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Ubuntu DOES create something
Posted Oct 18, 2008 6:49 UTC (Sat) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
Sorry, but Ubuntu DOES create somethig. Yes, they pull a lot of stuff
from Debian repositories, but they DON'T send you to Debian mantainers to
fix common bugs and they DON'T close bug as WONTFIX with message "this is
as in RHEL so we can not do anything about it". If you reject any
distributions which reuse work of others then you should reject them all
and go with pristine sources...
Re: Ubuntu DOES create something
Posted Oct 18, 2008 19:19 UTC (Sat) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263)
Yes they create something, here is what...: an unnecessary indirection. 1. Replicating bugs from Debian (as unfortunate as Debian bugs are), 2. adding more bugs not present in Debian, 3. bad bug management and 4. bad user impression.
We all probably agree that distros are a good idea, because you, as a user, possibly do not want to do everything by hand. (Even Gentoo is automated.) There is however a difference between doing it and doing it wrong.
1. Now all Debian bugs are REPLICATED. I will ignore the OpenSSL debacle, but consider for example the long-standing lack of UTF8-by-default in earlier Debian versions. This propagated, and now I am stuck for years with that issue in enterprises having made the idiotic choice for Ubuntu6LTS. (Is it because of the LTS sticker? Failure to see that Debian has a stable that is at least as good? Or is it blindly following the Ubuntu hype.)
2. This indirection introduces ADDITIONAL bugs, example here is the drop of privileges in the login process after the user was authenticated. (Ubuntu6; it eventually got fixed in later ones.) This horribly broke the PAM session closing code because some modules relied on having the superuser privileges that all other major distros retained.
I agree with you that they should not send the user to Debian maintainers after all, it might be an Ubuntu-specific bug.
3. Consider a relatively small package that nothing depends on and which has a bug. Commonly, sid is updated with the new version and users will usually pick the package from sid, silently, to get their bug fixed.
You are absolutely right: I just looked at the package I was secretly implying. Of all the bugs filed in the last 6 months, they DID NOT SEND bugs to either Debian or upstream, causing at least one bug that I would mark as confirmed to be missed. They also do not close as WONTFIX (just as you said), leaving bug reports TOTALLY UNANSWERED instead!
4. As a result, users continue to hit the bug and complain in forums. Many of these users cannot distinguish between (a) it is a newly-discovered bug, (b) bug is fixed upstream, but Ubuntu does not update it, (c) bug in the Ubuntu package (see item (2)). This puts the software into an incorrect bad light because users just claim xyz not working, software sucks.
Posted Oct 20, 2008 5:48 UTC (Mon) by ekj (subscriber, #1524)
Any derivative always risks introducing own bugs. Nobody is immune to this. It's not as if Debian, Redhat, or anyone else is free from introducing bugs not present in upstream. (you yourself mention the most prominent recent example, then say you'll 'ignore' it. That's fine but it doesn't make it go away)
Any derivative that DOESN'T change things duplicate the bugs in upstream. Duh !
As for the "bad user impression", did it ever occur to you that people use Ubuntu for reasons OTHER than that it gives them a bad impression ? And reasons -other- than being clueless ?
Frankly, your condensing tone doesn't in the least make me sympathethic to that part of your complaint that is legitimate. (namely that communication and integration with upstream could definitely be better)
It also misses the mark. I've run Linux since I installed the 1.2.13 kernel coming with slackware whatever-it-was from a CD-ROM that was stilled divided into "floppy sets", I've run and administered hundreds of linux-machines of 3 architectures on half a dozen or so different distributions. Today I run ubuntu on all my personal boxes, except one that runs a different flavour every month that I use for testing and playing around.
Ubuntu has, in actual fact, managed to get something right. Refusing to allow that doesn't make it go away either.
And the tone you, and many like you, are using isn't likely to actually make anyone sympathethic to your views.
Posted Oct 20, 2008 10:06 UTC (Mon) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167)
Ubuntu is terrible at doing half of what a distribution is supposed to do (mediating between users and upstream). That's not the fault of Ubuntu users, it is Canonical's fault. And the Ubuntu fanboys respond to every criticism with "But Ubuntu is popular" as though somehow "popular" makes it all OK.
There is no reason Ubuntu can't fix their mess and stay popular. There's no reason to believe that people who don't like Ubuntu because it is /causing them problems/ will still not like it if those problems are fixed. Characterising everyone who doesn't agree with you as a "half-troll" doesn't fix anything.
Actually that's not true...
Posted Oct 20, 2008 11:01 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
Ubuntu is terrible at doing half of what a distribution is supposed to do (mediating between users and upstream)
But Ubuntu's business model practically depends on this. If you'll look at Ubuntu's site you'll find that they sat that "every computer user should have the freedom to download, run, copy, distribute, study, share, change and improve their software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees" - and they follow on this promise. Yet they don't say "every computer user should have the freedom to whine to us and we'll help him". This feature is sold separately. How many users who complain that bugreports are ignored and communication is one-sided are actually paying for support?
Ubuntu quite explicitly separated these two issues - it has nothing to do with being popular or unpopular. Since Ubuntu is popular they can offer you palliative: ask users for help - sometimes it helps, sometimes does not. But if you want to have non-zero priority for your bugs - you should pay for the privilege. Looks pretty logical to me.
There is no reason Ubuntu can't fix their mess and stay popular.
But can they fix their mess and still be profitable? That's the question.
There's no reason to believe that people who don't like Ubuntu because it is /causing them problems/ will still not like it if those problems are fixed.
But there are reason to believe that people who are happy with free support will not bother to pay.
P.S. I'm not saying Canonical created this problem on purpose. But since they have no incentive to fix this problem and every incentive not to... Why bother? IMO sensible approach for them will be to ignore bugreports for most of the cycle then early after release check if they still persist and fix them if they do for the next version of Ubuntu. Unless these are security-related problems, of course.
Posted Oct 20, 2008 12:33 UTC (Mon) by ekj (subscriber, #1524)
There's a large difference between harm and too-little-help. The real critique of it has been mostly the second variety; not ENOUGH is done to ensure bug-reports are efficiently communicated upstream, and bugfixes make their way upstream etc. I can agree with this. But that doesn't mean the hyperbole. I don't see anyone pulling anyones hair, frankly.
I didn't say being popular made anything ok. I said being popular may sometimes be a sign of actually getting some of the things that matter to USERS right.
I do agree it should be possible to do right onto users and at the same time ALSO do right unto upstream.
The trollish aspect is the typical open or hidden claim that anyone who uses Ubuntu is somehow clueless or harmful or doesn't know his own best. That's frankly insulting, and certainly nonconstructive.
I've run Slackware, Debian and Fedora for years. Frankly I don't think which distro I ran made much difference at all to how useful (or not!) I am to the overall Linux ecosystem. The few things I *did* trough Launchpad (some minor translation-work and reporting a single bug) are both present upstream today (in Gnu nano and nautilus-actions), so though things aren't perfect obviously some stuff is working some of the time.
In short, "ubuntu should do X" is constructive. "ubuntu-users are idiots, ubuntu is similar to the bully you knew in highschool" isn't.
Posted Oct 20, 2008 15:30 UTC (Mon) by sbergman27 (guest, #10767)
I'd love to have an answer to this question, as well. People whom we otherwise respect go ballistic to attack Ubuntu. I've already mentioned this in the current thread. But I really do think that Morrisey hit it on the head way back in 1992. We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful:
Posted Oct 21, 2008 2:09 UTC (Tue) by joey (subscriber, #328)
Debian is a vast collection of software. For a long time, much of this software had issues with utf-8. Debian and others performed a lot of work to fix various things to work with utf-8, and it eventually reached a point where Debian decided to enable utf-8 by default, since not too many things would break. (Although the number of utf-8 issues that remain is not exactly anywhere near nonzero... I seem to run into about 1 per week.)
You make it sound as if Debian perpretrated a lack of default utf-8 on the world somehow, which is a really strange reading of the above facts.
Furthermore, if Ubuntu chose to base off of a version of Debian that did not use utf-8 by default, there's no particular reason they couldn't revisit Debian's decision. Since the part of Ubuntu distributed on CD is about 21 times smaller than all of Debian, they could look at that subset, and, if it supported utf-8 well enough, make the switch. This ability to move quicker could be construed as one of the advantages Ubuntu can bring to its users. I don't remember if they significantly leapfrogged Debian in enabling utf-8 by default or not, but they certianly *could* have.
(Good greif, did you actually coax me into *defending* Ubuntu?)
Posted Oct 21, 2008 2:32 UTC (Tue) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263)
Hell I am not even talking about the vast software, but the base system. Simple stuff like the terminal being in utf8 mode and $LC_CTYPE being sth. like "en_US.UTF-8". I think it was Suse and Fedora that were among the first that I remember had utf8.
But you can also look at it another way if you don't like me pointing at Debian. Look at Slackware. If Debian is your standard definition of when features are complete and should be activated, then Slackware is quite late in enabling utf8.
>there's no particular reason they couldn't revisit Debian's decision [...]they could look at that subset, and, if it supported utf-8 well enough, make the switch.
Well that would have been a *real merit* if they did. But they did not do squat.
Posted Oct 21, 2008 8:22 UTC (Tue) by jamesh (guest, #1159)
Ubuntu has defaulted to UTF-8 locales since 5.04 – the second release ever made.
If you have a box that has old non-unicode locales set up, it'd be interesting to know how it got into that state. If you want to fix it you could try the recommendations in the 5.04 upgrade guide.
For all the Ubuntu boxes I've set up in recent memory, unicode locales have been selected by default.
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