> if ubuntu is wrong in choosing its own path then the community will leave them and they will ultimately wither. given that ubuntu is thriving, its clear that despite the vitriol, users are not rejecting their approach
It's a perfectly reasonable point of view to think that Ubuntu is generally doing a good job, but some things it's doing is misguided.
For instance, nobody else is doing anywhere near as competent a job of delivering desktop Linux based on Debian packages on a somewhat frequent release cycle with a good chance of working on most hardware. This by itself is enough to make me use Ubuntu.
I can still disagree with whether I think their desktop strategy, or their init system strategy, or whatever else, is correct. And they can be wrong about those things, and still succeed, provided they're doing a better job actually delivering a desktop Linux than anyone else out there -- which they are, despite it (allegedly) not being their primary focus.
So I don't think it's true at all that Ubuntu continuing to be so popular is evidence that everything they're doing is correct. It's only evidence that the major stuff is correct.