Shuttleworth Responds

august 27, 2006

Mark Shuttleworth has responded to the criticism of Ubuntu QA which let a pretty nasty xorg bug slip through this week. The xorg update broke X and an update to fix the problem was not released for some 17 hours.

As a team we made a series of errors, and the result was a desktop that was broken for thousands of users, for several hours. It has been a severe lesson in QA.
Shuttleworth has always said that he would not split the Ubuntu distribution into a paid/free thing. I applaud that. But, I would suggest that he move the Ubuntu distribution more towards a "Enterprise" and a "Unstable" type of classification. The "LTS" part is nice and all, but I think if Ubuntu wants to get into more large companies, they really need to start branding accordingly.
My goal is for the team to grow and learn from this experience without becoming paralyzed on future updates. We can’t afford to take risks with our user’s trust, but I balance that with the need to continue to improve the desktop. We WANT to certify new hardware and keep Dapper usable for as much of its five year lifespan as possible. That said, Edgy is the right place to make exciting changes, not Dapper!
CIOs are not going to the board recommending that the company switch to "Dapper". Nor are they going to suggest going to "Ubuntu 6.06 LTS". Ubuntu has done a great job marketting itself to the general public. Now, it's about time they start marketting themselves towards the corporate world. The first move, making the LTS release, was great. Now, they have to establish something "sellable". My very first instinct: Ubuntu Enterprise Linux 6 It's plain, it's simple and it is very "sellable". I hope all the talk about getting QA procedures into place is not just talk. Get your QA procedures in place. Because with that screw up this week, I know you've dented my trust in Ubuntu -- and probably turned a lot of newbies away from Linux completely.