Is Ubuntu doomed?

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Today in Open Source: The decline and fall of Ubuntu? Plus: Fun Fedora facts, and Fedora 20 Alpha download

The Decline and Fall of Ubuntu?

Datamation has a somewhat disturbing article on the current state of Ubuntu, along with some negative speculation about its future.

All this is not to say that either Canonical and Ubuntu are about to disappear overnight. Any decline is just beginning, not at the point of no return. The introduction of new faces, or even determined internal reform could still turn Canonical and Ubuntu around. Perhaps listening to the Ubuntu community would be useful as well.

Still, the problem remains that, after nine years, Canonical and Ubuntu have yet to succeed. Major contributors to the Linux desktop in their early years, they have not even helped themselves with recent innovations, let alone free software in general. Increasingly, the general impression is one of confusion and desperation, which in itself can contribute to the decline.

Even without reform, Ubuntu and Canonical may continue to glide on their previous reputations, although the Ubuntu Edge campaign suggests that may be less possible as many imagine. But increasingly, Canonical and Ubuntu seem to have been slipping from the position of leadership they had in their earliest years.

Whether they can reverse their decline or merely accelerate it by panicky half-measures is uncertain, but watching the possibilities play out should make for an interesting next couple of years.

More at Datamation

I wish I could disagree with the negative assessment of Datamation, but I just can't. The release of Unity alienated many longtime Ubuntu users from the distro, and most seemed to head over to Linux Mint. The Linux Mint community grew, and the Ubuntu community shrank.

Sure, Unity is just one thing. But it sure was an important one, and it most likely cut into Ubuntu's user base significantly to one degree or another. The problem for the Ubuntu developers now is how do you bring people back once they've discovered the sweet taste of Linux Mint?

So far, I haven't see an answer come from Canonical. We could very well be witnessing the decline and fall of Ubuntu. If that's so, then it will be a very sad day for Linux, given Ubuntu's illustrious history.

Interesting Tidbits About Fedora

Xmodulo has a neat article that provides ten interesting facts about Fedora. Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Fedora. I've included the first three below, click through to read the other seven.

1. Fedora Linux started out as an undergraduate project by Warren Togami at the University of Hawaii in 2002. The goal of Fedora Linux was then to provide a single repository with well-tested packages for Red Hat Linux.

2. Fedora release names are suggested and voted on by the community. Name suggestions are solicited through a Fedora wiki page, and the final release name is decided through a community vote. A suggested name for release N must have the same “is-a” relationship as the name for release N-1. For example, given the release name “Schrödinger’s Cat” for Fedora 19, the name “Heisenbug” passes “is-a” test for Fedora 20; Schrödinger’s Cat is a paradox where the object changes state when studied, and so is a Heisenbug.

3. Fedora consists of 100% free and open source software (FOSS). Items classified as content (e.g., fonts, package documentation, clipart, background images) must also be freely distributed without restrictions. A notable exception is binary-only firmware and driver files, in which case those files must not be able to run on their own in Fedora.

More at Xmodulo

Fedora 20 Alpha Available for Download

Speaking of Fedora, there's an alpha of Fedora 20 available for download. It might be fun to give it a spin in VirtualBox. Remember that it's an alpha, so you're bound to run into bugs and other unpleasant things at some point. It's still cool to check out though, especially if you're a curious distrohopper.

Dubbed Heisenbug, Fedora 20 Alpha brings exciting features and open source technologies, such as a preview of the upcoming GNOME 3.10 desktop environment, KDE 4.11, ARM as a primary architecture, NetworkManager improvements, cloud and virtualization improvements, Ruby on Rails 4.0, Perl 5.18, and much more.

More at Softpedia

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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