August 3rd, 2010
Short thought: I’ve posted some things that are fairly harsh on Canonical, here and in other places, over time. There’s one thing I’d like to make clear. I think Canonical is a far, far better player and contributor to the F/OSS community than most other companies. Sometimes people have suggested that I (and others) are being overly harsh on Canonical compared to companies that are way worse, and to a degree that’s a reasonable criticism. So here’s a bit of balance. The reason I don’t complain much about Microsoft or Apple or Google is that I pretty much consider them lost causes. They exist to make a buck, and they have cultures that are more or less fundamentally at odds with proper collaborative F/OSS development. Even with Google, Android is pretty much a manual on how not to run a proper F/OSS project, and their ultimate goal appears to be to own every piece of information about everyone in the world, which frankly creeps me the hell out. I don’t expect anything more than minimal legal compliance with open source licenses from Google and Apple and Microsoft, and most other software companies. Whenever we see anything else I get pleasantly surprised. I get passionate about Canonical precisely *because* they’re not as bad as those companies – they’re definitely not a lost cause, they do a lot of good stuff, and they have a great opportunity to do even more really good and constructive work. Mostly I see Canonical as being on the Side Of Justice and my bitching is hoping they can do a better job at stuff, not hating on them because they’re on the Side Of Evil. I try not to spend too much time worrying about the companies that just don’t get it, because it’s not going to get anyone anywhere.
So, yeah, despite my carping, I think Canonical is trying to do the right thing, whether they get it wrong sometimes or not, and there’s a lot of good people there doing good work. I moan out of love, honest. =)