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Friday April 18th 2014

Mark Shuttleworth Steps In On Developers’ Ubuntu Kerfuffle





There is no question that times are changing for Canonical and Ubuntu. Ubuntu phones are imminent, Ubuntu TV continues to take shape, Canonical is focused on enterprise users — and the list of sea changes goes on and on. This caused Ubuntu community members and developers to raise some red flags at the recent Ubuntu Developer Summit. "I am concerned because I feel my time and contributions might go to waste and fall on deaf ears," wrote one developer. "Is my work still relevant because it has nothing to do with a cell phone, nothing to do with a display server, and nothing that in any way is a direct profit source for the Canonical?"

Now Mark Shuttleworth has weighed in what he calls the "unnecessary melodrama."

Shuttleworth’s post is here, but you have to scroll down to the "unwarranted melodrama" part of the post, where he says:

"The sky is not falling in. Really…When we started, we said we wanted to deliver the best of open source on a cadence…The result is Unity, which is an experience that could become widely adopted across phones, tablets, PCs and other devices. Of course, that is a disruptive change, and has caused some members of existing communities to resent our work."

Shuttleworth adds this: "If you’ve done what you want for Ubuntu, then move on. That’s normal – there’s no need to poison the well behind you just because you want to try something else….It’s also the case that we’ve shifted gear to leadership rather than integration."

Some members of the Ubuntu community will undoubtedly move on, while some are calling for careful reflection before making any decisions.  Ubuntu’s future on platforms other than desktop computers is bright, and the folks at Canonical are wise to look toward new frontiers. A read through of the posts from developers makes it seem like there is simply resistance to change.

"If we work hard, and work together, Ubuntu will become a widespread platform for phones, tablets and PCs," Shuttleworth’s post says. And he’s obviously not going to turn back from that vision.

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