Why Ubuntu isn’t for New Linux Users

I was getting a bit tired of saying the same things over and over to friends on the net. I was getting tired of repetitiously posting in forums the same sentiment over and over. Yet, just like getting a second wind in a long and tiring race…my tiredness melts away and I find myself feeling refreshed and anew. What the subject of this rant has to say and what I have to say in the paragraphs below are NOT written to start a flame war. I am a user of Ubuntu and a strong supporter of all Debian based distros. This article is written to allow insight into where I believe Linux needs to go to succeed. I’m not out to win any popularity contests…I’m not out to garner a bunch of page hits to generate ad revenue. I’m just out to help the Linux community and rant a bit when I find a subject that strikes a nerve. The subject at hand is Why Ubuntu is NOT New Linux Users.

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Opinion: Why Some Linux News Sites Aren’t Succeeding

I always hate it when a Linux “news” website publishes things that aren’t news. It would be like having a hosting website that doesn’t do hosting…what’s the point really? IF you can call a news article the gathering together of various other news sources, threading them together in one incoherent and blabbering “news” article and then ending the entire article on a point that the headline doesn’t even address…nor the first paragraph for that matter…then I guess LinuxInsider has got a dollop of fecal inspired “journalism” for you right on their front page. A retarded baboon could thread a bunch of stories together and draw a conclusion that doesn’t have anything to do with any other part by smacking a brick on a typewriter. I suggest LinuxInsider employ a retarded baboon as opposed to the author of this horrible piece.

What’s going on with many Linux news websites today? It used to be about the proliferation of Linux and Linux IN THE NEWS. Nowadays it’s about who can be the most creative with their Linux aphorisms and who can draw the most conclusions about nothing all while ensuring that as many advertisements as possible barrage their readers. This is why I only go to 2 websites for general Linux NEWS…Lxer.com and LWN.net. Newsforge is a good place to go as well…but the rest seem to do nothing but dance around the idea that they can widen out and cover all business news, report a little bit on Linux, and become a ‘catch all’ for savvy “geeks” while being sure to saturate themselves with ads. Sites should understand more about their target audience…and that just isn’t happening now.

I think it comes down to a faulty business model. Target audiences are changing faster than the technology that is released daily. Larger news websites whether Linux based or not are counting on “clickthroughs” and ad “impressions” to tell them what their readers want. They’re counting on their names to carry them and they’re wrong in accepting this matter. In the past, Linux has been somewhat geeks only…or at least rumored to be. That has changed. Most news sites haven’t.

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Stephen Harpster, Professional Hot Air Balloon and JDS Director…

Sorry Stephen, but Tom Adelstein was right…JDS is a throw away desktop…that’s what you do to old Linux distros that stop their development.

Your response left much to be desired.

Allow me to put this in simple terms. The last release of JDS (2.0) came in May of 2004. Prior to that, JDS had released 6 months before in 2003…that would have been a good model to emulate…6 month release cycles. Perhaps even a published timeline and established release cycle would help…but all of this is dust in the wind and is obviously not on the forefront of Sun’s mind.

Never mind that you guys promised to release JDS 3.0 sometime in the early part of 2005…broken promises don’t matter do they? You can continually take open source code and not give back without the community giving any care at all right?

Wait, stop the presses. JDS 3.0 was previewed at LinuxWorld in Boston earlier this year. Allow me to quote Mr. Jonathan Schwartz from LinuxWorld 2005: “Sun continues to drive leadership in the Linux community with the world’s most popular desktop offering, the Java Desktop System,” said Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of software, Sun Microsystems. “While the competition continues to hire evangelists and call that a Linux strategy, we’re demonstrating commitment by building and shipping indemnified products, safe for corporate deployment, that save millions of dollars each and every day.”

Wow. I’m speechless. That is an outright ridiculous claim. After all, distrowatch.com, which tracks hits per day on Linux distributions doesn’t even have JDS in its top 100. Looks like there is something in the water over at Sun that is influencing people to speak without thinking eh? Did anyone over there happen to invent the question mark? Do people come to work with meat helmets?

JDS is stagnant for Linux no matter what you say or do; no matter the number of press releases. No matter if you combine it with Project Looking Glass (Another stagnant project on Linux)…it’s not going to help things a bit. You can say that development is continuing on all you want…but there hasn’t been a release announced for Linux in over a year and that signifies dead or dying. I’ll give you all at Sun a free piece of advice as I’ve done in the past: Stop reacting to the community and start enacting in the community…not that it will help at this time, JDS on Linux is already too far gone. The community will reject you as you rejected it first. You’ve officially placed “less emphasis” on JDS and Linux right? What do you care?

In closing, if you guys are committed to Linux…find out where the community is and communicate with it. Really, I shouldn’t have to tell you to go to distrowatch and announce new versions. I shouldn’t have to tell you to base your desktop availability model on SuSe and Fedora Core or Mandriva Community Edition. All the other major players in Linux seem to get it. Why don’t you guys? When you place less emphasis on the Linux desktop you shouldn’t turn right around and claim the number one desktop for Linux in the world…you sound like a band of raving lunatics. Since you guys are on shaky ground with the community anyway (as pointed out to the article you link to in your blog), it would be wise to refrain from tirades such as your current blog entry…and if you insist on one, perhaps a more thought out response would be more appreciated.


Information Week Slams the Kernel…Finger Lickin Good.

Information Week, who strive to be at the forefront of business innovation through technology, have recently lashed out (subtly mind you) at Linux…specifically the Linux Kernel.

The article is entitled, “The Linux Kernel’s Fuzzy Future” and they are oh so careful not to directly bash anyone or anything. However, it is obvious that they are trying to show that the kernel “ain’t no Microsoft” (thank God for that…we’d all be broke). These types of articles are normally known as FUD when directly attacking different parties. They are spread across the internet through syndication and other means to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (Hence, FUD). In this case…the FUD is only a thin coating and you barely notice it…but it’s there.

Here’s the problem with ebusiness sites and corporate news portals critiquing Linux and open source in general…Linux is not Micro$oft, and Micro$oft isn’t Linux. End of story. So should Linux be viable for business? Who cares? Linux is free and designed for the community…not for the business.

My reasoning comes from this notion…how can you compare something designed to be free for all developing at the leisure and pace of thousands of developers worldwide…to something designed to be closed source developing on the backs of some choice employees…it really is apples and oranges. Micro$oft needs deadlines and roadmaps to live…because without it…we’re left wondering when the next patch for this or next security pack for that will be out.

With Open Source…there is no NEED for roadmaps. The next patch to a security flaw…the next update…will be out within a few hours in most cases. Why? Because worldwide there are hundreds of thousands of developers communicating simultaneously toward a common goal. I don’t think there is a single company that can actively compete against that. I also highly doubt if any major business has seen the speed at which a project can develop when it is open sourced.

So this article strikes a nerve, albeit very craftily and indirectly, with me. Take it or leave it, my two cents on the matter.



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