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Ask Slashdot: Are We Witnessing the Decline of Ubuntu?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the too-many-people-running-visigoth-linux dept.

Ubuntu 631

jammag writes "'When the history of free software is written, I am increasingly convinced that this last year will be noted as the start of the decline of Ubuntu,' opines Linux pundit Bruce Byfield. After great initial success, Ubuntu and Canonical began to isolate themselves from the mainstream of the free software community. Canonical, he says, has tried to control the open source community, and the company has floundered in many of its initiatives. Really, the mighty Ubuntu, in decline?"

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631 comments

Yes. (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 7 months ago | (#44945697)

They're making incredibly unpopular design changes without giving people any real option to do things their own way and driving their own userbase away. Unity and other ass backwardsness pissed me off SO MUCH that I learned to use Arch Linux just to get away from it.

Re:Yes. (5, Informative)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#44945809)

Ubuntu to arch seems a drastic step (still it is possible and productive). To those who don't like it I suggest to pick among the dozen ubuntu derivatives you find at distrowatch so you can keep using your ubuntu knowledge. Mint comes to mind. Or fall back to debian.

Re:Yes. (4, Interesting)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 7 months ago | (#44946167)

Exactly, some of my friends that used Ubuntu highly recommend Mint. But I think I'm switching back to Debian with MATE, let's see.
Funny thing is Canonical announced they were going to accept donations more or less at the same time they made the switch to Unity. At first I thought "great, I'll be able to easily show my support", but then I learned about the crap Unity was (and still is). After a year of using Unity I can safely say that it pisses me off (like when accidentally launching an application with meta+number) without bringing any advantage for my use case. The Dash is a joke... gnome-do were much better at it, even if I had to install the mono crap.

Re:Yes. (5, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 7 months ago | (#44946199)

s/-do were/-do was/

And just for clarification, I've been using Unity for only around a year because I waited as long as I could before I had to upgrade libraries and stuff. The upgrade to Gnome/gtk 3 broke all my gedit plugins, and I didn't have time to adapt them. Recently I decided to try Pluma (MATE's version of gedit), and it was a piece of cake to make plugins work.

So I can't thank you enough, MATE crew, you guys are awesome!

Re:Yes. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946169)

Ubuntu to Arch is drastic for someone who doesn't want to work at the command line. I do not fear the prompt, but I used Ubuntu because it tended to Just Work. When the bloat started, I considered good ol' Debian but tried Arch... and never looked back. Based on a few years of use, Arch is a surprisingly robust distribution and the community support is the best I've seen. A+++ WOULD INSTALL AGAIN

Re:Yes. (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#44945833)

They're making incredibly unpopular design changes without giving people any real option to do things their own way and driving their own userbase away. Unity and other ass backwardsness pissed me off SO MUCH that I learned to use Arch Linux just to get away from it.

Its the "we're going our own way" decisions - like Mir instead of Wayland, etc. This leaves you thinking - If I keep with Ubuntu I will be out on a limb, forced to use Unity, etc.

Re:Yes. (5, Informative)

Christian Smith (3497) | about 7 months ago | (#44945899)

They're making incredibly unpopular design changes without giving people any real option to do things their own way and driving their own userbase away. Unity and other ass backwardsness pissed me off SO MUCH that I learned to use Arch Linux just to get away from it.

Its the "we're going our own way" decisions - like Mir instead of Wayland, etc. This leaves you thinking - If I keep with Ubuntu I will be out on a limb, forced to use Unity, etc.

How is anyone forced to use Unity in Ubuntu? There's still Kubuntu, lubuntu etc. And even with straight Ubuntu, you can still install whatever desktop you want, and select it at login.

I personally don't mind Unity, I can pretty much work with whatever desktop is installed by default, as I use the apps and not the shell. So long as I can switch easily between apps, who cares.

And I guess most none-technical people just don't care either way. If it works, it works.

Re:Yes. (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#44945971)

Its the "we're going our own way" decisions - like Mir instead of Wayland, etc. This leaves you thinking - If I keep with Ubuntu I will be out on a limb, forced to use Unity, etc.

How is anyone forced to use Unity in Ubuntu? There's still Kubuntu, lubuntu etc. And even with straight Ubuntu, you can still install whatever desktop you want, and select it at login.

Will be forced once X is replaced by Mir. You will have to laod the whole of Wayland (or X as a legacy) to be able to run other desktops then - which means that it will be very different from the straight Ubuntu. There are already questions in the kubuntu [kde.org] forum and about gnome ubuntu [askubuntu.com].

Re:Yes. (1)

caitriona81 (1032126) | about 7 months ago | (#44945975)

Nobody is forced to use Unity *yet*, but the alternatives are clearly treated as second class citizens that do not get the same level of attention to detail or integration, and makes for a substandard experience that's increasingly a throwback to the days where Linux on the desktop was *only* for geeks. With Mir on the horizon, and with many developers targeting Ubuntu specifically rather than Linux in general, that situation threatens to get worse, as we could conceivably have a large pool of software with Mir+Unity as hard dependencies very soon.

Re:Yes. (5, Insightful)

Iskender (1040286) | about 7 months ago | (#44946001)

How is anyone forced to use Unity in Ubuntu? There's still Kubuntu, lubuntu etc. And even with straight Ubuntu, you can still install whatever desktop you want, and select it at login.

And I guess most none-technical people just don't care either way. If it works, it works.

The thing is, the users aren't just SysAdmins or idiots. There are people who have used computers for ages, but have chosen not to learn to code or compile themselves. The computer-savvyness of youth means this group is growing fast. Ubuntu has turned its back on this group.

I used the Gnome Ubuntu earlier and it was fine. Then came Unity. I tried to use the built-in KDE/Gnome, but they were buggy and slightly broken - no point to a distro if it doesn't work with itself.

Oh well, tried Unity instead. The main interface element (dock) has NO configuration options. Nothing. Basically: I'm supposed to either be their slave or install a working interface myself. No thanks. Too bad Ubuntu still appears to have a superior update system: I don't feel like going to Mint's "good until you have to hack your upgrade". I had enough of that with the earlier Ubuntus.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946149)

How is anyone forced to use Unity in Ubuntu? There's still Kubuntu, lubuntu etc.

On the day Unity was release it replaced the login screen on one of my systems that did not support 3D hardware acceleration (leaving it almost unbootable since CPU was stuck at 100%) and was just broken on another (bad 3d driver support for Linux anyone?!). I could give a long list of changes to default and user configured settings that made my experience miserable or the odd thousand unnecessary default services sucking the live out of a system (and non removable in synaptic since half the default install somehow depended on them). I moved to Debian with Xfce and had it never replace user settings, never try to make things more user friendly (read: remove options), never try to add more eye-candy and it runs games without taking half the frame rate for a window fade effect you wont even see in-game.

Re:Yes. (5, Informative)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 7 months ago | (#44945953)

I tried Unity and didn't get on with it, so I just carried on using XUbuntu instead. If you don't like the desktop environment, it's trivial to replace it with a different one.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946007)

When Unity came to Ubuntu, Ubunto left my computer. ( I switched to windows, 7 seemed ok, and I also found gaming again! )

Yes, I know I don't _have_ to use unity in ubuntu, but I really like to use the defaults in pretty much everything, makes life so much easier when every update does not breaks everything.

dying desktop. (5, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#44946053)

Ok the desktop isn't going to die, but it is becoming more of a workstation than a personal computer.
That said, Windows, OS X, and Desktop based Linux distro's are going to take a hit.
All the big players are trying to make their OS more tablet like. However the desktop is becoming more niche in its use, so they really should focus their UI on what people need for desktops now aday.

Programming, Number crunching, CAD... Less sexy, but a move away from happy friendly OS for grandma to a serious work OS with work productivity in mind is important. I am not saying we should go back to all the old ways. There is a lot of new design work that needs to be done. But it is needs to be more business centric and less home centered.

I agree (3, Interesting)

Skiron (735617) | about 7 months ago | (#44945705)

I used to use on my laptop (4 years ago?) as everything used to work out of the box, but gradually they changed things and Gnome bloat got worse, and the file system layout got more confusing and basically it is now non-standard in the *nix way of things. I moved back to Slackware which I use on my desktops. 10 times better.

Re:I agree (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945735)

The problem with most people who say "is now non-standard in the *nix way of things" is that they generally have only used one *nix –generic linux.

What they don't realise is that the locations that they think are standard in all *nixes are actually very mutable, and many unixes put things in entirely different places. What they really mean is "is now not what I'm used to on linux".

Only time will tell... (4, Insightful)

internet-redstar (552612) | about 7 months ago | (#44945707)

It's hard to predict. But Mint, which builds on ubuntu, has some major flaws with Mint 15. We see Ubuntu still as the distribution of choice for developer workstations. Especially in the embedded linux space. Ubuntu in the server still has the advantage of having a recent kernel and being build on .deb packages instead of the horrible slow and unstable, unupgradeable yum/RPM combination.

If Ubuntu declines, then the question is to what?
We see a lot of ubuntu users going to arch linux for example, but these are the people who started out ubuntu just a few years ago.
Distribution diversity is a good thing.
But we still wouldn't recommend newcomers anything else.

Grtz,
Jasper Internet

Re:Only time will tell... (0)

fisted (2295862) | about 7 months ago | (#44945879)

We see Ubuntu still as the distribution of choice for developer workstations.

Funny, we see Ubuntu as Canonical's variant of Windows(tm). For people who, for whatever reasons (stupid or legitimate), don't /want/ to get a clue about their machines.

If Ubuntu declines, then the question is to what?

Not sure. Would be awesome if there were lots of other distros on which you could run the same software.
Oh, wait, there are.

Re:Only time will tell... (5, Insightful)

internet-redstar (552612) | about 7 months ago | (#44946079)

Being popular as a distribution does not mean they are evil. And the comparison with Windows is just plain _stupid_
Microsoft promotes software patenting.
Microsoft embraces and extends open standards to break them - allows importing of data but only crappy exporting.

Now, I do agree that Ubuntu made some less popular decisions to make money.
While I don't like it either, they are easily apt-get removed.

Ubuntu also does their software development in OpenSource fashion.

I think some of the ubuntu-bashing is unjustified and unconstructive.

Ubuntu has a certain amount of critical mass which is very interesting and which leads to a better quality experience than for example with Fedora.
While I don't agree with all the 'dumbing down', it still allows power user to dive as deep as they want into the system and into the code. And I like the fact that it's not required for novice users.

Re:Only time will tell... (-1, Troll)

fisted (2295862) | about 7 months ago | (#44946193)

Being popular as a distribution does not mean they are evil. And the comparison with Windows is just plain _stupid_ Microsoft promotes software patenting. Microsoft embraces and extends open standards to break them - allows importing of data but only crappy exporting.

Nice set of straw men. Where did you see me saying Ubuntu was a) evil, b) popular or c) popular and thus evil?
And how is it stupid to compare a distro trying hard to be Windows-like with Windows? Are /you/ by any chance ,,just plain stupid''?

Now, I do agree that Ubuntu made some less popular decisions to make money.

I was under the impression those were Canonical's decisions..

While I don't like it either, they are easily apt-get removed.

Now what? Ubuntu or Canonical is easily removed from Ubuntu?

Ubuntu also does their software development in OpenSource fashion.

Geez, did you CamelCase OpenSource? AreYouAJavaProgrammerByAnyChance?
Anyway Big deal. Doing software development ,,in open source fashion'' is standard in the open source world. Hence the name ,,open source'', internet superhero.

I think some of the ubuntu-bashing is unjustified and unconstructive.

I think some of A is B. For many values and combinations of A and B.

Ubuntu has a certain amount of critical mass which is very interesting and which leads to a better quality experience than for example with Fedora.

Especially since Unity, right?

While I don't agree with all the 'dumbing down', it still allows power user to dive as deep as they want into the system and into the code. And I like the fact that it's not required for novice users.

First thing a novice user should do, is /at least/ get familiar with the command line shell. If you like pushing around your mouse, you might just be better off with a Windows machine.

Re:Only time will tell... (3, Interesting)

bazorg (911295) | about 7 months ago | (#44945949)

If Ubuntu declines, then the question is to what?

Right now, Id say... Android.
I've signed up for a broadband service which is bundled with a sports TV channel. I can access that TV channel via the web or using a native app for Android and iOS. When I try using Firefox (on Windows 8 Pro 64) it just will not work. I try IE. Not compatible with that browser, tells me to try a different one.

I tap the Android app and... It just works. Now let's think of what can I do to have that same channel on a larger TV screen. Since I don't have a smart TV box (only free to air channels), I can use that old media centre PC I've been trying to set up for 2 years. Pay £100 for Windows and then get that kind of experience? nah. Pay £100 for Apple TV? Looks great at the shop but will not touch my local media collection. Install Ubuntu? OK, but during a recent upgrade the wifi stopped working with no explanation. Maybe I can get Android x86 and hope for the best, or I can get a cheap £50 android box and just get it over with.

Re:Only time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945951)

horrible slow and unstable, unupgradeable yum/RPM combination.

What the hell are you smoking? Yum/rpm is used successfully/daily on millions of machines world wide. rofl.

Re:Only time will tell... (1)

internet-redstar (552612) | about 7 months ago | (#44946165)

Yes, but it is slow.
And if you ever tried upgrading Fedora from the command line, you know what for a mess it is.
I'm certain it isn't used successfully by YOU on more than a few servers if you say that...
We support thousands of systems, and know what the difference is :)

It's workable for most situations, but it's crappy technology compared to .deb/apt-get

Re:Only time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945993)

"But Mint, which builds on ubuntu..."

Try the Debian edition of Mint: LMDE. It builds on Debian, not Ubuntu - and is in fact not compatible with Ubuntu. I've been using LMDE for as long as it's been available (3 years? 4?), and it is vastly superior to the Mint Ubuntu spins. YMMV.

Re:Only time will tell... (1)

taikedz (2782065) | about 7 months ago | (#44946021)

Elementary OS with the extra trimmings provided by ElementaryUpdate.com, and after switching out some of the standard apps for better ones (Noise for Banshee, Geary for Evolution or Thunderbird, etc...), is great for the "newcomers" to the Linux world -- especially for people of the "I just want to use a mouse" kind of people.

I'm not convinced that any GNU/Linux is for the absolute non-techie, but there are plenty of distros out there with the explicit aim of being newbie-friendly (or in marketing terms, "focused on a great user experience"). Once your user knows how to Google effectively, and knows how to search based on desktop environment instead of distro, they should be able to fly solo fairly soon.

For those who have the patience to look things up and understand the basics of their systems and are not afraid of the occasional CLI operation, the entire Debian family is at their disposition, and the RedHat line is fairly well documented too due to the sheer sizes of both its family tree and comunities. It takes just some initial explanation to newcomers as to what differs between distros from a user perspective to get someone like a developer (or just a plain curious technically-minded person) productive with just about any new distro from one of the large families.

Re:Only time will tell... (1)

sheepe2004 (1029824) | about 7 months ago | (#44946147)

What are the major flaws in Mint 15 that you mention? I've recently upgraded to it on one of my computers and it seems very similar to previous versions.

Hopefully (4, Insightful)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 7 months ago | (#44945711)

Between unity, privacy concerns, moving away from intercompatability with a new package manager, having a PAY STORE as the default app manager, and attempting to establish a walled garden with a new package manager I hope they fall hard. Or at the very least I hope they get back to their roots.

Re:Hopefully (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 7 months ago | (#44945863)

What's wrong with having a "pay store" as the app manager? It's better than having one place for paid apps, and one for free. All mobile devices use this method, and it works great. You can install the vast majority of your apps and libraries in one place, updates are all handled by one system rather than several.. it's one of the few things that they're actually doing right.

Why does it even matter what the package manager is, as long as it's still using .debs?

Linux Mint anyone? (3, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 7 months ago | (#44945725)

Ubuntu got popular because the ordinary people who cannot figure out how a command line works could use it. It looked quite a bit like Windows, which was a good thing. A task bar at the bottom, and a menu with a lot of functionality. Unity is too different, and made it slower too. So, many people seem to switch to Linux Mint.

I mean, even the close/minimize/maximize buttons had to be switched around to the top left... WHY?

If I want unnecessary bling-bling and a lack of functionality, I'll get a Windows computer. If I want to be a hipster, I'll get an Apple. I use Linux because I like simplicity and functionality. As soon as Ubuntu stopped delivering that, I switched to Mint.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945841)

Ubuntu got popular because the ordinary people who cannot figure out how a command line works could use it.

Hardly. It got popular because it was debian based and didn't require knowledge of every part of the system to get it up running acceptably - you installed it and most stuff worked without hours of research and hair-pulling.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945901)

Well Mint has Ubuntu's bugs plus Mint bugs. It's also a lot slower than Ubuntu (surprise surprise). Just an extension on top of Ubuntu for people who hate Unity. Nothing "commandline like" in Mint.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (2)

houghi (78078) | about 7 months ago | (#44945989)

I mean, even the close/minimize/maximize buttons had to be switched around to the top left... WHY?

Isn't that desktop and not distribution related?

I use openSUSE, because the _I_ can decode what I want to use. With the DVD you can select KDE or GNOME or with an extra click XFCE or LXDE. Or I add it afterwards, if I want to. I can even have multiple ones and let each user on the PC decide what they want. No need to change the distro if you want to change on of its programs.

Now if you do not like Unity, but do like Ubuntu, why not go for Xubuntu? Or something else from *buntu?

I see it all the time that people confuse the distro with the desktop. Even when professional reviews are done, what they test is not the distro, but the current version of the desktop.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (4, Insightful)

Christian Smith (3497) | about 7 months ago | (#44946041)

Ubuntu got popular because the ordinary people who cannot figure out how a command line works could use it. It looked quite a bit like Windows, which was a good thing. A task bar at the bottom, and a menu with a lot of functionality. Unity is too different, and made it slower too. So, many people seem to switch to Linux Mint.

I mean, even the close/minimize/maximize buttons had to be switched around to the top left... WHY?

Having the task bar at the side makes perfect sense on modern aspect ratio displays. Todays laptops are very genererous in width, but not so generous in height, so wasting height with a taskbar doesn't make sense if it can live on the side. When working in Windows, I move the taskbar to the side, which makes an enormous difference in usable screen on small laptops.

Putting the window decorations on the left just moves them closer to the left taskbar. Left? Right? Arbitrary really.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (2)

barista (587936) | about 7 months ago | (#44946181)

Todays laptops are very genererous in width, but not so generous in height, so wasting height with a taskbar doesn't make sense if it can live on the side.

Except it's more useful to me if it's at the bottom. If it takes up too much space, make it resizable, like the Dock in OS X.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#44946089)

Ubuntu got popular because the ordinary people who cannot figure out how a command line works could use it.

Linux was and is still predominantly used by people who can use a command line, but Ubuntu won a following with those who don't want to. I came from Debian which was a nice, solid base but very few cared about the desktop. That was something which just happened to run on top of the rock solid server they were building. Hell, when I switched Debian still didn't have a boot screen, it was text scrolling past because who cares on a server? But it was 2007 and it looked a DOS boot from the 1980s, I'm not going to pretend that was a big thing but it was representative of the attitude. To use the infamous car analogy, the only thing Debian focused on was the engine, gearbox, brakes, chassis and so on. Ubuntu came and said we'll give you that with a nice interior, leather seats, air condition, sun roof, metallic paint and a nice polish. Seemed like a win-win at the time.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946179)

Hell, when I switched Debian still didn't have a boot screen, it was text scrolling past because who cares on a server?

Lots of people care. That scrolling text is important log messages. Sure, they also go into a file, IF the boot process gets far enough to mount the file system and start syslogd, and sure you can just look in that file, IF the boot process gets far enough to allow you to log in. If it doesn't, however, having the log message right on screen is a very important tool to be able to fix the problem.

On systems which don't sow the boot messages, the solution to such problems is usually "reinstall".

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (0)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#44946205)

But it was 2007 and it looked a DOS boot from the 1980s, I'm not going to pretend that was a big thing but it was representative of the attitude.

The problem is not all people opinions are equal. The opinion of the people who don't know what any of that 'scrolling text' means is far less useful in the area of computing than that of those who do know what it means and consider it useful diagnostic information.

Pandering to nitwits who think its important to have a shiny boot time display with a spinning logo does not a better platform make.

Re:Linux Mint anyone? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 7 months ago | (#44946107)

Ubuntu was the first distribution I used on a regular basis (back in the Gnome 2 days), because the large number of beginner-friendly tutorials and support forums made it easier to get started.

When Canonical and Gnome both began to screw up the system (Gnome 3 and Unity on the horizon) I moved on to greener pastures. Since I've developed a personal preference for Debian-based systems after years of exposure to different systems on desktops and servers, Mint with Xfce was the obvious choice for little ol' me.

leaving ubuntu could be nice... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945743)

...if there was a tool able to transform an ubuntu install into a pure debian one.

Re:leaving ubuntu could be nice... (2)

Behrooz Amoozad (2831361) | about 7 months ago | (#44945821)

Apt is preinstalled in ubuntu, just add experimental debian sources and apt-get dist-upgrade.Just make sure all packages are upgraded/removed/installed and nothing is left behind.

Re:leaving ubuntu could be nice... (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#44945875)

experimental has not got all debian packages, unstable does.
I suggest a backup, install debian on usb for a couple days to test it out, install on hd and restore /home from backup.

Yes and No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945751)

I think they'll lose some users, and win some new. I don't care, as long as they're helping spreading free software dists, they can build whatever they want. Unity 34 and Mir 3. Sure, it's not my money.

decline of Ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945757)

I have to agree the Unity thing, along with Windows 8 seems ass-backwards as above. However, at least there are alternatives. Xubuntu. Mouse, Keyboard front end, The way God intended.

Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945763)

People are sick and tired of niggers, and everything to do with niggers, including nigger words or nigger-like words. Fairly or unfairly, the African word "ubuntu" reminds people of niggers every time they use their machine.

Never knew what was wrong... (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | about 7 months ago | (#44945767)

But it always felt a little ironic that Ubuntu crashes about once every 5 times on my desktop while Win8 (dual boot) runs flawlessly.

I mean c'mon, just make it f-in work out of the box. Won't install it anymore. Especially with a raspberry in my network for my dicking around in a linux distro.

Re:Never knew what was wrong... (1, Informative)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 7 months ago | (#44945839)

> I mean c'mon, just make it f-in work out of the box.

You are addressing the hardware manufacturers, right? because they have the power to do that, all the others have to hack support into their drivers.

Re:Never knew what was wrong... (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | about 7 months ago | (#44946013)

You're right of course. It's not the OS' fault. You know this, and so do I. But it's beside the point. To make a succesful desktop OS you needn't concern yourself (like, ever) with those driver issues.

It's understandable, but then again, it really isn't.

Time to move (2, Interesting)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | about 7 months ago | (#44945771)

Ubuntu ceased being relevant sometime around 2011. The walled garden approach does not work with the open source crowd.

Decline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945791)

There is currently great declare for everything where x86 or x86-64 is usually involved.
Armdroid systems and Armios are where the growth is now.
BTW, maybe there is even decline on Slashdot given this article currently has so few posts?

Don't think so (5, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 7 months ago | (#44945797)

Ubuntu is still one of the most convenient ways to install and use GNU/Linux. I'm using it daily for everything. The point is that Ubuntu is great despite Shuttleworth's and Canonical's stupid ideas and decisions. It's great because of the community and forums. For example, my girlfriend uses Ubuntu, and when there is a problem I (who else?) have to fix it. Right now, I just take a quick look at the Ubuntu forums and helpdesk, and it's done. I don't want to imagine what would happen if she used Gentoo. :O

Regarding the Desktop/GUI: The desktop is not a reason to switch away from Ubuntu. People who give a fuck can install another window/desktop manager, for example I give a fuck and use XFCE.

Re:Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945871)

I thought the point of Ubuntu was that you didn't *have* to give a fuck about what window/desktop environment you use. It was supposed to just work out of the box.

But now it's shit and I'm back on Debian.

Re:Don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945961)

Ubuntu is a Gnu/linux distro!

Re:Don't think so (0)

kangsterizer (1698322) | about 7 months ago | (#44945919)

The issue is supporting a company attempting to undermine linux by making unpopular choices, such as "its not invented here so we'll do our own project", or "yeah we're leveraging our popularity to basically beg you to donate at every page" (when i saw that one i donated to several other distros instead), yada yada.

the main difference for me beside moral issues, is that many other distros work just as well if not better without any corporate backend driving the things. it's users driving it for other users.

as for an alternative to ubuntu with xfce, of course, there's a bunch of community based debian derivatives, including debian itself

Target demographic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945803)

Ubuntu is Debian for niggers. That's not trolling, that's just being blunt. It was designed by a company created by a South African and distributed with an African language name and shit-brown wallpaper. It was designed for African markets, not the world. The fact it became so popular worldwide is a fluke and now that popularity is waning because people are finally starting to realize who Ubuntu was made for.

With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945813)

I've been a Ubuntu user and staunch defender ever since the hoary hedgehog release (2005), but slowly lost my appetite. It must have been the Unity straw that broke my camel's back,and oh yes Mint 14 (with Mate) was such a relief.. but then Mint 15 dissappointingly needed some touch-ups to make it behave...
So I'm still searching. What should my next Linux release be, I ask you?

Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945907)

opensuse 12.3

Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946011)

Linux Mint because it is dependant on Ubuntu!

Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (1)

jepsr (92968) | about 7 months ago | (#44946023)

I have found aptosid a good alternative. It is Debian based and easy to maintain once you consult the manual and learn a few basic commands.

Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946073)

> What should my next Linux release be, I ask you?

Next distribution you mean? Arch.

Re:With a tear in my eye, I have to concur.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946171)

Manjaro

A viewpoint from a lame long held Windows lover. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945829)

I have no idea what all of you are going on about, I LOVE Unity, why? Because its not Windows 7/8 and its closer to XP, but its Linux!

This is the first time in 13 years of trying out Linux Desktop variants whereby I can actually feel in control of my system and feel like its my friend, instead of my "RTFM" enemy.
I have no idea what all of you are going on about, I LOVE Unity, why? Because its not Windows 7 and its closer to XP, but its Linux!

This is the first time in 13 years of trying out Linux Desktop variants whereby I can actually feel in control of my system and feel like its my friend, instead of my "RTFM" enemy.

Yes, I am aware of the myriad of problems involving proprietary drivers not being open and running proprietary code, Yes I realise that Ubuntu steps on the toes of the FSF movement. But you know what? I don't care. I've finally kicked the Windows habit and I'm loving it because this is the longest time that I have been off Windows, ever.

I say well done with the Unity interface and well done with the "It just works" functionality of installing/uninstalling apps, and if I dont want to bother sudo'ing in terminal I can choose to use USC.

To top it off, it runs Steam, what the hell happened? Why did everyone abandon it? Please dont.

Yes, I am aware of the myriad of problems involving proprietary drivers, Yes I realise that Ubuntu steps on the toes of the FSF movement. But you know what? I don't care. I've finally kicked the Windows habit and I'm loving it because this is the longest time that I have been off Windows, ever.

I say well done with the Unity interface and well done with the "It just works" functionality of installing/uninstalling apps, and if I dont want to bother sudo'ing in terminal I can choose to use USC.

To top it off, it runs Steam, what the hell happened? Why did everyone abandon it? Please dont.

To use a car analogy, Ubuntu is the Camry or Celica of the car world now, and if I want to change the oil filter I finally can because its right up on the front of the engine and easily acessible.

Re:A viewpoint from a lame long held Windows lover (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945887)

Actually I think many of the older geeks doesn't want it to "just work". That's why some of them are running and bitching. And complaining. I don't understand why, if it's to easy for some use, just change displaymanager, or use gentoo.

Re:A viewpoint from a lame long held Windows lover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945931)

it not just the displaymanager - it's the 'store' app manager... that's why i dropped Ubuntu - i find it distasteful, much like using Windows... i feel soiled after a session...

Re:A viewpoint from a lame long held Windows lover (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#44946215)

I also have a bit of distaste towards the Ubuntu Software Center, but sometimes it can be quite nice way to discover software, compared to wading through repositories. It's a good application especially for newcomers.

Re:A viewpoint from a lame long held Windows lover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946141)

Sorry.. I'm on Mint now thanks to the Unity stuff going on. You had real winner when Ubuntu was sporting the Gnome 2 interface. The XFCE version was a nice side track after Unity hit the main line. So I sat on Xubuntu for a little bit till I finally decided to shift more away to Mint. Now I'm thinking of going vanilla Debian because I can add stuff I want to work out of the box with a little work and it's pretty solid with 7 Wheezy and XFCE.

As a [KX]ubuntu, yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945845)

I'm a long time Ubuntu user through Kubuntu and Xubuntu, I have to say it's declining. And I also intend to switch in the near future.

Ubuntu used to be reliable and extremely user-friendly, but recently they've thrown that out of the window. These changes aren't radical, but a long sequence of tiny annoying and agravating changes. Canonical has officially thrown out KDE, it's forcing users to use the unusable wayland, has switched from udisks to udisks2 which has different hard-coded mounting path,... all these hapenned recently.

And people like me, who want to actually do some work on a computer and use a reliable system, frown on these shenanigans.

Therefore, I've decided to simply give up on Ubuntu. As they are essentially a rebranded Debian with a polished look, there's no point in sticking with them.

The only thing that still keeps me on Ubuntu is that I happen to have the latest LTS installed on the computers I work with, and while the one I use on my job can't be replaced to avoid producitivity problems (i.e., downtime) the ones I use at home are still useable mainly due to the lack of updates. But when I'll upgrade, I'll be Debian-bound and not looking back.

Ubuntu was useful, but now it's just annoying to work with. It's a shame how Canonical managed to create an awesome thing, and then decided to simply throw everything away.

Unity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945859)

Unity was the start of the decline of Ubuntu.

It's such a clusterfuck of a user interface that Ubuntu is dead to me now.

Re:Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945911)

Unity is one of the best things that happend to Ubuntu. And Yes, i've been using Ubuntu since 6.x versions

Re:Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945937)

What? Unity is the best thing that has happened to Ubuntu.

What are you guys smoking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945861)

This is the first time in 13 years of trying out Linux Desktop variants whereby I can actually feel in control of my system and feel like its my friend, instead of my "RTFM" enemy.

I have no idea what all of you are going on about, I LOVE Unity, why? Because its not Windows 7/8 and its closer to XP, but its Linux!

This is the first time in 13 years of trying out Linux Desktop variants whereby I can actually feel in control of my system and feel like its my friend, instead of my "RTFM" enemy.

Yes, I am aware of the myriad of problems involving proprietary drivers not being open and running proprietary code, Yes I realise that Ubuntu steps on the toes of the FSF movement.
But you know what? I don't care. I've finally kicked the Windows habit and I'm loving it because this is the longest time that I have been off Windows, ever.

To me it feels like a breath of fresh air using Unity, and Ubuntu runs perfect without any crashes on my system most of the time, its rarely crashed and its far far far less often than Windows.

I say well done with the Unity interface and well done with the "It just works" functionality of installing/uninstalling apps, and if I dont want to bother sudo'ing in terminal I can choose to use USC.

To top it off, it runs Steam, what the hell happened? Why did everyone abandon it? Please dont.

Yes, I am aware of the myriad of problems involving proprietary drivers, Yes I realise that Ubuntu steps on the toes of the FSF movement. But you know what? I don't care. I've finally kicked the Windows habit and I'm loving it because this is the longest time that I have been off Windows, ever.

I say well done with the Unity interface and well done with the "It just works" functionality of installing/uninstalling apps, and if I dont want to bother sudo'ing in terminal I can choose to use USC.

To top it off, it runs Steam, what the hell happened? Why did everyone abandon it? Please dont.

To use a car analogy, Ubuntu is the Camry or Celica of the car world now, and if I want to change the oil filter I finally can because its right up on the front of the engine and easily acessible.

Re:What are you guys smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945915)

WE FSCKING GET IT

Re:What are you guys smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946027)

+1 on the above.

Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945891)

Why not just call it 'coonix'
It can't possibly work because niggers don't work and anything niggers
get their ape like hands into will cease to work as well.

Leave it to niggaz' to fuck up something that is free.

Ubuntu sounds like 'Nigger Linux to me'

I hear that they changed the man pages to "ape" pages!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!

So instead of typing "man xorg" you type "ape xorg"

Want to know less about niggaz' ?
Point your browsa' here:

http://niggermania.com/tom/ [niggermania.com]

nigga crusher

****Support your local porch monkey,,,,pay your taxes.....*****

ubuntu *was* great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945963)

back when it was simply 'debian-done-right' -- now it's 'linux-done-wrong'

ubuntu's best use today is as a demonstration of what _NOT_ to do with a linux distribution or linux desktop. too bad gnome didn't get the hint either, it used to be my favorite linux environment (it's a tossup between xfce and lxde now).

we still use ubuntu daily, but an older version's live cd for rescue purposes only (e.g. copying files off of a broken windows install), not general workstation use. our primary linux desktop is debian testing now, which just happens to be what we used back before ubuntu existed. so you could say ubuntu has gone full-circle with us already.

Yes, i left (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945967)

Disappointed by ubuntu, I finally landed on centos

Not just Ubuntu (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945979)

Open source software is a dying fad. There's really no need for Linux. Windows and OS X are just fine for most people. Even half of the new supercomputers in the top 500 in the past year are running Windows or OS X. Linux was a fad in the past 15 years, but it's going away and people are switching back to Windows and OS X.

Re:Not just Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946093)

Hahahaha. Android? And I guess you don't even know what OS X are based on....(read up on that, so you'll learn something, and dont need to make moronic comments)

ah, lovely irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44945995)

I am, at the moment of launching slashdot, getting rid of 10.04 from the last machine that had an ubuntu on it (this very box). Everywhere it's a rolling debian testing an no more non-sense from canonical.

Wrong premise (5, Interesting)

illogicalpremise (1720634) | about 7 months ago | (#44945997)

This opinion piece is based on the faulty, or at least debatable, claim that Ubuntu needs to satisfy "hard core linux users" to be relevant. The core of Ubuntu users are more typically ex-Windows users trying linux for the first time. A large share belongs to casual gamers and that is likely to increase as Steam on Linux gains traction.

Yes. (1)

Barryke (772876) | about 7 months ago | (#44946009)

I switched to CrunchBang. Its less annoying than the Unity interface (i have no use for its features, they just get in the way and frustrate me) works great on my old (non-pae) notebook.

Now in CrunchBang i just have to right-click to start applications, and manually have to add new applications to that menu, but that was surmountable.

Re:Yes. (1)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 7 months ago | (#44946097)

I learned to love that menu. At first I was really annoyed with how much work I had to do to set up the system the way I liked it but I had just come from Ubuntu where everything is done for you. It was a real eye opener to see how much customization is possible in Linux. I think that using CrunchBang really changed what I expected from a distro and more than anything, it helped me learn the system as a new user and gave me quite a bit more confidence.

Ubu-Pop & GNU-Pop is rising (5, Interesting)

keneng (1211114) | about 7 months ago | (#44946037)

Chinese government and Steam as clients and you dare to say there a decline in Ubuntu? The fact you write an article about Ubuntu in DATAMATION means there must be some validity in its rising popularity. In Germany, they are giving away Ubuntu CD's for all Windows XP users. That doesn't sound like a decline in fact the author didn't even mention that aspect. Gnome is still available as an alternative session along with other Window Managers(twm,KDE) from the Ubuntu repos although it isn't the default. Users that don't like Unity can simply change the session.

My clients are seeking alternatives to windows. When I show them Ubuntu, they are impressed and it's like a breath of fresh air for them. They didn't know they could do that. Even more important, they are starting to use Ubuntu to do their DATA BACKUPS. Does that indicate a sharp decline in Ubuntu? I would say quite the contrary.

With all the NSA distrust recently, people are actually going out of their way to familiarize themselves with gnupg, enigmail and tor in Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distros which provide digital privacy/anonymity. I have been getting other clients wanting to learn about this aspect also.

He's right with respect to some decisions the users may disagree with the benevolent dictator now and then. That's why I also use Debian GNU/Linux because the other distros have their strengths and for each user to discover those themselves.

One last aspect, Ubuntu is part of the bigger GNU/Linux community. It does function as a separate business entity, but the backup plan is the source code remains available to the global GNU/Linux community forever through forks. The author's fear of jumping onto an Ubuntu sinking ship is bullshit. In fact it's far from sinking. The Ubuntu phone will be popular. It's just that not everyone wants to buy non-existant product without having experienced the touchy-feely try-before-you-buy aspect. I'm one of them. I have faith in Ubuntu's direction, but I prefer to see to product made before buying it. The hardware is coming and GNU/LINUX and all its flavors will rise and not just ubuntu.

Healthy change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946039)

I think, that what we see now is just a healthy turn for the linux ecosystem. Ubuntu has become too big. Too mainstream. They have accumulated a lot of power in the linux ecosystem. But it seems, they did not really find the traction with the developer community.
I've started with kubuntu some years ago, until they broke the kde installation so badly, that it became unusable for me. So I switched to ubuntu with gnome.
I've been happy with ubuntu until they brought unity. At first I liked the new design and stuff. But the obvious performance issues where just too bad! And they did not get better with newer versions.
So it was time to switch again. Almost to the place where I had started with linux un the late ninties. Debian. And now I'm happy.
I've seen the same movement in our local linux circle. 3 years ago it was almost all ubuntu (except for the obligatory gentoo user). Now whe have a wider ecosystem again. Arch, Mint, Mint Debian, Debian, Gentoo and Fedora just from the top of my head.
And this is a good thing in my opinion! We have the freedom to decide and the people did decide.

So yes, I see a decline in popularity of ubuntu (on a quite high level!) and many enthusiasts moving away to other distros.

Fishing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946049)

Of course going fishing for flounder instead of concentrating on the business wil cause problems!!!l

Not linear (2)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 7 months ago | (#44946069)

It's not like their trajectory is set in stone. Canonical may respond to the criticisms from users and begin to move in a new direction. Plus, Ubuntu is a fantastic base to build on cf Linux Mint, and I still think Ubuntu is the best way to introduce new users to Linux. I think it is nearsighted to proclaim the beginning of the end.

Ubuntu with GNOME Shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946075)

I think there a lot of normal users and developers that would be very satisfied using Ubuntu with GNOME Shell. However, that is not directly installable out of the box at the moment. Even though Canonical wants you tu use Unity, I think they would keep more users if they improve support for GNOME Shell.

Sounds good to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946091)

Free/Open source is not always the right way to do stuff and distancing them self from open source zealot doesn't sound that bad

Re:Sounds good to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946209)

Free/Open source is not always the right way to do stuff and distancing them self from open source zealot doesn't sound that bad

You, sir, are a homosexual

Decline, but not fall (2)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 7 months ago | (#44946103)

Ubuntu's been my default when I've needed to get Linux installed & working on a machine with minimal fuss for years.

I hate Unity, it's a dreadful UI. But hey, it's Linux - I install my preferred WM and copy my config files into place, and the UI is perfect again.

I dislike the package manager, but I install synaptic and stop caring.

I hate Upstart. I've never been able to use it for a single piece of software without having to jump through hoops (at best) or rewrite the code (at worst). Like Unity, it strikes me as a product designed with a philosophy of "It works pretty well for most cases, and everything else can get stuffed". But I don't often have to make anything work with it, so I can mostly just ignore it.

There was a time when Ubuntu was a distro I genuinely liked and was happy to recommend. That's no longer the case, and appears to be a common attitude. So they've definitely gone into a decline.

But I still reach for the latest Ubuntu when I need a new Linux box. I just take a few more minutes to work around the warts, whereas once I didn't have to. It's still very good at being an easy-to-install Linux distro that mostly JFW. So long as it keeps that, and doesn't screw up by preventing me from working around the crud, it'll do pretty well.

And hey, maybe eventually they'll get back to doing stuff that people like, instead of avoid.

Weird positionning (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 7 months ago | (#44946111)

Ubuntu seem to be trying to go for mainstream with easier/better looking UI and tools - but they feel unfinished, actually buggy and not feature-complete; at the cost of pissing off the historical Linux community by going their own way on a lot of topics seeming to distance themselves from and piss on the community and the mainstream projects. I'm wondering who's left ? They also seem to be spreading themselves very thin. Could we have an nice, finished, desktop OS, instead of half-baked / pipe-dream stage phone, tablet, ...

Netcraft confirms: Ubutntu is dying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946125)

Hoo har.

No...it's already happened (1)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | about 7 months ago | (#44946137)

We're witnessing the aftermath. I moved to mint a long time ago to get away from their silly 'one interface to rule them all' mentality. For a while they had a chance to recover from that, no longer. I think it's too late to recover what they lost when they went down that path.

No, we've already seen it (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#44946143)

That ship sailed a loooooong time ago.

Server still isn't too bad, but Desktop is a botched abortion.

Hate unity? There are other *buntus. (4, Informative)

Chewbacon (797801) | about 7 months ago | (#44946159)

I switched to Kubuntu simply because I hate Unity's minimalism and lack of customization and I hate Mint's sluggishness. I haven't looked back. I like *buntu distributions simply because they're the easiest to get up and running. Unless you need a highly customized Linux system, you can't argue with *buntu's simplicity when it comes to installation.

Quality assurance, I tells ya (3, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#44946163)

The Unity desktop has for years suffered of terrible stability and performance issues. Part of the blame goes to Compiz, which makes for a quite heavyweight graphics stack for simple desktop effects. On certain computers Compiz also crashes every now and then. If you put the vanilla Ubuntu desktop to a small Atom / Bobcat laptop, you can easily see that even the basic functions are painfully slow and thus the desktop unusable. When we go up to relatively fast Core 2 Duo machines, even then opening the Dash is laggy and also dragging shortcut icons from Dash to taskbar is a jerky experience. Just try it.

Additionally there are some weird issues that seem to linger from release to another, some of which would be easy to fix:
* Brightness is changed in two steps at a time. Apparently the button press event gets handled by both OS and BIOS. Setting /sys/module/video/parameters/brightness_switch_enabled to 0 can be used as a workaround.
* Hibernation is disabled by default, while in practice it works just fine on most machines. (how to enable it manually [ubuntu.com])
* Bluetooth adapter on/off state is not remembered across reboots.
* I always get that "Your current network has a .local domain, which is incompatible with the Avahi network service and not recommended" popup. This just creates a bad out-of-box experience. What is Avahi? Why must I even care about it? Why did not the installer configure my hostname better then?

Unity Broke Ubuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44946211)

Seriously, what was wrong with GNOME 2? I've tried using GNOME 3 and it sucks big donkey testicles compared to the straightforward menu system in GNOME 2. Given that the Ubuntu devs couldn't stop the switch to GNOME 3 I guess they decided to develop UNITY instead. Unity is dead simple, for the icons in the tray - but have you ever tried explaining how the "Dash" menu works to someone who can barely position a mouse cursor?? The fact that the window controls and menu bar is hidden at the top of the screen is also something that confuses the heck out of windows users too.

GNOME 2 may not have been fancy, but it was intuitive for users to learn, and it looked "just enough" like Windows so that the learning curve for people needing to switch was easy. Mint, errr - well - it's not quite as polished - and Ubuntu is now "too polished"

I guess I could install cinnamon on top of Ubuntu or something - joy!

At one time I really liked Ubuntu, because it was the one distro I knew of that would pretty much install on ANY hardware, with a decent set of pre-packaged apps. I could still run release 8 on machines that would otherwise be headed for a dumpster. Pentium II 450Mhz, TNT2 video card, 512MB RAM, 10GB hard drive - would still be usable on releases up to 8.04. For a little while I even ran the PPC version on an old G3 iMac although the lack of flash support sucked.

I still load 12.04 on user's machines when they can't find their original software - esp. with end of life for XP coming. Simplicity was a good thing but they are more intrested in market differentiation now. They're transitioning mythbuntu to "Ubuntu TV" and of course they have the "Ubuntu Phone" in an already crowded market. I guess I can't blame a business for trying to be profitable but it's just sort of sad.

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