Canonical Throws Developers Under The Bus

“You have a stable app store deployed for millions of users and developers and it’s unmaintained, with the users and developers frustrated… Yes, this will be better with snappy or click or whatever.. But now, you have a stable system which is used by millions of users and you have abandoned it. And it is a long time problem now…”
 
Comment on To Whom It May Concern. (+Mark Shuttleworth​, +Jane Silber​, +Michael Hall​,…

The laziness of Canonical packaging contributed applications for distribution to Ubuntu GNU/Linux desktop installations has lead them to stop accepting updates and new contributions altogether. They want to use “Snappy” contributions instead of .deb contributions despite the whole OS depending on Debian GNU/Linux. What a bunch of children! They have made Ubuntu GNU/Linux the most successful distro on the planet and want to throw the baby out with the dishwater.

In TFA, it appears they want to automate the process of accepting applications for their store. That’s just lazy and wanting to be like other malware-plagued stores is not the FLOSS way at all. Canonical doesn’t get that. Debian’s process scales very well, a small team dedicated to helping integrate a small collection of packages. People who care about something do a better job than robots, Shuttleworth. Wake up! If the world wanted GNU/Linux to be like That Other OS, there would be no GNU/Linux. It’s not the right way to do IT by duplicating the mistakes M$ makes.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to Canonical Throws Developers Under The Bus

  1. dougman says:

    There are some applications that require a slew of KDE libraries, Ummmmm…noooo. I refuse to even bother dealing with software like that.

  2. ssorbom says:

    “I wonder how long until some developer using Snappy manages to make another package that is a dependency nightmare.”
    I’m looking at you, Docker

  3. kurkosdr wrote, “how can I become a repository “maintainer”? (read: keeper of the gate, not maintener in the app store sense of regulator) I bet it’s some shady process, barely documented”.

    1. Make a local copy of some/all of the Debian repository
    2. Change/add whatever packages you want
    3. Update checksums and package lists
    4. Use APT, pointed to your local repository

    See, it’s not that hard. This is what I’ve done in remote schools to reduce bandwidth to/from the Internet. If you just use Debian’s packages, it’s even easier. Skip steps 2&3.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Debian not having the Latest VLC what are you trying todo make me laugh

    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-debian.html
    kurkosdr Debian the VLC in sid branch of debian is always that latest commonly released 24 hours ahead of Windows binaries. Yes the VLC packages are put in Debian sid directly by VLC developers. QA process of Debian is slow. So vlc getting from SID to testing and stable take a while.

    Now if you were complaining about dependancy hell attempting to force packages from SID on testing and stable then you would have something. Of course I use 0install to get around this.

    –I gave Debian a thought, but then I realized the people behind it take pride in yanking out binary blobs that make devices work, because the Church Of The Holy GNU sez so. —
    Not at all non-free repository exists in Debian for reasons. Debian actions are based on legal requirements. Mixing wrong license types with wrong License types cause problems with Mirrors. Not all hosting locations will host items that do not have source code.

    –.apk files are a marvel, you FOSSies just can’t wrap your head around them because your mind is too much into the cabal mentality (not to mention your love for dependency hells)–
    No Morons like you think we cannot. You forgot we have experience auto-package and many other prior solutions.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopackage
    This is the problem every time the Linux world has put up a solution that bundles all the dependencies with the application and technically does everything a apk file does. The repeated out come is Zero applications.

    Only one that has been successful in a major way recently is Steam. But that was with a big company backing.

    I don’t hold out much hope for Snappy really. Ubuntu track record is not great. I wonder how long until some developer using Snappy manages to make another package that is a dependency nightmare.

    We of the Linux world know what is going wrong. Linux distributions use packages to save on downloads and install size. Closed source vendors also want to save on download size. The problem should come clear when you compare the PPA package sizes on Ubuntu to the Window and OS X install sizes. Windows and OS X installers for the same applications are many times bigger because they have bundled run-times.

    Now if snappy at long last gets application developers using bundled runtimes third party application hell will stop. Remember using a PPA doing bundled runtimes was optional. Apparently you can not trust third party developers with optional. If you choose not to bundle runtime that is agreeing to have to update all the time.

    Really I am more interested in the gnome sandbox and systemd solutions. Systemd solution is be able to install every Linux OS at once. So debian stable,testing,sid next to each other not fighting. Gnome sandbox like snappy except we can see the source code.

    Both of these options are being designed distribution neutral. Yes to run snappy apps using systemd solution you can just sandbox ubuntu.

  5. ssorbom says:

    Actually, the process is detailed on the Debian Wiki. Basically, you need to start as a package maintainer. During the maintainer process, you come into contact with Debian Developers who will sponsor your work for upload to the Debian archives. After you work at that for a while, you can fill out a request form to become a Debian Developer (DD). If your previous sponsors (or somebody within the project who has worked with you) vouch for the quality of your work, you are asked to submit a legal ID (or valid copy). Then you get accepted and can submit work directly to the Debian FTP masters (They are the gatekeepers). FTP masters are appointed by the Debian Project leader, who is in turn elected by the Debian Developers.
    https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/FTPMaster (See “Delegation”)
    https://www.debian.org/devel/constitution#item-8

  6. kurkosdr says:

    “Debian’s process scales very well, a small team dedicated to helping integrate a small collection of packages”

    So well in fact, that the latest VLC doesn’t always show up for download.

    And if they can’t integrate even a well-known player, how can you expect them to integrate -say- an app for the Latvian yellow pages or an app that shows LPG gas stations in Greece?

    “It’s not the right way to do IT by duplicating the mistakes M$ makes.”

    I think they are trying to duplicate the Android and iOS app stores. A goal which infuriates true FOSStards by iyself, regardless if Snappy or .deb is used, because app stores allow devs to effortlessly ship software without having to hand over their work the repository gods errr… graybeards, with said graybeards messing with it or taking too long to upload it.

  7. kurkosdr says:

    I gave Debian a thought, but then I realized the people behind it take pride in yanking out binary blobs that make devices work, because the Church Of The Holy GNU sez so. Of course, due to the fact traces of pollution from non-fuh-ree software can be found in some repository, the Holy GNU and it’s followers are still not pleased and do not recommend Debian.

    ——

    Either you like it or not FOSS fundamentalists, Ubuntu is where what little support from “the industry” gathers around (in the desktop space).

    Also, the fact they are working to make their Software Center behave like a true app store for third-party devs (instead of a repository where graybeards manually add things) is definitely a plus.

    BTW how can I become a repository “maintainer”? (read: keeper of the gate, not maintener in the app store sense of regulator) I bet it’s some shady process, barely documented and based on “trust” and “rep”, much like it is for topsites (if you don’t know what a topsite is, look it up in wikipedia).

  8. ram wrote, “Linux Mint is the answer”.

    That might be true in the future but for the moment Mint has not scaled near enough to replace Ubuntu or Debian GNU/Linux. How many servers do they have? How many developers? Last I heard, it was just a handful. Even Canonical, which could actually afford to do what Debian does and replace everything, does not. It’s far more efficient to rely on Debian than to build something totally new from the bottom up. Debian has years of growth while Mint is still a seedling. Mint are not doing anything that could not be done by building on Debian. I don’t see any benefit of Ubuntu or Mint over Debian, the root from which all this grows.

  9. ram says:

    Linux Mint is the answer 😉

  10. kurkosdr says:

    it appears they want to automate the process of accepting applications for their store.

    Shame on them!

    Now, repeat after me kids: Repositories are not a walled garden… Repositories are not a walled garden… Repositories are not a walled garden…

    Because of course they are not. They are just a place where entries are strictly controlled by a small cabal. Does this sound like a walled garden to you? (yes it does to me)

    Users want Snappy-like stuff. They do not want to mess with adding PPAs, repos or whatever and then installing the app.

    .apk files are a marvel, you FOSSies just can’t wrap your head around them because your mind is too much into the cabal mentality (not to mention your love for dependency hells)

  11. dougman says:

    I have one single panel at the top of my screen, with the menu button on the left.

    I use cairo-dock at the bottom, hidden until I slide the mouse down the to the bottom of the screen for all my regular applications.

    Window control buttons are on the left.

    I prefer things MY way, not Microsoft’s or Ubuntu’s way.

  12. dougman wrote, of dis-Unity, “The application launcher is rather confusing. Rather than being an easy pop-up menu with a list of useful shortcuts, it’s a full-screen search interface by default.”

    The other items are mostly cosmetic but this one is functional. In principle, I should not have to search for the usual applications at all. Searching for data is routine. Searching for applications is just silly. It’s like being struck blind. Imagine driving a car when an emergency arises and you have to search for the brake control… Data is an entirely different matter since there can be so much of it.

    OTOH, in XFCE4, my “panel” has all my hot buttons: left to right – shutdown, applications, gimp, terminal, inkscape, dictionary, snapshot, Geeqie, LibreOffice writer and calc, file-manager, FireFox, recoll, clipman, synaptic, ballistics, Metar, Gnumeric, windows, desktops, weather, clock, audacity. How often do I need to search for an application? Just when I want a different image-viewer or to tweak a setting, which is rare as I have had a similar configuration for years.

  13. dougman says:

    Ubuntu has received copious amounts of flack over Unity, but them pig-heads refuse to listen to anyone but themselves.

    So to break things down:

    The standard File/Edit/View menu is completely separated from each window and appears on the top bar. Worse yet, the File/Edit/View menu is actually hidden until you move your mouse up to the bar, and then it appears. This is just unnecessarily confusing.

    The window management buttons (close, minimize, and maximize) appear at the top-left side of each window instead of the top-right side. There used to be a hidden option to move these buttons back to the right side, but it no longer works.

    The Unity desktop features a sort of dock, known as a launcher, that displays shortcuts to your applications and to running applications. You can’t get a more traditional taskbar, if you prefer that. The launcher also always appears at the left side of the screen. You can’t move it to another edge of the screen.

    The application launcher is rather confusing. Rather than being an easy pop-up menu with a list of useful shortcuts, it’s a full-screen search interface by default. To actually view a list of installed applications, you have to click the Ubuntu shortcut and select the little Applications view icon at the bottom of the screen. You then need to click “See more results” next to your installed applications and you’ll get a full, alphabetized list of applications without any categories or other useful information. The so-called “dash” interface works best if you use it for search, and you’ll see Amazon search results if you do that. Other options you might expect to find in a “Start menu”-style menu appear in the indicator menus at the top-right corner of the screen.

    Also try Nautilus over Nemo or Caja, you will poke your eyes out. Ubuntu wants users to do things THEIR way and not YOUR way, doesn’t this sound familiar?

  14. ram says:

    Canonical makes mistakes every once in a while. They have been known to correct them after getting sufficient flack.

  15. dougman says:

    I would consider Debian to be the MOST successful, but I would add Slackware and Gentoo into that mix as well.

    Regarding retail shelves, I would think that Android and ChromeOS are far more successful than Ubuntu ever will be.

  16. ssorbom says:

    Actually, an Ubuntu engineer discussed the subject matter of this post on a podcast I listen to regularly.
    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.ogg/traffic.libsyn.com/jbmirror/lup-0104.ogg (9:29).

    .deb packages are NOT going away any time soon.

    What worries me more is that the Snappy backend appears to be proprietary

  17. dougman expressed incredulity with, “Ubuntu GNU/Linux the most successful distro on the planet?”

    I’m pretty sure there are many more copies of Ubuntu GNU/Linux on retail shelves than Mint. Canonical has connected with OEMs and retailers, according to webstats. Wikipedia has changed their webstats but, until recently, they showed a huge margin for Ubuntu.

    Clearly, Canonical does not “get” FLOSS but they do employ salesmen, lots of them. Shuttleworth doesn’t make the “best” GNU/Linux distro but he does try to lock people in. Red Hat tries to do that too. It’s tempting for businesses to do that but it’s offensive to the grass roots of FLOSS and, often, barely legal. Still, these folks are getting FLOSS and GNU/Linux out there.

  18. dougman says:

    Ubuntu GNU/Linux the most successful distro on the planet?? I do not think so..Linux Mint came out two years after and have basically routed them. Ubuntu has forgotten what made it great, “the community”.

    Unity / Gnome shell is what drove lots of people away; even in 2011 it was going downhill: http://royal.pingdom.com/2011/11/23/ubuntu-linux-losing-popularity-fast-new-unity-interface-to-blame/

    Then you have BUG #1, which Android basically solved: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/05/mark-shuttleworth-gives-up-dream-of-ubuntu-toppling-windows/

    Then you have the popularity on Distrowatch, Ubuntu seems have been toppled around 2010 or so, now it is Linux Mint followed by Debian.

    https://www.turnkeylinux.org/blog/ubuntu-not-invented-here-syndrome

    Lets not even bring up the current Ubuntu phone… 2G speed?? Seriously??

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