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13.10: New Release, Brand New Squabble

Although Ubuntu is arguably the favorite option for new Linux users, its popularity among the larger GNU/Linux community is not so universal. This is not helped by the fact that, from time to time, Ubuntu bigwigs put their foot in their mouths when they should know so much better.

The latest has come from no other than Mark Shuttleworth himself. In his celebratory blog post for the release for Ubuntu 13.10, he managed to shoehorn an insult against Mir detractors into what should have been a through-and-through festive message.

On October the 18th, launch day for Saucy Salamander, he wrote:

Mir is really important work. When lots of competitors attack a project on purely political grounds, you have to wonder what THEIR agenda is. At least we know now who belongs to the Open Source Tea Party ;-) And to put all the hue and cry into context: Mir is relevant for approximately 1% of all developers, just those who think about shell development. Every app developer will consume Mir through their toolkit. By contrast, those same outraged individuals have NIH'd just about every important piece of the stack they can get their hands on… most notably SystemD, which is hugely invasive and hardly justified. What closely to see how competitors to Canonical torture the English language in their efforts to justify how those toolkits should support Windows but not Mir. But we'll get it done, and it will be amazing.

Regardless of whether you consider calling someone a Tea Partier an insult, many Linux developers took issue with the comparison. "I am particularly offended by the implication that the only retort to Mir has been politically motivated," retorted Aaron Seigo from KDE in his G+ feed. "It amounts to libel at worst, and name calling at best. You would not accept that done to you, yet you do it to others. Shame on you, Mark, shame," he continued.

Seigo also challenged Mark to a live debate on Linux Action Show to discuss the merits of Canonical's decisions with regard to Mir versus Wayland graphics servers, and Upstart versus systemd system and service managers. That would be worth a watch.

Seigo's remarks started a long thread in his feed, which Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's Community Manager, described as "another pointless Open Source bickering match."

Did not help.


Apart from videos that are surfacing showcasing The French police have migrated 37,000 computers to their own brand of Ubuntu, dubbed GendBuntu (see, and they plan to migrate all 72,000 workstations over the next couple of years.

The migration was carried out gradually, by moving users to open source applications, and has been in process since 2004. During the process, Microsoft Office was swapped for OpenOffice, Internet Explorer for Firefox, and Outlook for Thunderbird.

According to the spokespeople in charge, the total cost of ownership of the IT infrastructure will be reduced by 40%.

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