lkubuntu

A listing of random software, tips, tweaks, hacks, and tutorials I made for Ubuntu

About the “Mir hate-fest”

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll probably know about Ubuntu dropping Unity. I would say this is probably a surprise to many of us, due to the many years of efforts they have invested in Unity 8, and it being so close to completion.

It was speculated that, since Unity 8 is now dropped, Mir would also be dropped. However, it looks like it will still be developed, but not necessarily for desktop usage.

But speaking of that post, I found it quite unfortunate how Mark talked about “Mir-hating”, simplifying it to seem like it was irrational hatred with very little rational grounds:

“It became a political topic as irrational as climate change or gun control, where being on one side or the other was a sign of tribal allegiance”

“[…] now I think many members of the free software community are just deeply anti-social types who love to hate on whatever is mainstream”

“The very same muppets would write about how terrible it was that IOS/Android had no competition and then how terrible it was that Canonical was investing in (free software!) compositing and convergence”

Now, in all fairness, I haven’t been involved enough in the community to know much about the so-called “Mir hate-fest”. It is very possible that I haven’t seen the irrational tribal-like hatred he was talking about. However, the “hatred” I have seen would be spread into 2 categories (mainly):

  1. People (like me) who were worried about Mir splitting up the linux desktop, basically forcing any linux user who cares about graphical performance to be under Canonical’s control.
  2. People worrying about architectural problems in the codebase (or other code-related issues).

Both of these, IMO, are quite valid concerns, and should be allowed to be voiced, without being disregarded as “irrational hate”.

I’ll admit, my original post on this topic was pretty strong (and admittedly not very well articulated either). However, I believe that it’s important, especially in a free software community, to be able to voice our opinions about projects and decisions. In software circles that tend to stifle open discussion (I’ve seen this especially in various proprietary software communities), it is honestly a terrible atmosphere (at least IMO), and the community tends to suffer as a whole (due to companies feeling that they have power over their users, and feel that they can do anything they want, in hopes of gaining more profit).

In Mark’s defense, I agree that it is very important to stay respectful and constructive, and I apologize for the tone in my first post. I haven’t seen many other rude comments towards Mir, but as I said, I could be wrong. Having a lot of rude comments towards your software is very difficult for those behind the project to handle, and usually doesn’t amount to anywhere constructive anyways.

But I think that saying something along the lines of “anyone who disagrees that Mir is a good project is an idiot” (“I agree, it’s a very fast, clean and powerful graphics composition engine, and smart people love it for that.”, alongside the quotes I mentioned above) is very counterproductive to maintaining a good free software ecosystem.

My bottom line for this post is: I believe it’s vital to allow healthy discussion for projects within the free software community, but in a respectful and constructive manner, and I believe this point is especially important for large projects used by many people (such as ubuntu, the linux kernel, etc.).

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4 responses to “About the “Mir hate-fest”

  1. wayward4now April 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    We’re still having the anti-systemd rants on Debian users as of now! As far as Mir goes, brother Mark had already set nerves to jangling when the Software Center was uploading all of your system details to Amazon. Then he wanted a proprietary video system?? O hell no Mark, we don’t TRUST you as completely as we should and it’s your fault. I made a healthy suggestion that the user should be able to switch the shopping lens feature on and off with a nice link on the desktop, and got booted off the User Forum. It’s sad to see someone pound nails in their own coffin. But, there ya go.

    • Anonymous Meerkat April 10, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      I agree, it’s really unfortunate how Canonical is doing a lot of not-so-open-source-friendly things, and then blames the open-source community for not trusting them.
      I have not been much involved in Ubuntu as of late, so I might be quite wrong about this, but the impression I get is that Canonical’s contributions tend to be solely about getting things done their way (and from what I understand, aren’t very well coded either). If this is the case, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their contributions to GNOME got rejected “pretty aggressively” (in Mark’s words).

  2. Duv Jones April 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I would not call this a “hate fest” when it was Canonical bring this vitriol on themselves.

    This started when Canonical began Mir, when they forked what Wayland was at the time (around 0.6) and insisted that wayland wasn’t capable (or planning to be) for what they had in mind while offering no technical reason to that conclusion that made any sense.

    That point Canonical, Mark and the Mir team, in particular, became a lighting rod for that discontent. I would not expect that this maelstrom will end with Unity being discontinued, and as you pointed out assuming that “anyone who disagrees that Mir is a good project is an idiot” is not helping calm this long standing storm. The only way to brake it (IMHO) is to at least have some humility about it, Mir is a project that failed to live to it expectations. To assume that it’s anything other than that is to listen to fiction.

    • Anonymous Meerkat April 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Completely agree with what you wrote. Very unfortunate how the project started, and (sort of) finished.

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