Journalist Scoring System! The Beginning

The wisest readers of Planet Ubuntu will certainly remember my challenge to ahem, "journalists" to report the real story: "Ubuntu is not just software."

Who do you think will be the first to take the challenge? Who dares stand up to their editor? And, which publication dares to let out the little secret that Ubuntu is wildly the hugest thing on the planet? We shall see.

In the meantime, while you're reading the types of stories that the same pack of (approximately ten) contract writers write every cycle, here's a little game you can play.

Each writer starts with a perfect score (or zero?). Then, for each of the following tactics points are deducted (or awarded?):

  • Refers to Ubuntu as a kernel
  • Attaches/includes the "L" word
  • Says s/he has been using this release for a long time
  • Says s/he has been using computers since dinosaurs walked the earth
  • Calls the release "Quantal Quetzal"
  • Laments that it won't pass the "ancient hardware test"
  • Laments that it won't run on random hardware
  • Criticizes that the project is soliciting donations (or repeats the criticism)
  • Criticizes the stance on Secure Boot (or repeats the criticism)
  • Criticizes the inclusion of search results from the "Large Rainforest in Seattle" (or repeats the criticism)
  • Refers to Ubuntu as a commercial product
  • Refers to Ubuntu as a company
  • Refers to Canonical as the owner of Ubuntu
  • Drops the name of at least 1 other distro
  • Drops the name of at least 1 other desktop environment
  • Recommends breath fresheners
  • Admits to having regular halitosis
  • Compares Ubuntu to an OS sold by a Monopolist in Redmond
  • Compares Ubuntu to an OS sold by a Fruit Company in Cupertino
  • Compares Ubuntu to an OS created by a Large Number Company in Mountain View
  • Writes for a site that is sponsored by at least one competitor
  • Uses the term "users"
  • Uses the term "noob", or "newbie"
  • Uses the term "geek", or "techie"
  • Includes random blather from forums/blog posts, etc for dramatic effect

That's my list so far. Did I miss any?

Next up? A point system to go with the above.

Possible extension: an award ceremony or a prize.


The part of Ubuntu which is software *does* use the Linux kernel, amongst various other things, and that is an important component. What is bad about mentioning it?


So, criticising some of the recent controversial decisions gets points knocked off? I don't think that's healthy - differences of opinion and criticism are part of life, and we shouldn't ignore them. And what's wrong with comparing Ubuntu with other OSes?


This is not an "us" and "them" project. So, when writers write "Look what Ubuntu has done" they are totally missing the point.

Differences in opinion are healthy if channeled back into the project in a healthy way. That's not what's being done.

The comparison to other OS'es misses the point that "Ubuntu is not just software."

Thank you for your comment.


I'm amazed that Ubuntu Members are ignorant enough to ran afoul of the lists. What's the point of the membership process if we can't weed out anyone high and mighty enough to call others noobs?


The people writing are not Ubuntu Members.


Excuse my ignorance, but didn't bloggers have to be Ubuntu Members to be able to write for Planet Ubuntu?


That's a nice post. I appreciate your efforts expressed here and the 'Ubuntu is not just software' thing :) I have indeed met with some blogers who (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) while writing about Ubuntu end up with something that may discourage others towards it. Your guidelines seem very appriopriate, even though some points might be controversial ;) It will be a good aid for me when composing my articles, so great thanks for putting these thoughts together.

Keep up the good work, Randal, I am sure your posts will affect other bloggers too!

Rafał Cieślak


Thank you Rafal. And, thank you for all your contributions to Ubuntu!


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