Anybody remember Fred Brooks?
Fred Brooks: the (still) best-selling author of "the Mythical Man-Month" (Essays on Software Engineering) became an icon when he was put in charge of the development of IBM's OS-360, the operating system which was to power the highly evolutionary IBM 360/370 series of mainframe computers. The development was in shambles when he took over. It was in shambles because of situations in the OS-360 development process similar to what we're seeing happening at Canonical re Ubuntu "development", for lack of a better, more politic, more descriptive, politically correct word. (read the book and his bio, paying-passenger Shuttleworth...uh, I forgot: ASTRONAUT Shuttleworth (by-the-by, my friends are happy to know that precedent qualifies me to be referred to as an Aerospace Engineer due to all the airplane flights I make). Canonical's problem is that it has no knowledge of either the history of software engineering nor of the software engineering process itself, and therefore doesn't understand what it takes to do it correctly.
We, the users of good, robust, intuitive, sanely evolutionary Linux OSs are not under the same illusions that you are, Admiral: Canonical is not a designer of Operating Systems. It is an operating system CHANGER; the real, true operating system was designed by someone else long years ago. There it is: I'd lay odds that you really believe that you are an Operating System designer (Wm. F. Buckley once stated, "I'm not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said").
Ring a bell?
Now, with all the current changes: frivolous, sometimes useless, changes made on a whim, some good changes, changes made to fit a personal agenda; and particularly when, as a point of honor (sic), Canonical must get all this done on a sacrosanct six-month schedule, how to cope? Easy!: Do it the way the Big Boy, Big Bucks, for-profit guys do it. CHANGE THE RULES! Re-define 'release candidate'; 'beta'; drop perfectly good programs and forks; let ego and pique get in the way of good decisions; and--most of all--excuses, excuses, excuses, PARTICULARLY starting on 28 April. Shuttleworth, it's obvious to one and all that Canonical is (sic) becoming the Microsoft of the Linux world. I'll bet your momma's really proud!
Back to Fred Brooks: I'm only going to give you a small part; you'll have to do something which has obviously and sadly become foreign to Canonical: hard work and (now) really heavy lifting on your own to learn what you need to know (you knew all along that there was a catch, didn't you?).
From one fiasco after another (no inferences or analogies implied) in the OS-360 design, IBM let Fred Brooks take over the development. The first thing Mr. Brooks did was to let EVERYONE--both inside and outside IBM--i.e., management, sales, and PARTICULARLY customers--know that all preceding schedules and promises were summarily cancelled, and that he was starting the program over correctly; and furthermore, that when OS-360 was finished, it would work correctly and be what the customers wanted.
Ring a bell?
Your latest attempts are the epitome of a saying (paraphrased to fit your company) we had at a company at which I worked for all too long (two agonizing months): why do you always have time to do it over, but never time to do it right the first time?
One last suggestion: I remember reading, a few years ago, an article by someone high in one of the UNIX/Linux world-wide organizations in which was stated that there were perhaps thirty or forty people in the world who were considered to truly be REAL operating system designers. Perhaps you need to consider hiring one of those people. This suggestion carries with it some real problems: (1) convincing someone of that caliber (sic) to consider the offer, and (2) following their advice.
Mr. Clarke: you obviously have a penchant for circumlocution--or just plain niceness, which is NOT a positive in your line of work--which was not displayed by Mr. Gilbertson (ABSOLUTELY no offense (sic), Mr. Gilbertson; you get an A+ for honesty and an A++ for objectvity and for 'calling it like it is') in his "Operating Systems" article of 1 April, wherein he (Mr. Gilbertson) described 11.04 as the ""worst Ubuntu beta ever."
You did not, Mr. Clarke, answer the question: is this still "the worst Ubuntu beta ever"? Did it even make it to "barely adequate"? Higher? Please remember that your answer, should you choose to provide us with one, will be proven in thirteen days.