I have been a bit critical of Linux Mint in the past, but the truth is, it is a great distribution that many people enjoy. While Mint is not my favorite desktop distro (that would be Fedora), I recognize its quality. Is it perfect? No, there is no such thing as a flawless Linux-based operating system.
Today should be happy times for the Linux Mint community, as we finally learn some new details about the upcoming version 19.2! It will be based on Ubuntu 18.04 and once again feature three desktop environments — Xfce, Mate, and Cinnamon. We even found out the code name for Linux Mint 19.2 — “Tina.” And yet, it is hard to celebrate. Why? Because the developers seem to be depressed and defeated. They even appear to be a bit disenchanted with Free Software development overall.
Clement Lefebvre, leader of the Linux Mint project, shared a very lengthy blog post today, and it really made me sad.
I can show them 500 people donated money last month, I can forward emails to the team where people tell me how much they love Linux Mint, I can tell them they’re making a difference but there’s nothing like interacting directly with a happy user, seeing first-hand somebody be delighted with what you worked on. How our community interacts with our developers is key, to their work, to their happiness and to their motivation.
Clem quite literally says he is not enjoying the Linux Mint development nowadays, which really breaks my heart.
I also have a life outside open source work, too. It’s not mentally sound to put the hours I’ve put into the compositor. I was only able to do what I could because I was unemployed in January. Now I’m working a job full time, and trying to keep up with bug fixes. I’ve been spending every night and weekend, basically every spare moment of my free time trying to fix things.
To make things even worse, Hicks is apparently embarrassed by the official Linux Mint blog post! Another Reddit member named tuxkrusader responds to Hicks by saying “I’m slightly concerned that you’re not a member of the linuxmint group on github anymore. I hope you’re not on bad terms with the project.” Hicks shockingly responds by saying “Nope, I hid my project affiliation because that blog post makes me look bad.”
Wow. Hiding his affiliation with the Linux Mint project on GitHub? It seems things may be worse than I originally thought…