back to article Staff, projects shed as Ubuntu maker Canonical tries to lure investors

Canonical, the maker of Linux distro Ubuntu, is axing staff and closing projects under a sudden commercial get-fit regime. On Wednesday, we reported Ubuntu is killing off its never-delivered Unity 8 technology and switching back to GNOME for its desktop user interface. Today, The Reg has learned that Canonical has axed more …

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With severe weakness in the MS offerings on the desktop, and higher costs in the server room...

... now is a good time to be offering an alternative. My business has changed, so will other businesses.

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"External investors" = "asset strippers"

A lot of activity that an business whose model relies on Open Source will generate no income. Investors are largely interested not in ideology but profitability. I am sad. Unity 8/convergence got a lot of hate, but was the product of people putting time, money and brains into something that benefits the community, There was never going to be any money in that and one man's pocket cant bank roll this forever.

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Re: "External investors" = "asset strippers"

"A lot of activity that an business whose model relies on Open Source will generate no income. Investors are largely interested not in ideology but profitability. I am sad. Unity 8/convergence got a lot of hate, but was the product of people putting time, money and brains into something that benefits the community, There was never going to be any money in that and one man's pocket cant bank roll this forever."

Over the years, Canonical and Ubuntu have given a lot to Linux including publicity and providing a sound base for other successful distributions. It's unfortunate that their plans didn't work out although I thought that trying to take on the iOS/Android duopoly would not succeed (not even rich Redmond could ultimately crack that one).

Red Hat has shown that good money can be made from Linux and I hope that Canonical can now do that too. Mark Shuttleworth won't be abandoning open source for he's gone on record as saying "I want to emphasise our ongoing passion for, investment in, and commitment to, the Ubuntu desktop that millions rely on". It's just that it will be a modified Gnome desktop instead of a Unity desktop.

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I can't say I'll miss Unity. Linux on the desktop has always been marginal; it's really a server OS that works okay in embedded applications too, which is why Android could use it. Desktop Linux always has that taint of being one of two things, a geeked-out home for 31337 hax0rZ who worship the "free Unix" model, and a 31337 hax0rZ idea of what "luzers" should have, dumbed down insultingly -- that's Ubuntu. When I did try Unity a couple years back, it was a useless desktop with meaningless hieroglphics that, if you looked hard, had meaningless names. Do I need a picture of a finger in a nose to start a program named Snoxxyfllu whose purpose, say to inventory wine bottles, is not given? Feh.

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"Do I need a picture of a finger in a nose to start a program named Snoxxyfllu whose purpose, say to inventory wine bottles, is not given?"

Yes. You do. Really.

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A lot of people use MacOS because they don't like Windows, and Apple seems like it has no idea what to do with Macs anymore. This would be a good time to convince MacOS users to jump ship to Linux.

Yes, Linux desktops suck. I will never forgive the idiots who decided to add a billion global keyboard shortcuts to Ubuntu so there's nothing left to use in apps. With a bit more market share, people might get around to improving it. I've been using Linux here and there for a long time but I just ordered a Linux box as my primary desktop since the Mac Pro isn't going anywhere.

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I dunno, I wouldn't say I'm some mad linux fanboi but I've been using linux in various iterations happily on the desktop consistently since 2010 (and before that more of-and-on switching between mac and linux desktops back to about 2001). But my day job is as a researcher in public health in academia, so my needs are basically tools for data manipulation and an OS that doesn't get in the way. Which these days means mint/cinnamon works quite well thank you. Mac used to be nice but running *nix tools got too fiddly and the OS got too intrusive. Windows just looks like a child's toy, I could never understand why anyone would use it other than to run a legacy app, preferably in a VM. But that's my needs - other people doing other work/play might find other OSs far more suited to what they're doing.

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Anonymous Coward

and Apple seems like it has no idea what to do with Macs anymore. This would be a good time to convince MacOS users to jump ship to Linux.

Err, hang on. First of all, I already use both macOS and Linux (go to any Linux convention and you'll see I'm not the only one using a Macbook) so it's not like I still need to "discover" Linux, but your assumption that Apple doesn't know what to do with Macs seems to gently skip over the fact that what they have right now is still selling quite nicely to a customer base which will continue to include me, for the following reason:

The Linux desktop *still* sucks. You don't need to follow the whole "Linux sucks" series to work out why, but it's still nowhere near even what Microsoft puts out (and that IS rubbish), let alone Mac. Add to that that I can load up very good commercial software (no, I said, "good" - that doesn't include Microsoft Office in my opinion but stuff like OmniGraffle and Affinity Designer) and I can't see anyone using a Mac switching to Linux soon for a desktop.

For a server, however, I wouldn't dream of using anything but Linux (well, OK, maybe a BSD variant). That is so much a standard it's almost boring by now, but in that sphere I don't even know anyone who uses macOS because Apple itself has switched focus to Linux as a server, at least if I judge this by the state of the macOS server add on (it's not exactly spectacular).

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"I can't say I'll miss Unity."

Neither will I. It was designed on exactly the same desktop-to-mobile premise as the Windows 8 interface and misguided for the same reason - different use cases need different interfaces.

What I will miss is the effort to get a non-spying OS on a non-overpriced phone. One possible outcome might be that commercial investors restart the Ubuntu phone development going without the overhead of pretending that the same interface can work on a desktop with the downside that they'll insist on cloning the Google/Android business model.

"Linux on the desktop has always been marginal; it's really a server OS that works okay in embedded applications too, which is why Android could use it."

Think this through. Why can what you allege to be "really a server OS" work okay in embedded?

It's because any OS modelled on Unix is a portable and properly layered system. Portable means that any part of it can be compiled for different CPU architectures. Layered means that the kernel can carry a run-time appropriate to the use case: a cut down payload for embedded, a mobile-oriented* payload for Android or a standard set of Unix utilities with or without a choice of graphical interfaces for desktop or server.

No it's not "really a server OS". It's an OS. Just because you struggle with it doesn't mean that our elderly relatives can't manage it when we use it to rejuvenate their old PCs.

*The modular driver system helps here.

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Missing 'critical' applications on Linux

Many Photographers use MacOS with things like Photoshop and Lightroom.

Persuade Adobe to release CS properly on Linux and you will get a load of people switching.

Especially Lightroom.

The other downside (to switching to Linux) is that with MacOS, you can go into an Apple Store and come out with a fully functioning device. Until getting a Linux equivalent is just as easy then this is going to be a really uphill battle. Yes you pay for it but you don't need a CS degree to get it going and there is support only a phone call away.

I'd love to be able to run Linux on some less than clunky laptop

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any OS modelled on Unix is a portable and properly layered system

That was true until systemd came along...

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Re: Missing 'critical' applications on Linux

I'd love to be able to run Linux on some less than clunky laptop

It runs fine on a Macbook VM :)

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"That was true until systemd came along"

Amen, brother. But there's no convincing way to argue that systemd is modelled on Unix.

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Live by Linux, but it's getting more Windowsy every day

I've been using Linux as a primary OS since Suze was bundled in a box with manuals, CD's and a cool gecko sticker (about 1999 I think), there's still nothing that can beat it in my opinion but distros seem to be going a bit backward and frustrating recently.

I'm on Ubuntu Mate 16.04, could never settle with KDE and it's glowing halos round everything or Unity and anything with a side-mounted task bar. Whenever I've mentioned performance of current DE's I always get a response that with today's computing power you don't notice how long a window takes to open/switch or a menu to slide out.... or the several tens of extra processes sucking life out of my laptop battery in the background. There must be a reason my out-of-date Crunchbang install lasts 4 hours longer than Ubuntu or Fedora when I'm on the move?

Add to this the PITA of systemd. I know somebody will pick me up on this, but it really is an absolute horror and I'm sick of spending hours looking for solutions to it's random problems it keeps throwing at me. Gnome is basically falling head-first into systemd lock in and likely KDE in the not so distant future.

.... then there is generally stability. Atril Document Viewer experienced a problem, Mate Panel experienced a problem, Firefox 52 being unable to handle Ebay's ridiculous background scripts (okay, probably Mozilla's fault, but it got shoved in my updates and Microsoft-style won't roll back), having to reboot each time I've used Gparted because the kernel didn't recognise blah blah blah....

I'm willing to pay for Linux, when openRC kicks systemd to one side, when OpenBox supports Wayland, USB file transfers don't grind to a halt and when Canonical will let me buy an end users desktop version of Ubuntu with at least some kind of direct online support.

Windows will never see light of day on my main machines again, but I'm getting to the point where TrueOS gets moved from my 'nerd' partition and pushes Ubuntu into the same box. Please Mr Shuttleworth, see if some of those developers you're looking at shedding can start working on ousting systemd from what was a fantastic OS.

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Re: Live by Linux, but it's getting more Windowsy every day

"Add to this the PITA of systemd. I know somebody will pick me up on this"

I will, but only to agree with you.

As to KDE you can turn all the fancy stuff off. Irrespective of whether it sucks all the performance out of the UI it's just down-right annoying.

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Linux

Reason to invest with Canonical

What the investors need tell Canonical is to invest in the total stack, from the phone, tablet, desktop to the servers and services and design build and sell their own hardware. Form an alliance with a mobile phone company, a major telecom, an online financial services company and the OEMs.

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Re: Reason to invest with Canonical

And do it all without snooping.

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Once again, Micro$oft has emerged as the winner by neatly usurping the Unity 8 idea!

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