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Ubuntu goes Democratic

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After the recent brouhaha surrounding the Ubuntu window button placement and Shuttleworth's off-the-cuff reaction, Canonical has announced that Ubuntu is moving to a democratic process. Mark is quoted as saying, "We'd be nothing without our loyal and vocal users scrutinizing and criticizing our every move. I may have been too quick in cutting them off from our development process. So, beginning immediately, every blogger with an opinion can now vote on all changes, major and minor, for each and every release."

A new Website,, is being finalized at this very moment for centralized accounting of preferences where reactions to proposed changes will be gauged in a poll-like fashion. Shuttleworth stated that free downloader opinions will be adhered despite any financial loses. He hopes Ubuntu will always remain free to download for this vocal subset of users, but stated a new fee structure might be needed if revenue streams are affected too greatly. Implications will be tested immediately as the new Yahoo! search default will be the first new unpopular feature reversed. CEO Jane Silber speculates the loses to be significant and suggests charging users $19.99 for each machine license. She states this may decrease their domination in the Linux desktop arena, and may even trigger discussions of discontinuation of that service. The server, cloud, and commercial sectors have always been our goal while the user desktop products have been a financial drain. Jono Bacon is quoted as saying early indicators should be analysed by the time version 10.10 is ready. Bacon didn't confirm nor deny rumors that Ubuntu 10.10 may be the last version released for the desktop.

Bacon did invite all users to come and vote on the first items up for consideration: 1) the purple wallpaper/dark theme, 2) left-side window buttons, and 3) green message alert indicator. When asked what his predictions for the outcome may be, Bacon said, "Given the atmosphere surrounding and the responses to these changes, we imagine all could be effected. If enough votes are tallied in that direction, we will certainly rethink these decisions for the upcoming 10.04 release."

Items in the development stage include 1) moving menus to bottom of screen, 2) replacing Evolution with Pine to save space, 3) automatically upload all documents to automated Ubuntu One account.

Full Announcement here

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