A while ago I posted an article wondering why a big number of hardcore Linux fans hated Unity and Ubuntu so much. From my point of view (a newbie to Linux just playing around with different OS) everything looked fine. And I still believe Unity and Ubuntu represent what most PC users need: a clean interface similar enough to Windows (which is what most of them are used to), with the support of a large dedicated company that ensures consistency, and a huge community of users out there to get responses when something isn’t working. But this week I read this interesting article on Wired Magazine about the next developments and I finally saw the big picture.
The problem is not that Ubuntu or Unity aren’t good enough. The real issue here is that Canonical is moving a little further from the open-source community values with every update. Instead of taking advantage of the community to work together for the greater good (better standard software for everyone) they are working on their own. They are still developing great software, but missing the point that makes Linux such a powerful concept and losing the input of hundreds of developers who would help them for free to make their OS better. It doesn’t make sense to close that door, and I understand how that might feel when you are a respected developer in the open-source community. Just look at Linux Mint, which is basically what the larger community came up starting at Ubuntu and working all together to make it better.
Although I think Canonical’s strength and Ubuntu’s popularity are still a great push for Linux and open-source systems, I believe they are drawing an important line between the community and their own company. And that line will hurt Canonical more than it may hurt the open-source community, which as always will find its own ways to create great things… because it’s just easier when you have thousands of people working together.