The past few months in Ubuntu's development have been highly transformative — it's gone from a well-loved Linux distribution to a multi-platform OS with ambitions to challenge the likes of Apple and Google — but not everyone's been happy about it. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, the person with the greatest influence on the Ubuntu project, has taken to his personal blog to respond to some of the concerns arising from the changes, and while he addresses most of them with sensitivity and diplomacy, he leaves no doubt about his feelings for those who consider Linux an "elite" operating system that's "supposed to be hard."
"I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. ‘Linux is supposed to be hard so it’s exclusive’ is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say. People being people, there are of course smart people who hold that view."
Mark explains that the rationale behind decisions like focusing on the Unity interface and prioritising mobile and cloud applications of Ubuntu is one of simply trying to address the biggest possible audience. Describing the present moment as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he goes on to say that Canonical has to exercise greater leadership if it wants to see Ubuntu become as cohesive and coherent as its proprietary competitors. Ubuntu, in his mind, is the only viable chance for free software to reach the hallowed stage of wide mainstream adoption — a goal he's unwilling to compromise on for the sake of a small group of elitist users who'd prefer to keep Linux exclusive.