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back to article Mark Shuttleworth labels Mir opponents 'the Open Source Tea Party'

Ubuntu Daddy Mark Shuttleworth has labelled folks who oppose Mir, the replacement for X Windows dropped from the recently-released Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, “the Open Source Tea Party”. As our review of Saucy Salamander states, Mir's omission was a surprise inasmuch as its inclusion was flagged last July and the software …

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Anonymous Coward

Evolutionary Dead End?

The more I see and experience Mir, the more and more I think it is an evolutionary dead end. IMHO Mr Shuttleworth really needs to get some other significant disro's on board. Otherwise it could become a side show compared to Wayland.

Canonical is a small company and I know I'm not the only one who thinks that they are really spreading themselves far too thinly. From Phones to Desktops to Cloud. do they really have the resources to do all this properly? Based upon the quality of releases since 09/10 I can only think that they don't.

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Re: Evolutionary Dead End?

AFAIK, the justification for Mir is that it's more suitable for a greater range of devices compared to, for example, Wayland. From someone who only has a very vague idea of the relationships between things like X, Gnome, XFCE, QT, dms, etc., is this actually true?

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Re: Evolutionary Dead End?

It's a debate about the lowest layers of plumbing for the Linux desktop. Before there was just X11, now there is also its planned successor Wayland (worked on mostly by the X11 folks), and Mir (started by Canonical). In theory, users should not notice, but in reality, multiple graphics stacks cause subtle compatibility problems, and also requires multiple drivers to be developed for the hardware. Just what Linux does not need.

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Linux

Re: Evolutionary Dead End?

There are 3 possible outcomes of this kind of development approach:

a. Mir dies, due to difficulties getting it adopted by developers at the layers above and below it who don't see the benefit.

b. Mir finds a niche (e.g. small mobile displays) and lives there alongside X11 and Wayland in other niches, e.g. larger displays.

c. Mir is so successful that competitors such as X11 and Wayland become historical footnotes.

In event a. Shuttleworth loses some of his money and Ubuntu some of its reputation, other developers fill these spaces and life moves on. In events b. and c. everyone mostly gains, except in event c. for a very few Wayland developers whose skills are so specialised they are unable to transfer to where these are needed.

The failure or partial or complete success of Mir will be decided mostly by non Canonical developers working at the upper and lower layers. If Mir is adopted by the upper software layer developers and feet are dragged by the hardware layer developers, the ecosystem where Mir is initially most successful will be driven by a more limited choice of hardware.

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Re: Evolutionary Dead End?

The Canonical business plan syllogism:

1. We must do something

2. This is something

3. Therefore, we must do this.

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Whatever.

The spacecadet's kitchen-sink OS is just as bad as Redmond & Cupertino's offerings. For exactly the same reasons.

All things to all people makes for a muddy, bulky OS experience.

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Their next new development is being kept secret ....

... but it will be called 'Pravda'.

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Re: Their next new development is being kept secret ....

And referred to as "pravda gavno[1]", no doubt.

[1] spelling, caps, punctuation and lack of umlauts suspect ;-)

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Fragmentation grenade?

Mir is relevant for approximately 1% of all developers, just those who think about shell development.

I'm more worried about driver and window manager development. If I understand right, Mir will not work with closed source X-Windows drivers. Does that mean in future, hardware makers have to release 3 different drivers? One for X, one for Wayland and one for Mir? That can only be a bad thing.

And will it still possible to install other window managers on top of Ubuntu? Currently I'm quite happily running Mate on top of Ubuntu, as I realised that Unity is not for me. (I gave it a chance, but after a few days I realised it gets in my way, and gave up).

You cannot blame people that they are worried about fragmentation. Fragmentation is usually not a good thing. To some degree Linux turned its fragmentation from a liability into a virtue, but more choice is only good if things still work together. The packet manager fragmentation would be a good example of how not to do things. Please, please let Ubuntu not become the next fragmentation grenade, hitting Linux/Unix.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fragmentation grenade?

To some degree Linux turned its fragmentation from a liability into a virtue, but more choice is only good if things still work together

And that, in a nutshell, is actually the core issue. I applaud Mark and his team for attempting to address what they see as issues getting in the way of their roadmap, but it's a dangerous road to walk alone, full with dead ends. It is even more dangerous to make non-IT people walk that lonely path with you.

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

Find something that works.

Personally, I've been happily running Slackware for around twenty years.

Or you can continue to struggle ... Your call. Enjoy.

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

How can you have been running it for 20 years when you are only 13 years old?

Anyway, as it's my call, I run Ubuntu, and I have found something that works.

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

Don't like fragmentation?

xfree86 or xorg or ...?

(and a long list of similar questions)

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

Nope, Wayland uses Xorg drivers. Mir requires special ones. One reason I'm glad Kubuntu is going with Wayland.

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

Slackware first introduced July 17, 1993, 20 years ago. Do the Math!

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Re: Fragmentation grenade?

Wayland is the replacement of xorg and that xwayland is what is used to provide compatibility with X. Since Kubuntu is based on KDE and KDE is going with Wayland, that is the main reason for them to go with Wayland.

I think Suttleworth is being a bit over the top on this issue of Mir. I think he's upset everyone didn't flock over to the Ubuntu side.

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No torture (of English) required

Windows runs on 90% of desktops. Mir runs on none and those it does run on already support X11. So why should toolkit developers port to a platform they already support rather than a new one that will increase their market ten- or a hundred-fold?

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Re: No torture (of English) required

"Windows runs on 90% of desktops."

The desktop is a declining market. The growth now is in the cloud and on mobile and small form factor devices.

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Growth does not equal existence

Doesn't mean all desktops have disappeared though ;)

Also, I suspect that some (specialized, granted) applications will need quite a few changes in small form factor devices before they can be ported... e.g. CAD.

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Re: No torture (of English) required

"The growth now is in the cloud and on mobile and small form factor devices."

Then Android would be a better choice than Mir.

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Linux

Bah!

Shuttleworth, insular, contemptuous of the opinions of those who disagree with him and most definitely *not* a team player.

A very sad situation when one of the most influential distros is taken in a direction that could mean the end of the cooperation and team work that has lead to the success of Gnu/Linux

It maybe in the interests of all if Ubuntu moves over to the mobile sector completely. Canonical does not have the size or wherewithal to take on the whole spectrum of computing i.e. servers, desktop, tablets and phones, and if Shuttleworth is determined to plough his own furrow and ignore the rest of the free/open software world then perhaps he will feel more comfortable in the closed, proprietary world that is current on phones and tablets.

I'm not suggesting by this that I agree with the fact that walled gardens exist in the mobile world, but that's the way it is just now. At least there he would not have to justify his actions to his "consumers". Rule by diktat may well be more to his liking.

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Mushroom

Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

“the Open Source Tea Party”

Not everything is wrong with the Tea Party and quite a lot of open sources should be into this.

Mir must be like Obamacare then: Heavy, mainly a political statement and ultimately pointless. Not to mention that you cannot put a price on it.

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Re: Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

"Not everything is wrong with the Tea Party"

You are quite correct, DAM.

Tea Parties keep Little Old Ladies gossiping about things that they have zero real world knowledge of out of the rest of our hair. This is a GOOD thing!

And as a plus, it seems they completely screw-up the Republican process.

HTH, HAND.

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Mushroom

Re: Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

There is a Republican "process"? Hah! Did you use an electron microscope to detect it under all the fascistic and crony-capitalistic lard?

Then one has to read old know-nothing lady things like:

"With the Tea Party recently throwing a political tantrum that brought about a shut down of the US government and nearly dragged the world into a vigorously erupting financial volcano"

This has to be read in a high-pitched clownesque voice I reckon.

As if the Tea Party had run this. As if the "shut down" had not been 100% political theater (all the contracts had already been passed in September, civil servants will get back pay, military and NSA kept on working), as if a "financial volcano" would have erupted if Uncle Sam would have been unable to get a new credit card to binge on, as if the current solution is not just kicking the can 3 months down the road, making the putative volcano even bigger. Seems like the only hope is to nuke the dollar through renewed money printing so that no-one notices that his T-bills are worth nothing. No volcano and happy US.

The current deal says that the debt limit has been lifted. LIFTED mtill february. Once that was announced, the US spend (i.e. borrowed) 300 billion USD OVERNIGHT. OVERNIGHT!

Game over man, game over.

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Re: Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

My hope is that a large chunk of that 300 bn was so that NASA could fund a large one-way mission to Mars, and putting all the politicians on it...

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Re: Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

> Game over man, game over.

The US economy is so far in the shit, it's going to take them decades, yes decades, to get out of it.

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Re: Shuttleworth, F.U. and your socialistic pandering!

>going to take them decades

It will only take decades after they stop digging that hole. But seeing as how they are still digging, decades is a rather hopeful outlook.

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The plan

"It maybe in the interests of all if Ubuntu moves over to the mobile sector completely. "

Might be Canonical's best direction if they can find paying customers (i.e. hardware manufacturers).

Now, a simple question: will 14.04 run on a PC with a nvidia graphics card with nvidia proprietary graphics drivers or not? Shuttleworth must know that is a really important question for those organisations that do use Ubuntu on large estates of desktops.

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Childcatcher

Fragmentation is necessary for true evolution

I see Mir as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. There is always the XMir compatibility layer for those wanting to stick to X11. The combination just allows a non-blocking migration to Mir, much the same way as Wayland/Weston as far I as I understand. And it seem there is only a minimal performance hit when running X Applications on XMir on top of Mir. So once Mir drivers are produced for a particular application, one should expect a big performance improvement....and even if it produces fragmentation initially, I would expect a future merger of the technologies. This "temporary" fragmentation is, one could argue, essential for any major transition from a legacy system.

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Lennart Poettering already answered....

https://plus.google.com/u/0/115547683951727699051/posts/8yEgHgDP2xa

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People forget

This is interesting. I am a linux user but I do keep a windows partition for games and spent most of my time in windows until the last year. The right OS is the OS that is right for the job I say.

When I ask the advantage of linux over windows people always say it is open source and can be taken in any direction. And so ubuntu has chosen its direction and doing exactly what linux was for. How many people are crying against android because they are going off and taking the linux kernel the wrong way?

This will either work or it wont. And when you put linux on your system you can swap and change the modules you want (if you know how) or pick a different destro.

I prefer mint. It is built upon ubuntu. I set my system up as I want and that is it. If I can manage then why are people complaining?

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It seems ironic to call an Ubuntu distro "Trusty"

after Canonical started having Dash send its local search results back to the Mothership for monetisation...without bothering to let anyone know first, or get an opt-in.

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Anonymous Coward

And that is exactly why I switched to OpenSUSE

All this sounds like a tantrum. I understand perfectly the frustration that one must feel after throwing a considerable amount of his personal wealth on Canonical and not seeing any real impact on any market you've tried to put your feet on. I, however, cannot agree with all the different directions Canonical is trying to move at the same time, obviously looking for a source of revenue, without not much consideration of community feedback along the way.

I've huge respect for what Ubuntu has done for the Linux community, not perhaps in terms of code contributions but certainly on the expansion of Linux mind share. Linux -and Ubuntu- are now in more people's minds than eight years ago thanks to Canonical. Without Ubuntu we'd likely not have Mint, or GedUbuntu, or KUbuntu.

But note that if Ubuntu continues to evolve in the direction Canonical is driving it, all these grandchildren will have at some point to stop being based on Ubuntu and switch to something else, likely Debian (Mint has already done something in this regard, I believe) unless they adopt Unity, something very unlikely because their identity for most of them revolves around exactly not using Unity.

Unity and the Mir/Wayland war were the last straws that drove me to switch and now I live happy in OpenSUSE land: they give priority to robustness over leading-edgeness, they pay attention to the small details, and I've so far not found any missing package from the ones I used with (K)Ubuntu. But I started to think about it when they started to give priority to hitting the release date over fixing critical bugs, and again I assumed that this was some business driven mandate to improve its image with business "customers" (whoever they are/were).

Sorry Mark, I wish you have a tremendous success with some of your initiatives, you really deserve it, but Ubuntu and derivatives are no longer for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And that is exactly why I switched to OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is great. They had some really bad times but the last years their releases have been very good, and it's also probably one of the most user-friendly distro (there's a reason openSUSE was also known as 'Nuremberg Windows"). A real shame it's not given more attention by average Linux users.

Nowadays it seems Linux = Ubuntu, or one of it's derivates. Why, I can't understand. In my experience (work as well as at home) Debian based distros are often much more frustrating than those based on Redhat (i.e. CentOS, OpenSUSE), which tend to be more stable in general.

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Trying to think of a political tag for Mr. Shuttleworth...

...for some reason 'Pol Pot' comes to mind.

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Anonymous Coward

Lewis Carroll was right

I'm in the mad hatters tea party myself.

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Rhetorical question. Is Ubuntu still Linux?

The answer to that question should be easy, but try finding out from the www.ubuntu.com web site.

I was watching the Nixie Pixel channel on YouTube (no, not just for the eye-candy factor, she has an interesting perspective on OpenSource as well as other notable points... ummm, oops - maybe it is the eye-candy after all), and one of her recent videos pointed out that "Linux" has been expunged from the Ubuntu website, at least from all of the first level pages and those they link to.

I've said it here before, and I'll say it again, I think that Shuttleworth is trying to set Ubuntu up as a competitor to OSX, something based on open source, but differentiated and at a distance from Linux. If this turns out to be true, and Ubuntu gets divorced from the perception that it is a Linux distro, then I hope that he is prepared for many of the long-term Ubuntu advocates jumping ship.

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Re: Rhetorical question. Is Ubuntu still Linux?

I suspect it's about marketing. The SDP* used to call itself that, rather than the Social Democratic Party because polls told it that people didn't like political 'parties'. Here, you've got the FUD** about Linux putting some people off trying it, so just talking about Ubuntu may get some people to try it.

* For those lucky enough to be too young to remember, they were a bunch of right wingers from the Labour Party who split off in the early 80s to form their own party. There had an 'Alliance' with the Liberals, then after a couple of elections, most of them dropped out or merged with the Liberals to form the LibDems. The notable exception was Dr Death aka David Owen whose rich backers gave up when the rump SDP finished behind the Monster Raving Loonies at a by-election.

** When even Micro Mart with its reasonable Linux coverage can talk about Linux infringing Microsoft parents in an article about what to do after XP, you know there's plenty of it about.

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Fundamentally the issue is this

1. Much of the open source community see Mir as a divisive and redundant given that it's purpose is almost exactly the same as Waylands

2. Ubuntu's licensing of Mir (proprietary or GPL3) is deliberately onerous to deter competitors in mobile / tablet space. You can't even fix a bug and submit it to Ubuntu without consenting to this licencing policy.

At the end of the day it's Ubuntu's money to burn developing it but it doesn't look like they'll be getting much outside help. Even Intel's devs have dropped, probably due in part to reason 2) above.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm The Ubuntu Spaceman

I never let my friends down

I've never made a boob

I'm a glossy magazine, an advert in the tube

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Facepalm

Only because Mark Shuttleworth trivialized the reasons for the US shutdown.

"With the Tea Party recently throwing a political tantrum that brought about a shut down of the US government and nearly dragged the world into a vigorously erupting financial volcano"

Shuttleworth willfully or ignorantly overlooks the fact that the US now has over $17,000,000,000,000 (Trillion) dollars of DEBT and climbing. This amount is not trivial to fiscally responsible individuals . The UK has a debt of Approximately 1.2 Trillion pounds.

Each working person in the UK owns about £42,345 of that debt.

In the US, the debt share per working person is $148,700.

It's easy to dismiss these kinds of facts when one is not liable/responsible for cleaning up the mess OR couldn't care less.

Apologies for the digression from OS, but MS is just an arrogant twit IMO.

Read Atlas Shrugged or watch the movies to see what the US does not want to become.

~Best wishes

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Does the open source Tea Party not like big government and the taxes that they collect? That is the basis of the Tea party, even though they are not really a Party, the media demonized them by inventing other motives and platforms, that are propagated to the point people believe them. Free press, ha!

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Boffin

There can be no dignified title to these ravings.

You discredit yourself by deigning to give Mark Shuttleworth a forum. Ever.

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