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Aaron Toponce: Goodbye Ubuntu

Published Nov 9 2013 via RSS

In 1999, I discovered GNU/Linux. Before then, I was a Solaris fanboy. Solaris could do no wrong, and it even took until about 2003 before I finally made the plunge, and removed Solaris off my Sun Ultra 1 (complete with 21" CRT monitor), and put Debian GNU/Linux on it. It was either Debian, or Gentoo that had SPARC support, and compiling software from source didn't sound like a lot of fun. I also had an HP laptop. It ran SUSE, Red Hat Linux, and various other distros, until it too settled on Debian. Then, in October of 2004, while at a local LUG meeting, I learned of this Debian fork called "Ubuntu".

I gave it a try. I switched from using Debian to Ubuntu on my laptop. I liked the prospects of using something that had more frequent stable releases. After which, I helped setup the Ubuntu Utah users group. We had install fests, meetings, and other activities. Our group grew fast and strong. Then, I helped to start the Ubuntu US Teams project, getting local state and regional groups, strong like the Utah group was. Eventually, I applied for Ubuntu membership, and in 2006, I got my membership, syndicated my blog to the Ubuntu Planet, and I have been here since.

Sometime around 2008, things started changing in the Ubuntu culture, and it was becoming difficult to enjoy working on it. I'm not going to list everything that Canonical has done to Ubuntu, but it's been steady. Not committing patches upstream to Linux mainline. Breaking ties with the Debian project, including rolling their own packages. Group development moved to centralized development. Copyright assignments. Switching from GNOME to Unity. Then Unity lenses and Amazon advertising. Over and over, things began changing, and as a result, the culture changed. I stopped really loving Ubuntu. Eventually, I went back to Debian for my servers, laptops and workstations. Ubuntu isn't Unix anymore. It's Apple, and I'm not sure I like the change.

Now, Micah Flee, who works for the EFF, put up a "sucks site" showing how to disable the privacy violations in Unity. Rather than take it in stride, Canonical has decided to abuse trademark law, and issue a cease and desist notice of the Fix Ubuntu site. United States courts have shown over and over than "sucks sites" are free speech, fair use, and do not infringe on the company mark. In fact, no where on the Fix Ubuntu site is the actual Ubuntu trademark. No logo, no marks, nothing. Just text. Yet, Canonical wants to silence their critics using a heavy hand. To be fair, their notice is less grumpy and bullying than most cease and desist notices. However, it doesn't change the principle.

I can't be associated with a project like this any longer. Effective immediately, my blog will no longer on the Ubuntu Planet. My Ubuntu Membership will be cancelled. My "UBUNTU" license plates, which have been on my car since August 2006, will be removed, in favor of my Amateur Radio callsign.

I wish everyone in the Ubuntu community the best of wishes. I also hope you have the power to change Ubuntu back to what it used to be. I have no ill feelings towards any person in the Ubuntu community. I just wish to now distance myself from Ubuntu, and no longer be associated with the project. Canonical's goals and visions do not align with something I think should be a Unix. Don't worry though- I'll keep blogging. You can't get that out of my blood. Ubuntu just isn't for me any longer.

Goodbye Ubuntu.

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