Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Ubuntu 11.04: is this the end of the road?

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Mark Shuttleworth has probably never heard of the concept of stability zones. That wouldn't surprise me, considering that the concept was advanced two years before his birth.


Had he known about it, it is unlikely that he would have gone in for the degree of change that is reflected in the Ubuntu 11.04 beta.

If this amount of change had been incorporated into a release some years ago, when Ubuntu was two or three years old, it is unlikely that people would have noticed and commented as much as they have. Change takes place in the early stages of development of just about anything.

When change of this magnitude comes after six years and a half - more than four lifetimes in the tech industry - then people start to ask why.

Is this the end of the road as far as radical design changes for Ubuntu go? Or is there more hidden up the sleeve of the Canonical founder, changes that will make it look more and more like a Dinky Toy than a serious operating system?

Shuttleworth has often spoken about the slick Apple interface, and how things work very well on this platform. Perhaps he hasn't noticed that Apple has its own stability zones - that menu up there on every Mac, the one which says, file, edit and so on, has been there for at least as long as I've been using Macs. And that's the last 24 years.

Some things change. Other things stay the same. With Ubuntu, that isn't the case. There is change, more change, and yet more change. All, perhaps, in search of the elusive nirvana for an operating system. But when something is being created for use by human beings, then there has to be a compromise because humans cannot handle too much change at one go.

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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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