11 Dec 2011

Three greatest failures in Linux world 2011

2011 is coming to its end. It is time to make final roundups and see what happened in our life in this year.
Linux notes from DarkDuck is a blog dedicated to operating systems. Mostly Linux-based, but I sometime deviate to other open source systems like BSD.
So, what was new in Linux world in 2011? What were greatest failures in 2011 from my point of view?

1. Mandriva 2011

Mandriva 2011 was a cardinal turnover point for this distribution. This is the first release made under new management, currently led by Russians. In this new release Mandriva lost good part of its user base, those who liked GNOME interface. Basically, because Mandriva 2011 only has KDE version of it. Another reason to name Mandriva 2011 a failure is quality of this release. It grew in size almost twice, without bringing much of new functionality. Indeed, lots of expected functions became unusable or too complicated.
What is next for Mandriva? It will survive. Mostly because it has solid administrative resource and commitments from several states. But will it be still widely used in other parts of Linux community? I am not sure.

2. OpenSuSE

OpenSuSE team released two versions of their operating system this year. These were versions 11.4 and 12.1. I name both of them as failures. To be precise, out of 11.4, I should only take GNOME version into this list. OpenSuSE 11.4 KDE was more or less workable operating system.
But OpenSuSE 12.1 is a failure in full. I have not written review of this OS, and I am not going to. It does not mean I have not tried OpenSuSE 12.1. I have tried, because I got orders for CDs with this Operating System from my site buylinuxcds.co.uk and from eBay. Each time I send a disk, I test it, so I booted my laptops into OpenSuSE 12.1 several time. And I dislike the result.
As I said, I won't review OpenSuSE 12.1 myself, but if you wish, you can read what was written by Deidomedo (64-bit and 32-bit) and Firestarter.
What's next? I am not sure of OpenSuSE at this point of time. From one point of view, it is "too big to fail". From another, this Linux distribution has recently changed management (again), and it is unlikely to improve the situation quickly, as you can see in Mandriva's example.
Enough about OpenSuSE.

3. Ubuntu 11.04

Canonical also released two versions of their operating system Ubuntu this year. Version 11.04 was the first where new user interface Unity was used as default. And it was a failure point. Unity was still in very raw condition at that time. Instead of gaining users, it scared existing Ubuntu fan base. How many of Ubuntu users switched to other Linux distributions? And how many did use Ubuntu 11.04 with GNOME2?
To be fair, second release of Ubuntu this year, version 11.10, fixed situation a lot. First, Unity became much more usable in October 2011 compared to what was in April. Second, users got more acquainted with new interface, so they were less shocked.
What's next? I think next release of Ubuntu will be as good as any Long Term Support release of this OS is: stable, polished and likeable.

Do you want to know about Three greatest successes in Linux world 2011? Follow the link!


  1. I perfectly understand that "best" and "worst" types of posts can lead to another episode in holy wars of distro lovers.
    I am publishing my own view.
    And I won't comment further.

  2. haha.. you better said it now than later.. :-)

  3. Unity should be considered for another "ultimate failure" price ... nothing else compares.

  4. I don't know why/how openSUSE rubbed you the wrong way, but so far it was the best distro I found (at least the mainstream distros), it gave my 7 years old laptop a new life, and it is ready for 2 or 3 more years. I like it even more than the linux mint debian edition. It is a pity that you could not experience the same feeling.

  5. openSUSE 11.4 was a phenomenal release and people who actually use it are perfectly aware of the fact. Dedoimeido that you referred to praised this release. I thank God that openSUSE has rather long support cycles, or I'd have to fight on a daily basis with the mess called GNOME 3.

    Of course, there is no real surprise in reading your opinion on 11.4 given the fact that you "review" distributions through their live environments!!

    Really, you are as ignorant as the poor souls that PAY you to send them copies of FREE OSs! You're just also sly!

  6. What an Utter Garbage Blog Post... Just because You do not like the Distro releases you mentioned does not mean it is a failure... you fail to even explain why? And what do you mean by failure? how? Did the userbase leave? and how would you know? Do you have any figures? No. This is just a opinionated point of view based upon no experience or Facts... This Blog Post is a Failure


  7. @Anonymous:
    >you are as ignorant as the poor souls that PAY you to send them copies of FREE OSs! You're just also sly!

    Please refer to GNU license:
    Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish).
    I don't make tons of money by this site. Instead, I help people who might have issues with getting the Linux distribution by other methods, to get what they want.
    Please look at distrowatch and you note there're a lot of resources like this. Is Distrowatch sly?

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Hmm, I think "Three greatest successes/failures in Linux world 2011" should actually be "My personal favourite/least prefered distrribution releases of the year". The former sounds way too broad and misleading. Then again I suppose it guarantees more visits out of curiosity. You fooled me... once (You know the rest, right? ;) ). More ad hits for you this time I guess, though the one that sat in the middle of the screen ("Download this song") and REDIRECTED ME to another site although I clicked on the button to close it... That's not cool.

    Anyway, I'll admit I'm a satisfied openSUSE user, and still running 11.4 due to a mix of busy schedule, laziness and short-term hardware upgrade plans. So it would hypocritical to give my opinion on 12.1 (slight bias and personal experience limited to poking around the liveCD in VirtualBox). However, I too could cherry-pick reviews of that version, although largely positive ones. I settled for openSUSE some 2 years ago for it's very clean KDE implementation, the very powerful YaST and the overall stability. However I would still recommend *buntu to new Linux users, because they offer the simplified installation tools for proprietary stuff, and are IMO better suited for people who only want to "just use the darn thing". I like to have fine-grained control over my computer. To each their own, right? :)

    Last pet peeve of mine with your list (although that item is far from limited to your blog post): Unity. Or should I say, the general negative attitude towards Ubuntu as a whole because of that one component. To your credit, your point was that it was very rough in the spring release - fair enough - which I think is more level-headed than the usual "I don't like Unity, thus Unity is junk for every single person on the planet, thus Ubuntu will crash and burn". However I do believe Unity has sound design goals for its target audience: users with a limited set of concurrent tasks. And I dare say that the overall hate about Unity makes little sense as long as anyone's preferred DE is an apt-get away.
    I would actually like to see people who slam Unity beyond its mere infancy bugs to take a step back and realise it might just not be for them, and move along. There are more pressing issues/threats against FOSS.

  10. Yeah, I have a black belt in Typo-Fu in case you haven't noticed heh

  11. I would definitely consider Unity to be a failure. An epic fail, in fact. Ubuntu has jumped the shark. Linux users overwhelmingly hate Unity and are moving en masse to other distributions. There is little hope that Spaceman Mark will abandon Unity because it is his pet project. At least the GNOME mainline is making strides towards bringing back the taskbar style desktop for users who want it.

  12. "I would definitely consider Unity to be a failure. An epic fail, in fact."
    Fair enough, as you state it's your opinion.

    "Linux users overwhelmingly hate Unity and are moving en masse to other distributions."
    Here I think you meant "seasoned Linux users who had their workflow set for years with previous DEs/shells are now very vocal about the change". Again, although I really wish more constructive criticism was heard from said users, I understand that Unity might not be of their liking. Heck, it's not mine either. Yet as I wrote earlier, it might be worth taking into account they are most definitely not the main target audience. Rather I see Unity as a shell for people who see a change of wallpaper as the ultimate desktop customization ;) I.e. people who tend to stick with the default, and are moving away from an OS where the Internet was that big blue E.
    Also, I really would like to understand why people flee the Ubuntu project as a result. Unity is the default, rather than the only choice. And it's still FOSS.
    Personally I moved away from vanilla Ubuntu due to the inclusion of mono on the standard CD (but that's a discussion for another time :) ) and usually choose Xubuntu for computers I set up for customers. Though maybe you count Xubuntu as "moving to other distributions"?

    P.S. Posting comments is kind of PitA here, takes a few tries for the "Publish" action to take effect.

  13. Let's see if I have this right. I move from Windows back when Clinton is president. I learn how to chown, scp, gedit, gimp, tail, top, you name it. I become proficient with this superb operating system. Then I move to 11.04 and I'm back to being a dumb windows users with BIG BUTTONS to push that now takes me 10 times longer to actually do anything productive. Is that about it?

    What canonical thought was the Apple crowd and Windows crowd would jump over to 11X because it was simple. What they forgot is that Linux is an enthusiasts operating system, and we don't want a dumbed down interface. We're smarter than that. And frankly, it takes the joy out of computing. Canonical thought all this out but came to a couple wrong conclusions. They're clever folks, and they'll right the ship. If not, it's bye bye ubuntu for me.

  14. I can't believe GNOME 3 didn't make the list.

  15. One more piece of Ubuntu PR. Even if Ubuntu is bad, @it will be excellent in the next release".

    Especially this one is striking: "Ubuntu will be as good as any Long Term Support release of this OS is: stable, polished and likeable." And this is given in Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was completely broken keyboard layout switcher and never repaired. Of course if you use only English this does not bother you...