Divining from the Entrails of Ubuntu's Gutsy Gibbon
Sep 21, 2007, 21:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)
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"According to the 2007 DesktopLinux.com survey, Ubuntu is the
distribution of choice for 30% of GNU/Linux users. The exact figure
is questionable, but Ubuntu's dominance is not. For an increasing
number of people, Ubuntu is GNU/Linux. Yet, looking at the
pre-releases of Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu 7.10, I found myself becoming
disturbed by the degree to which this popularity has translated
into uncritical acceptance.
"Make no mistake--due to the energy that the Ubuntu community
and Canonical, its corporate arm, have put into improving the
desktop, this popularity is well-deserved. Yet, at the same time, I
find myself wondering whether user-friendliness must inevitably
mean discouraging users from exploring their systems or taking firm
control over them. This question keep nagging me each time I
installed, went through the selection of preloaded software,
explored the desktop, installed new software, or examined security.
Only once or twice did I find a balance between accessibility to
newcomers and a feature set for advanced users. At times, too, I
wondered whether the popularity might be preventing Ubuntu from
finishing some rough edges..."