Question for Gary

Story: Ubuntu - All other versions aspire to be this successfulTotal Replies: 14
Author Content

Aug 26, 2012
12:17 PM EDT
" Do all other distributions aspire to achieve the success of Ubuntu? "

Did Ubuntu aspire to achieve the success of Debian?

Actually, at this moment in time, I'm thinkin' the answer to your original question is no.

While there are some that have bit the bullet and learned how to suffer through Unity, most of us have moved on to a DE that doesn't restrict and doesn't interrupt our workflow. I would say that the greatest thing Ubuntu has done to date is force distro developers out of their comfort zones and innovate, albeit for sanity reason and not to scratch an itch. The Mint and SolusOS devs come instantly to mind, as well as the folks from Fuduntu.

Aug 26, 2012
3:56 PM EDT
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Aug 26, 2012
5:33 PM EDT
What most people seem to be missing here is that outside of the world of commercial Linux vendors , competition between Linux distros doesn't really exist. Debian is not competing with Mint or with Mageia, just like Mageia or Mint aren't competing Debian. Each do their own thing.

The whole competition paradigm is nonsense in the world of free software as there is no prize to compete for (I doubt any distro developer seriously cares about being number one or number two or whatever on the distrowatch ranking...).

Free software thrives on COLLABORATION, not competition!

(Collaboration doesn't just mean directly communicating and collaborating with each other which is less common because it's not really needed, but rather that each distro freely copies and uses what it likes from other distros and from upstream projects and reports and fixes bugs upstream which benefits all distros)

In the free software world many classic capitalist concepts are turned upside down: copying is good rather than bad, collaboration rather than competition is the ideal, the focus is on doing what you like rather than what 'sells'.

So all these blog articles that focus on imaginary competition between distros or desktops or other true free software projects completely miss the point!

Aug 26, 2012
6:20 PM EDT
Just to clarify my position on this subject.

The article itself is mainly a review of Ubuntu 12.04 and the Unity desktop.

The opening gambit within the article mentions Ubuntu's success in the sense that it is the distribution that so many other distributions are spawned and it is attempting to compete in many markets that more established players such as Microsoft, Google and Apple roam.

Ubuntu is very successful. This doesn't mean it is the best version of Linux. Each of us has our own opinion on our favourite distribution and in many cases there are different distributions for different occasions. For example on my laptop I run Zorin whilst on my Netbook I run Bodhi.

I think whilst collaboration is key in the free software world and competition appears not to be so cutthroat each distribution must have a reason to exist and something that makes it stand out of the crowd and I can't believe that the people who make the decisions about direction of a distribution don't look across at the more successful distributions and ask the question "What do we need to do to attract more users and what is it they are doing that is working?". There is no point having the best distribution ever if nobody is using it.

Of course success doesn't have to be judged on money made or downloads achieved or distrowatch ratings. If the people who make distributions set a goal and achieve the goals they set then they have been successful.

Sometimes though you have to look at the Zuckerburgs of the world and think "Facebook, such a simple idea, wish I'd thought of that" in the same way sprinters must look at Usain Bolt and wish that they could run that fast.

Aug 26, 2012
7:24 PM EDT

> no point having the best distribution ever if nobody is using it

I think you mean "nobody else is ..."

And yes there is every point if the creator finds either the end result, or the experience of production satisfying.

Elsewhere you seem to think that the Linux desktop environments evolved from MS-Windows, and did not have effective icons until they were introduced by MS. This is incorrect. If you had used the early GUI distributions, such as Yggdrasil (which came as a "live CD" in '92) it would have been apparent that the Linux Desktop evolved from the WIMP (Windows,Icons,Menus, Pointer) paradigm that became common on Unix workstations during the 70's and 80;s.

Aug 26, 2012
7:48 PM EDT
gary wrote: > each distribution must have a reason to exist

Sure, but the reason doesn't have to be rational or even logical to anyone but the developer(s) of that particular distro themselves.

Most distro devs don't really care if they have 1 / 1000 / 1000000 users, they mostly do what they do because they enjoy doing it and/or because they aren't happy with what's out there and think they can do something that's better themselves (according to their own particular taste and world view, NOT from a competitive perspective!).

Sure, getting positive/constructive feedback from other people who use your creation is a nice feeling, but that's rarely the primary driver for a developer and becoming too popular isn't necessarily positive as that means having to deal with too much feedback which distracts from the actual fun part (the dev work).

Aug 26, 2012
8:05 PM EDT
I bet a lot of developers are very interested in where they sit in the Distrowatch rankings.

Ever seen a forum where the users are encouraged to "vote" at Distrowatch early and often to raise a distro's ranking? I've seen that happen recently.

To wit,

Aug 26, 2012
8:06 PM EDT
Just to add:

> If the people who make distributions set a goal and achieve the goals they set then they have been successful.

Actually from this POV Ubuntu hasn't been very successful yet, as they have neither gained much of a foothold in the server world, nor succeeded in taking away much market share from Windows and OSX (which AFAIK were/are the two main goals of Ubuntu), nor even managed to break even financially (which surely should matter to them as they are a commercial enterprise).

@Steve: that's some users(/fanbois) of the distros who are interested in distrowatch, not the actual devs. I read a few distro devel MLs and the rare occasion distrowatch rankings are mentioned it's some user mentioning them, not a dev.

Aug 27, 2012
4:06 PM EDT

Quoting:nor succeeded in taking away much market share from Windows and OSX (which AFAIK were/are the two main goals of Ubuntu)

I don't know about two main goals, but their bug #1 is "Microsoft has a majority market share".


Aug 27, 2012
8:20 PM EDT
While Ubuntu's commercial entity Canonical has focused more on the server market during the last few years (and there's nothing wrong with that), the company also devotes much energy -- and paid developer time -- to the desktop; not just creating a desktop environment in the form of GNOME-dependent Unity but also promoting its entire distribution to both hobbyist users as well as those in the enterprise.

As much as I admire and use other Linux distributions for my desktop and server needs (I'm partial to Debian and exploring CentOS), nobody is doing the kind of promotion that Canonical and the Ubuntu community is doing. And even they're not doing so well at it. That's sad.

Aug 28, 2012
5:51 PM EDT
Threads like that one linked to on the SolusOS forums are one of the many reasons distrowatch rankings are useless. They are a click fest - nothing more.

I normally get a feel for how large a given project is by looking at how active their user forums are - but that is just me.


Aug 31, 2012
12:51 AM EDT
@the anti-DistroWatch people,

I dunno, it seems that there are just too few Democratic-oriented metrics on which distros people prefer OTHER THAN DistroWatch. Sure, visitors can click on their preferred distro's DistroWatch site until their fingers essentially give out, but at the same time OTHER visitors can do the same thing for THEIR preferred DistroWatch distros. So in the end it all trends towards balancing out except for the truly best non-hyped distros

Besides, ever notice how anti-DistroWatch some distro maintainers, devs and users get when THEIR preferred distro gets absolutely BURIED by we DistroWatch clickers? Some examples: Let's see.... Baboontu fanbois, Bodhi people, SolusOS people, Mandriva people, and so on and so forth. There wouldn't be any like-minded persons advocating THESE distros lurking around here now, would there be??? ;)


Aug 31, 2012
4:33 AM EDT
Anti-DIstrowatch? I wrote for Ladislav for quite some time and my writing is still more than welcome there if I ever have the time to do it again. Ladislav is often the first to dismiss the meaning of the DW page hit rankings and he owns the site.

So... you attack those who question just how meaningful the DW rankings are as biased and having a vested interest in dismissing those rankings. I'm afraid all you are showing just how biased you really are.

Aug 31, 2012
4:45 AM EDT
@flufferbeer, what I don't understand is why anyone would bother going to distrowatch when it's just as simple to do a google search for the distro in question. I know the only time I've ever been to distrowatch is to see what in the h#ll people are talking about, as a consequence I've clicked on distros I've never used, and probably wouldn't bother using, in the process I've added to their popularity, no doubt, is there any metric that suggests this isn't the case in a significant number of cases?

Aug 31, 2012
8:35 AM EDT

Given people's busy working schedules, I really do think that if people can find the time to regularly read and write comments (even here), then they can certainly find an even briefer amount of time to go on DistroWatch and visit various distro descriptions --- maybe even on distros they've never even tried or considered. This exposes people to new developments 'n releases in the distros they love and probably exposes 'em to Linux in general, e.g., n00bs. So we probably agree on this.

In all the gripes about how meaningless and unfairly biased DistroWatch rankings seem to some, I rarely (if ever?) see such gripes from DistroWatch's ranking leaders such as Linux Mint. We've clearly seen, OTOH, some gripes about unfair ranking biases from jilted advocates for distros I've already mentioned, and BTW I'd now add ROSA and a couple of RedHat-based distros to that list as well ;)

But then again, regardless of how democratic the good, upstanding DistroWatch metrics really are, DistroWatch-whiners gonna whine, haters gonna hate....

2 more c's

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!