Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm on the Verge of Leaving Ubuntu.

I started with Ubuntu on the day of their first release, having come from Debian. I've been loyal since then. I felt Ubuntu was trying to make some changes that needed to be made in both the Linux distro world and in Debian specifically.

I spent countless hours on teh forums working with people to help them get settled into Ubuntu. I wrote howtos for the wiki and for this blog. I never tried to monetize the blog because that's not what I created it for. (The hardy links below aren't adwords: they're just Google news.) Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I'm no fanboy. I call things the way that I see them. Maybe I'm not always right, but I put my best effort into checking every fact I write down.

But most of all, I dutifully used every Alpha, Beta, and RC since 4.10, reporting as many bugs as I could. Since I don't trust myself to write any code (my last line being in 1988), I felt that reporting bugs was the best thing I could do for "the cause."

Ninety percent of the bugs get ignored. That's fine. I don't expect software to be bug free. Simple one line fixes should really be no problem, though.

During the 7.10 Beta cycle, I reported involving unmounting of removable drives. If a user yanked a drive, he/she was told not to do that and to choose "eject" from the context menu of the drive icon. The only problem was ... the context menu didn't have "eject" anywhere in it. Instead, it had "unmount." Sure, Linux users know how to unmount a drive, but giving incorrect directions is just amateurish.

(yes, I'm calling him out!) did nothing but argue and stall over which word would be appropriate. Instead of fixing the bug so that users could follow the directions, then trying to get the terminology right, we spent months arguing over words. Eventually Sebastien disposed of the bug by reassigning the package and declaring the bug invalid.

What a fucking joke. I won't support a project that can't even be bothered to get its help system in line with reality.

I think I made my decision while typing this blog entry. I guess I'll be back to Debian tomorrow. So long and thanks for all the fish.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck.


Same here! I got weary of silly performance problems for no reason, especially on gnome.

I plan to install debian as soon as possible.

LinuxJedi said...

I have had exactly the same problem with the bug team. I don't blame you for the switch.

I may well switch to OpenSUSE 11 soon.

Schelling said...

You might also want to consider Fedora which, perhaps not coincidentally (it shares quite a few package maintainers with Debian, together with a similar policy on software freedom), comes close to Joey Hess's vision of a "Constantly Usable Testing" version of Debian.

Unless it would be your intention to run Stable/Etch, Debian can only offer either breakage-prone, relatively untested software (Unstable/Sid) or a development stream (Testing/Lenny) into which -- as compared to Sid -- critical security updates can often be slow to percolate (unlike as in Fedora).

Fedora 9's probably best avoided for KDE users, but luckily each release enjoys 13 months of official support.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. If you are comfortable with Debian then you should be helping out in Debian forums than to join in the mad rush.

Looking forward for your I've Been to Debain blog :)

Anonymous said...

bye, fucking joke? ;)

Anonymous said...

Btw, the correct answer is: eject

Anonymous said...

You could try Linux Mint, which has a very community driver forum. They listen to the users and add features based on that.

It still based on Ubuntu so you get the features you really like in the distro plus a lot of new tools. currently is number 4 in Distrowatch.


On the other side, one bad apple doesn't make the tree bad.

Also, I'm not a ubuntu user, I admire that this Distro is the most adventoruos in new features and is one of the few that is really innovative.

No distro si perfect, but i think that we should know to separate the good from the bad.

I will not tell you which Distro to use, but maybe take a deep breath before you make a rush decision.

Schelling said...

When I finally abandoned Ubuntu for good last year, the criteria adopted for choosing a distro were:

- sufficient stability for day-to-day desktop use (Debian Etch, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, MEPIS, PCLOS, Slackware, Fedora)

- a broad range of applications in the official repositories

- a package manager incorporating some kind of automatic dependency resolution

- a suite of applications not much more than 9 months old

- a vigorously applied policy of timely security updates

- a distro in which US patent restrictions (proprietary codecs, DeCSS, the Freetype bytecode interpreter etc...) are either not applied or easily reversible using semi-official repositories.

Now by my reckoning that leaves only Mandriva, PCLOS and Fedora...

Anonymous said...

And OpenSuSE! That fits all the criteria.

Schelling said...

If you're talking about third-party repositories unofficially provided by the openSUSE devs, then no, especially not since Novell's patent indemnification deal with Microsoft.

I asked an openSUSE dev why his third-party version of freetype wasn't supplied with the usual features pre-compiled. He replied: "my repository are mirrored at several places, amongst which [...] the US. Without the green light of a lawyer, I wouldn't host binary RPMs with subpixel hinting enabled."

The Livna repository, by contrast, is a one stop shop for a comprehensive range of patent-encumbered software maintained by the Fedora devs themselves, and includes, for example, freetype-freeworld with BCI and subpixel hinting enabled by default.

Manuel Galisteo said...

Good decision, and good move. Maybe you should have never left Debian in the first place, but who knows, what is done is done. Now I hope to see a new blog from you detailing your Debian experiences. I will be one of your readers. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I tried Ubuntu myself, and I wasn't too impressed with 8.04. So far, Im on PCLinuxOS, which also comes in GNOME flavor. I would recommend PCLinuxOS.

Richard said...

My question is will you be happy where ever you may go !

It just seems like such a silly reason to say goodbye. Almost like I didn't get my way so I will spit my dummy and go crying all the way home !

Sorry but will you go running away next you can't get your way on your next distro of choice !!!

I will also say bye bye, well not to Ubuntu but to your blog.

I must say that I had been to Ubuntu blog but I won't be going to Debian.

All the best for your future path and may your new distro treat you well !!

Thanks for the good read on your blog for the last time.. I did enjoy it !!!

Anonymous said...

A second vote here for PCLinuxOS. Nice user experience.

SilverWave said...

Best of luck, but I only came here for your Ubuntu insight.

But distro choice is part of your freedom, so have fun.

I'm gone and so is your Live Bookmark.

Anonymous said...

I'm also leaving...
last live 8.04 CDs stopped booting in my PC...

Debian live CDs boot without problems...
and they are almost as fast as Puppy :D
Why ubuntu break things so badly?...

7.10 has become a boring thing and i'm booting more and more frequently in WXP...

My only hope for a "true" alternative to WXP is becoming ReactOS but that will take a lot of time...

Oh and Thunar 0.9.0 for xfce 4.4.2 in xubuntu 7.10 shows "Eject volume" when i plug in a USB drive or i insert a CD :D


Richard said...
"My question is will you be happy where ever you may go !"

My experience over 11 years of Linux has been
1) RH (or localized derivatives for the country was in) -- 6 years
2) Debian -- 2 years
3) Ubuntu -- 3 years

I think that it's pretty obvious from that list that I'm not a distro hopper, so I'll probably be happy enough with Debian. Heck, it's almost as if I never left it.

I might have "taken my ball and gone home," I really look at the situation more as realizing that Ubuntu's philosophy has shifted and no longer matches mine. Shuttleworth's pride in shipping 8.04 on time, despite the massive bugs present, showed me how clear the difference has become.

Two years ago, they delayed to get it right. They're too worried about time lines now.

Anonymous said...

The best thing abouty Linux is choice! I use Ubuntu and love it (I've tried many distros including Debian, Mint, Fedora, Debian, SuSE, Mandriva, and so on) and enjoy Ubuntu the most. However, that doesn't necessarily mean its the best distro. Far from it, its all what suits you.

I have a friend who uses Red Hat, another uses Linux Mint. Good Luck with Debian. It indeed is a great distro.

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