Mark Shuttleworth puts me in my place

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So this Ubuntu PowerPC issue has been bugging me a lot, so much so that I left the following comment on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog site this morning.

Mark the problem I am having at the moment is the whole ethics behind Ubuntu and what it actually does support. The concept or idea you came up with initially for Ubuntu was to provide a free desktop for all users in the world and make computing and technology more accessible to the people.

A recent decision however by the dev team at Canonical to drop PPC as a supported distribution concerns me. It concerns me in that it would appear there is no long term revenue in supporting PPC as a technology and it has seriously made me wonder just how true the idealism of Ubuntu really is.

I myself run Ubuntu Edgy on two PCs and my iBook G4 but to know that Ubuntu for PPC will ultimately be turned over to the community to support is a growing concern for me. My initial reaction was to move over to Debian but in chatting on the forum I have decided to, where possible, get involved in the PPC community because clearly there is a market and one that needs supporting.

While I realise that PPC doesn’t provide much commercial value for Ubuntu does this then not go against everything that Ubuntu is supposed to be in providing greater accessibility to the world? I’m curious to know your thoughts because I am certainly damaged in my perception by this recent decision.

Low an behold I received a reply email from Mark this afternoon stating the following.

From: Mark Shuttleworth
To: [email protected]
Subject: PPC support
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 13:49:46 +0000
It’s difficult to make a philanthropic case for PPC over other architectures. Most people with a PPC desktop or laptop have multiple devices and can afford either to purchase an OS, or to contribute to a free OS like Ubuntu. We see relatively little community contribution, rapidly declining installs (if you read the spec, the details are there). So would it be better to spend three people making the x86 desktop better, or keeping the PPC desktop alive?

At this stage, I think the better philanthropic argument is in favour of improving the desktop of 98% of our users. If you are willing to become one of the community members that it will take to keep PPC officially-supported, then please make your voice heard in the distro mailing lists and channels, sign up, contribute time, make it happen. Mark