Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Ubuntu users, Shuttleworth doesn't owe you anything

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The ongoing debate over the change in the position of the window buttons in the upcoming Ubuntu release, Lucid Lynx, reminds one that Linux users possess one awful characteristic in spades - a sense of entitlement.


Nothing else can account for the way in which a number of users have tried to force their will on the Ubuntu chief, Mark Shuttleworth, and get him to reverse the decision.

To me it sounds very much like the threat which one was used to hearing in the Middle East some years ago: if you don't do what I ask, I'll come around and kill myself on your doorstep and you'll have an awful mess to clean up after that.

For those who need background, the story is here. The window buttons have been moved to the left top and the order, from the outer, is maximise, minimise and close. For comparison, Windows has them on the top right hand corner and the order (from the outer) is close, maximise and minimise. Mac OSX has them on the top left-hand corner and the order from the outer is close, minimise, maximise.

To some extent, the degree of anger felt among users is due to the way that Ubuntu has been promoted, with a great deal of emphasis on the community. In reality, though one can download the distribution without paying, it is created and maintained by a commercial company which has to turn a profit if it wants to keep doing this into the future.

It's difficult to understand why GNU/Linux users have this sense of entitlement and often make meaningless threats to try and get their preferences implemented. The software is free, one benefits by using it (else I doubt anyone would be doing so) and it comes out with clockwork-like regularity. There really is not much scope for complaint.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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