Home opinion-and-analysis The Linux Distillery Ubuntu sucks says Eeebuntu developer

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The popular Ubuntu Linux distribution has received criticism from an unexpected corner and its ASUS Eee netbook users are likely to be left with an unworkable system when Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala hits the Internet later this month.

Andrew Wyatt - better known as Fewt - is the developer of Linux-based Eee PC utilities and Eee PC Tray. Together these form key components of Eeebuntu, an ASUS Eee-optimised Linux distro based on Ubuntu.

Yet the fate of ASUS Eee users is now uncertain with Fewt abandoning the project and slamming Ubuntu at the same time.

Fewt’s criticisms follow not long after a recent messy situation where Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth copped abuse from Debian fans due to his attempts to have Debian freeze code to suit Ubuntu’s timetable.

The core of Fewt’s complaint is that with each subsequent Ubuntu release – including version 9.10, Karmic Koala, now only days away – something changes that breaks compatibility with the ASUS Eee addons produced by Fewt and Eeebuntu colleagues.

This means Eeebuntu users suffer when ordinary Eeebuntu users opt to upgrade their systems, and, Fewt believes, mistakenly blame his Eee PC utilities.

Fewt has expressed his exasperation that bugs exist in Ubuntu which hinder Eee users and although he has published work-around code and steps these continue to be perpetuated in each release.

Much of Fewt’s ire is aimed specifically at the Intel display drivers being used and he warns his faithful followers that come Karmic Koala’s release later this month Eeebuntu users will be left with nothing but a blank screen at startup.

Fewt illustrated some display settings commands which work in Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, but not in Karmic Koala. Exasperatingly, although the command fails, it still returns a successful error code, meaning scripts which proceed based on the result of commands will be none the wiser something has gone wrong.

Fewt posted on his software catalogue site that Eee PC Utilities and Eee PC Tray have reached their end of life this month. He explained in his blog he just can’t go on.

The reason, he said, is because “Ubuntu sucks.”

“Instead of moving forward with every release, they have the uncanny ability to take Linux back in time by piling code that doesn’t work on top of more code that doesn’t work until they have turned their OS into a garbage salad.” He said.

“Maybe I should buy a copy of Windows 7,” he concludes.

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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