Ubuntu 7.10, the latest release of one of the most popular Linux desktop distributions, is getting a hero’s welcome as a reliable desktop and as an enterprise server OS for the future. After launching yesterday, Oct. 18, the slew of articles about its desktop chops and server-side aspirations make it pretty clear: this cake was baked extremely well over the past six months and is ready for bigger and better things.
That said, I wouldn’t be a reporter if I didn’t mention that one of the users I contacted for a reaction to 7.10 saw a troubling trend in Ubuntu’s recent history.
Jean-Yves Quentel, a fellow blogger and former venture capitalist, is optimistic that the extensive work done on Ubuntu Server in 7.10 will for the most part strengthen the entire distribution. With every release, Ubuntu becomes more stable and secure, he said, and desktop users like him will again benefit from it. I’m inclined to agree: the addition of AppArmor is a nice feather in the cap of an OS that already had a pretty substantial security reputation.
But then there was that downside that I mentioned earlier. Quentel said the Ubuntu team might be stretched too thin as it focuses on making Ubuntu Server an enticing option for OEMs like Dell so they’ll pre-install it on their commodity servers. “[The developers] may be trying to do too many things at once and I have noticed a slowing-down of the community input in the past few months, which may or may not be a consequence of Canonical working more on their enterprise offering,” he said.
Is he right? Is Canonical’s vision of Ubuntu on the server and as a force in virtualization starting to affect the community? Is community input slowing down? This is the first I’d heard of it, but then again 7.10 arrived less than 24 hours ago. Your thoughts?