My Reasons for Leaving Ubuntu Behind

Posted on January 21, 2011

I've been an Ubuntu user since the Dapper Drake 6.06 development cycle. I learned a TON using the software and was quite happy with it over the years. As time moved on and as the releases came it seemed the success of Ubuntu started to take a toll. More and more the OS tried to be clever. No doubt also my standards for what I considered a 'modern OS' also evolved.

But at this point I'm moving off Ubuntu for the following reasons:

  1. Regressions. Every time I would get Ubuntu working flawlessly on my laptops the new releases would break something. Sometimes something critical, sometimes lots of little things. But it always involved late-night power-hour moments to get back to the point where I could do my work the next day. Yes, I make backups. You have to. But if you always roll back you'll never get to the upgrade!
  2. Patches. Ubuntu seems to like to patch everything in their repos. Some of these patches make a lot of sense for a desktop-oriented distro (all the font rendering patches) but many of them don't. I feel like this just introduces a lot of complexity in their maintenance requirements that could be avoided.
  3. Inconsistancy. I run my laptop with several encrypted partitions. Why is it that some of the kernels in the repo have the Twofish crypto module built in and some don't? I wanted to run a low-latency kernel but booting that kernel would throw cryptsetup errors. Either that or cryptsetup would prompt me for my password but my keyboard wouldn't work, leaving me unable to decrypt the drive. I just never knew what to expect. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I decided I wanted to try a low-latency kernel in 10.10 and it somehow ended up fucking up my GOOD kernel. It wouldn't boot. Nothing fancy, just installing another kernel alongside the known-good kernel. Maybe it rebuilt the modules and something changed in the meantime. I don't know. But installing a kernel shouldn't cause another kernel to cease to work.
  4. Disorganization. Why is it that all the Google searches come up with depricated guides still hosted on ubuntu.com? If that shit's depricated, get it outta there. It's compounded by peeps trying the solutions espoused by the myriad of guides, getting confused, and posting random shit in the forums. Try this! Try that!
  5. Unresponsiveness. Recently someone committed 11.04's documentation packages to the production 10.10 repository. Suddenly everybody's 'About Ubuntu' dialogs said they were running Natty. One month later, numerous bug reports filed, it's still not fixed. You have newbies checking their version there and posting that they're using Natty when they aren't. Everyone's confused. I have filed complete bug reports that languish for years with nobody following through.

My workplace develops on OSX and for a year and a half I have been the sole dissenter, maintaining my Ubuntu install and keeping it suitable for development. But I've switched to OSX recently. I'm exploring Arch Linux because the rolling release cycle, unpatched software, and excellent documentation is very attractive. Two years ago the level of configuration required in Arch would have been prohibitive, but it's not difficult for me anymore. At this point I'm somewhat I'm unsure whether I'm going to stick with OSX or migrate to Arch. I don't want to badmouth Ubuntu because they're taking the FOSS world to a whole other level in terms of visibility, but for one reason or another I think I've outgrown what they have to offer.

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