I read a review of Ubuntu CE (Christian Edition) over at tuxmachines.org. If you take a look at the comments, you’ll notice that the reviewer, srlinuxx, received an email from the developer of Ubuntu CE and posted it. You can also read my response to that email. What it boiled down to was that the author thought the review was a bit unfair…but I’ve got to tell you, if there is one place on the face of the planet that I go for FAIR and BALANCED Linux reviews, it’s Tuxmachines.org. I go there before I go to madpenguin.org, desktoplinux.com, newsforge.com, anywhere.tv. It’s my number one stop to see what new distros are like and what old distros new releases are doing. It’s also a great stop to see the latest alpha builds from the heavy hitters in Linux. Never have I seen srlinuxx give praise where it wasn’t deserved, nor criticism where it wasn’t needed. In this case, she stated:
“I can’t see how a wallpaper, a script, and one app can warrant a whole
separate distribution, but there ya go. (I guess it’s three apps –
should we count automatix and gnucash too?) It worked well and
performance of the system in general was above average. It works good,
I just can’t see the point of a whole distribution for this. Why didn’t
they just send in the two packages for inclusion in Ubuntu’s software
I must agree. Despite good intentions and an so called “apparent need,” I’d say that the developers and supporters are going in the wrong direction…they’re trying to repackage an already great distro and re-brand it with a label and an idea. It’s not working and it’s taking away from what they originally set out to accomplish.
If we take a look at the mission statement on the Ubuntu Christian Edition homepage, it states “To bring the power of Ubuntu Linux, combined with the best Open Source Christian software, to the world”. The mission statement could be accomplished by NOT offering a distro and providing a couple of meta packages available for download or perhaps a script that could run for users and install all the software they might need through a repository. It could even be a CD/DVD with Christian software on it that could be added as a CD/DVD repository allowing installation of said software. But does it need to be an entirely rebranded distro? Not in my opinion. It’s overkill and it’s duplication of efforts. It’s inefficient. It leads me to believe there are ulterior motives to producing this distro.
I know it’s well within the right of the developer to release and develop this distro. That I have no problem with. What bothers me about this is that the word “Christian” is exploited while making this distro. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no devout Catholic or raging Baptist…but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night . To me, Christianity is so diluted in today’s society. Look at Wikipedia for the word Christians and you’ll see Trinitarian Christians and NonTrinitarian Christians. Which group is Ubuntu CE targeting? Both? That can’t be as most NonTrinitarians don’t use the translations of the Bible included with the distro in Gnomesword. So which is it?
|“Almost all distros’ criteria are easily defined because they don’t try to cater to a philisophical concept…they cater to set groups of people. They cater to usability groups not ambiguous ideas.”|
This is my second point (the first being in harmony with Tuxmachines conclusion that what’s installed doesn’t warrant a separate distro)…that is, how does one hit their target audience if one cannot define that target audience. For example, let’s say I make Swahili Linux. Everyone knows that my target audience are those individuals who speak and use Swahili. Perhaps I make a Slax derrivative. Everyone would know that I’m targeting desktop Slackware users. Almost all distros’ criteria are easily defined because they don’t try to cater to a philisophical concept…they cater to set groups of people. They cater to usability groups not ambiguous or philisophical ideas. CE to me seems doomed from the start…mainly because of this second point I’ve made…they can’t pin down their target audience and won’t be able to because there’s more than one idea of what that audience is.
The third point I have is that they’ll piss people off…Period. Many people don’t want to have religion brought into their Linux. I know that when the announcement(s) for CE hit digg  , there was an outpouring of ridicule and support…just look at the comments. That’s the type of response one would figure after something like this. Of course, when you put yourself out there, you welcome both criticism against and support for your idea. Hopefully, the developer realizes that my ideas here are just that, my ideas. Although, I strongly feel my points made here are valid and should be considered. What would happen if the developer decided to implement my suggestions? Let’s examine it shall we?
If the developer made meta-packages or a script for CE, the response would be favorable. Why? Because you could install Ubuntu, then sudo apt-get install ubuntu-christian, then restart X and you’d be set. See, the idea is to rely on Ubuntu’s already inherent great and solid desktop and not worry about anything but making quality packages available for download…much less responsibility for the developer and much less preparation time. Plus, you save bandwidth because you don’t have to provide an iso to download. Can you still sell memorabilia (which seems to be one of the main ideas of CE…there are more links to ads and storefronts on their front page than there is to Linux) and buy magnets and coffee cups? You bet! So things are still fantastic and we’ve eliminated work and prep time for the developer by following point number one. You also eliminate point number 3 because then, there’s a choice that’s given back to the user…they don’t have someone deciding for them on anything and that empowers a user and eliminates feelings of animosity. Will it completely eliminate all bad feelings? Most likely not…but there’d be a lot fewer people lashing out at things IMHO.
Closing this post up, I’d just like to say that I in no way, shape, or form think that Christians NOR Athiests for that matter, nor Zoroastrians, nor Ebonites, nor Jews, Muslims, or Mormons are wrong, right, bad, good, or anything for that matter. I purposely choose to NOT have an opinion when it comes to religion. I post today because I see inefficiency and double work that’s not needed. I also see that despite good intentions of the developer, this idea of a CE of Ubuntu can possibly be water in the cracks of the rock mass that is Ubuntu. Instead of dividing, we should be merging. Instead of duplicating efforts, we should be collaborating efforts. Instead of trying to distinguish ourselves, we should be humbling. Maybe I’m way off base here…but it is my blog and my opinion…so take it for what it’s worth…about 5 cents per click of bandwidth…and that’s a high estimate.
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