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Quo Vadis Ubuntu?

Written by Guillermo Garron .
Date: 2013-01-10 13:24:00 -0400

Today I have read this blog post -In Spanish- about the way Ubuntu is following.

Basically the article says that Ubuntu is following more or less the same steps that Microsoft and Apple did before.

How is that?

Well according to the author, because some (maybe a lot) of software for Ubuntu is being released via the Software Center and most of them are not available for the rest of Linux distributions, because there are not .configure / make / make install option in the packages.

That happened to me with UberWritter, which I could not install (at least easily) on Debian (Father of Ubuntu). And I am sure that is not the only case.

Let analyze this a little bit. Canonical the company behind Ubuntu, is a profitable company. Canonical needs to make money and Ubuntu is maybe the most important link in their business model chain. You know what they say “a chain is as strong as the weakest link”. They need to put Ubuntu at the same level of OS X or Windows. And be honest, Linux is not yet at the same level for the average user.

Canonical can not control all Linux distributions, it can only control Ubuntu, and they are making Ubuntu what they think it should be to be able to profit from it.

Is this how the ideal world should work? Hell no!, but it is how the world is, it does not matter if we like it or not. I do not think is fair to be mad at Ubuntu or Canonical because the way they are behaving, business are business.

If one likes free software, you can install Debian. Then help the community to move Ubuntu exclusive software to Debian or other distributions.. One very active community is the Arch Linux one, I use Arch Linux a lot, and one thing I love about it, is that almost every software is available on AUR. I have been able to install almost everything I wanted from there, actually I do not remember a single application I could not.

Do I like where Ubuntu is going? Well, I do not like nor dislike it either, I have it installed on my PC together with Debian and Arch Linux, I boot one or the other and have my stuff done with the tools I need. I think we should all have realized the future of Ubuntu since the beginning. It is not a community driven distribution, there you have Debian or Arch Linux as examples, they are free and community driven, and I hope they stay the same. Another example is Mageia, which is according to its about page:

Mageia is a GNU/Linux-based, Free Software operating system. It is a community project, supported by a nonprofit organisation of elected contributors.

We have enough options, community supported, nonprofit organization supported and company supported distributions. It is in our hands to choose the one that better suits our philosophy or needs.

Final words

Ubuntu is going where it have to go, in the meantime Ubuntu is making the world know about Linux, Ubuntu used and still uses the hard work of the community and Canonical is making money out of it. At the same time by making Linux more accessible to the world, Canonical and Ubuntu are helping to create more job options for Linux developers and Linux professionals.

Meanwhile the final users get benefits like steam coming to Linux, and if Ubuntu succeeds in its vision, more users will use Linux and more software and native applications will be available. Maybe first for Ubuntu, but the other distribution’s communities will port those applications to their respective distributions sooner or later. At least that is what I think, and what I expect to happen.


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