Daily Archives: 2008/09/23

Ubuntu vs. Community?

On Gregs remarks about Ubuntu not giving back to the community and the reactions to it: Funnily I just did organize this SFD and just wrote that Ubuntu/Canonical is the ony distribution which gives out free CDs, although its the smallest distribution. Maybe Ubuntu should hire one or two high profile full time kernel developers – but if I look at what Gregs says in some Google tech talk , I wonder why doesnt he bully Google for not being number one on the list? Google is making the most money out of Linux today and it chose Linux as the basis of its Android platform. Or what about Amazon, Ebay etc.? Does Greg really think Kernel development is only the business for classical distributions?

I think kernel development is a whole different business today. Development is happening at a very fast pace – so you cant say that nothing is happening here and that we desperately need more input. On the other hand many other parts of Linux are in a bad shape.

The number one issue for desktop users as I see it is that you still do not get viable status information for printers. This in fact means that you never quite know whats wrong with your printer when you use Linux. There is no real progress in this area – at least nothing I have seen despite some industry people saying they want better drivers etc. – if one takes this more heartly one could say that this means you can not use printers on Linux. Thats not quite right – you can – but you may need to throw away full ink cartridges of one color because you can not test if its full or not. Nobody really sees that as a big problem. Its not a big thing but I could understand if somebody would dismiss Linux for this reason only. The only good solution would be printers with web interfaces or similar. I guess those are still more expensive.

Other issues on Linux still are power saving modes, Xorg, GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org. On GNOME I think Canonical has hired a lot of GNOME people and also a lot of GNOMERs work on Ubuntu for free. Undoubtedly Ubuntu was a breeze of fresh air when it came to the market. It still has its problems – like there is no graphical setting of the screen. There is a program called ‘displayconfig-gtk’ – but thats not part of any System menu – so its hidden – and its usability is awful – and it does not work most of the time. OTOH Ubuntu was the distro who contributed this application to the general public as something like this is not yet part of the GST (GNOME system tools). Other thing is missing is a DSL configuration interface as part of the network configuration. This of today only supports modems, ISDN and ethernet cards (more or less). But DSL or cable is a quite frequent setup.

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