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New Ubuntu Foundation Announced 315

AccUser writes "Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd, founders of the popular Ubuntu Linux-based operating system, have today announced the creation of The Ubuntu Foundation with an initial funding commitment of US$10m. From the article: 'The Ubuntu Foundation will employ core Ubuntu community members to ensure that Ubuntu will remain fully supported for an extended period of time, and continue to produce new releases of the distribution. As a first step, the Foundation announces that Ubuntu version 6.04, due for release in April 2006, will be supported for three years on the desktop and five years on the server.'"
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New Ubuntu Foundation Announced

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  • by Manan Shah ( 808049 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:04AM (#13013081)
    I am very impressed by Ubuntu ease of use, and even more, by their commitment. When you have such an active community and big money behind such a project, it has a very good chance to succeed. It is amazing how much the folks at Ubuntu pay attention to minor usability issues.

    If Linux ever becomes mainstream, it will be because of distributions like Ubuntu.
  • by Willeh ( 768540 ) * <> on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:05AM (#13013087)
    Ok, so now we have Ubuntu, Gentoo, Suse, Red hat, Mandriva, colinux, Yellow dog, Caldera and god knows who else vying for a slice of an ever so slowly growing pie, not even counting Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese or german national efforts.

    Isn't it time that some of those efforts were combined to get some kind of weight behind Linux as a whole, or are companies like IBM and Novell already moving into their respective trenches when linux on the {Desk, lap, floor}top takes off? While i can understand these companies having their own distro as has been traditionally the case, but do we REALLY need another non-profit foundation that thinks it can topple the 800 pound Red Gorilla on it's own while trying to reinvent the wheel and juggling a mix of community support and paid support? I'm not trying to be an anti-linux jerk, i'm just wondering what Ubuntu has to offer that isn't in another distro already.

  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:15AM (#13013163) Journal
    On the contrary, what you're talking about was the situation in 2002.

    Today, things have basically contracted to Ubuntu, Gentoo, Novell/SuSe, Debian and Mandrake on the desktop and the Red Hat family and Debian on the server. The other desktop distros (Turbo, Caldera, Lycoris, Xandros, Lindows/Linwhatever, and the rest) have mostly faded. In the next few years Ubuntu will cannibalize the remaining Debian desktop share, and Mandrake has been spinning its wheels since version 7. The consolidation you're looking for has already happened -- remaining niche players like Yellow Dog don't affect the overall picture.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:17AM (#13013177)
    Since I've been using linux (1998) I've never seen any company so behind Linux as Cannonical have been
    Well, I heard once about some company with a Red Hat, though I doubt they really cared much or contributed to Linux in any meaningful way. Ah, they probably were just some kind of fly-by-night company.
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:18AM (#13013185) Journal
    This type of (financial) commitment to linux will do great things to silence (corporate) critics of FLOSS who say that there is no "structure and support" for linux. That's alot of money, and a solid commitment behind Ubuntu now. I'm glad that there are linux distros out there that are putting such an emphasis on having a product that is long-term, stable, and that will be patched/supported for a long time.

    From my experience with Ubuntu (installed it with a friend on a brand-new powerbook), it is easy to use and works well. I really hope that the momentum Ubuntu is generating will continue... it is quickly becoming the best option for converting new users over to linux.
  • by The Warlock ( 701535 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:18AM (#13013196)
    You forgot Fedora, which has a very large desktop share, and Slackware, which is still popular. And SuSe sees some popularity on servers. It's still pretty complicated. Not that this is nessessarily a bad thing, as others have said.
  • I see a problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MountainMan101 ( 714389 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:19AM (#13013211)
    Ubuntu is limited by Debian's progress.

    They freeze a version of Sid. Then make it really stable, then release it. More Ubuntu developers != more Debian progress.

    Ubuntu is built of Debian and therefore if Debian continues to worsen it will be a bad thing for Ubuntu. This is why it is one reason all those thousand of Debian based distros are bad, too man developers doing the same thing - polishing a frozen Debian release for their own distro.

    Hopefully, Ubuntu and Debian can become closer linked and Ubuntu fund Debian developers.
  • by germ!nation ( 764234 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:21AM (#13013222)
    What it is trying to do (from what I can see) is work with what is available now and turn it into a superior user experience from install through to every day use. This is where most distros fail. They assume the user will jump through hoops to get the benefits of a stable desktop.

    News flash: they wont.

    Most users only care that their desktop works for 1-3hrs some evenings and weekends, not weeks of uptime, so they don't always have the problems with stability that more demanding users encounter.

    They don't want to go through a list of thousands of badly named packages working out which ones are the best web/email/word processing.

    They certainly don't want to ever have to know what a dependency is.

    Also, shockingly for the KDE fanboys, not everyone gives a shit about buttons that look like glass or gel, they want an interface that feels organised and sensible which, though I was a long term Gnome hater, I feel Gnome has matured to a lot faster than KDE who seem to be purely focused on blue skies rather than perfecting what they have.

    I have never been as keen to switch my laptop to linux since I've had Ubuntu installed as a VM (though as it auto configured to the screen of my laptop I can run it full screen with no noticable performance degredation compared to the host OS which is WinXP so I can indulge my WoW addiction).

    To sum up, I guess, it has a maturity of approach, and this is the single thing that means 99% of other distros will fall by the way-side
  • Debian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countach ( 534280 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:24AM (#13013244)
    Why don't they just put the money into Debian? I guess I don't understand their motivation. Are they trying to become the next RedHat? Fair enough if they are I suppose, but the Debian/Ubuntu divide is a confusing one. I ended up installing Ubuntu just because the CD was free, and I didn't have to buy 20-something CDs.
  • by wasabii ( 693236 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:34AM (#13013308)
    That's impossible simply because of the organization of Debian. It is not designed to be a supported commercial quality distro. Each maintainer has pure authority over their own packages.

    Ubuntu strives to put together a cohesive distro without the infighting that happens so frequently. You must remember, time is money for these people. All the improvements on software that Ubuntu makes are available for Debian to pick up. Usually even submitted into Debian's bug system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:38AM (#13013352)

    Isn't it time that some of those efforts were combined to get some kind of weight behind Linux as a whole

    Yeah, and isn't it about time that Mac OS X, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Darwin, and NetBSD all consolidated their efforts? After all, they are all BSD.

    Yeah, and isn't it about time that Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and SCO Server all consolidated their efforts? After all, they are all UNIX.

    Yeah, and isn't it about time that Linux, Mac OS X and Windows all consolidated their efforts? After all, they are all POSIX compliant.

    At some point, you have to recognise that just because they share a buzzword or common code, it doesn't mean they are the same. Linux distributions are different. Saying "why don't the Ubuntu guys just join another distribution?" is like saying "why don't the Mac OS X guys just join the FreeBSD team?". They are different systems with different goals. Furthering the "Linux" effort is nonsensical as Linux is just a kernel. It is useless on its own and is only important in context of a larger system.

  • The Age of Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @10:58AM (#13013509) Homepage Journal
    I still don't understand why the Ubuntu project isn't just the upgrade to the Debian project.

    Debian's biggest problem, by far, is how long it takes to relase a new version (years). That's a packaging problem, because the new version is just a package of the packages already tested/debugged by the time the distro package is ready. Which means the bottleneck is testing the packages. Debugging is what consumes time, but testing and repackaging is what holds up the process.

    Ubuntu now has the most agressive developers and distro team. And now it has $10M to work with. That goes a long way towards project management, getting Ubuntu releases every 6 months (their promise), rather than Debian's 3 years. All on top of Debian's base work. Many of Ubuntu's founders came from Debian core team members; more will likely join the better-funded project with the sparkling new brand name. I expect Ubuntu's pitch to their funders went quite along these lines.

    The funders probably see a chance to take over as Debian's successor. They can get Debian's developers and userbase - that's practically all there is to Debian. Of course they won't get all users, because the Debian brand has loyalty, unless Debian terminates. And some users will leave a crippled Debian for a distro other than Ubuntu.

    So unless Ubuntu can generate more users than Debian has, their move will result in a Debian2 smaller than Debian1. Quicker releases and a new start give them a chance. But that will really just let them stay the course.

    Ubuntu needs a project that really takes off in their platform, the way APT did with Debian. I suggest an autoapt (easier)
    or closely hyperlinked documentation (harder, but consolidates value much better). The autoapt, installed during the OS install, would subscribe users to patches, which would send email with recommendations, a changelog and hyperlinks to the source and installer. Making upgrades a snap, and reducing the TCO of the distro. As well as making that sysadmin task so easy that any user can do it, even if they aren't even expert enough to install the OS. Which will expand manifold the market of users skilled enough to use it, while making it more valuable to them. And to package developers whose SW will be "marketed" better. And to everyone using the platform, as security patches are more up-to-date in the field.

    If Ubuntu replaces Debian, I want it to be better than Debian.

    It's been a long while since Deb and Ian were an item. I wonder how long Debian itself can hold it together.
  • by chroot_james ( 833654 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:10AM (#13013617) Homepage
    This is a sincere question. Please don't mod me to flame bait. I have been a gentoo user for quite sometime now and am not sure what the difference between ubuntu and debian are. Is there much? Why is ubuntu so hyped?
  • by dustmite ( 667870 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:15AM (#13013656)

    I'm not trying to be an anti-linux jerk, i'm just wondering what Ubuntu has to offer that isn't in another distro already.

    I haven't tried Ubuntu yet, but I think they must be doing something right, given they're the fastest growing Linux distro [].

    It does seem unoptimal though to have so much fragmentation, so much reinventing of the wheel. OTOH, each new company that tries their hand at the market, potentially improves Linux in some way permanently. Development would probably be faster if companies/governments could coordinate efforts better (especially of crucial projects like OpenOffice), but getting so many different groups to cooperate is tough, and everyone seems to want a shot at the limelight.

  • How about Suse? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by solomonrex ( 848655 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:15AM (#13013657)
    I like Ubuntu (the name, and yes, the distribution). But about the name, they're from Africa, and it sounds African and you can basically sound it out without screwing up. But SUSE is soo-say? right? Or Suzy? And Linux is Lynn-uks? And is the G in GNU silent? I forget. Is it SQL 'sequel' or S.Q.L.? And if it's the latter, why not make a 2 syllable word out of it instead of a 3 syllable acronym?
  • Re:Ubuntu review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:33AM (#13013771) Journal
    Editing sources.list isn't tricky, you're right. But I shouldn't ever have to do it.

    I have had three applications total appear on the menu out of the many I've installed. Nvu, VLC, and Bittornado (but not Bittorrent which I installed first). Freecraft, which I installed yesterday, did not show up on the menu (and had the sound problem) even after an X restart. In fact, no game that I have installed from Synaptic has shown up on the menu.

    I agree that old versions of Windows are just as clunky as Ubuntu. But Windows XP came out years ago now. It's secure (keep it updated and don't be stupid), stable (on good hardware), and usable. Linux isn't competing with a monster with gaping flaws anymore. It's competing with a well-made product.
  • I have to say that (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KingBahamut ( 615285 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @11:49AM (#13013916)
    This news is of great interest to me. Though im clearly sure that Shuttleworth will continue to fund the project, it having its own foundation seems proper. Of course Redhat is doing the same similar fashion with Fedora, and perhaps that will help its ailing problems.

    "It's important for us to distinguish the philanthropic and non-commercial work that is at the heart of the Ubuntu project, from the commercial support and certification programs that are the focus of Canonical Ltd." -- Shuttleworth speaks volumes with this statement. Its clear to his intent for the project to stay stable and current.

    Im reading and I see a lot of bad talk about ubuntu in here. Disgruntled Debian users that dont like the product because it upstages their own distrubtion , while still using debian as its base? perhaps. Other users that think that it sucks because its not what they are used to or that what they use is better? Sounds like Distro-Wars to me. Gentoo is better than Redhat, Kanotix is better than Knoppix. MiniSlack is better than Vector. Vidalinux is for users that want to use Gentoo but are too chicken to try to install it. If we stopped all this constant infighting with each other and actually tried to support each other, I think taking out the monster that is Microsoft would actually be easier.

    Only through standardization, documentation, and some loose sense of unity coupled with the Freedom and choice of FOSS can this end be met.

    Ubuntu is doing a damn good job. I have 4 Ubuntu boxes on my 15+ machine network, and the better that ubuntu gets, the more machines get converted. Ive introduced this product to over 50 people, 30 or so of which are now standard to power users. I consider that to be a clear sign of the Dist's ability to capture an audience. Would you say so?

  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:48PM (#13014467) Journal
    It's surprising we hear so little about MEPIS, given that it's more popular on DistroWatch than SUSE, Debian, Knoppix, Gentoo, and Slackware...

    I think the answer is that DistroWatch rankings are completely meaningless. KANOTIX is more popular than Red Hat? PHLAK is more popular than SuSe? Who the hell reads those pages at all? Is somebody getting up every morning and checking to see what version of Postfix is current on Mandows or AGNULA?

  • by DFJA ( 680282 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:48PM (#13014471)
    I used to use Gentoo - in fact I'm only a non-Gentoo user currently because the box on which it was installed is broken (a laptop, I can't seem to find a replacement fan that small anywhere). While Gentoo has served me brilliantly, it would be frustratingly slow to install on slower boxes (yes I know I could use distcc to assist compiling, but the point is still valid). I was looking for a distro that allowed a continual upgrade process but was distributed as binaries. I realised that Debian was the way forward here, but (K)Ubuntu beat Debian for me because it's just so polished as a Desktop. Debian (at least stable) is a server OS, not a desktop OS.

    I have done my own mini-review [] of KUbuntu, also an analysis [] of why I think Ubuntu will succeed where commercial distros have failed.

  • by bman08 ( 239376 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @12:57PM (#13014571)
    Furthermore, the whole analogy is wrong. Running a successful steakhouse in a city or large town is going to net you, the owner, more dough than being a McDonalds franchisee, though obviously Ronald is pocketing more than anyone. The thing that's great about the restaurant analogy is that it really highlights the fundamental flaw in the whole 'what linux has to do to win' argument. Microsoft has us all thinking that it's a win-or-lose game. It's not. When I go out in my little town, I can choose three different pizza joints, 2 italian, 4 chinese, McD's and Burger King. The real winner in that situation is me. It's the same thing when I walk into my office... Win, Mac, Lin, BSD... Sometimes I want a quarter pounder with cheese and sometimes I want hand fed kobe beef. Whatever the situation, I'll have it my way thanks.
  • by snorklewacker ( 836663 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @01:03PM (#13014625)
    > My biggest critique of Ubuntu is that it seems to almost handicap anyone who wants to be a software developer.

    And develop what kinds of software? Most developers know what tools they require and install their toolchain. You have your developers for C++, C, perl, python, ruby, java, haskell, ocaml ... you have people working on graphics, device drivers, compilers, browsers, servers, desktops, games ... I don't give a damn about gtk or autotools myself.

    Any developer that can't install their own toolchain is pretty helpless indeed. I certainly have critiques of Ubuntu, but this is seriously small potatos.
  • Re:Great News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Friday July 08, 2005 @05:49PM (#13017067)
    Isn't it unreasonable to expect that a Linux distribution ships with Flash and Java? Let me give you some news: Windows XP doesn't ship with Flash and Java either, and any simple Linux player beats Microsoft's WMP bloatness

    My response was to the "going mainstream" comment, so no, I don't really think it's unreasonable to expect those in a "mainstream" distribution.

    When someone tells me "it'll be mainstream" that means it has to compete with not just Windows XP, but a computer purchased at the local Best Buy/CompUSA, complete with Windows XP and many other (often crap) applications pre-loaded.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments