One problem with the Free Software and open source communities

Unless you don’t care about Linux, or had a power outage in your neighborhood (and came to my site first, thank you!), you’ve already heard about the release of “Gutsy Gibbon” or “Ubuntu 7.10” (or Kubuntu 7.10). There have been quite a few notifications, including one particularly funny one, and that’s not counting any “mainstream” computer news outlets.

So what’s the problem? Well… it’s horribly, horribly anti-climactic. Celebrating the release of Gutsy is like celebrating the “grand opening” of the grocery store down the street after you’ve been getting your groceries from there for a month. It’s nothing really to get excited about. I mean, the grocery store might at least offer some nice sales to give regulars something to be happy about, but when the price of the software is zero to begin with… Proprietary closed-source software can get away with “a big release”, because for the most part, nobody gets to see the new version ahead of the release date except for people in the company, and perhaps a few lucky pirates. In the open source world, we not only have access well ahead of the release, but we are encouraged to get an early version and help find and fix bugs. Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s a wonderful thing. It just kind of ruins the party atmosphere on “official release day” for me.

There are organized “release parties” today for an OS I’ve been running stably on my computer for a month, and I just can’t really get too geeked about that. Some folks are celebrating by re-installing. I think that’s probably a huge waste of time. I did download the 32-bit and 64-bit torrents just so I could seed them, but chances are I will never burn them to a CD. The only thing I have to look forward to is the first Alpha version of the next release.

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