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Just What Does Ubuntu Contribute to Free Software?

Always Bickering About Ubuntu

  • October 6, 2010
  • By Bruce Byfield

Bruce Byfield

Reactions to Ubuntu are rarely balanced. Too often, people love or hate it so extravagantly that the opinions negate themselves. Often, the reactions are so extreme that a fair assessment of the popular distribution is difficult. Add some genuine mis-steps, and the assessment seems almost impossible.

So exactly what does Ubuntu contribute to free software? The answer, I think, is different from what those in either extreme seem to believe.

Looking at the praise for Ubuntu seems largely a waste of time. Scanning through "Why do you use Ubuntu?" a page created by the Canonical design team to gather feedback, what is likely to strike anyone familiar with free software is how often Ubuntu is praised for aspects of either free software as a whole, or of the default GNOME desktop.

At times, you can't help feeling that historical revisionism is at work, and Ubuntu is credited for every improvement in the free desktop in the six years of its existence.

The same is true to a lesser extent of Mark Shuttleworth's justifications for Ubuntu , with its stories of how the distribution has positively affected users' lives. The praise does not belong to Ubuntu alone, and most distributions could show similar stories if they chose.

By contrast, the negative views are more thoughtful...

Read the rest of this Ubuntu story at Datamation

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