Ubuntu is Just All Right with Me
Recently a GNOME survey (aka the Neary report) came out that showed who contributes to GNOME and at what levels. Not so oddly enough the results of it turned out similarly to periodic Linux kernel surveys done by LWN and Greg KH. The results being that Red Hat is the top named contributor.
It just so happens that Canonical (the sponsor of Ubuntu) typically does not fair so well on such surveys and as a result they are often criticized for their perceived lack of upstream contributions.
In a response to the Neary report a former Red Hat employee named Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote a pretty nasty blog posting calling Canonical out. Both Jono Bacon and Mark Shuttleworth have responded to Greg, and Greg responded back. Finally Greg decided he regretted the first blog post. Along the way there were a few good posts by Fedora's Adam Williamson (posts 1 and 2).
Some have pointed out that this in-fighting is not so good for the Linux community. What do I think? Well, being a Red Hat fanboy I do tend to take sides but I do agree with Adam Williamson's second posting as to the motivation of Canonical criticism... and I don't necessarily think it is a bad thing as long as it doesn't get out of hand, and thus far it hasn't.
I thought I'd offer my own clarifications.
Material here on MontanaLinux.org
I'd like to see more Ubuntu coverage on MontanaLinux.org but me not being an Ubuntu person, I'm not going to be the one to do it. I do encourage community participation on this website and I would love to see others do some Ubuntu postings. I have done a little prodding on IRC asking for Ubuntu-related contributions, but thus far it hasn't panned out. I certainly look forward to Ubuntu related postings here as well as any other Linux related postings.
Go ahead, take me up on my offer. I realize that my older Drupal install isn't the most user-friendly web publishing system... so if anyone has any questions about using it, just ask.
Distros I recommend
What Linux distro do I recommend to people who ask me? Well, it depends. If it is someone I'm going to have to interact with... who is going to be asking me for help... I recommend to them what I use... which is primarily RHEL or CentOS on servers and Fedora on desktops. I choose those because they are what I like and am most familiar with... and if they are going to be asking me for help, they are what I can better help with.
If it is someone who I will not have to interact with in the future... someone who will not likely be asking me for help... and they want a desktop distro... I do sometimes recommend Ubuntu. There are actually a few different distros I recommend depending on the desired criteria laid out by the asker. So, just because I prefer Red Hat / CentOS and Fedora doesn't mean that I think they are the best solution in all situations.
There is a large diversity in Linux and the reason for it is to match the large diversity in hardware and software use cases. While some see the large number of Linux distros as a bad thing, I generally see it as a good thing.
The subject of this post was a hint about what I think and feel about Canonical. Remember that old Doobie Brothers song? I'm not sure about the exact title of it but I think it is, "Jesus is Just All Right with Me." That's how I feel about Canonical and Ubuntu. I do feel compelled to mention that Canonical has not yet seemed to find a way to become profitable and the vast majority of the steps they seem to have taken lately (UbuntuOne, etc) seem to be moving toward proprietary software rather than keeping with the principles of FOSS. Hey, even Red Hat made some mistakes along the way so I think I'll cut Canonical a break.
Will Canonical be successful? I don't know. While I would prefer them to be more of a pure, free software company like Red Hat, that doesn't mean that there is only one way to do things... and I do acknowledge that Canonical does contributed a lot to the Linux ecosystem.
I should also note that while Canonical is the primary sponsor of Ubuntu, Ubuntu and the community that has sprung up around it are not necessarily dependent on Canonical's success. I like to think that if Red Hat went up in flames that Fedora would continue and that's how I feel about Ubuntu as well.
What says you?