expresses a lot of my thoughts about Ubuntu 9.10. I had so many problems in using 9.10, that did NOT exist in 9.04, that I switched one of the two computers I use at work to Windows 7, for stability (yes, these are crazy days). Do you have any plans to increase quality control in Ubuntu, even if it comes at the cost of delaying the every six month release schedule?

Yes Yes Yes Yes (1)

rmcd (53236) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160994)

Quality control in Ubuntu seems like a huge problem. Every release fixes something broken and breaks something that was working. Wifi used to be broken and now it works. Power management used to work and now it's broken. It's a huge waste of time and it makes it hard to recommend Ubuntu.

Re:Quality Control (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161028)

This is an excellent question. I've been using ubuntu since edgy eft, and I'm really dismayed by the quality of jaunty and (especially) karmic. The biggest issue is that sound, which worked for me in edgy through intrepid, started working poorly in jaunty, and is now essentially completely broken for me in karmic. I've spent a lot of time surfing ubuntuforms.org, collecting information, trying to write useful and well documented bug reports, etc. But the upshot is that there have been major, major regressions in sound for me.

Another regression that affected me after the upgrade to karmic was this one [launchpad.net]. I noticed the problem, and because it was causing me significant inconvenience I dug around in the source code and found it. As described in the bug report, there is a function called temporary_hack_for_initial_fade(). So obviously someone put a kludge in and then the kludge wasn't fixed in time for the release of karmic, so they released it anyway. This doesn't seem to speak well for the quality assurance procedures that go into a release of ubuntu.

Re:Quality Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161384)

Really? Because for me it's been getting better with every release. Now the only thing that doesn't work is my fingerprint reader... I think you also need to realize that you can't extrapolate your experiences to the whole.

Re:Quality Control or lack of (1)

hilldog (656513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161456)

Indeed! I have never had random black screen crashes and buggy wifi connections with any version of Linux as I have had with karmic. It has taken a month of tweaks, upgrades, back porting and such to get a 'nearly' stable machine. Karmic is Ubuntu's Vista.

Revenue (5, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160820)

Shuttleworth is still funding Canonical. At some point however, this needs to turn into a protibable vendure to endure. How does Canonical create lasting revenue streams, and will those decisions come at the cost of usability and freedom in the distro, such as the recent decision to use Yahoo search (powered by Bing) as the default)?

Smarthphones (2, Interesting)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160834)

Smartphones have become another computing device. There is Android, and there is MeeGoo. Ubuntu has missed the oportunity of creating a phone version of Ubuntu like Apple did with iPhone OS....what is Canonical going to do in this area? Create a phone version of Ubuntu and hope that some vendor chooses it? Support Android? Or Meego?

Migration (1, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160838)

In the 21st century, why is it that we still don't have a simple, user-friendly tool to help both home and enterprise users to migrate their existing documents and settings while performing a Linux install?

Proprietary products (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160870)

You often praise proprietary, closed-source products on your blog (especially products from Apple and IBM). What is your stance on mixing proprietary and open products?

Distro Fragmentation (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160908)

Even as Ubuntu soars in popularity, we see forks of Ubuntu (such as Mint) pop up. Do you feel that distro fragmentation detracts from acceptance and adoption?

Business apps? (2, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160940)

Does Ubuntu have any plans for trying to recruit business software makers to make Linux versions? Before Ubuntu can be useful to me, at the very least, there needs to be at least ONE functional financial package (ala: Quickbooks, Simply, etc.), for example.

simple one here (0, Flamebait)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160958)

what will you do to ensure proprietary software, proprietary licenses and related legal uncertainties/risks will not be further migrated into ubuntu? What will you do to further the goal of free software/open source? It's not safe to program anything using mono due to the obvious legal risks, for example.

The yahoo search deal (after yahoo announcing a MS partnership) and having mono (and fspot) in ubuntu are two notable issues in that sense.

Re:simple one here (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161072)

Mono is integrating into more and more Gnome apps. Given that Ubuntu is based upon Gnome, either they must start forking these Gnome apps, or embrace Mono themselves.

I understand the initial concern with Mono, but I'm not paranoid about patent lawsuits.

I don't know that Microsoft can really sue over Mono given that Microsoft has worked with the Mono team and largely given their blessing to the project. The EU has also demanded they work on interoperability. If Microsoft tried to sue over Mono patent-infringement, the EU can just drop the hammer on Microsoft again. Does MS really want that?

Continue standard six month releases? (1, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31160962)

The last few Ubuntu releases have been plagued with bugs on release. Do you support steady releases every six months, and what can Ubuntu to do improve from a quality perspective?

KDE & LXDE (5, Interesting)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161056)

I have a few questions as a loyal *buntu user:

1) Do you feel Kubuntu's 'Operation Timelord' is a step in the right direction for the distribution? If so, why do you feel it was allowed to slip far enough to warrant a complete overhaul?
2) Do you see Kubuntu & Xubuntu becoming purely community-supported distros with Canonical focusing solely on Ubuntu desktop & server?
3) With Xubuntu's memory & CPU requirements being on par with Ubuntu's and Mark Shuttleworth's invite 'to become a self-maintained project in the Ubuntu community' (according to lxde.org), does this signal an end to Xubuntu as a whole or at the very least the 'lightweight' *buntu distribution?

Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161074)

You must be making a lot of money in your new position. Can I borrow some, and when would you need me to pay it back?

Is there a time to fork? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161108)

Sorry, I know my viewpoint is going to anger and annoy some people, but I've been thinking about the relative lack of success of Linux on the desktop lately. By "relative lack of success" I don't mean to bash the quality of Linux, but only that it doesn't seem to be very widely used in spite of being pretty good for a lot of purposes. So first, my obvious question would be, to what do you attribute the relative lack of success, and what plans do you have, if any, to do something about it.

To be a little more specific (and to answer my own question a little bit) it seems to me that a fair amount of the problem isn't the OS itself, but the associate applications. For example, lots of people have complained about GIMP for reasons ranging from lack of specific functionality to an unconventional UI, and even to the awkward connotations of the name "GIMP". Even having personally gotten some graphic designers to try the GIMP, I have yet to know any professional designers who find it adequate. I'd like to use Linux, but don't find I can come close replicating an equivalent workflow to what I have available using tools like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and Sound Forge. (those are the applications I'm personally stuck with, though I'm sure other people have other applications on their personal lists.)

Sorry if this is a vague or offensive question, but I'd really like to know, is there a plan to attack those kinds of issues at any point? I feel like Ubuntu (and other Linux distros) have done a pretty good job in polishing the installation procedures and the "look and feel" aspect of things, but does there come a time when you say, "We need a serious Adobe CS competitor for our OS to be competitive on the desktop, so let's make that happen"? If so, what happens then?

Sorry, I know people are going to tell me that I should just use the GIMP and if it doesn't do what I need, I should rewrite it. Sorry, I don't have the programming skills and and I don't have the money to single-handedly fund development of all the applications that I'd need to switch to Linux. I'd be willing to buy them once they were developed, or even make modest contributions to a project that I thought would actually deliver on what I needed, but I'm not a software developer.

Really, honestly, I'm not trying to be offensive to FOSS developers. I'm just speaking as someone who, for both practical and ideological reasons, would love to switch away from using Windows, but I keep finding that I can't. I use Debian and Ubuntu when I can, and have even contributed money to FOSS projects. So ultimately my question is, does Ubuntu have as one of its goals to enable someone like me to finally make the switch to Linux? If so, what's the plan? What can I do to help?

Re:Is there a time to fork? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161332)

OpenOffice.org is getting quite good for most purposes lately, and that seems to be where the attention is focused. As for advanced image/sound/video/CAD editing applications, with a few partial exceptions here and there (eg. Blender), Wine seems to be the way to go. Wine is also moving forward pretty fast with Google pushing it as the means through which they release Linux versions of all their desktop software.

Re:Is there a time to fork? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161788)

To be a little more specific (and to answer my own question a little bit) it seems to me that a fair amount of the problem isn't the OS itself, but the associate applications.

Clearly the larger the install base for an OS, the more applications are likely to be developed for it, but additionally the ease of developing, marketing, and getting those applications to the end user plays a big role. I know the current Canonical roadmap includes an App Store built into the package manager, to facilitate developers marketing and delivering applications to end users, similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone App Store. Ubuntu can also capitalize upon nonproifit collaborative development by acting as a facilitator and contributor to application development needed by larger organizations needing software and with a budget for development.

That said, I think Canonical should do more than just that. The App store in the application manager should be a priority, but to be realistic unless Ubuntu gains a lot of market share, this is going to be a big uphill battle. Several strategies could help alleviate this problem:

  • Create a good, easy, cross platform development environment so developers can target Ubuntu and another OS (Windows or OS X) simultaneously with first rate applications that work well with both. This would mean either embracing WINE in a big way (since MS is not going to play ball) or making a partnership with Apple to create a more interoperable format for applications that run on both Linux and OS X.
  • Create an in house application development program that targets multiple platforms and makes better applications on other platforms than are available. Don't make a Photoshop clone for Linux. Make a Photoshop clone for Linux, Windows, and OS X, that is better for some group of users than Photoshop is. Maybe this means more feature-ful, or maybe it just means much cheaper while still good. This group can make commercial software and make a profit, while targeting application niches that are holding up Linux adoption.
  • Find partners - One of the reasons linux adoption is low is because Linux pre-installs are very rare. Hardware partners that need a free OS and some knowhow to customize it also have the money to pay for application development and other partners who might be willing to target that market.

Even having personally gotten some graphic designers to try the GIMP, I have yet to know any professional designers who find it adequate.

I've worked as a professional graphic designer and as a part-time graphic designer in startups. I do use both Linux and GIMP and it is not only adequate but superior for some tasks. Sadly, this is not all tasks. I mostly have used it for batch processing of images where automating the work via scripts was important. Of late, I use it even less, since OS X has some nice, built in scripting that works well with Photoshop, Pixelmator, and GraphicConverter.

...but does there come a time when you say, "We need a serious Adobe CS competitor for our OS to be competitive on the desktop, so let's make that happen"? If so, what happens then?

This is an interesting question, but I don't think Ubuntu is there yet. A lot of low hanging fruit is available before the professional graphic design niche is worth targeting. Home users and Corporate Workstations are the two biggest of these. The former is mostly there sans a market for good games and reworking the application manager to facilitate generic commercial software. The latter will probably be best entered into by targeting government and education first and letting the market share do more of the work instead of Canonical trying to brute force it.

It's nice to read a post from someone who can intelligently point out real problem spots and ask good questions. Hopefully some of your post makes its way to Mr. Asay so we can hear his take.

Red Hat -- Ubuntu Transition, and a request (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161110)

Has Ubuntu Server considered directly challenging Red Hat through competitive marketing? Is RHEL seen as a direct competitor with Ubuntu? I know Ubuntu Server has put a lot of work into being a cloud computing platform; has any extensive thought gone into more explicitly targeting traditional Linux server/RHEL deployments as they are seen now (Java application server stack, web stack, etc.?)

And a suggestion: With the upcoming LTS release, please hire documenters, pay volunteers for quality documenting work, SEND PROGRAMMERS TO DOCUMENTING SCHOOL. I don't believe I'm the first to say that quality, thorough documentation of all tools and use cases of a piece of software is as critical to the usability of software as the quality of the software itself. Community/volunteer documentation can be handy and cheap.

But, I believe this LTS cycle (and the first year post-release) is an excellent time to stabilize, update, and expand on all official documentation. Everything in the following list should be documented accurately and thoroughly. Test every line of instruction!

  • Installing Ubuntu Server in every way possible
  • Customizing installation ISOs for server and alternative installs to meet an enterprise's needs (Preset network configuration, packages, etc.)
  • Package management (e.g. pinning packages in a custom-deployed install) as well as setting up and modifying a custom repository/package mirror
  • Deploying Ubuntu over the network (Installation)
  • Securing Ubuntu using ufw/AppArmor (though FireHOL > ufw, had to say it)
  • Using important core programs present in Ubuntu that aren't present in many other distros at the moment, such as GRUB 2. Upstart, which is supposed to entirely take over for SysV, has very poor documentation, and it's a critical thing for Sysadmins to understand! I don't care if the syntax is developing. If it's in the LTS, GET IT DOCUMENTED.
  • Common uses of Ubuntu Server and detailed configurations of each (Web, Java App Server, Email, DNS, Load Balancing, DHCP, etc.)

I know some of this is already fairly well documented. I know some of this is usually left to upstream documentation, or to the community, or to skilled authors like Kyle Rankin and Benjamin Mako Hill (The Official Ubuntu Server Book). However, Ubuntu is useless by itself. Software is useless if businesses of any size cannot figure out how to set up and configure the software and distribute it easily. If you want small/medium businesses with semi-skilled IT workers, and large enterprises with RHEL or Microsoft-accustomed IT staff to be able to deploy Ubuntu Server (so you can make money), you need to make it clear that your ease-of-use is not questionable, and that Ubuntu Server fits the job better than the competition you clearly have.

Re:Red Hat -- Ubuntu Transition, and a request (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161128)

Just to make it clear, there is a question in that first paragraph. I'm just hoping Matt/Canonical/Ubuntu Server takes note of the comment I made below it.

It don't mean Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161112)

According to The Register, "...Alfresco he'd helped the company to 18 straight growth quarters, with Alfresco's most recent quarter - ending February 28 - the company's biggest ever"

Yeah, well as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown lead the Great Britain to 49 straight quarters of growth before becoming Prime Minister when Tony Blair fled.

Believe me, it don't mean Jack.

Debian (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161200)

Everyone knows Ubuntu is an ancient African word for "I can't configure Debian". How come you can't configure Debian but were able to create a whole other distro?

KDE and the problem with that "disease" (0, Troll)

rec9140 (732463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161212)

1) When will you release a truly up to the job KDE Release, or even better, FIRE the ENTIRE KUBUNTU dev team and hire Boo and the dev's from KMint aka Linux Mint KDE CE.

They clean up Kubuntu's crap distro each and every release and make it PERFECT, KDE 4.x aside, PERFECT! ! !

KDE needs to be the DEFAULT and only main desktop.. Offer lxde, xfce etc. for the tasks and areas they are suited for, gnome needs to go!

2) When will you REMOVE mono and gnome and miguel who is tainting your distro with his programs and DE? mono has no place in any distro, period. mono and miguel need to go! Now is the time! New COO, New X DE, clean house and get the disease out of the distro!

3) How do you plan to make software installs easier for users to encourage migration from that other os?

4) How are you going to curb the "google is your friend" and the "When are you going the fix or feature code then?" attitudes that hamper desktop Linux adoption.

5) Whats you plan and vision for Linux in general and Ubuntu specifically for the next year, 5, 10 years?

How big an effort is hardware support ? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161276)

We're seeing more and more vendors trying to target their OS not only to specific devices, but to very specific components (vid cards, resolutions, network cards...), following in Apple's footsteps. What percentage of dev time does Canonical spend on driver and config support ? Do you think it makes sense for the 'official' distros to alleviate the burden at the cost of some users no longer getting official support ?

Freedom, second? (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161322)

Matt, you were intensely criticized by members of the Free Software community for your critical stance facing "vague concepts" like software freedom and "no vendor lock-in." Reading your blog, it seems to me like you are still a fan of focusing on "high quality software at a compelling price" rather than these other concepts. How will this position affect your work with Canonical and more specifically, its relationship with freedom-first software advocates?

Re:Freedom, second? (2, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161590)

Second. I have to second that this question be asked. Matt seems to want to stay away from the ethical side of free software and just focus on the new hotness factor of "open source". It's kind of funny because I would hear about his posts since he generally included the exact phrase "free software" but when I would read his posts, there was nothing behind it so it seemed like keyword stuffing.

I'm not all that surprised but I am saddened that Canonical who claims to have a "free operating system for your desktop or laptop" seems to be moving away from user freedom as a core value. They have no problem with binary blobs in the kernel and their own service Ubuntu One is proprietary. I would like to hear how Matt sees Ubuntu returning (or not) to a focus on freedom.

Mobile platform plans (3, Interesting)

abhikhurana (325468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161466)

What are Canonical's plans for mobile platforms? With Maemo, another Debian based distro, now available for smartphones, would Canonical also get involved with either that or maybe develop a completely new Distro?

With the desktop Linux market being extremely small and server markets being dominated by Red Hat and Novell, mobiles probably are the sweet spot for Canonical, with its strong focus on usability. Additionally, the lack of standardisation means that users are more willing to experiement with interfaces. So what is the relative priority of Mobile, Netbook, Desktop and Server platform in Canonical's roadmap?

What does a COO do? (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31161474)

What exactly does a COO do, at an organization like Canonical? I don't mean vague organizational goals, like make us wealthy and cool, but specifics.

I do not mean rephrase the wikipedia entry for COO, but how would you APPLY the wikipedia entry for COO at Canonical?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_operating_officer [wikipedia.org]

Datclaimer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31161572)

>(Disclaimer: Matt is on the board of advisors for Slashdot's parent company, Geeknet.)
Revealing the interests of parties involved is good journalism. But unless the author feels this means they consequently have no obligation to objectivity or accuracy, it isn't a disclaimer - it's a disclosure.

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