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Open Source Software Ubuntu Linux

Tribalism Is the Enemy Within, Says Shuttleworth 655

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
climenole points out a post from Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth about internal strife in the free software community. He wrote, "Tribalism is when one group of people start to think people from another group are 'wrong by default.' It's the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism. And the most dangerous kind of tribalism is completely invisible: it has nothing to do with someone's 'birth tribe' and everything to do with their affiliations: where they work, which sports team they support, which Linux distribution they love. ... Right now, for a number of reasons, there is a fever pitch of tribalism in plain sight in the free software world. It's sad. It's not constructive. It's ultimately going to be embarrassing for the people involved, because the Internet doesn't forget. It's certainly not helping us lift free software to the forefront of public expectations of what software can be."
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Tribalism Is the Enemy Within, Says Shuttleworth

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  • Unfortunately, he's essentially killed the Debian project, and the rest of Free Software is not far behind as we realize the futility of making ourselves his unpaid employees. I have a large product I'm working on, originally intended to be Open Source licensed. I am now thinking about a commercial-distribution-hostile license, just to make sure that community comes first.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:31PM (#33088748)

    And this is what makes socialism 100% unworkable,

    So what are you doing to privatize your municipal streets, water, fire, and police?

    (Yes, this is OT. Yes, abuse of the language is a personal pet peeve. Mod me down, by all means -- my karma can stand it.)

  • Yes, and the way that Ubuntu brings free software to the masses is unfortunate. Ubuntu brings Free Software to the masses without those masses knowing who really wrote it, why they wrote it, and why they had the strange idea to give it away for free in a way that you could use, redistribute, and modify. Unfortunately when we wrote it, we weren't thinking that we would have gate-keepers who would essentially negate why we wrote it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:12PM (#33089490)

    Can we forget about the tribalism and move onto tribadism now instead?

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:38PM (#33089828)

    Sorry. You seem to be mistaking socialism for the economic side of communism. Socialism is simply the idea that the public, either in the form of the government or directly in the form of a group of citizens, should own things, provide services, etc. Publicly owned transportation, water and firefighting infrastructure are all examples of socialism. Not "solid principles of government" whatever that is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism [wikipedia.org]

  • I doubt that very many Debian developers are actually working at Ubuntu. It's not that big a company. They're working in lots of places. It wasn't throwing money at developers, mostly at users through marketing, PR and publicity.
  • Re:So, Bruce... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:27PM (#33091106) Homepage Journal

    RMS expects folks to understand the merits of Free Software a priori. I am very fond of Richard but it's necessary to accept that his mental wiring does not give him any empathy for folks who don't think the way he does. So, Open Source is a way to introduce the benefits of Free Software to people who don't think like Richard. This makes it necessary, of course, for those people to take the second step on their own: we hope that a pragmatic appreciation leads to a philosophical one.

    This doesn't really apply to the interaction of Ubuntu and Free Software. Mark understands Free Software and thus this isn't an issue of Open Source not bringing the idea to him. It's a matter of the goal of profit first and beating the competition and their incompatibility with the goals of Free Software.

    Free Software would be happy to lose some customers on philosophical grounds, and would be willing to take a financial hit to further software freedom. Substitute "Ubuntu" for "Free Software" and say that with a straight face.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:30PM (#33091148) Homepage
    For a year I used Kubuntu, as well as the Linux Mint version based on it, for my workstation. I switched because KDE on Debian, of which I'm a big fan, had become so unstable in the spring of 2009 as KDE4 was being introduced. I'm grateful to Mr. Shuttleworth that I had this option. I was forced to move back to Debian because there are currently too many bugs in the Ubuntu packages that I need to support a distributed file system based on Kerberos, OpenLDAP and OpenAFS. This all works with Debian (lenny or squeeze), so I figure Ubuntu is just too focused on the desktop to care about it.

    That's a pity for two reasons. First, I definitely had it easy for a while as far as the desktop is concerned. I've been back with Debian for a month now and there are still a number of rough edges to my desktop experience: I've spent far too much time adding missing functionality and trying to get it all to behave properly. It's such a waste of effort when you know that it doesn't have to be like that anymore. Linux Mint is so easy, even a relative noob can install it and have all kinds of basic desktop functionality running and configured in just a few hours.

    The second reason is because Linux workstations deserve better file server support than just NFS and SMB/CIFS. Imagine an office building that will soon house 2.000 employees and being offered the opportunity to set it up with workstations and servers using only open source software. Would you feel comfortable doing that with NFS or Samba? I wouldn't. OpenAFS, on the other hand -- now that's a capable file system. I know that I would be able to rely on Debian and OpenAFS for the file servers, but I would also prefer a distro for the workstations that would likely result in the lowest number of help desk calls. I doubt that would be Debian, but it would be great if it could be something based on Debian. With OpenAFS and distros like Ubuntu, I figure we're almost there.

    From this perspective, I find it really strange that so many long-time Debian users can be so hostile towards Ubuntu. It's not like anyone is forcing them to use it. IMHO, if it's so easy to use that it not only gives normal users the necessary confidence to make the switch from Windows, but also to fix (most of) their own problems afterwards, how can that be a bad thing? Furthermore, if the Ubuntu project continues to succeed where the Debian project has not, perhaps the latter should look to the former for a little inspiration every once in a while.
  • by Stratoukos (1446161) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:14PM (#33091574)

    Unless your friend was Cracked's David Wong the Monkeysphere was not his idea.

    Here [cracked.com]'s the unbelievably insightful original, adorable monkey pictures included.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday July 30, 2010 @09:06PM (#33091924)

    I've got almost half a million in the bank

    Good for you.

    Oh and don't give me that nonsense about "expensive" health costs.

    You've been lucky, and you aren't thinking about the possibilities, you're really not. My father also had a pacemaker, but he also suffered total renal failure and was on peritoneal dialysis. Very expensive process, and he was on it 'til the day he died. Fortunately, that's one of the very, very few conditions for which Medicare will pick up the costs no matter what your age (he died fairly young.) He was also on a drug that, at the time (this was almost two decades ago) cost about $15,000 year, in addition to the twenty grand a year his insurance company premiums went up to, because they wanted him to go away. We ran though my savings, my retirement funds, all of his money and had to sell his home. He then lost his insurance (Aetna, may they rot in Hell) and we had to bear all the costs after that. You can be proud of your half million, but if you find yourself in need of any significant level of care, you will burn through it fast. So don't get cocky.

    You simply cannot compare the relatively insignificant costs of specific medical procedures with the long-term costs of having a serious (or, in his case, multiple) medical condition(s). Now, I will agree, medical costs are definitely inflated because of the middleman insurance companies (in effect, they've completely divorced the cost of medical care from our actual ability to pay.) Imagine if your automobile insurance was responsible for vehicle maintenance ... a tune-up would probably cost ten grand.

  • Re:Wrong ring (Score:3, Informative)

    by turbidostato (878842) on Friday July 30, 2010 @09:41PM (#33092128)

    Shit! What a pity I already posted here. Is nobody going to moderate parent post insightful over the roof?

  • Re:What a hypocrite (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday July 30, 2010 @10:27PM (#33092398) Homepage Journal
    I have been offered the online-perception-management services I'm talking about while managing at HP and Sourcelabs. If you are not aware of companys concern for their online perception and what they do about it, and won't take my word for it, there isn't much point in arguing about it with you.

    Mark's hypocracy doesn't have so much to do with his character as it has to do with the fact that his company's goals and those of the free software community are simply not compatible. If you consider how different they are, I shouldn't have to argue this one. What made his statement hypocritical is that he was asking the Free Software community to all line up and pull in one direction, with the effect that Ubuntu would be able to harvest more of our software for its own purposes. It's not really anything for the community's own good - we need our differences.

  • by the_womble (580291) on Friday July 30, 2010 @10:51PM (#33092582) Homepage Journal

    Shuttleworth's point is to:

    1) make a subtle reply to recent blog posts on how little Canonical contributes to Linux development [wordpress.com]

    2) without giving further publicity to the criticism.

    I had some doubts about the numbers (largely because the percentage of Gnome code contributions goes back to well before canonical existed). I had hoped for a refutation with numbers (i.e.g we have x Gnome devs working for us, who have made y commits and z loc).

    Gnome is important because Canonical's excuse for not contributing to the kernel was that they were contributing to the front end.

    Mark Shuttleworth is spinning like a politician (with calls to emotion rather than facts).

    His actual defence is on Greg DeKoenigsberg's next blog post [wordpress.com]. So far, IMHO, Greg is winning the argument.

  • by RoccamOccam (953524) on Friday July 30, 2010 @11:25PM (#33092728)
    The CBS Poll shows his approval rating dropping to as low as 20%, so yeah, he lost his conservative base. I think it would be safe to say that quite a bit of that 20% are made up of staunch Republicans, who aren't necessarily conservatives.
  • by glitchvern (468940) on Friday July 30, 2010 @11:52PM (#33092850) Homepage

    some people purport that it an idealogical struggle so by releasing software they are fighting against a future owned by corporations that create for profit software.

    Exactly. The problem is that Canonical / Ubuntu are just the kind of corporation I was trying to fight. If Open Source / Free Software won't fight them, I need something else that will.

    I sincerely do not understand. What sort of things has Canonical done wrong? I use to use debian starting in 2000 and now use Ubuntu, mainly due to the 6 month release cycle. I prefer things to break once every six months rather than whenever with unstable or taking forever for things to be released with stable. Should I not use Ubuntu? Is there something really wrong with it? I respect you, the work you've done, the way you represent open source software in a professional manner, and your opinion a great deal. I do not understand why you seem to consider Canonical the enemy or what's wrong with them. Is it because they distribute non-free software? So does debian. (I try to avoid non-free especially drivers.) I really don't understand and I really want to.

  • Well, I think it's an overall negative for Free Software to create rich and powerful corporations who stand between the users and the developers. It's a matter of their profits coming before principle. It's going to be the same, IMO, for any for-profit distribution - you have to consider that they are in this to operate a profitable company, not to do good for the world. We really should have done something about it before Red Hat became a Billion dollar company, and Ubuntu is no different given Mark's capitalization of Canonical.

    I think it would be best for you to use, and assist when possible, a non-profit distribution. That doesn't mean Fedora, they are too thoroughly controlled by Red Hat. Hopefully Debian still has sufficient independence from Ubuntu. I don't know about the others.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @12:12PM (#33095802)

    Those might be medical bills from the 1970s, but today's costs are much higher.

    Titanium plate in my wife's arm - 56,000. My nerve stim was 67,000 in total.

    My grandmother's chemo in 2000-2002 was over 400,000.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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