Coalesce some official derivatives to single while preserving freedom of desktop choice

Bug #1055866 reported by Kip Warner
22
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu
Won't Fix
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Ubuntu currently has a number of official derivatives. These include the following.

    Xubuntu - Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop environment

    Ubuntu Studio - Designed for multimedia editing and creation

    Mythbuntu - Designed for creating a home theatre PC with MythTV

    Kubuntu - Ubuntu with the K Desktop environment

    Edubuntu - Ubuntu for education

    Lubuntu - Ubuntu that uses LXDE

It is a good idea to offer users the freedom of choice to select an appropriate derivative, but this can probably be done better by simplifying the number of official derivatives that differ only in the default desktop environment by collapsing them into a single official distribution. Ubuntu Studio, Mythbuntu, and Edubuntu are sufficiently conceptually different enough from one another to warrant separate distributions, whereas Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu are all different in the same way. They differ only really based on the default desktop environment. That choice alone perhaps does not warrant the availability and support of distinct distributions.

Instead, a single official distribution for all those that differ only in terms of the default desktop environment could give the user a choice during installation time of the default desktop environment to use, leaving Unity as the default as it currently is for vanilla Ubuntu, respecting Canonical's commitment to that desktop environment for new users or for those who are comfortable with the default choice, while providing brief summaries of the other options if the user makes the appropriate selection (e.g. Xfce, Lxde, Gnome, KDE).

This has many added benefits, not least of which is the reduction in the number of different types of DVD discs that need to be replicated and only one type that needs to be on hand at Ubuntu community events.

Kip Warner (kip)
Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Opinion
Revision history for this message
silverballer47 (silverballer47) wrote :

Given that the Ubuntu installation images are now slightly larger than CD-size and will require DVDs, this seems like a good use of some of that extra available storage.

Kip Warner (kip)
description: updated
Revision history for this message
Dimitri John Ledkov (xnox) wrote :

Actually all of these official derivatives are merely meta-packages in the archive. Therefore after the installation, they are in essence the same.

Collapsing all of these together doesn't make sense, as I will most likely not use most of the applications offered by different desktop environment, as they are not the most suitable once for the choice of my desktop environment. Plus that would be a waste of downloading stuff I don't want, nor need.

The installation media you are after are netinstall or mini.iso. Which are tiny images that offer to install any of the above flavours effortlessly by pulling the relevant packages from the archive over the internet.

This is defiantly not a bug in ubiquity. As ubiquity is simply one of the two installers we use across all the flavours and other unofficial derivatives.

All individual flavours exist because there is a target audience for those, dedicated communities of developers and users. Ubuntu is highly versatile community and it is one of it's advantages that we have these diverse flavours with their own branding, websites, irc channels etc.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: Opinion → Won't Fix
affects: ubiquity (Ubuntu) → ubuntu
Revision history for this message
Kip Warner (kip) wrote :

"Actually all of these official derivatives are merely meta-packages in the archive. Therefore after the installation, they are in essence the same."

Yes, that is correct. It depends what you mean though by the same. They're all just meta-packages and all I'm proposing is that Uniquity, the installer, give users the freedom of choice to select a desktop environment at installation time. Based on that selection, Uniquity would simply pull the requisite packages.

"Collapsing all of these together doesn't make sense, as I will most likely not use most of the applications offered by different desktop environment, as they are not the most suitable once for the choice of my desktop environment."

This doesn't make sense. I didn't advocate Ubiquity install any other desktop environment and its requisite runtime, applications, and so on, than the one the user selected.

"The installation media you are after are netinstall or mini.iso. Which are tiny images that offer to install any of the above flavours effortlessly by pulling the relevant packages from the archive over the internet."

No, that's not what I'm after. Network installs require connectivity and puts a greater demand on the user, like having to have access to multiple discs simply to try a different desktop environment. It's true that the user can simply pull the requisite meta package, but most new users don't know that and associate an official (desktop environment) derivative as different. The desktop environment packages are small, such as the Gtk+ and Qt runtimes, in comparison to translations which take up a great deal of space and are justified in not shipping on the same disc. Moreover, desktop environments like Gnome, Unity, and Xfce do not require redundant Gtk+ runtime packages on the disc simply because they're all Gtk+ based.

"This is defiantly not a bug in ubiquity. As ubiquity is simply one of the two installers we use across all the flavours and other unofficial derivatives."

Read above more carefully. I filed it as an opinion, not as a bug. This was also to encourage public discussion, as opposed to changing the status immediately to Won't Fix before allowing that to happen.

"All individual flavours exist because there is a target audience for those, dedicated communities of developers and users."

Where did I say that I was proposing that those communities homogenize and aggregate themselves? I was proposing that Ubiquity simply allow the user to select their preferred desktop environment at installation time, and not a political or social philosophy.

Revision history for this message
Dimitri John Ledkov (xnox) wrote :

Ubiquity cannot choose to install particular desktop environment.
Ubiquity doesn't pull in any individual packages, as debs are not available on the desktop CDs.
Ubiquity simply copies the complete contents of the live-cd (which is preinstalled with particular desktop environment, settings, default applications and language packs using debootstrap) and then does additional cleanup. It may install some additional packages over the network, but that is not majority of the system.

Won't fix, means it does not fit the goals of the project. A new user does not necessarily know what a desktop environment is, nor how to qualitatively choose between them. The current situation is: download cd, click try. If you like it, click install. If you don't like it, download something else. Maybe you will like that one.

You are free to create debian style multi-cds/dvds/bluerays with all the packages as debs and run debian-installer in gtk mode. Then you can choose which Desktop Environment to install.

Revision history for this message
Kip Warner (kip) wrote :

Dmitrijs, you are missing the point. The point was not that everyone should be using the same thing, but that we can reduce the number of discs for a specific architecture the general public handles to a single one, while preserving freedom of choice. Available space for the necessary packages on the storage medium is not an issue anymore, now that we are no longer limited to a 700 MB compact disc.

summary: - Combine all official derivatives differing only in default desktop
- environment to single distribution
+ Coalesce some official derivatives to single while preserving freedom of
+ desktop choice
Revision history for this message
Joe Tang (jtantogo-1) wrote : Re: [Bug 1055866] Re: Combine all official derivatives differing only in default desktop environment to single distribution
Download full text (3.7 KiB)

Hi Kip,

One downside to the plan suggested in the bug is that download times would be increased ( for those who know just want one DE or know which one they want and just want to download that.)
(Internet is slow in some parts of the world)

But it would indeed decrease the download time for those who would like to try out the different DEs by removing redundancy in what is downloaded for that scenario.

another method to consider is the alternate / minimal installer, which is actually quite efficient,  with a beginners (default) mode for new users. (and those that know that they would have an internet connection upon installing.)

________________________________
 From: Kip Warner <email address hidden>
To: <email address hidden>
Sent: Wednesday, 29 May 2013, 0:39
Subject: [Bug 1055866] Re: Combine all official derivatives differing only in default desktop environment to single distribution

Dmitrijs, you are missing the point. The point was not that everyone
should be using the same thing, but that we can reduce the number of
discs for a specific architecture the general public handles to a single
one, while preserving freedom of choice. Available space for the
necessary packages on the storage medium is not an issue anymore, now
that we are no longer limited to a 700 MB compact disc.

** Summary changed:

- Combine all official derivatives differing only in default desktop environment to single distribution
+ Coalesce some official derivatives to single while preserving freedom of desktop choice

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report.
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1055866

Title:
  Coalesce some official derivatives to single while preserving freedom
  of desktop choice

Status in Ubuntu:
  Won't Fix

Bug description:
  Ubuntu currently has a number of official derivatives. These include
  the following.

      Xubuntu - Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop environment

      Ubuntu Studio - Designed for multimedia editing and creation

      Mythbuntu - Designed for creating a home theatre PC with MythTV

      Kubuntu - Ubuntu with the K Desktop environment

      Edubuntu - Ubuntu for education

      Lubuntu - Ubuntu that uses LXDE

  It is a good idea to offer users the freedom of choice to select an
  appropriate derivative, but this can probably be done better by
  simplifying the number of official derivatives that differ only in the
  default desktop environment by collapsing them into a single official
  distribution. Ubuntu Studio, Mythbuntu, and Edubuntu are sufficiently
  conceptually different enough from one another to warrant separate
  distributions, whereas Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu are all different
  in the same way. They differ only really based on the default desktop
  environment. That choice alone perhaps does not warrant the
  availability and support of distinct distributions.

  Instead, a single official distribution for all those that differ only
  in terms of the default desktop environment could give the user a
  choice during installation time of the default desktop environment to
  use, leaving Unity as the default as it currently is for vanilla
  Ubuntu, respe...

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