Ubuntu is for everyone, not only "leets", says Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth takes on Canonical critics with grand plans for Ubuntu

Nicole Kobie
8 Mar 2013

Ubuntu isn't for "leets" - or "elite" users - but for mainstream users, according to Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical.

Reacting to community criticism over rolling releases and wider moves to extend the open-source OS to mobile devices and mainstream users, Shuttleworth took aim at so-called "leets", saying the attitude that Linux OSes should be difficult to use is "dumb".

"I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different," he added. "'Linux is supposed to be hard so it’s exclusive' is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say." Instead, Shuttleworth wants to take advantage of the "once in a lifetime opportunity" that mobile devices offer to extend the use of Ubuntu, making it "the leader across both consumer and enterprise computing".

‘Linux is supposed to be hard so it’s exclusive’ is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say

Shuttleworth disputed the idea that Canonical has more power over the direction of Ubuntu than the rest of its community, saying all suggestions are considered - but that doesn't mean they'll end up happening.

"Canonical's contribution is massive. It's simply nonsense to say that Canonical gets 'what it wants' more than anybody else," Shuttleworth said in a blog post. "Hell, half the time, I don't get exactly what I want: lots of people work hard to the best of their abilities - the result is Ubuntu."

Shuttleworth acknowledged that the Unity interface had caused some users to "resent" Canonical's work, and said the development group was willing to keep working on other systems. "But if we want to get beyond being a platform for hobbyists, we need to accelerate the work on Unity to keep up with Android, Chrome, Windows and Apple," he said. "And that's more important than taking care of the needs of those who don't share our goal of a free software norm."

"Everyone that I care about in open source has a shared dream: they want free software to become the norm, not the exception," he said, adding: "Ubuntu is the only way I can see for that to happen".

He had a simple message for those who don't follow that vision: "If you've done what you want for Ubuntu, then move on. That's normal - there's no need to poison the well behind you just because you want to try something else."

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