The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Canonical Alienates Their Major Asset.

I've long lamented the fact that Linux lacks any real marketing strategy.

Of course, when a product is free of cost, there is no ROI so what's the point?

Canonical beat the odds with Ubuntu.  The fan-base became so large, so fast that Universal Awareness of Ubuntu can be credited to a simple grass-roots effort that expanded across the globe.

It wasn't television or radio advertising.

It wasn't billboards.

It was good old fashioned proselytizing.

Gimmee that old-time religion any day.

And if you take some time to really look back at the process, many of us would admit it was a thing of beauty...almost a force of nature.

Ubuntu in essence, became Linux....or the other way around, depending upon your point of view.  Ubuntu became the number one Linux distro almost completely on the backs of their users.  Ubuntu was perceived as an entity guided and molded by the community...a true socialized effort in which every user had a stake.

Somewhere around release 9.04, that myth began to unravel.

The first threads came apart when decisions were made to remove certain keyboard shortcuts, "for the good of the new user".  Ctrl/alt/delete and ctrl/alt/backspace were removed.

For the good of the new user.

If I remember correctly, this did cause a bit of a stir...I for one certainly didn't like it.

But what about the new user...?  He could seriously mess stuff up if he were to mistakenly hit one of these key combinations.  God forbid...

So they were axed.

And of course, either Canonical or someone in the Ubuntu Community wrote a script that would replace this lost functionality, but you really had to search hard to find it.  Not a huge deal but the disturbance in the Ubuntu Force could be clearly felt.

So it has gone with Ubuntu from then until now...little changes here, stuff taken away there...navigation buttons pushed to the left side...  Now flash forward to the new Unity interface which serves as the latest reminder that the Ubuntu Community isn't really a relevant force in how Ubuntu is shaped.

They are simply users along for the ride.

Now Synaptic is being removed in place of the Ubuntu Software Center.  Some would argue that having the software center and Synaptic is redundant.  Maybe it is, but even those who work to produce the Software Center admit it has a long way to go.  The latest release is a great improvement but still...

It seriously lacks the power of Synaptic.

And please don't bring that "Synaptic is too difficult to use" stuff.  I teach 12 year old kids the basic and advanced functions of Synaptic in 20 minutes.  I'm guessing if there are adults that are flummoxed by it, they can always ask one of our 12 year old children.

But still, the Software Center is looking good and as long as it's for the sake of the new users...well, I guess that justifies the decision.

To be honest, it's probably a good idea.

The pews are becoming quiet.  The shouts of "Hallelujah" and "Amen" are no longer raising the roof.  What were almost under-the-breath mutterings about unnecessary changes seems to be evolving into sounds of slamming doors.

People tend to slam doors in anger when they leave.

So we're left to wonder at Canonical's strategy here.  Are they truly trying to become the "New Linux User" distro?  Are they dumbing things down to the point where a new Linux user sees enough parallels with Windows or Mac that she feels comfortable?

Are they aiming for a new crop of New Users?  Ones to replace the old new users?

If so, at what cost?

A quick look into the various forums and discussions will bear out that Unity isn't well-liked at all..except by maybe a few.  Very few.  For many, Unity is the proverbial last straw.  For others, the removal of Synaptic from the base install will be the last, last straw.

An interesting thing to note is that within the last 30 days, Linux Mint has taken the first place spot on  Mint of course, remained using Gnome 2.32 when they matched Ubuntu's 11.04 release featuring Unity.

Now, we can argue the validity of such placements and we can even argue the statistics used to measure such placements.  but what we cannot argue is the fact that just about the time Unity came into the spotlight, the first to second place distrowatch listings juxtaposed.  It would seem more than a handful of people dislike Unity. 

You think that's coincidence?  Come're smarter than that.

It leaves many to wonder how many of those "losses" in the Ubuntu column were gains for Linux Mint.

It defies logic that Canonical cannot understand one simple and real-life fact:  The users that leave you will not only take others with them, they will bad-mouth you endlessly.

That means no more apostles spanning the globe on your behalf.


There have been some turbulent changes in the Linuxsphere within the past few years...KDE 4 and then the almost simultaneous Gnome 3 and Unity environments taking their places within.

I'm not sure in the grand scheme of things, that Synaptic will be missed by that many.  Personally, I use Apt Cacher to do many of our HeliOS installs and Synaptic is a welded-in part of that process.

As well, the Unified Customization Kit (UCK) uses synaptic to build the new ISO's when one is doing their respin.  Taking out Synaptic due to "lack of space" is a non-starting argument since they plan to go to all DVD ISO releases anyway.  Oh and sure I can always add it back in if I need it.

But I don't have time to do that.

Still, I might be able to understand taking it out to lessen confusion of the New User....thus removing one instance of redundancy.  I can make sense of that easily.

So HeliOS will be sticking with the 10.04 version of Ubuntu until it ends it's life and then we'll see what our options are.  By then, maybe Gnome 3 will actually be something people will want to use.  Maybe Unity will evolve into a usable interface for anything larger than a 10 inch screen.  Maybe a reliable remaster tool will be created for Mint much like UCK was created for Ubuntu.  One that doesn't throw a bazillion errors in the first three minutes.

And maybe I'll be the King of Tonga by that time

All-Righty Then...


Anonymous said...

I ditched Ubuntu for Mint when they changed the navigation scheme to the left. Even as a previous Mac user, I despised that setup. It just seemed unnatural. So what does Ubuntu do? They do their best to emulate the Mac environment.


Anonymous said...

Seconded. I switch to xubuntu, which is much less fancy but much more sane, IMO.

Celsius1414 said...

It's certainly lost me, and for the reasons you mentioned -- all new installs will be Debian (+Xfce for non-servers), and I'll do the same for existing boxen when I can set aside downtime.

Jeremy Gooch said...

When I set someone new up on Linux, I now bypass Ubuntu and go directly to Mint. I can understand with both sides on this one, but when someone is coming from Windows or elsewhere, I find that they really appreciate the Mint approach to the desktop much more. Maybe once Gnome3/Unity have been on the playing field for a while longer and become more polished from a usability standpoint this might change.

evaline said...

I agree with your thoughts here 100%. I've been using Ubuntu for years now, and find myself no longer looking forward to the new releases but DREADING them ("god, what are they going to break/remove/change now...").

If I had the time, I would remove 11.04 and switch to something else. Unity is absolutely pathetic and inflexible, and they managed to go backwards in terms of hardware support.

The problem is, I WAS a new user of linux way back at 8.04. But I was also a "power-user" (scientific programmer). Leaving Ubuntu sort of sets me adrift in a sea of linux distros, and I really don't know which one is best for my needs. So I'll have to do some research.

I mean, how hard is it to a) take a straw poll of your users (they HATE unity!) or b) allow "Advanced" users to setup slightly different at install?

I have definitely stopped recommending Ubuntu, and that makes me sad considering I even bought a shirt! :(

bohu said...

Hey Ken,

have a look at SalineOS ( It has a built in remaster tool that lets you make your own distro. i used it for a while and liked it and will probably go back to it when i am done with my current round of distro hopping :-)

Justin Hall said...

I started with linux back in the late 90s using Suse and Red Hat. I switched to Ubuntu around 2006 and it was great. I have agree however with Ken, around 9.04 things started to go sideways. I have gone back to using Red Hat with KDE as I cant stand Gnome3 or Unity. I have plans to switch to Fluxbox however as KDE is not the DE I once knew from 10 years ago. I see the same dumbing down going on for Windows 8 and future Mac OS interfaces. I dont see a bright future for this. I see hardcore geeks using simple window managers and everyone else using oversized cell phone interfaces. I dont usually recommend linux but if I do, I second the earlier comment, I suggest Mint.

Jeremy Bicha said...

Sorry but the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace decision was made by Xorg not Canonical, and most Linux distros didn't over-ride the new default.

Synaptic is very complicated for a new user and it's not improving much at all from year to year. If somebody wants Synaptic, it's very easy to install with apt-get or the Ubuntu Software Center (USC).

By the way, Ubuntu 11.10 will have Deja Dup by default so users might be able to back up their data better. There's only so much space on the default CD and Synaptic does duplicate what USC and Update Manager do but the Ubuntu developers prefer the simpler design of those 2 apps instead of the older Synaptic.

I thought you customized your installs anyway.

Mike Regan said...

As a Mint user, I can tell you that they did indeed override the default and those keyboard shortcuts have worked in Mint since the day Ubuntu discontinued them, for whatever reason. Besides, Mint has just over-taken Ubuntu for the number one spot on Distrowatch. I'd say they were a significant distro.

I'm not seeing any real difficulty with Synaptic and we do installs for kids in Seattle much like Ken does in Austin. One thing I don't like in Synaptic is that a search spews out all the behind the scenes lib files that don't mean anything as stand-alone apps. However, as to being difficult, I guess if someone is having trouble with it, they can always ask a 12 year old. They pick it up in just a few minutes. As long as Ubuntu gets the USC right, I wouldn't mind seeing it go. I just don't want them releasing another half-baked project like Unity. It is truly a piece of crap on a 26 inch dual monitor system. Even a single large monitor for that matter.

Besides, If I read right, Ubuntu is moving to DVD ISO's only next year so the "not enough room" argument is not valid.

PV said...

I totally see how the loss of Synaptic Package Manager (though do note it's still available in the repositories) would negatively affect you or me, Mr. Starks (though I don't claim to be an expert user by any means at all), but out of curiosity, how would this sit with the beneficiaries of your Linux installations, given that they are exactly the new users Ubuntu tries so hard to court? Would they be happy with the easier, simpler, but less feature-packed Ubuntu Software Center? Or have they grown attached to Synaptic Package Manager and would lament its loss? Or have they become so good that they would install Synaptic Package Manager anyway (or better yet just stick with the CLI, hehheh)? This would be interesting to know. Also, have you considered Pinguy OS? It seems more stable than Ubuntu and more compatible with its tools (e.g. UCK) than Linux Mint, and it doesn't seem to be leaving GNOME 2 behind anytime soon.
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Unknown said...

I thought you customized your installs anyway.

We do, but we're a tiny and insignificant percentage of the Ubuntu user base. Besides, what we customize are the applications in the menu, and maybe change a theme or two along the way in Gnome 2x.

However, no amount of tweaking or customizing can make Unity a viable desktop solution. I'm hoping it matures into a good desktop environment but as it is now, it's extremely impotent. As soon as we perfect the script we are writing to remaster Mint, we won't be worrying about that anymore anyway.

Unknown said...


Actually, the loss of Synaptic is more of a pain in the ass to HeliOS than it is to anyone else. Our UCK remasters uses Synaptic to add and remove programs to and from the custom ISO. Removing it from the installed applications just adds another step to what we have to do and frankly, I don't have time to fool with it.

From a new user standpoint, I believe the new software center will be a better tool for our new users. This latest release cleaned it up a lot and it actually responds quickly. I think it would be a good fit for most new users.

Unfortunately, HeliOS will probably be moving back to Mint in the next year or so...and it won't really matter to us what they do. We'll also be taking a look at SalineOS as well to see what they are all about.

FelixTheCat said...

I've switched to the guys across the hall, Kubuntu, for the past several releases and have been happy as a pig in slop. I've been happy to get a lot of applications in ppa, especially with some stable only in their latest builds. It's fine for my own needs.

I steered way clear of Mint after some rather unfortunate anti-semitic political statements they made and endorsed. My own convictions. Otherwise they do an awesome job.

It's just a matter of what you can work with.

Gavin said...

@ Justin Hall

Tell me about it! Mac OS X Lion, Windows 8, Unity on Ubuntu... where does the madness end!? Granted everyone except Apple will be offering alternatives (MS has confirmed that you can keep the Vista/7 interface in 8) but the trend is troublesome. I do not mind the efforts of the developers to ensure that GUIs are usable on smaller devices, but this should not happen at the expense of larger devices! I am still not convinced that the "hands on" approach to GUI design is the best way to go. The reason that the mouse and keyboard are still alive and kicking after all these years is because they are excellent productivity tools! Tiny touchscreens are nice and all, but darned if I want to use one 12 hours a day!

I think these new GUI designers need to go back to school or pick up a dictionary. Innovate is not equivalent to replace!

Anonymous said...

I can't remember who said it but someone I either admire or know said:

"Meaningful and prolonged human interface with computers will remain stagnant until the neural network of man can interface with the digital workings of the computer."

Like Gavin said, touch is great for ordering something from Burger King or setting up a TV/Internet menu, but to use it as the main drive force for prolonged interaction would be exhausting.

As I type this, why do I suddenly get the memory of Scotty on the first Star Trek?


Amenditman said...


I agree with your points. All succinctly put, thanks.

I started out using Ubuntu as a new user. I quickly switched to Kubuntu and then to a multi-year distro hop. Using Arch on my work machines for about a year and loving it.

I now recommend Mint XFCE (which is Debian Testing Branch rolling release) to all my new users. It works great out of the box and they can get their hands dirty in the guts if they want. No need to learn Linux rules and a seperate set of distro specific rules.

The problems with GNOME 3, Software Center, and Unity will get ironed out eventually, just look at KDE 4.6. Almost three years down the road and the vision the devs had for KDE 4 is being realized by the average user, the things you can do with it are pretty awesome. These other projects should have taken a look at the process and stayed in development a while longer. I guess they think the transition will be smoother for them than it was for KDE. They're wrong, users know about the options available and will take the opportunity to try something else.

All the vendors are trying to optimize for smaller screens because that market is really huge and growing. But, anyone who thinks the big screen, the keyboard, and the mouse are obsolete has their head in the "Cloud" and will be making the switch back when the fad is over. As the other commenters have said, the small screen, touch format has a use but for real computing you still need a real machine with old style interface and local storage.


Kevin Benko said...

I never really liked Ubuntu. In 2005, I gave it three days before I wiped it from my system.

Looking at Ubuntu from the outside, it seems to me that with each release that Ubuntu is trying to become the AOL of the Linux world.

Just my two cents...

Anonymous said...

@ Gavin

I showed the various interfaces to my room-mates,both of whom are over 10 years younger than me so could be said to be representative of the gen Y. They saw Gnome 3, Unity and mock ups of Windows 8. There reaction, well..... I cant repost the language they used as per Ken's rules, but you get the idea. Perhaps this nonsense will blow over in a year or two when all these attempts to turn my general purpose programmable computer into a appliance flop. I am now looking for alternatives for them, they are currently using Ubuntu. I know Mint plans to make Gnome 3 look like old 2.0, however why should we pay the memory hit of 3.0 just to have old 2.0 back. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I helped three people go to Linux lately, and I gave them Ubuntu. They liked the new interface, and it worked well for them. So the only people I see complaining are those who despise change.

Michelle Minkin said...

"So the only people I see complaining are those who despise change".

You are only seeing what you want to see and what you are really seeing is Shuttleworth's work in progress.

People that use a computer to get their work done are complaining that it takes 2 or 3 clicks in Unity to do what it only takes one click to do in Gnome 2. Sure, the new user might like it because they don't know any different. What do you want to bet that if they were given a choice to use each interface for 30 minutes, they'd pick Gnome 2?

Shuttleworth knows that the current Ubuntu users are probably not going to spend any money to make his company grow, however new users who first use Unity will probably like using it on smaller devices like phones and tablets, which Shuttleworth will profit from, much like Microsoft does when Windows is sold on a computer.

Your statement shows a lack of thought and follow-through.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth Ctrl-Alt-Delete still brings up the shutdown dialog on 10.04 here. Ctrl-Alt-Backspace went but I'm pretty certain C-A-D has not been changed.

Dr. Frankinfurter said...

Why are people still angry about this? It *is* for the new users. Experienced users have the necessary knowledge to quickly reinstate Synaptic and the older Gnome environment. How lazy can you get if you can't type 'sudo apt-get install synaptic?' You use Linux, an operating system that has historically required a lot of patience to use; don't tell me you don't have enough time to type that command. And, if I recall, Gnome classic is accessible through GDM. If you didn't know either of these truths then you aren't an experienced Linux user, you're a *new* Linux user and Canonical is attempting to cater to your needs.

Also to note, the gnome project is abandoning Gnome 2.X; what did you expect Ubuntu to do? They could either design their own interface, stick with an interface that is no longer supported/developed, or they could move to Gnome 3 or a different desktop environment. Would you be equally angry if Ubuntu shipped with Gnome 3 as you are now? Would you be angry if, a year or two from now, Gnome 2 looked awful compared to Windows 8 and Ubuntu still came with it by default?

Yes, Unity needs some work but, overall, it does its job and it will get better over time. The fact is, users who crave ease-of-use (hint: new users) are what Canonical is trying to buy over - not Johnny Q. IknowhowtouseaCLI. If you are: a) a user who is too lazy to tweak a basic Ubuntu install. (oh lordy, selecting 'Gnome classic' from GDM is sooo hard) b) a 1337 hacker that is better than the rest of us, or c) a user that wants all that fancy proprietary software install by default. Then use a different distribution. Arch, Gentoo, Mint. I don't care. Just don't continually whine about every decision Canonical makes, especially when Canonical has every right to make them.

Anonymous said...

I love change.

I hate Unity.

Any more questions?

Dan said...

Another thing I noticed on Distrowatch is that Xubuntu and Bodhi (both Ubuntu derivatives) have jumped up a LOT over the last few months. Ubuntu is now back on top, but only by around 200 users. It's often been 1,000 users above second place over the last few years. It started dropping numbers fast after 11.04 was released. I use Xubuntu, myself. It's an excellent distro.

Nuevo2 said...

I moved my last machine away from Ubuntu at the weekend to ... Fedora. I don't despise change and enjoy Gnome 3. Unity, to my eyes, is incredibly ugly and I got tired of Shuttleworth introducing random half-realised changes. Maybe Canonical are thrashing around for something to help them break even?

Anonymous said...

It seems Ubuntu takes only LTS releases seriously. This may be part of reason it is becoming less popular. There were numerous issues with 6 months releases not only GUI but also drivers, half-ready SW, etc.
The other part is the other distros learned something from Ubuntu approach.

Anonymous said...

Why can't you just install Synaptic if you want to use it? I mean come on people!

Anonymous said...

Distrowatch doesn't mean anything. They just count clicks on their site. Check Ubuntu and Mint e.g. in Google Trends for more realistic data.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what's wrong with Unity. To me it's easier to use and prettier than the old Windows-style desktop. Now that I have used Unity for a while I just can't go back.
Good work Canonical!

Sean said...

I'm sticking with 10.4 till the next LTS rolls around. If it's as horrid as the current latest releases are with Unity then I'm most likely heading to XFC. Windows 8 isn't looking much better with that goofy tile interface they're slapping over the Windows 7 GUI.

Douglas E Knapp said...

I am one of those users that more or less grew up into Linux with Kubuntu. Then Kubuntu started changing things that the users did not like. I thought that it was just one small thing but then they did the kde3 to kde4 WAY TO SOON (at least one year, maybe two. I mean OK as an optional install but default?????) and then came other changes that no one seemed to want. Same statement, OK as an optional install be default? Who wants betaish software as default? YES, we do want it as an optional install!!!

I have stuck with it but at this point it is so bad that if you ask a question on the boards you get no answers because all the good users have left.

KDE4 still sucks as of Kubuntu 11.04. For example when I boot the system my top panel bar is about one 1/5 of the way down the screen and it stays there until I click the options button and then click screen edge, at which point up jumps up to where it should be and stays there. I can see having an error like this in a beta but it is almost July, 3 months after final release and the problem is still not fixed! Is this a quality control problem at KDE or is this Kubuntu problem?

I keep hoping that Kubuntu will pull itself together but my hope is fading fast. I guess I really should find some other KDE system that works. BTW KDE4 is a SUPER system at this point! Sure it is not perfect but it is way beyond anything else I have ever used!

Sometimes I think we past Kubuntu users need to get together and set up a KDE4 based system that has the old Ubuntu spirit and a poll to be taken for each change of any import; listen to the users. I mean why doesn't Kubuntu have a dev listening in on the help boards. A person the reports back to the other devs about what the users want? A dev that FIXES problem posted that don't get good answers after a post or two?

KDE4 can be a thing of beauty after you configure it for a month or two. It has powerful options that are turned off by default. It has tools that no other system has. We need to stop using it like it is a take off of MS or Apple or even KDE3 and celebrate its real powers by having a cool setup at install. We also need a distro that is VERY easy to use at install but can be make advanced with the flip of a switch, many GUIs are made this way. VLC is a good example of the idea (but it does need some work on the easy settings).

One other big rant, 11.04 KDE4; VLC has problems (huge memory leak at first but still seg faults) I replaced it with Parole media player (but why can't this program change sound tracks?), I had to remove Amarok and replace it with Clementine because Amarok seg faulted or else when 100% CPU on me. Skype is hell to get working right, Firefox is still better than Chrome but who gave Firefox devs the lobotomies? Lets not even talk about getting Wacom touch pads working (it can be done though!). I still want Dolphin do be dumped and replaced by the KDE3 Konqueror file browser!

All that said, I am an advanced user. That means I want install and forget. I don't want to waist my valuable time tweaking a system. That is what Distro Devs are for. I do want the latest and greatest software. I do want bleeding edge optional software at the click of a mouse. I don't want default software that seg faults, EVER. I don't want my power taken away. I am NOT dumb but I DO want my computer to be easy to use and not waste my time. I am quite happy to jump under the hood to fix something or to help someone else. I am willing to file bug reports but I expect to be bad at it but never the less get frendly, fast, helpful dev responses to my problems.

My fav Role playing game is called Savage Worlds and they have a design saying and goal; Fast, Furious, Fun. I want a distro like that!

Douglas E Knapp

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Steve Jobs, there's a convergence on OS' looking like smartphones. Hence, Windows 8 being pushed out, ChromeOS finally looks like something, etc. First one there, wins, so it seems Space Cadet (I mean that sincerely) is pulling out all the stops (not sticking with community suggestions) and trying to get there first. In one-two years time, all OS' on the desktop/laptop will look identical: OSX, Windows8, Ubuntu, WebOS, ChromeOS, et al.

That's the way it looks to me.

Anonymous said...

"Your statement shows a lack of thought and follow through"

It clearly does not show this at all. People who are new to Ubuntu know nothing other than Unity and will no doubt like it. I moved to KDE (Kubuntu) and have been happy enough with it. I have also installed Ubuntu 11.04 on a couple of test PC's and found that it is not the horned beast that it is made out to be but only requires a little learning. I will in time more than likely go back to Ubuntu when Unity has been shaken out. The great thing is that we have choice is it not!

Anonymous said...

Part of the blame has to go to as well. If you look at the Gnome home page their sample live CD looks a lot like Unity minus perhaps that huge top panel that opens up. I joined their mailing list for a couple of weeks. They didn;t want to hear any complaints, only praise for the great Gnome 3! What used to take 1 mouse click now takes a 3 key hotkey combination and a mouse click! Now that's progress!

As to Synaptic, I haven't used Linux in years and I had no problem with it. The only thing that could be improved is make the check boxes functional, you shouldn't have to right click, mark for install! Besides, rumor has it canonical eventually wants to open an app. store similar to the iPhone and other smart phone app. stores.

I've moved on, no more Gnome, no more Ubuntu. Better things are out there.

Niels said...

You can choose to use the Ubuntu Classic GUI option when logging on. Once you're logged on, just remove Unity and your done... no more Unity.

It worked for me.

Many people consider Unity to be a mistake. Maybe they are correct, but you can still choose.

Anonymous said...

Unity was the last straw for me, for the time being I have switched to Mint but am still looking. I have used Ubuntu since 2005.

istok said...

you make good points, but this

"Ubuntu in essence, became Linux....or the other way around"

is quite offensive to me as a linuxer.

randiroo76073 said...

I started with Ubuntu when 4x came out, I was running XP and mucking it up weekly(I'm a tinker,not a coder/programmer). The thing that got me was multiple desktops, just made sense! And the out-of-box customization w/o reg tweaking.
I dual-booted for a while then dropped XP/Win completely at 6x and started "proselytizing".
As Ken mentioned when 9x hit and they started subtracting things to "make it better" I started distro hopping and ended up with Mint, it fills the bill for now. I was converting people to Ubuntu now it's Mint.
Thanks, once again, for saying what needs to be said Ken.

Anonymous said...

This post makes me sad. Only the community can destroy free software - And the mindset of being stuck in the nineties is doing just that.

Grow up, people. Consumers don't want to add fan sensors to their panels, they want a stable, secure system and programs that work. stock GNOME was plagued with seven-year-old critical bugs and poor design decisions. Redhat tried damn hard with stock gnome to get the "year of the linux desktop" but it's been a long and hugely unsuccessful race. You people scream and moan that Canonical's trying to make a viable platform out of this chaos.

The more I think about it, the more I hope all the elitists leave. Go take your precious Mint. Take your Windows 98 UI clone. I'm sick of this garbage getting aggregated into lxer.

Anonymous said...

I was with Ubuntu since inception and when 11.04 final came out I started looking, as of today i switched to mint, all 4 pc's in the house are mint.No more ubuntu. 4 of the 5 people i led to ubuntu are now using mint full time, I'm still in the process of moving files over on the 5th person. All things come to a end, Shuttleworth just pushed things along faster thats all.

Anonymous said...

Its time Shuttleworth steps down or be forced out!

Anonymous said...

A. You should be using the LTS. Why is it that the LTS is never considered. The in between distros are works in progress and about trying new ideas out. Why are you basing routines on synaptic, surely apt-get would be smarter for auto customizations?

B. If you want a debian based distro that doesn't innovate use debian, not that sugary Mint crap. Debian may look like its from 2002 but it is stable and firmly based in gnome 2.x

Anonymous said...

I'm with Felix -- I too won't use Mint due to Clem's political rant from 2 years ago. Given how he's anti-Israel, I can't help but wonder if he's supporting terrorism with Linux Mint. As a Christian and a patriotic, freedom-loving American, that is a can of worms I refuse to open by downloading a copy of Mint.

After much distro-hopping over the last 2 years, I finally settled on CrunchBang Statler Xfce edition, which I'm enjoying greatly. While it is a bit minimalistic compared to most other distros, I actually feel like I've learned a thing or two about Linux that I didn't know before using it -- and I've been a Linux user for 6 1/2 years now, having started with Mandrake in early 2005.

I too have changed desktops in that time as well. I started out as a KDE user, but I too didn't like KDE 4 at all when it first came out. When that happened, I switched to GNOME -- and Ubuntu. But then, last year, I saw these changes on the horizon with GNOME and didn't like what I saw, so I switched to Xfce as my desktop of choice. I have, however, toyed with the idea of a possible return to KDE, at least on my main computer, since everyone says that those issues that KDE initially had with KDE 4 have been ironed out. However, our other computers don't really have enough memory for KDE, so ever if I were to switch, those would remain with Xfce.

Anonymous said...

All that is needed now is for Mepis to switch to xfce or lxde or at least create some spins. It's the user-friendly distro end-user's and admins will see fit to use. Even if it does ship with with kde it's a polished distro that anyone can be comfortable with.

Anonymous said...

My background: programmer, dumped Windows for good an year ago, using Ubuntu ever since, already tried Fodora in the past. Now a FS enthusiast.

Simply put people, I don't understand how can Linux users create such flame wars over some lost app/feature...

I mean, this is Linux world! If you miss it, add it back in a matter of seconds. If the distro does not fits you anymore, move away. But why curse the old distro?

As long as it is helping the Linux world, bringing new users, helping make the community and user base larger... and ultimately bringing Windows down, then be it! That's the point!

Elder Geek said...

The Linux Mint Gnome Edition is in for a world of hurt. Gnome 2.32 is a dead man walking. The next release of Ubuntu will be based on Gnome 3. At that point the Linux Mint crew has three choices 1) Move to Gnome 3 and customize as best as possible. 2) Package their own Gnome 2.32 or 3) Move to another base distro like Debian.

But no matter what they do, Gnome 2.32 is the end of the line for Gnome 2. There will be no updates. It will start showing its age. It will become harder and harder to compile with newer libraries.

Then they will be in the same boat as KDE 3 users are now. Project Trinity has taken over KDE 3. But apps like K3b or Amarok do not like bug reports from KDE 3 users. They are not going to fix those old bugs and they don't care about new bugs related to running such an old environment on a new computer. So many apps that have moved on to KDE4, their developers are asking the Trinity team to rename the KDE 3 version of those apps to alleviate confusion. This is Gnome 2's future.

You have one or two years at best before needing to leave Gnome 2 to go someplace? Right now I would say XFCE.

Anonymous said...

I guess this all depends on whether you are building a product for yesterday's user or for tomorrow's user.
If you've already got all the stuff you want in your OS, why don't you just stick with it and be happy?

Anonymous said...

1roxtar says:

I use Ubuntu 11.04 (w/ Unity) on a 15" laptop screen and on desktop using my 37" flatscreen TV as a monitor and each look and work perfectly fine. Too many are complaining about what Unity can't do and won't give it credit for what it does do right. I'm not the proverbial "dumbed-down" user everyone keeps talking about when referring to those of us who really like Unity. I find it much more usable and enjoyable than Gnome 3 Shell. But that's just my opinion.

Unknown said...

What is sad is that all these people are making the reason to change, an Operating System, because of a Desktop ? This makes no sense there are several other Desktops for you to choose from but yet instead you would rather abandon the entire OS. This makes no sense and really just show your own ignorance on the situation.

Jack Todaro said...

I got annoyed with ubuntu switching the buttons to the top left from top right, then I got annoyed at their announcement of a non-gnome desktop called unity. When I tried it I was honestly disappointed at what canonical were doing to what used to be my favourite OS.

Gnome 3 is just as bad as unity, if not even more dumbed down and utterly useless. Absolute garbage. After hopping around to different distros - including mint - I landed on openSUSE and have never looked back since. I'm glad that at least 1 major distro isn't selling out to what seems like a crowd with no brainstems. said...

Unity could use a few changes, such as making some type of embedded menu in the launcher or dash for programs in Wine, but after learning a few keyboard shortcuts, I can't go back to Gnome 2.32 on my 15.6" laptop because it wastes too much space.

Besides Ubuntu, I also regularly use Linux Mint Debian and Sabayon, but the Unity advantage keeps me mostly on Ubuntu 11.04 and excited to see what advances will be in 11.10.

Regardless, it makes sense to keep clients at LTS releeases anyway. That's what I do for my parents.

emk said...

left Ubuntu and slammed the door when they switched the nav buttons to the left. Went To Arch Linux for my machines and to LinuxMint for the Wife and kids.

To all the people claiming here that as an experienced Linux user you can just remove Unity or switch the nav back etc.

Whats the point?

As an experienced Linux user I can use a number of distros comfortably. Why should I use one that clearly doesn't care about its community?
When they switched the buttons Shuttleworth essentially told the community they are there to be seen not heard. Same with Unity.

So why stay where I'm not wanted? There's plenty of distros that want community and value it!


Anonymous said...

Ubuntu/Canonical seem to be alienating people by assuming everyone's a drooling slack jawed idiot who's ungainly paws can't manage a keyboard let alone a mouse.

Sure Mint is shown on top in your example, but also scroll down a couple and you see Archlinux at #6!

Arch doesn't even offer a GUI installer or default desktop. Yet it's rise cannot be denied (to the dismay of Arch devs perhaps).

Maybe they should take a look at the Arch Way and discover simple doesn't mean stupid.

The Arch Way:

Anonymous said...

I moved from Mandrake when it morphed into Mandriva. I discovered Ubuntu/Kubuntu 6.06 and got religion. I sang the praises of Kubuntu till they dumbed down KDE 4.0 and I reluctantly shifted to Ubuntu.

Then Canonical got a new CEO and rumours started about ditching Synaptic, along with the rising spectre of a dumbed-down Genome 3.0.

I moved to Linux Mint Debian Edition as soon as it came out. When the 64 bit version appeared I was overjoyed.

Ubuntu is a thing of the past.

Jonquil said...

I'm a Ubuntu orphan too so to speak. I ditched it for Fedora. While I liked Unity on my netbook, there were other things they were doing that was obviously to make Linux more like Windows for the new user that left people like me that have been using Linux for a while out in the cold.

mike Regan said...

you make good points, but this

"Ubuntu in essence, became Linux....or the other way around"

is quite offensive to me as a linuxer.

I find it equally offensive but it doesn't make it less true.

Go to and find me any reference on their front page that Ubuntu has anything to do with Linux. Sure you can drill down a few pages and find it but only if you look hard.

Check the seemingly-endless "Ubuntu" articles. I would wager 80 percent of the "tips" offered in these stories would apply to most Linux distributions but according to the articles, they are Ubuntu tips and tricks.

So either they are religious fanatics or new users who actually think Ubuntu IS Linux is the answer.

Or just stupid. After reading many of them myself, this option crossed my mind more than once

Anonymous said...

What's the "major asset Ubuntu is alienating again? You think a static fan base (which has grown up to its limits long ago) is all that Canonical can expect from its investment? Canonical wants 200M users in 4 years. Their current base probably hasn't reached 10M, in 7 years. If that's not enough proof that they needed a change I don't know what it is. If it takes "alienating" 10M to get 200M, well done. Anyways, those 10M wheren't bringing a cent in revenue, so why care? Not counting the fact that from those 10M, they won't probably lose more than a minimal (no matter how vocal) percentage. That's a reasonable sacrifice to make.

What's the alternative? Ask RedHat. They don't give a damn about desktops and use Fedora as a huge beta testing program, nothing else. Novell will vanish slowly but steadily and they don't care about the desktop either (commercially, that is). Canonical is the only business focused on Linux Desktop. THE ONLY ONE. Those who thought Shuttleworth was betting his money on geeks, need some reality check.

Canonical did the right thing. Only time will tell if they succeed, but if they don't, who cares? It's a millionaire's money and we are all having fun from his bet (including he himself). If he wins, the whole world will have an option for their desktops. If not, nobody died attempting.

In other words: Canonical's major asset is not and has never been its fan base. You are basically wrong by thinking geeks are a reasonable business target for a desktop OS.

Anonymous said...

ctrl-alt-backspace was disabled upstream by Xorg. That change only appeared in Ubuntu when they pulled that version in.

They had a pretty transparent discussion about whether to keep with upstream's change or diverge with upstream and turn it back on. About as many people favored it as opposed it. Ubuntu decided this wasn't strong enough reason to diverge from upstream, so stayed with upstream's decision.

One of ubuntu's engineers wrote a tool so users could flip it back on if they want, until support for the option was added to GNOME.

Anonymous said...

When Ubuntu first appeared, I was happy to know there was a user friendly distro I could install in friends' and customers' boxes with enough confidence that they would not have any problems adapting to it. But, after I made a few installations, details began to surface which I didn't quite like. Being an old time user of Debian, I decided to not use Ubuntu and not promote it among my customers. I didn't feel like supporting something I was not using myself.

Now things have evolved and so has Debian. It has really become a very desktop friendly distro. Over the last months I have been installing Squeeze --the satble version of Debian-- in every make and model of hardware I get access to, with little to no hassle.

i. giron

johnny P. said...

I'll Never Look at a Ubuntu desktop again ... the fact that Ubuntu cares so little for it's user base and would force such a horribly ugly and un user friendly change on us, has made me despise canonical so badly that i'll never go back . for then to so blatantly turn their backs on the people that made them popular in the first place tells me that they just flat don't care ... they might as well change their name to microsoft if they are going to start putting out buggy software that nobody wants

Anonymous said...

1. You can add the shortcuts back, it's in the *keyboard* settings. Also it was an upstream thing, not Ubuntu.
2. Ubuntu is committed to CD isos, not DVD.
3. Note that in those "30 days" - Mint had the latest release there. Therefore, more page hits, even though the releases are in close proximity. Also it is HITS, not any real usable data.
4. You can go to the classic gnome desktop in 10 seconds anyways.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm probably late to make a useful comment that anyone will give a damn about, but ...

Canonical, start a Gubuntu version, do whatever silly thing you want to with Unity Ubuntu, but leave Gubuntu continuing with Gnome, Synaptic, and so on. MICROSOFT has a record of treating the users as too stupid to make their own choices and now you are emulating them. Good luck with that strategy.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Bicha said..."Synaptic is very complicated for a new user ..." and "I thought you customized your installs anyway."

So, what you are saying is those of us who DON't want to have to reset everyone of our preferences every time we load a new version should just suck it up for the benefit of these proverbial new users?

I DO NOT want to have to reset my preferences nor do I want those friends of mine who I help calling me up to fix theirs.

As far as having two tool that do the same thing goes, let the developers make the NEW tool EVERY SINGLE BIT as good as the one it replaces and I won't complain so much. I think it's time I looked for a distribution which concentrates on consistency and functionality more and what the developers think looks cool less.

Anonymous said...

Never mind the Mint - in your own capture of the Distrowatch rankings it's already _falling_, same as the rest of them. I dare you to take a look at the 7-day rankings, and see the only one that is *rising* now.

That's right - it's _PCLinuxOS_.