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Ubuntu 14.04: Is Canonical taking on too much?

Tom Henderson | July 15, 2014
Some hits and some misses as Canonical tries to cover everything from the smartphone to the desktop to the cloud.

Away from our privacy criticisms—which also impact network traffic—the Desktop edition is good and needs only browser behavior maturation or change-out. No one seems to borrow Unity for their use on the desktop, but the underpinnings of the desktop edition are used quite successfully for other desktop-focused distributions, like LinuxMint, and have remained otherwise solid in this Desktop release.

Canonical champions new components, but also wrestles with industrial elephants in their quest to add value and adoption desirability. This has allowed them to achieve status as the most popular plug cloud instance in the world. It has also hamstrung development in what was once its most crucial success — small systems/client devices.

Canonical is stressed in this release, although Ubuntu is solid in many respects, and has little to apologize for -— with the possible exception of the demise of its Ubuntu One services in a way that only Google usually gets "away with". The Cloud and Server editions are polished, if with the recommendation of trialware that distracts from a highly optimized and popular distribution of Linux.

Henderson is principal researcher for ExtremeLabs, of Bloomington, Ind. He can be reached at

How We Tested
We tested Ubuntu 14.04 editions in our lab and network operations center network at Expedient/nFrame on Lenovo Thinkserver RD430 and a Lenovo Thinkpad T530, HP DL-360 Gen8, and in virtual machines (VMware 5.5, Hyper-V3, Parallels for Mac V7, VirtualBox 2.4, XenServer 6.2. In turn, these hosts were connected via Gigabit Ethernet and/or 10GB to our core backbone, and then to our SAN.

We tested multi-CPU support, apps installed, and UI behavior. We also installed Docker and LXC on Ubuntu Server 14.04.

We also found the OpenSSL version recently cited as the vulnerable edition with the Heartbleed bug, but after testing, determined that it was compiled with a switch that rendered the bug inoperable, although there is no reasonable annotation that cites this — we had to compile it ourselves and bitwise diff/compare the editions and test them to prove the fix.


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