Ubuntu Linux – To love and to hate.

Ubuntu Linux is, arguably, the most popular Linux distro around today, with millions of people who deeply love it. There are  some people however, who, for some reasons, do not just want to hear the mention of Ubuntu especially if it has to do with converting someone to Linux.
I seriously have a problem with such people and their line of argument. I for one, use Ubuntu as my reference distro anytime I try to explain what Linux is to people. I use Ubuntu because it is what I think newbies will find comfortable using. I in no way ever represent Ubuntu as synonymous with Linux. I always tell prospective Linux converts that there are hundreds of distros they can choose from, but to make things easy for them, I encourage them to start with Ubuntu and if they get to make headway in the world of Linux, then they can go on to try others.
These anti-Ubuntu elements, spend time bashing people like me and those who do as I do, saying we tend to make people think Ubuntu is all that Linux has to offer. Such people are just time wasters. First of all, the question that they are supposed to answer is that why is Ubuntu, a distro that is less than six years old so popular with people from all walks of life and has become the preferred choice for 9 out of 10 Linux noobs?
The fact that Canonical does not contribute to the upstream development of the Linux kernel, or that Ubuntu contains some element of proprietary software, does not negate the fact that a lot of work has gone into Ubuntu and that has started paying off. The popularity of Ubuntu was not achieved on a silver, it was worked for by the guys and gals at Canonical.
To simply dislike Ubuntu because of some reason is understandable, but to say because you dislike Ubuntu so others should not recommend it would be going to far. In any case, the argument that it’s not right to recommend a particular distro to someone you are converting to Linux just doesn’t wash. There are hundreds of distros out there and trust me, 95% of all newbies will just get overwhelmed when left on their own to choose. Most will end up choosing none and just return to Windows or MacOS. That in the grand scheme of things, will not be in the interest of Linux.
So to the critics of Ubuntu, I say we love Ubuntu, and we do so for a reason. There is no sense in criticizing ourselves when we are supposed to work together against a much larger and formidable opponent. To love or to hate Ubuntu? I choose to love Ubuntu. What about you?

20 Replies to “Ubuntu Linux – To love and to hate.”

  1. Well, I'm a long-time Slackware guy who has only been using Ubuntu (as more of a test drive, on an old laptop) since June, and I'm a convert.

    Slackware has lost some appeal for me recently with the 13.0 release, so when I redo my main Slackware machine, I'm leaning towards Ubuntu instead of Slack.

    If that doesn't say something about it, I guess nothing does. 🙂

  2. I have been using and trying Linux, BSD and other assorted OS's for the last ten years. I am still in the hunt for something that totally inspires and blows me completely away, but one distro that I always come back to (after all of my experimenting) is Ubuntu…..That should get the hard core "loonies" frothing at the mouth.

  3. Okay, here's what bothers most Ubuntu-haters: First off, Ubuntu is the biggest home desktop distro on the market. However, it is mostly a sponge. Most of the heavy development is done by Debian. There are plenty of derivative distros out there that do the same, but they don't have nearly the same success that Ubuntu does. Also, as pointed out in may other blogs, Ubuntu does little development they send upstream to projects like the kernel. Ubuntu is even dwarfed by Mandriva in kernel patch submissions. It is all GPL software, and nothing prevents them from being a sponge. It's just something called diligence to the social contract that is the FOSS movement.

    Secondly, as mentioned many times around the internet, Cannonical and the many Ubuntu drones seem intent on replacing the word "Linux" with the word "Ubuntu" in the lexicon. They pretend if they're something bigger than Linux and compare themselves directly to MacOS and Windows, despite doing so little development of their own.

    Thirdly, Ubuntu blogs just shove Ubuntu down everyone's throats. Do people not see that there are plenty of other popular alternatives that do the very same thing? It's not Ubuntu that provides these wonderful apps, drivers, and such. It's all the developers involved in the Linux development network. However, all you hear about is Ubuntu.

    Now, I'm not an Ubuntu-hater. I actually use Linux Mint, which is a warmed over Ubuntu with nicer graphics and some tweaks and codecs and such. However, I do believe many of them have some valid points around all of this. It makes things worse when blogs like this just snear at those that object.

    Anytime there is a big push for a dominant player, there is a big backlash. This is understandable. Personally, I don't like a dominant player, at all. That dominance leads them to act in a manner similar to Microsoft or Apple. Competition is good. We saw what happened when the world standardized itself on Windows… Why would we want something like that in Linux? We need many players to provide incentive to continually push Linux forward.

  4. @Anonymous no1
    good to hear you decided to settle on Ubuntu. Wish you enjoy your stay with us in the Ubuntu union
    @Anonymous no2
    Well, i have not seen any move towards what you are alleging about Canonical trying to replace the term Linux with Ubuntu. It could be true, but i have seen no such thing.
    You see, what makes FOSS great is the right to choose which OS to like, which to propagate, which to tell people about. But if as you contend, no one should recommend any kind of distro to anyone, then the very essence of choice and freedom that FOSS prides itself with will be eroded. This blog for instance, in virtually all cases, uses Ubuntu as a reference distro when making any analysis. Does that mean i am shoving it down the throats of my readers? I don't think so.
    To dislike Ubuntu for a number of reasons, is understandable. But then to say because of those reasons, no one should talk about Ubuntu on their blogs, or recommend it to family and friends would be going back on the very tenets of FOSS.
    And you know, i have no problem with the size of a firm but what it does with its size. MS is bad because it chooses to. Google on the other hand, is also a massive company, but is as MS is? No. Frankly, i would have no qualms if tomorrow Canonical becomes the MS of Linux.

  5. I totally agree. Since I've started using linux in 1997 I've been using Linux (redhat, (open)suse, debian and ubuntu. All of them have their stregths and weaknesses, but when these days when I try to convert someone to Linux I offer them Ubuntu because novice users don't care about what linux as a whole can do or cannot. They just want to turn on their computers and start browsing the web, write documents and play music and video. Canonical has done a superb job in providing that, and therefore making Linux more popular, and THAT IS GOOD. OTOH, if I want to set up a server I'd probably go with SuSE or RedHat.


  6. I think what @Anonymous#2 is referring to is this trend http://tinyurl.com/davxap

    The use of tbe term 'linux' is decreasing while 'ubuntu' is increasing by roughly the same amount, and it might appear that Ubuntu is "stealing" Linux's glory. (In fact, I know many who are using a different distro than Ubuntu that will use 'ubuntu' while searching for the solution to a problem for their distro).

    But does it really make sense to compare a kernel to a distro? The fact is that most users do not (and do not want to know) what a kernel is. They are much more interested in a functional desktop OS. Ubuntu provides exactly this. You should not expect any appreciation for the Linux project from anywhere else than the developer circle of Ubuntu, where I can assure you it is most definitely present.

    – Helge –

  7. I use Kubuntu, but recommend many distros. There is a distro for just about every time of user. It is important to spend some time before settling on a distro so that you are able to find a match. If something does not work for you try another.
    Ubuntu must be doing something right. They have many happy users. There is no cause to complain about Ubuntu or any other distro. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you are happy with your distro then spend your time building up that community instead of wasting everyone's time by ripping up another distro that you don't use or care about.
    I agree with the sentiment of Ghabuntu. Be happy and be nice to all distros. A distribution is more than just the code. It is also a community. When you dump on a distro you are dumping on the people who work hard to make it better and the people who use it.

  8. Personally, I don't like a dominant player, at all.

    Bingo. That is the real reason. There is the uber geekiness of not belonging to the mainstream. Therefore anything that threatens to become mainstream must be opposed, even if it hurts your own cause in the long run.

    All the rationalisations that precede this paragraph, follow this irrational need to oppose the mainstream. Ubuntu adds value to debian, by providing timed release schedules, choice of default software, sane defaults, and fresher versions of the packages. Mint adds value to ubuntu by adding codecs and much better appearance customizations. Nobody complains about mint, or arch, or pardus.

    Ubuntu does not claim it the only linux. So why judge ubuntu on something it has not done?

    Ubuntu blogs? Really? If you don't want to you don't have to read them. You can interpret it the context your favourite distro, or move on. Honestly, you can.

    The criticism of ubuntu is directly the result of jealousy or dislike of success.

  9. @sinaisix: Apple's Macintosh X is the saviour of open source software! Don't you see that it use open source kernel? Okay, it does not contribute much back, and when it does, it breaks the community it dumps code in a little bit, but who cares? Mac is now the biggest open source installation in the world! There is so much development put into it. The only people caring about proprietary software and open source pureness are socialists and communists anyway, so who care about them?

    In other words, Apple is the savior of Open Source, and we all should cease all objection to their practice and such. From this point on, let's replace "Open Source" with "Apple" and "Unix" with "Macintosh", and we will conquer the world.

    Now, please replace Apple with Canonical and Macintosh (X) with Ubuntu, then Open Source with Linux or GNU/Linux (it's your choice), and re-read. Think about how ridiculous it is.

  10. I couldn't agree more! My previous experience using Linux Desktop was terrible and I thought all Linux Desktop sucks until I tried Ubuntu (it was 6.10 Edgy Eft.) Ubuntu has completely changed my mind about Linux, and I've started using Ubuntu as my primary OS both at home & work since then.

    I was pretty much afraid of Linux commands , but thanks to my Ubuntu experience, I was able to get more familiar with Linux, and am no longer afraid of Linux Commands as I can easily get help from the greatest Ubuntu community.

    Ubuntu has introduced the concept of Linux to me (though I only understand a little), Now I feel Debian, Fedora, and other distros. are pretty easy to use, Even Arch Linux doesn't seem so difficult for me any more.

    I love all Linux distros. but Ubuntu will always be my favorite!

  11. Does Ubuntu blogs just shove Ubuntu down everyone's throats?

    As matter of fact, Ubuntu blogs has audiences and fans. I actually subscribe RSS feeds in Google Blog Search with 'Ubuntu' as keyword, (that's how I found here) and I subscribe lots of Ubuntu related sites too.

  12. I've known about Linux in a very casual way since the 1990s because of my brother, who is a programmer. I hadn't considered using it myself until I started hearing more about Ubuntu. I "took the plunge" in early December 2008 and haven't looked back since. Ubuntu was my first Linux distro and continues to be what I use for both my laptop and my family's desktop computer. I've tried out other distros either as live CDs or in Virtual Box, but none have compared with Ubuntu.

    Someone I know complained not long ago that he didn't like Ubuntu because it felt too "pre-packaged." That's the point, isn't it? Is Linux doomed to be a geeks-only OS, or will it reach popular acceptance?

  13. I am using RedHat, but have given Ubuntu as a starting point to many of my friends and others who wanted to learn Linux (it's especially easier because installation disc is a LiveCD too).

    There is nothing bad that there will be number (millions!) of users who don't know that Ubuntu is one of Linux distros, in a way that many (many millions!) of Windows users haven't heard about Mac or Unix at all.

    BUT, what is important, that there will be much more chances for Linux community to have new members and to grow.
    I'll explain. When user starts to work with OS he/she sometimes has problems with it be it Linux, Windows or whatever. What will the user do? There are two types of users: one will some way find solution (not even one that right, only one that works) and will adapt like most of Windows users do, the others will find WHY it is that way, in case of Linux they will learn about UNIX, then C, then about Linus and Linux, then about other distributions, maybe they will start to program for Linux later and one day will become part of community, if they will be using Windows they will learn about how uncle Bill made his money from stealing codes from others. Which scenario do you prefer? This second kind of users (let me call them users-who-have-possibility-to-become-geeks) is much lesser than first, so we need that as much as possible of them will start they investigations in OS using Linux (even if it is Ubuntu). I don't want to loose people. Do you?


  14. @Anonymous no 4
    Right on spot. That's also my point.
    You lost me on your analogy.
    Could not get you.
    @Anonymous no5
    I also started off feeling the same way you did until I met Ubuntu, and never looked back.
    @Anonymous no6
    Thanks for coming over and subscribing
    I also came across Ubuntu after test driving some other distros and Ubuntu just won the test on all counts. Now it's the only OS on all PCs that I own.
    No neither do I want to lose people.

  15. Ubuntu is popular and to some hardcore linux users it might seem "mainstream". But it is good for non-programmers who use computer mainly as a multimedia station.

    All the talks of Ubuntu being a sponge or whatever are ,in my opinion, absurd. Should everyone necessarily program things in order to contribute to linux? Presentation is also contribution. Ubuntu is a system that does some fine presentation of how user friendly linux can be. And it's just a damn good system for everyday work.

  16. I use Ubuntu, more likely Xubuntu daily. But I'm getting uneasy with the latest develompents in the Desktop area. I seems that Gnome is very fond of doings Logs and History about anything. I don't think that is a good thing. The main Reason I use (X)ubuntu is to surf the Internet. I can't secure my System to 100%, so I think it is for Privacy Reasons better to do not make Data, which mustn't be exposed, in the first Place.

    KDE seems to like to integrate Socialservices, which I also don't like, because these just like to collect data to much. It's bad enough that in Webbrowser f.a. the Googleseachengine collects data and I kind of like to avoid such things.

    Of course Ubuntu and Kubuntu are all shiny and easy to use, but if I asume that I can't surf the Web without putting my private Data to risk in the near Future, I could as well use Windows or MacOS.

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