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The awesome debut episode of the TuxRadar podcast has been brightening up the interwebs at for a while now – so long in fact that we're about to produce episode 2.

For the Open Ballot section we're revisiting a topic we've had loads of letters and emails about recently; namely, the rise and rise of Ubuntu. Is it a force for good, unifying the masses behind a single banner? Or is it an inhibitor of free choice, herding us into the kind of narrow computing landscape associated with closed operating systems such as Windows and OS X?

Let us know your thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears*, and we'll shoehorn as many as we can into the next podcast.

*Note to conspiracy theorists, Mark Shuttleworth is not paying us to say nice things about Ubuntu.**

** Though if you're reading this Mark old chap, I am a bit skint at the mo.

Your comments

Anyone who thinks Ubuntu is

Anyone who thinks Ubuntu is somehow inhibiting Linux/other distros is a fool. No matter how successful it becomes, it will never influence what Debian does, or indeed, the other big "parent" distros. Free software by its very nature will always be free, whether people like it or not. Ultimately, I and I alone decide what OS I use. I hear some people are still using Amiga OS!

I don't think the rise of

I don't think the rise of Ubuntu is hindering the freedom of choice. I can understand why the purists are maybe a bit pissed, perhaps they don't feel quite so elite! They started by wanting Linux to become more widespread but now that a distro is achieving that, the tune changes: "WTF!, thats not the distro I want to be dominant".
Hey, guys lets not start a flame war, I am a Windows migrant - and I was able to switch mainly because of Ubuntu, I spend years locked into Microsofts offerings. I had heard of linux, but I also heard that is was very 'unfriendly' to the newb, I've been using Linux for years now - mainly ubuntu, but I have used Debian, SuSE, Fedora and Slackware. Ubuntu is my choice, but without it I would no doubt still be a Windows user.
I subscribe to LXF, I regularly download and try out new distros and I am happy to be learning about this wonderful world of freedom and innovation, but ultimately when I relax at home and just wanna play a few games or cruise the web, I want to be comfortable and want ease of use, Ubuntu provides that for me; but when I want to get technical, I can fire up another distro - that is the freedom of Linux and OSS.

I don't have any problem

I don't have any problem with Ubuntu taking such as big slice of people's attention. It doesn't prevent me from using openSUSE and I have even found solutions to problems on the Ubuntu forums, there are so many similarities between distros. Anything that promotes one version of GNU/Linux helps to promote them all.
What I am inclined to wonder is where Ubuntu is going. What happens when the seed fund runs out, will Canonical be making enough money to support Ubuntu development? If Canonical do well, will this be at the expense of the existing commercial operations of Red Hat and Novell, or will they have done so by taking business from Unix and Windows?

This is a difficult one I'm

This is a difficult one

I'm sure that, by now, many ... if not most ... people likely to read this will know that I am antipathetic toward Ubuntu

It's not something I could really justify as such - Although I could give a number of reasons why I feel that way, it just boils down to it not being *my* distro of choice because ... well ... just because

The linux loving world that remembers a time before Ubuntu will have its reasons for feeling put out in some cases ... (Hey! Where's everybody gone? What about *my* favourite distro?) ... or loving it in others ... (At last! Linux has been noticed by more people. I might finally get some decent apps.)

Whether those who only noticed linux after the advent of Ubuntu will care one way or the other or simply see it as their distro of choice, or not, as the case may be, is an entirely different story - After all, prior to Ubuntu, we tried out distros until we found one that suited us and then we settled on it ... What difference does the addition of Ubuntu make to that? ... None, quite frankly ... (some will settle on it : others won't) ... Linux is linux ...

I can install Ubuntu and strip out everything that makes it Ubuntu until I'm left with, effectively, Debian, if I so wish

I can completely remove all software packages until I have nothing but the kernel and a few other bits and pieces, install whatever apps I want (from whatever source I want), install whatever WM/DE I want

I'm not obliged to update every six months, if I don't want to and can simply update those packages I do want to, whenever I want to

I don't have to update from the repos, but can download and compile for myself, if I so choose

By the time I'm done, I *installed* Ubuntu, but I'm not *using* Ubuntu

And the same is true of almost *all* the available distros

Okay, so a few remnants remain - The installer and package management

So what?

I only see the installer once in a blue moon (and even then only if I'm unlucky ... or deserve to, due to my own mismanagement of my system)

If I don't like the package manager, I can use SMART and Alien, or apt-rpm instead, if I don't want a Debian base, but don't want to live in RPM/dependency Hell ... or even compile from source

If I have an issue with the 'rise of Ubuntu' it's not really to do with Ubuntu per se ... (it's just not for me) ... but to do with the way the linux specialist media are seemingly narrowing their focus

But, if the majority of the linux using world is using Ubuntu then the linux media are bound to focus on that - In fact, they may even have a 'duty' to do so, so to speak, if their wider remit is to evangelise linux itself, since the issue is one of encouraging its adoption, regardless of distro, and anything that can help in achieving that goal must, therfore, be adopted and supported

I am concerned about the fact that a focus on one distro will draw away developers and support from other equally (if not more) worthwhile projects and distros, thus limiting the choice, so to speak

But, at the end of the day, even though I don't like Ubuntu particularly myself ... (indeed am actively antipathetic toward it) ... it makes no difference really ... Linux is linux ...

You either love a distro and choose ... or you love the option not to choose but distro hop instead

No, I don't like Ubuntu

I don't like all the attention it gets, that often makes it feel like nobody is even aware that there are any other distros out there

I don't like all the Yet-Another-Ubuntu-Spinoff- distros out there - Even though some of them are actually very good, I just don't like them for the same reason I do not like [i]thee[/i], Doctor Fell

But I'm probably just an old fuddy-duddy, stuck in my ways and crying "What about *my* favourite!?" too

I could just as easily complain about the focus on (Open)SUSE or Fedora before Ubuntu and, indeed, since - Hey! What about *my* favourite!?

In fact, if anything, I'd be inclined to complain about Ubuntu for one reason and one reason only really: It's linux ... and I don't really like linux - I think it's outlived its usefulness ... a needless attempt to slavishly re-implement Unix, with all its flaws and stifling true innovation in the process, when what is *really* needed is an altogether new OS that *doesn't* recycle the mistakes of the past and try to fix them by bolting on fixes, just like the OSes of the past did

Do I think that Ubuntu is an inhibitor of free choice, herding us into the kind of narrow computing landscape associated with closed operating systems such as Windows and OS X?

Yes ... But I think linux is doing that anyway

Who cares if its free and Open Source?

So is my right to vote - And I don't think much of the choices on offer there either

So, there you go It's not Ubuntu that's the problem, but linux itself

So, why pick on Ubuntu? - Apart, of course, from the fact that I just don't like it?

Well, I use Mythbuntu,

Well, I use Mythbuntu, mainly because I think that it is the easiest way to build a MythTV box :)
At work, we use Ubuntu server in a couple of roles, and we have one Ubuntu client, but those niches could easily be filled with Opensuse, (our main Linux clientOS), or any other distro, to be honest.

I think many people are

I think many people are overcomplicating this. As I see it there is no issue. Linux is all about choice - if you like Ubuntu use it, if you don't then use a different distro. Simple!
With regard to LXF and their (over?)coverage of Ubuntu, I think they have the balance about right. To be honest most of the articles/advice is equally applicable to other distros or can be adapted without too much effort.

I'd just like to say that I

I'd just like to say that I want OohArrrBuntu, specially tailored for farmers. It would come pre-loaded with the archers podcast feed. And some hay.

I think Ubuntu is a great

I think Ubuntu is a great distro, and is the one I'd recommend to anyone interested in Linux. I use it, and I like the fact that if I need to find out how to do something, putting "ubuntu" at the end of my search will turn up screeds of results, more than I'll get for say, Fedora which is the only other distro I've used seriously before.

Just about the only thing I dislike about Ubuntu is forcing you to use sudo - there's almost no information on thar interwebz on how to disable it completely.

Grimnir: "sudo bash",

Grimnir: "sudo bash", followed by "passwd" allows you to use "su" as normal. I do it on every Ubuntu box I have.

I used Xandros for a long

I used Xandros for a long time because it would install on just about anything and worked as expected out of the box. As a fairly techy person, I was pretty happy messing about with things, but the family usually just want to go on Club Penguin, Facebook and MS/OpenOffice, so dumping them at the command line was never an option.
I was, though, a bit peeved at the update speed of Xandros (which is probably why it was so stable) so I switched to Ubuntu Hardy (keeping a virtual edition of Xandros running under Parallels) and everything still works as expected. Bit annoyed that Cheese doesn't appear to work after upgrading to 8.10, but I expect me (or someone else) will sort it all out eventually.
The point is I could do that. If I was restricting myself to Windows and was annoyed with Vista (which I was), then my only choice is a downgrade to XP and the loss of critical updates in the near future. Linux, with its chaotic ecosystem of distros, subdistros and sub-sub-distros means that I always have an option of moving. And if Canonical goes to the dead pool (unlikely, since Shuttleworth reckons they're near self-sustaining) all the work on Ubuntu will have still been done, and some other project will have a fantastic base on which to build its sequel.

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