Comment 103 for bug 882274

Tal Liron (emblem-parade) wrote :


Good point, and a helpful intervention.

Individuals might define their community differently, but piecing together the many voices, and applying some of your language, I'd say that "community" here means:

"The current set of long-time, heavy users, as well as advocates, of Ubuntu's main distribution line (as opposed to Kubuntu and Xubuntu)."

I think the term "user" can also be blown up a bit: it includes a diverse mix of home users, computer enthusiasts, people who work in enterprise IT, and who build, deploy and support software on top of Ubuntu. And they each offer a different flavor of concern and criticism.

I emphasized "long-time" because it seems that this community has already seen some of Ubuntu and free software desktops evolve, enough that they can articulate an informed opinion about the process. And I emphasized "heavy" because I imagine most light users would be more likely to take a wait-and-see approach rather than participate. Their stakes are lower.

And that's my main point: I believe that this community has real stakes in Ubuntu's future, in some cases backed by real money, possibly a lot of it.

And I believe that perhaps these heavy users have been discounted. Possibly for good reasons, as they are weighed down with past bias, outdated habits and legacy applications. But, I'll also point out that Microsoft has been a great choice for enterprises for a long time, specifically due to their proven commitment to the legacy userbase.

Ubuntu's LTS commitment is one great way to do the same, but the devil is in the details. Recall how long it took Microsoft to push NT technology through: a few attempts proved problematic (Windows NT 4), so they kept providing more OSes in the half-way legacy line (Windows 95, 98, Me) before the user community could meet them fully at Windows XP. You can have a vision, and it can be a great vision, but you can't force your community into it without disaster.

Will Ubuntu 12.04 be a Windows NT 4? A Windows Me?

A few people have pointed towards Linux Mint's refreshing (get it? mint?) attitude in this, as they have worked hard to provide a friendly, welcoming path of familiarity from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3:

That short paragraph there sums out very elegantly everything I've been trying to put forward here.

Perhaps Ubuntu should package and ship MGSE with 12.04 for its GNOME Shell login session. Or perhaps MGSE should be remixed to work as Unity plugin instead of a GNOME 3 plugin.