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Mark Shuttleworth Reveals Ubuntu Netbook Remix 245

Glyn Moody writes "In an interview with the Guardian today, Mark Shuttleworth talks about the upcoming Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a tailored version for ultraportables, produced in collaboration with Intel." The new version of Ubuntu is barely mentioned in this interview, but it's tantalizing -- SUSE looks nice on the HP Mininotes, but for people who are used to and enjoy Ubuntu, it's an option to look forward to.
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Mark Shuttleworth Reveals Ubuntu Netbook Remix

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  • Re:Dislike Ubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by allanw ( 842185 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:04PM (#23508572)
    What's wrong with /etc/init.d? It's just a matter of preference or old vs. new. I'm not quite sure how it works in Ubuntu, but in Gentoo, there's a tool that manages the services that run with each runlevel, and I prefer using that instead of manually moving around shell scripts.
  • Re:Dislike Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:10PM (#23508664)

    As a Linux user, I despise Ubuntu, I can't explain why, but I think it's too GUIsh along with other things like

    Not using conventions i.e (at least in the Ubuntu versions I've used) /sbin/dhcpcd doesn't exists.

    I prefer the slackware way of /etc/rc.d/rc.X instead of /etc/init.d or /etc/rc.d/rc.(level)/rc.ssh?

    but there are few good things about Ubuntu, it made Linux and Open Source much better to new-comers, works almost always out of the box
    It's friendly (but silly IMhO) to people who migrate from Windows, and it's the greatest achievement made in the last few years. friendly OS for Windows migrating users.
    I can tell you why you despise it. Because it's considered mainstream linux, and you are an arrogant prick who previously enjoyed looking down on the masses.
  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:11PM (#23508678)
    He said the future is in unlicensed software. Which, IIRC, was the end-game goal for GPL. GPL is a temporary system to enforce freedom in an age of copyright restrictions. If software in the future becomes truly unlicensed, then there's no need for GPL.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:17PM (#23508766)
    I'll give him the benefit of doubt and say he probably meant unlicensed software as in you do not have purchase a license to use the software as it is given to you with it.
  • by zebslash ( 1107957 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:19PM (#23508794)
    I know this argument is every frequently used, but even in a world where copyright would not exist, the GPL still brings another feature: it prevents a free software to revert to a proprietary one. If copyright law were completely abolished, it would still be permitted to take any source code, modify it and distribute it without disclosing the modifications. The GPL on the other hand says: ok, you can use my source, but if you redistribute to the public, you cannot close the source and you have to release your modifications. So for me the GPL is not a temporary system until copyright were abolished.
  • by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:19PM (#23508802)
    Diversity differs!

    Hah! Prove it!
  • by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:24PM (#23508872) Homepage

    One of the things that's with Ubuntu is that it's the only group with a real sense of marketing. Granted, it's viral marketing, but if you look at [] versus [] you'll notice that one is quite pretty and modern, and the other looks like it fell out of a wormhole circa 1996. I even tried talking about a site redesign on #debian on freenode once and got flamed by someone saying "why the hell should the look of a website matter?" Perhaps it somewhat matters because when I was a newbie and knew nothing about the merits of distros, I overlooked Debian as being a fairly amateurish distro because, well, its website looked amateurish. Yes, I know better now, but we should acknowledge at least a little that appearances do matter.

    Of course, it's not just the website. Ubuntu also has an army of Diggers, and it's overall just a really easy distro to get started with when you know nothing about Linux, because the project has made appealing to that crowd one of its goals.

  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:25PM (#23508904)
    I'm saying he's making argument straight out of Marx to justify free software, he just changed the words.

    Free software works more like third position distributivism, as advocated by Hilaire Belloc in The Servile State -- that is to say, there are three remedies to capitalism - socialism, slavery and property. Unchecked capitalism leads to slavery, but also necessitates socialist revolution UNLESS you take the third option - property.

    That is to say that the means of production and exchange must be distributed as widely as possible, but that holdings are then privately owned. Free software is the perfect example of this. Anyone with a computer (means of production) and internet connection (means of exchange) can create value and trade for it and with it. Its generation of wealth at its purist.

    However, we need a codified method of protecting our property - and that is the license. That is what allows us to exchange with each other without losing anything of our own but what we chose willingly to give up.

    XanC on the other hand, chooses the Socialism path and paraphrases Marx. That is exactly the sort of argument that leads to "ignorant people" confusing what exactly it is that free software accomplishes - because many of the people who use and advocate it were confused in the first place.

    However, its not really his fault that schools don't really teach Belloc or Chesterton but force Marx down your throat at every chance they get. Marx's analysis of the problem was correct -- his solution was flawed.
  • Ubuntu is unlicensed, eh? And everything that's included in it, eh?

    Sure. I've used an unlicensed copy of Ubuntu many times. It says right there in the GPL: If you don't want to accept the license, you don't have to in order to use the software. So I didn't. :-P

    So I guess I can change some #IFDEF s, release a "new" operating system, and get rich, eh?

    You could if you agreed to the GPL. If you didn't, then I imagine that the various Linux authors would take issue with your attempt to ignore copyright law.

    Free software is not "public domain," which is what unlicensed/uncopywritten means.

    No, unlicensed means unlicensed and public domain means public domain. Just because public domain software is unlicensed doesn't make all unlicensed software public domain. (i.e. A car stays in a garage. Is everything in a garage a car?) Unlicensed means exactly that: You didn't agree to a license to obtain the software. I don't agree to a license to obtain a book, either, but copyright law is still in full effect.
  • by goltzc ( 1284524 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:29PM (#23508970)
    I think Ubuntu is a fine OS. I know there are other distros that are great and if you like them you should use them. However, Ubuntu provides two things a decent user experience with a great community for both novices and power users and more importantly momentum for "non traditional" Operating Systems. Any exposure people get to alternative platforms is a good thing. It's really nice to show people that there is alternatives to the crazy M$ way of things.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:30PM (#23508982) Homepage Journal
    They do that because they get better integration that way. For example, when you install Ubuntu, it installs OpenOffice with GNOME support, but when you install Kubuntu, it installs OpenOffice with KDE support. Plus all the art differences, etc. Plus, problems with KDE packages won't hold up an Ubuntu release and vice-versa.

  • by lytles ( 24756 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:36PM (#23509080) Homepage
    I'm on the bandwagon. I've been using linux for 12 years, longer if you include machines administered by others. Ubuntu isn't perfect, but from what I've seen it's the best thing out there - it just works.

    Everything is easy. Install a new package. Get the source for that package that isn't quite working right. Configuration. Update packages. Upgrade to the new version. It's all trivial, and just works. /etc is simple and clean.

    And my folks are running it. When i visit I f with things. But when I'm not there, they can still upgrade packages, etc. And they're on dialup, and it still just works :)

    We run suse on the servers at work, and i needed a very recent gcc with fortran and gomp. Ended up building from source, including a half dozen dependencies. On my workstation (ubuntu) "apt-get install gfortran libgomp". done. 5 hours vs 5 minutes. Actually, I think it took several iterations, maybe spent 2 full days installing it on suse.

    Great for the power user.
    Great for the beginner.

  • by flattop100 ( 624647 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:41PM (#23509176)
    For the vast majority of Windows users, Linux needs an identity. They see Windows, OS X (Apple), and the great confusion and diffusion that is Linux. If Ubuntu is putting a face on Linux, then more power to Shuttleworth et al. For most new migrants, Ubuntu gives them the impression that Linux is fast, easy to use, and (more and more) friendly. These are tremendous inroads. Perhaps they can be starting points down other Linux paths.
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:46PM (#23509256)
    "Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." - Karl Marx []

    Pull your head out of your math books once in a while and read something. You might learn. I'm not making this stuff up.
  • by Djatha ( 848102 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:50PM (#23509304)

    Maybe you are right. Ubuntu has a very good PR machine running and it is easy to install and use, even for simple users. However, I fear that, as a result of all the publicity, when people start thinking about an alternative to windows, it'll be automatically Ubuntu, not the best distribution for their situation.

    Seriously, are we looking forward to milions of clueless Ubuntu users?/P

  • by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:51PM (#23509322) Homepage
    Others have pointed out the flaw.

    I don't have to accept the GPL in order to use Linux legally. I do have to accept whatever Microsoft's EULA of the day is in order to use Windows legally. GPL software is generally unlicensed for use.

    I think that the problem is that lots of people believe that "unlicensed" somehow means that you're running afoul of the law. It's bad PR to call Ubuntu "unlicensed", but that doesn't mean that it's technically inaccurate. License-free would probably be a better term.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:51PM (#23509330)
    *pssst!* over here, in the AC section!

    Stop and think about it. Do you really want the Windowtards bussing into all of the Linux distros, spreading their pollution and flamage wherever they go? Do you want Debian and Slackware dumbed down to the Fischer-Price toy that Ubuntu is so the Windows converts can comprehend it with their tiny little minds?

    Keep it like it is. Ubuntu makes a great asylum.
  • by nguy ( 1207026 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @02:52PM (#23509332)
    That's great. I don't get why ubuntu needs to release a new "distro" for every single configuration.

    Because it's easy for end users. And that's what should count. One reason Ubuntu is so popular is that they understand this.
  • by skeeto ( 1138903 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @03:18PM (#23509726)

    Agreed. The Ubuntu website is the amateurish one that breaks the rules. For example, it is fixed width and doesn't flow to fit the screen, and it fails validation [] (Debian's site passes validation [] and flows). I also feel it just isn't as functional as the simpler, cleaner Debian site.

    However, I am a bit of a minimalist (use IceWM, Emacs (small by today's computing resources), play nethack, etc.), making me less likely to be interested in Ubuntu anyway (besides some other reasons).

  • Yeah, but which one is more appealing to the know nothing-"ooh this is pretty" crowd? That's where Ubuntu's website has it.
  • by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @03:51PM (#23510240) Homepage Journal
    but if you look at versus you'll notice ...

    Alternatively, one may as well realize that there exist different target groups with different attitudes, needs, (and average age, (and knowledge), presumably).

  • by MrNiceguy_KS ( 800771 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:12PM (#23510564)
    You know, I had never thought about it before, but in a way you're right about Free Software as "Communism done right". Communism as an idea is not bad, except that the idea ignores everything we know about human nature, i.e. that people are selfish bastards who will get as much for themselves as they can while doing as little as possible.

    But when we're dealing with non-physical property like software, it works, simply because people taking as much as they can doesn't reduce the amount available to others. "To each, according to their needs," really does mean everyone can have as much as they want of what's out there.

    I think the correct phrase isn't "communism done right," but rather "Communism the only way it can actually work"
  • by story645 ( 1278106 ) * <> on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:21PM (#23510686) Journal
    The Ubuntu site is a very clean interface-see button, go to section, then get into the detail. It's perfect for the user who doesn't know anything 'cause they'll never even know what they're missing. The site's incredibly easy to navigate-it just requires more buttons to get somewhere. The Debian site has the standard F/OSS interface-throw just about everything at the user under a couple of subheadings. Less clicks, yeah-but not that much better for it.

    Website design is as much about the audience as anything else-and the Ubuntu site is perfectly geared towards it's audience, as is Debians towards it's- which is why it looks any other F/OSS project page where as Ubuntu's looks like a standard corporate page.

  • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:28PM (#23510760)
    Debian overloads you with so much information that it's impossible to get anything done.

    I wanted to learn how to package up software and I found the full circle magazine more helpful then Debian's 6000 page document on it, such a useless website.
  • Re:Dislike Ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by debatem1 ( 1087307 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:31PM (#23510798)
    Slackware is older than Ubuntu, so it must be the better distro.
    Solaris is older than Linux, so it must be the superior operating system.
    Monarchy is older than democracy, so it must be a better form of government.
    I can make my examples more absurd, if you want.
  • by trisweb ( 690296 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @04:52PM (#23511068) Journal
    I don't understand why "monoculture is bad" necessarily. It does lead to more possible security breaches, but it also leads to a coherent support network, familiar UI standards across most desktops, and a larger developer and user base with which to improve/test the software.

    I myself see no need to switch away from the distro that gives me everything I need and has the most active community. This idea that users will switch to other distros once they see the "choice" is missing the point - 1: users don't want too much choice, and 2: given the choice, users will usually choose either what's familiar to them or what everyone else chooses. This is how Windows achieved and kept popularity! It simply became the standard. Linux needs this.

    The other misconception is that this is bad -- it is not. It creates underlying standards and consistency across the board, which will confuse users less and help them adapt to the change faster and easier. It's also a lot easier to support a single distro than a dozen.

    So it may not *always* be ubuntu, but it very likely will. I think Ubuntu has reached the tipping point where its momentum will support its growth. More power to it, in my opinion.
  • by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @05:07PM (#23511258) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why "monoculture is bad" necessarily. It does lead to more possible security breaches, but it also leads to a coherent support network, familiar UI standards across most desktops, and a larger developer and user base with which to improve/test the software.
    It's "bad" because it's dangerous. A single change by a single Debian maintainer caused a security vulnerability is a whole lot of installations, including mine. In this case, it wasn't that everybody was using OpenSSH, because OpenSSH wasn't the source of the problem. Redhat/Fedora and Suse both use OpenSSH and were not effected. This diversity contained a security vulnerability to just the Debian family, and not all Linux installs.

    This idea that users will switch to other distros once they see the "choice" is missing the point - 1: users don't want too much choice, and 2: given the choice, users will usually choose either what's familiar to them or what everyone else chooses
    Users do like choice. Go to any common user's home, and they'll have customized their desktop wallpaper, the arrangements of their icons. The are probably using some non-default application like WinAmp or Firefox. The problem is that on Windows, choice isn't cheap. Making a choice in Windows causes major consequences. Linux is different, you can move from Firefox to Epiphany to Konqueror with very little sacrifice. Anything you write in OpenOffice can be read by KOffice, Lotus Symphony, or Abiword/Gnumeric. You can switch between Amarok, Rhythmbox or XMPP, and still play all your music files without issue. Standards make the application a commodity, which makes switching cheap and easy.
  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @05:34PM (#23511616)
    An argument for a Linux-distro monoculture, though, is that more likely than not a de-facto "main distro" will be scrutinized far more by upstream. If the OpenSSH guys had looked at the Debian changes (because, under this hypothesis, Debian would be THE DISTRO), this error would have been found and fixed far sooner.
  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @05:39PM (#23511670)

    Agreed. The Ubuntu website is the amateurish one that breaks the rules. For example, it is fixed width and doesn't flow to fit the screen, and it fails validation [] (Debian's site passes validation [] and flows). I also feel it just isn't as functional as the simpler, cleaner Debian site.

    Like most people, you're confusing two different concepts here: skillful vs. professional. Debian's site is clearly more skillfully done, and wins on technical merit. Ubuntu's site is clearly more professional; people are more likely to pay for a site like that. Debian's site is both technically superior and more amateurish. The very qualities you mention as signs Ubuntu's site is "more amateurish" are common and even to some degree desired in many professional web designs (fixed-width, for example, is required to accurately control precise layout, a common client requirement). If the Debian developers were trying to sell the site design, it'd look more like Ubuntu's, which is to say, more professional, albeit not as good in many ways.

    Never confuse "professional" with "better" or "amateur" with "worse". The first terms relate to the compensation for the activity, the second refer to subjective criteria which are usually utterly unrelated to that.

  • by Xabraxas ( 654195 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @06:13PM (#23512084)
    There's nothing wrong with the layout of Debian's site but the design is awful and hurts my eyes. It looks like it was made by one of the developers because it validates but looks like crap. By the way valid HTML/CSS doesn't make a website good. If it did I would be raking in money as a web developer because it seems that next to no one validates their websites except for coders. The really sad thing is that when using CSS you could alter the debian website quite dramatically with little time or effort and it would look 100 times better.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @08:21PM (#23513024) Homepage
    Their front page is a little sloppy, but it's hardly the worst I've seen. Out of the 18 errors, 8 came from one leftover </p> tag, a few missing alt texts, some missing ids on display mappings (they had a name attribute instead) and a border element that should be moved to CSS (maybe some browser doesn't understand the CSS right). No browser is going to choke on that. Of the four errors left the first two look invalid to me since they're '<img... >' strings in javascript and not actual page elements, last two on img and ul placement might be real errors of significance. I generally feel the validator can make a mountain out of a molehill, such as in this case. Yes, it's good to stick to the standard but it's not like the page is hopeless because it doesn't validate. And I do think it looks a *lot* better than Debian's page.
  • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Thursday May 22, 2008 @08:24PM (#23513040) Journal
    "Think of Ubuntu as a gateway drug, uh, distro."

    I've been using FOSS software since 1996, and the only 3 Linux distros i like are smoothwall, ubuntu, and knoppix. in 1996 i gave up on slackware (what all the Linux people were talking about then) for something that worked out of the box as a cross platform Internet gateway/file server... Free BSD.

    I've never been cured of my desire for simplicity, never, and neither will the masses.

    I don't want to fight with my software for 7 hours to get it 'just right' i want it to just plain work out of the box with no quibbles.

    that's the #1 reason i hate Microsoft, despite all the other reasons to hate Microsoft. work with no hassles, and I'm not alone, most of the free world wants what i want, even if they don't know that's what they want.

    for the few people who like to meddle with the guts of an OS, building gentoo from source is there, but at best, if the world switches to Linux, you will find the breakdown is the same as it is now, 99.9% wanting stuff that works and .1% that are willing to play around for hours to get things working the way they want it to.

    you can't make people enjoy meddling with software who don't already enjoy it, and even then you can't increase the amount of spare time they have unless you put all food, housing and medical care under the direct control of the government... and believe you me, doing that is not cool, just ask people who lived in communist Russia how well that worked for them.
  • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <> on Thursday May 22, 2008 @09:44PM (#23513480) Homepage Journal
    It's perfect for the user who doesn't know anything 'cause they'll never even know what they're missing

    As an Ubuntu user; I find that vaguely insulting. Linux in general is missing an easy entry into its world for outsiders. Ubuntu helps with this by bring friendly on the outside; having good support forums and services, but being a full distro under the hood.
  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @05:43AM (#23515260)
    I'm sure you don't intend it but your first lines of posting come over as the classic linux expert user criticism of newbies - "it's not the software that's wrong, it's you!".

    I'm very pleased that many of the linux distros have got their act together to appeal to a wider audience these days.
  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Friday May 23, 2008 @06:42AM (#23515474)
    Just resize your browser window?

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury