The Ubuntu distribution is failing due to not enough high level maintainers.
The failures are amplified because it appears to me that Google has dropped human intervention in the indexing process for Ubuntu or Linux related queries.
And so the observation points right back to me, your typical anonymous user. What should I do, what can I do?
I entered this weekend aiming to restart a Rails program project. I decided to make disk space by copying a couple gigs of jpeg photos to DVD. So I was going to install a $25 Emprex brand DVD writer, a sale item from Fry's.
The DVD writer inside the box was actually a Sony brand drive. It reads and writes CDs fine. Eventually I determined that a dvd writing application called growisofs was not working right.
So at that point I had a plain application software problem.
One step I took was to search Google for solution.
Google isn't returning helpful results as it seemed to do in the past. In the past I have used Google to search for solutions to software problems. I have had the feeling that I was getting excellent results because somebody had edited the search results to force the "answer" to show up at the top of the search results.
Another step I took was to search the Ubuntu forums for a solution.
Ubuntu forums has lots of earnest people but important information about application failures isn't reaching the responders.
By exerience, I find I have to search the forums carefully for well phrased questions and quality answers. It turns out that in the Ubuntu forums, "DVD" is the last item in the most searched for word list. Going straight to the "DVD" item, there was a very reasonable 250 forum posts, so I reviewed the ten pages of posts and read the most plausible 20 support exchanges for my particular problem.
Somewhat against my instincts, the most plausible Ubuntu forum posts said that problems like mine were best solved by doing a distribution upgrade. I have been sticking with "Dapper 6.06 LTS" and the posters recommended moving to "Feisty 7.04".
Lacking a quality answer about the specific application I know is failing for apparent lack of memory, I reluctantly accepted the low quality answer of "do a distribution upgrade". The upgrade is stuck at a character terminal and I'll spare you the gory details. I would laugh except it hurts too much.
So it looks to me like those few elite programmers who intimately understand the Ubuntu distribution are not involved enough with the failures that accumulate as the kernel evolves and applications and hardware details fall behind.
I can't say with my bare face hanging out that Ubuntu is a productive environment for me at this time.