22 January, 2011

My way or the highway?

2 days ago I wrote an enthusiastic blog about a cross-distribution collaboration meeting on App Stores we've organized in Nuremberg. Then, a day later, Canonical decided to ship Qt with Ubuntu. While not anything special from an openSUSE pov (we give both GTK and Qt equal treatment and offer the best platform to develop for both), it's a nice move. In the announcement Mark Shuttleworth emphasized Qt integration with Ubuntu. I specifically write Ubuntu, not GNOME/GTK - Aaron Seigo responded to that with a blog post showing a bit of frustration with Canonical's policy, the push for dconf & Ubuntu-specific Qt integration in apps.

Yay, more flamewars!

Now I'm as big a fan of a good KDE vs GNOME flamewar as anyone and maybe we make them more fun by introducing a GNOME/Ubuntu and Qt/Ubuntu set of apps (what seems to be going on since Mark announced Unity as default in Ubuntu). More splitting up = more fun, and openSUSE's tagline is 'have fun' so maybe we've been going at this all wrong.

openSUSE has a focus on collaboration and integration. I happily wrote about the achievements at the openSUSE conference in that area in October. we worked with Red Hat, Mandriva, Debian. Over the last 3 days we had people from these and more distributions in Nuremberg to work on an app store spec for Linux. Then, right now a second sprint has started, to integrate appstore technology in openSUSE itself. Yes, 2 birds, one stone: first we discuss cooperation, then implement results.


We do things that way because at Novell, we've made our share of mistakes. And we learned - we don't tell our community what openSUSE is going to do, we let them choose. Yes, Novell ships GNOME on their Enterprise Desktop. The community has KDE as default. Up to them. We work with others because be learned that the Free Software ecosystem matters. I wonder if Canonical is going to repeat those mistakes...

Now maybe Mark is right, creating a special Ubuntu world for application developers will create more fun. Or maybe we're right - letting the community do it's thing is more fun. I don't know. But if anyone is unhappy about Mark telling you what to do in Ubuntu, you're welcome here to help shape openSUSE how you want it! Which includes bringing Ayatana to openSUSE. Or MeeGo. And Mark, if you happen to hear Aaron and decide Canonical should cooperate a bit more with others, we're always open for that!

Have fun!


  1. Well said Jos. It seems the Mark is taking Ubuntu in to the direction that Microsoft and Apple have took and like you said Novell did at one point. I don't see how Ubuntu community likes that.

    I personally don't use Ubuntu for that and other reasons and not here to start a flame war on that.
    But then again I wonder what Mark and Canonical are really trying to do to Ubuntu.

  2. " I don't see how Ubuntu community likes that. " that community will eat shit if Mark says so

  3. Who cares? He's not in the position to force anything. Microsoft and Apple can decide what to do because it's their system, they build it themselves. Canonical, for all the hype it gets, it's just another packager that distributes stuff created by third parties. And not even a very good one.

  4. "if you happen to hear Aaron and decide Canonical should cooperate a bit more with others"

    I wrote Mark Shuttleworth an email on the same day I wrote that blog entry suggesting that KDE and Ubuntu could both win by getting together and looking at the Qt-only libs each other was putting together and seeing how we can make use of them.

    I also met up with the dconf-qt developer, talked on irc with him, even invited him to a KDE dev sprint in June.

    Mark Shuttleworth wrote back saying that I should send my inquiries to the Kubuntu team as they knew where the interests were aligned. Despite feeling like this missed the point (since my email was about the Qt libs being written for and used by Ubuntu, not Kubuntu), I did so and have yet to receive a response.

    So Mark has heard and has made his position clear. Vastly disappointing to say the least, as nobody wins from this.

  5. Hi Jos,

    Mark has indicated a desire to push the Qt/dconf changes upstream per a comment at the bottom of the page here: http://j1m.net/2011/01/23/qt-in-gnome-based-desktops/

    I wish that he would have indicated such right from the start, but we will see how it goes.


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