For a Linux distribution whose headline is “Linux for human beings”, this story comes as no surprise.
Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu’s parent company Canonical, was quoted as saying:
“I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. ‘Linux is supposed to be hard so it’s exclusive’ is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say. People being people, there are of course smart people who hold that view.”
This falls right in line with Ubuntu’s creed. Since it’s conception it has always been one of the friendliest Linux distributions to just hop on and use. I remember when my laptop died in college, I used it exclusively for weeks until I got my restore disks for vista from Dell. It was always incredibly simple and powerful to use and didn’t require a degree in computer science to use. To this day, it remains one of my favorite distributions.
However, I feel like Mister Shuttleworth needs to be VERY careful with his words. No matter how far Ubuntu may come, they need to remember their roots. They were popularized by the “leet” community. Nobody knew what it was before the nerds picked it up and started using it. You owe them everything.
There is always a middle ground between functionality and ease of use. I feel like as a whole Ubuntu has been very good about walking this line without swaying too much to one side. This quote shows that Canonical is getting a bit too big for its britches. Ubuntu Touch has yet to name any hardware partners or major app developers, and the OS (while intriguing) still needs a lot of work. They need as much support as they can possibly get. Alienating your majority desktop userbase is not a good move out of the starting gate.
I love Ubuntu, and I wish to see them succeed. I honestly prefer it to Windows 8 and Mac OSX in terms of openness and usability. I just know what a harsh mistress PR work is, and how saying the wrong thing could easily launch a huge backlash. The internet is serious business.
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