[clug] A question of regression. [KU]buntu

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Wed Nov 18 17:16:10 MST 2009

Randall Crook wrote on 18/11/09 9:10 PM:
> Just trying to get a feel for the policies Canonical have in regards to
> bleeding edge. But it goes beyond that to how the OSS development teams
> run their projects. But most importantly, how laymen perceive Linux
> because of the policies and project management.
> Two examples to show what I mean.
> Amarok.


> General Perception from a geek.

> But the real kicker is, how do we fix this? I am not smart enough to
> program and help the development teams. I do provide as much feedback as
> I can, though I am usually there after a whole bunch have already
> provided feedback. I do love Ubuntu/Kubuntu and I will keep using it and
> doing what I can to contribute, but I sometimes despair at some of the
> silliness I see from Canonical.

Anarchy is the nature of FOSS.
Usability & Stability is what RedHat sells to its Enterprise customers.
I presume Canonical have a similar stance for Enterprise customers.

Vendors charge money to customers to select, package, test & patch
software. It laborious, detailed work. Stuff that has to be done & has
to be paid for.

My reaction, though I may be a dullard, is to use Ubuntu 8.04 LTS,
Still. If/when they come out with another LTS release, I'll move then.

> So what do you guys/gals think can be done to try and prevent these sort
> of issues from]\ turning people away from [ku]buntu and Linux in general?

Hard Question.
How do you hit people with the clue bat?

The strengths and weaknesses of FOSS stem from it's uncontrolled,
'volunteer' nature. There are no ways to mandate behaviour, unless you
happen to employ people - and even then its herding cats....

Years ago (May 1999) Ken Thompson commented on the uneven quality of the
linux kernel (and many more things - well worth a read).

His 'Computing Sciences Research Centre' approach worked very well for
them, but how does that scale?

There are some long-running and outstanding projects around - like
Tridge's own SAMBA. That project has evolved along with its people.

Relationships fracture, irreconcilable difference arise, people move
on/die/lose interest. Teams and projects wax and wane...

There can be no One Best Way, but there are many Really Bad Ways.
How do you systematically pass knowledge & experience onto new comers?
I've no idea...

There are many actions possible to improve FOSS projects in the
dimensions of Quality, Performance, Security and Usability. But these
areas of work aren't sexy or gripping/interesting to most folk.

Some other actions:
 - Lobby Canonical. Do they have an active user feedback program?

 - Is there a meta-project that rates FOSS projects on various measures?
   - it's hard and to be meaningful, has to be kept current.

 - Create scholarships to mentor budding FOSS authors by 'Masters'
   - leadership by example, Teach by immersion.

 - Start a company or distro that does better...
    Like the other thousand.

There are also cultural issues within the world of FOSS - typified by
the arguments as to name. Free? Libre? Open? software.

What *user* cares?
If you're not writing for users, why are you writing & distributing code?

Thompson wrote software for himself and his own interest & uses.
That other people found it useful was co-incidental.

Hope there is something relevant, useful or interesting in there for you.

> Randall


Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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