Oli Warner About Contact Oli on Twitter Subscribe

The Death of Ubuntu

Friday, 25 November 2011 statistics ubuntu

It’s happening again. Ubuntu is on its deathbed. Pundits and community members are exchanging blasts of statistics and in the crossfire people are getting dubious. Well I’ve one thing to say to Ubuntu community members…

Keep calm and carry on

I’m being serious. Don’t wind yourself up with the tired yet recurring DistroWatch extrapolations. Don’t see an article about users “flocking” to Mint and feel the need to take out a full page advert in the local paper.

The most important thing, that I freely admit is exactly what I’m not doing right now, is to take a breath, note the issues and carry on with what you were doing before. Don’t waste time trying to “fix the situation”.

Just keep calm and carry on making Ubuntu the best operating system on the planet. It’s not perfect and it does need work. Harking on about the latest linkbait on The Register is not going to improve anything except The Register’s own coffers and it only serves to damage the image of the Ubuntu community.

Get over it and be awesome instead.

“Easy for you to say, Oli, but what about the children?!”

Sigh. You might not remember what happened about four years ago…

Ubuntu died. PC Linux OS had become the “most popular” distro. PulseAudio was killing everything for everybody. Ubuntu users were flocking away in their droves. Ubuntu had no choice but to accept defeat, roll over and die. “News” sites and opinion writers were backflipping in ecstasy at the number of users they could pull in on these stories.

And as I said then DistroWatch isn’t and will never be a reliable indicator for the health of a distro.

And the amalgamations of complaints as El Reg and plenty of others like to throw at us every so often should always be taken with a handful of salt. Remember that headlines sell newspapers. If you see a reports, I’m not saying you should ignore them completely, just deal with the problem in a proper way.

But the last thing you should do is join the fray as Randall Ross recently suggested. Hammering the pages on DistroWatch has the wrong effect and completely validates all those people who live to distort the HPD figures. Starting an Occupy Register movement isn’t going to stop them or anybody else writing silly thing based on silly statistics.

Use your time to make a difference

Once you realise the futility of the situation, and realise it’s actually not a problem activism can fix, consider how your time can be used. There is always plenty of useful things anybody can be doing at any point in time: Write some code. File a bug. Help somebody on Ask Ubuntu. Join a LoCo.

Just don’t make the mistake I have in the past and get stuck in the circular arguments of extrapolating popularity from disparate statistics. They don’t help anybody.