The trough of disillusionment for Ubuntu?

1:52 pm community, freesoftware

Reading this blog entry on Linux Magazine, the thought occurred to me that Ubuntu is making its way nicely along the path that new projects have travelled for many years. It is around the same place that Red Hat used to be around the time of Red Hat 7.

The Hype Cycle describes the way that new technologies and projects are perceived over time, if they do a good job of handling themselves, going from a technology trigger, inflated expectations, disillusionment, enlightenment, before arriving at “the plateau of productivity” – a state where there is no more hype and the new technology is simply a normal part of our lives.

Ubuntu arrived with a bang, and certainly has had inflated expectations over the past couple of years. And yet due to quality issues, it has recently been failing to meet those expectations, especially around upgrading from previous versions (by no means an easy problem to get right, don’t get me wrong). Many long-time Ubuntu users appear to be getting upset.

But then, you don’t get upset about things you don’t care about.

This disillusionment, if it doesn’t turn into resignation, could be a sign of health in the Ubuntu project and community – on condition that the lessons of quality are learned and put into practice. Certainly this is a drum that Mark Shuttleworth has been beating for some time now – but unfortunately it’s not as easy as asking upstream to get their act together in a Tom Sawyer community model. QA seems like an ideal opportunity for collaboration between distributions and upstream projects, as well as being the core activity of each individual distribution. Supplying quality is, after all, the market opportunity which Linux distributions base their business models on.

In any case, I for one am looking forward to the deflated expectations being met and exceeded in future releases, allowing us Ubuntu users to make it to the Plateau of Productivity as soon as possible.

13 Responses

  1. ethana2 Says:

    It takes nine months to stabilize an operating system, not one.

    Every single release needs a point-release, it’s the only way to meet people’s (completely reasonable) quality expectations.

  2. Germán Póo-Caamaño Says:

    The poll the author did it is not serious. People who complains are usually more vocal that people who does not or who want to say good things. Take it with a grain of salt.

  3. Thorsten Leemhuis (thleemhuis) 's status on Thursday, 05-Nov-09 17:53:38 UTC - Identi.ca Says:

    […] http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2009/11/05/the-trough-of-disillusionment-for-ubuntu/ a few seconds ago from mbpidgin […]

  4. FreeBooteR Says:

    How much is Microsoft paying for these blogs?

    I am not an Ubuntu fanboy, my only problem with Ubuntu is Mono, but it just seems to me that it is no coincidence that all this criticism is out there to limit GNU/Linux damage against Windows7 release, thus attempting to prevent huge profit loss for MS.

    Gotta love it.

  5. Pavel Says:

    If at all this is the trough of disillusionment for Linux – as Ubuntu is the best the Linux Community can offer…

  6. L4Linux Says:

    I take the increase of Ubuntu haters as a definite sign that Ubuntu popularity and usage is on the rise as well.

  7. Geoff Says:

    I reckon as soon as the goolge os comes out; then a lot of linux distributions will start falling by the wayside.

  8. silner (silner) 's status on Friday, 06-Nov-09 12:18:57 UTC - Identi.ca Says:

    […] The trough of disillusionment for !Ubuntu? http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2009/11/05/the-trough-of-disillusionment-for-ubuntu/ […]

  9. links for 2009-11-06 « Striving for greatness Says:

    […] The trough of disillusionment for Ubuntu? "The Hype Cycle describes the way that new technologies and projects are perceived over time, if they do a good job of handling themselves, going from a technology trigger, inflated expectations, disillusionment, enlightenment, before arriving at “the plateau of productivity” – a state where there is no more hype and the new technology is simply a normal part of our lives." […]

  10. AmblestonDack Says:

    Well I for one am a happy Karmic user. I went on a customer services course once and I was told that it is only the people who have bad experiences are the ones who complain. The people who have good experiences just don’t say anything (well at least in the UK).

    Ubuntu is not a perfect one size fits all distro, none of them are. It all depends on whether you believe the hype or just happy that somethings work this time round and the things that worked last time have been tweaked and polished.

  11. Arne Babenhauserheide Says:

    I’ve been a Gentoo User for 5 years now, and though I tried Ubuntu a few times, it never got me what I wanted.

    Still I really like Ubuntu, because it is the Distro I can recommend to people who want to just use their GNU/Linux instead of regularly testing cutting edge stuff.

    I don’t know if the best solution is to synchronize the release times, but if it will work out, then Ubuntu will have brought yet another great benefit to the community.

    For me, Kubuntu is already in the “we’re not hype – we’re what you want to use everyday and still be cool” state 🙂

    And KDE 4 really helps showing non-Linux users what they miss 🙂

  12. tecosystems » links for 2009-11-09 Says:

    […] Safe as Milk » Blog Archive » The trough of disillusionment for Ubuntu? Dave on the expectations for Ubuntu and what they mean? (tags: ubuntu expectations troughofdisillusionment daveneary) […]

  13. Ratzo_R Says:

    I agree with the comments made Gherkin Póo-Caamaño. Even that M$ $hill Lunduke had to admit that Ubuntu is “almost perfect”!

    Case closed!