Ubuntu: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

After the Amazon search results in the Dash debacle it was a good time to re-evaluate my support for Ubuntu. Do I want to continue to use Ubuntu on my desktop and server and to recommend to friends? The answer, after much deliberation, is still yes. Although the following are my observations/feelings/etc., they do indicate more advantages to using Ubuntu than disadvantages. I also feel that for a Linux distribution to succeed it has to offer soft benefits in addition to great technology, something Ubuntu does better than a lot of other distributions.

The Good

  • Six-month releases with newer technology
  • Long term support (LTS) releases every two years
  • Server and desktop offerings on par with any other good distribution
  • Free of cost for individuals and enterprises
  • Very good focus on desktop integration and user experience
  • Out of the box hardware support is much better than some other distributions. No other distribution has worked on my Gen 1 MacBook as well as Ubuntu has.
  • Based on the great work of the Debian project
  • Unity DE (to me) is the best Linux currently has to offer. Its integration, simplicity, and keyboard shortcuts make it a joy to use.
  • Very simple licensing and support options unlike Red Hat and SuSE (they confuse me to no end)
  • “Moving up” from development/test environment to production does not require re-configuring, re-installing or re-licensing (but you can buy support if needed) unlike RHEL (CentOS to RHEL) and SLES (OpenSUSE to SLES)
  • As soon as the latest LTS is released most package versions are fairly new but on a new RHEL release packages are mostly a year or more older from the get go. (Please correct me if I’m wrong). This means that you get to deploy newer technology with Ubuntu LTS and have it supported for five years.
  • It’s increasing market share for Linux, especially with Steam coming soon to Ubuntu

The Bad

  • A very visible Not Invented Here (NIH) syndrome
  • Not much collaboration with other distributions on reaching consensus over shared/common technology (see: systemd, AppArmor)
  • More focus on desktop and not as much attention to server
  • Decisions that sometimes polarize the community more than any other distribution
  • Keeping Landscape server closed source
  • May need to run sudo aptitude remove unity-lens-shopping starting in 12.10
  • Ubuntu is either a community project or a Canonical project with community contributions. It can’t pretend to be a community project and continue to give Canonical almost all decision-making power.
  • It doesn’t have a functionality like zypper ps by default, although it’s not really needed because aptitude usually restarts the services after upgrade anyways. One has to install sudo install debian-goodies and then use the checkrestart application to get functionality similar to zypper ps. Thanks to Equivalent of openSuse “zypper ps” on other distros? for this tip.

The Ugly

  • Honestly, I haven’t seen anything ugly so far

2 Responses to Ubuntu: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. istok says:

    of course you should still use it. one good, reassuring thing that i don’t see listed is that the australian fellow who owns ubuntu apparently “has root”. yours, i presume?

  2. Pingback: Links 25/9/2012: Linux Used at Airbus, Linux 3.6 RC7 is Out | Techrights

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