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Canonical and Kubuntu

OK, I wasn’t going to do this, you know jump in on all of the “Kubuntu is treated like a second class citizen by Canonical” posts, but I have had enough time to let off some steam, and even joke around a bit with it. So here is my take…

I am actually 50/50 on the entire “2nd class citizen” outtake for a couple of reasons. I would be wholeheartedly into saying that Canonical is indeed treating us Kubuntu people like a second class citizen, but there are factors that permit this feeling.

Factor 1: Would hiring one more developer for Kubuntu really help Kubuntu lose this 2nd class feeling? The answer is simply no. I know some of you just flipped your lid on that one, but it is true. Think about it. If Canonical does decide to hire a second paid Kubuntu developer right now, where would they pull that person from? More than likely from our current pool of community developers. So that means we have 2 faces to Kubuntu from Canonical, that’s pretty much it right now. Another paid developer isn’t going to help us, Kubuntu, from pulling in the slack. There will still be the same exact amount of people working on the project, except instead of one person being paid, we now have two.

As you can see, it is factor 1 that prevents me from saying the whole “we are treated as 2nd class citizens.”

Factor 2: When the Gnome side of our community, whether they are Canonical or not, come up with an idea such as bullet proof x, printer configuration, Compiz support stuff, and so on, they never come to the Kubuntu people and say, “Hey, we are working on project x for Ubuntu and was wondering if you all thought that something like this would be good for Kubuntu, how about lending a developer to the project so we can work side-by-side.” In the past two years of contributing to this project, I can’t think of one time where this has happened. If it did, I never seen it, and the Kubuntu community is about as transparent as they get in terms of communications. This is something that definitely needs to be worked on.

As you can see, it is factor 2 that makes me want to say “yes, we are treated as 2nd class citizens.”

Ooh, damn almost forgot about Factor 3!

Factor 3: Marketing. I am sorry, the type of marketing I have seen coming from this entire community has been lackluster. Ubuntu has some marketing, thanks to all of the websites who “ooh and ahh” over us, but this type of marketing only goes so far. It goes as far as the people who read those websites. Maybe there is marketing going on over in Europe for Ubuntu, but in the states, all I have seen are LoCo teams busting their asses just to hit a very small target. This doesn’t work, and isn’t going to work. Gorilla, grass-roots, word-of-mouth type marketing advances only go so far. Linux has been around now for more than 14 years, but I am willing to place my money that the word “Linux” means absolutely nothing to say, 50% of the Windows users in the world. So that means even less could tell you what “Ubuntu” is. Why is that? Marketing is lackluster. But guess what, it is lackluster for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, and anything else you can tie to the front of buntu. So this here makes me think we aren’t such a 2nd class citizen, as our marketing sucks just as much as everyone else.

Damn, I almost published this without Factor 4, and I am free of any type of legal or illegal medication right now πŸ™‚

Factor 4: Kubuntu 8.04 will not be LTS. This screams 3rd class citizen to me honestly. KDE 4 wasn’t the alleged reasoning behind this decision from Canonical. They were uncertain about just how long the KDE community would continue supporting KDE 3. Is this Canonical’s fault though? Yes and no to be honest. Yes, because transparently I never heard of, nor seen, any type of communication from Canonical to KDE asking for explanation. No, because transparently the KDE community never said much about the future support publicly, until after Canonical’s decision. Of course those of us who work with both KDE and Kubuntu already knew that KDE 3 wasn’t going anywhere. I don’t work for Canonical, so what behind the scenes communications they had or didn’t have, I cannot speculate on it, but I will say transparently, the ball was dropped, unfairly.

Like Jono said, “Canonical pays for thousands of free Kubuntu CDs to be produced, all via ShipIt” (notice my link to ShipIt actually goes to Kubuntu ShipIt and not Ubuntu’s ShipIt like Jono did, conspiracy anybody?). πŸ™‚

Kubuntu is extremely glad that Canonical stepped up and offered us this service. It is a wonderful service and we truly are happy to be apart a part of it. Now with that said, seeing as I was once a LoCo team leader, I used to get my typical LoCo team ShipIts. And wouldn’t you know, less than one-fourth were actually Kubuntu. I could go through my emails and give you the exact breakdown, but I don’t need to be that big of an ass πŸ™‚ The Ubuntu Chicago guys will all tell you, Kubuntu CDs were our #1 request. #2, well that was reserved for Xubuntu. People never had to request Ubuntu CDs because we had them falling out of every orifice possible. There is definitely mistreatment here, and it is something I hope gets addressed for the next LoCo ShipIts that go out.

So what have I proven here today? Absolutely nothing! WHAT? Ya, absolutely nothing. We can all sit here and bitch about this in our blogs, on IRC, in email, or whatever communication protocol we can complain on next (anyone up for Skype, Twinkle, Gobby…?) Nothing is getting done in order to fix this “2nd class citizenship” we keep hearing about, for like a year now. If there is a bitch or complaint that is the same for a year, don’t you think it is time our community comes together and attempts to fix this? Gnome vs. KDE, Ubuntu vs. Kubuntu, boohoo this isn’t fair…this shit has to stop, it isn’t healthy, and nothing is being done to fix it.

So what do you propose Mr. Smarty Ass Pants? Simple, why don’t all of us (Canonical, Ubuntu, Kubuntu) sit down and figure out how to work together for a common good. Lets create competition, coopetition, and a much healthier environment, especially if we want to attract new users. Hell, if Microsoft and Apple can do it, then so can we. Who knows, maybe we can truly benefit our upstreams by this, only one way to find out.

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