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After Mark Shuttleworh's recent comment regarding the decision to put the Metacity window buttons on the left, the debate is more intense then ever.

In a recent comment (posted a few seconds ago), Mark Shuttleworth states that:

> It'd have been nice if this comment had been made some time ago,
> together with a deep reasoning on the concrete changes that are in mind.
>
> We are supposed to be a community, we all use Ubuntu and contribute to
> it, and we deserve some respect regarding these kind of decisions. We
> all make Ubuntu together, or is it a big lie?

We all make Ubuntu, but we do not all make all of it. In other words, we delegate well. We have a kernel team, and they make kernel decisions. You don't get to make kernel decisions unless you're in that kernel team. You can file bugs and comment, and engage, but you don't get to second-guess their decisions. We have a security team. They get to make decisions about security. You don't get to see a lot of what they see unless you're on that team. We have processes to help make sure we're doing a good job of delegation, but being an open community is not the same as saying everybody has a say in everything.

This is a difference between Ubuntu and several other community distributions. It may feel less democratic, but it's more meritocratic, and most importantly it means (a) we should have the best people making any given decision, and (b) it's worth investing your time to become the best person to make certain decisions, because you should have that competence recognised and rewarded with the freedom to make hard decisions and not get second-guessed all the time.

It's fair comment that this was a big change, and landed without warning. There aren't any good reasons for that, but it's also true that no amount of warning would produce consensus about a decision like this.

> If you want to tell us
> that we are all part of it, we want information, and we want our opinion
> to be decisive.
>

No. This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions.

Mark


Update: he also states that the decision to move the window controls to the left wasn't his:

Some members of the design team asked that the window controls be grouped on the left, and presented the visualisation. So it wasn't that I "prefer it that way". I didn't like it initially, anticipating that it would generate a great deal of resistance. However, it does line things up nicely for work I would like us to do in future. And the major argument against it appears solely to be "we're used to it here", which is important, but not overriding.


I'm going to let you comment on this.
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