Hi, as an ethusiastic Ubuntu user since 2007, I am rather surprised by this post; you are painting quite a grim picture of the state of the Ubuntu community.
I’d like to know from other community members and/or former Canonical employees if this is an accurate picture, since it worries me. I don’t mean to say that I don’t believe you, but I would like to know to which extent what you are saying is personal experience/opinion or a genuine, generalized problem.
I have followed Ubuntu through all its successes and sad failures (Ubuntu TV, Ubuntu One, the falling out between GNOME and Canonical, etc.) To me, Ubuntu’s successes have always, and still far outweigh their failures, and, as they say, high trees catch a lot of wind. I know that Canonical’s choice to drop all desktop, smartphone endearvous was a bitter pill for everyone (least of all the people at Canonical who had worked hard on it, but also the community), but I think that the reversion to GNOME has happened in quite a painless and elegant way, with the community taking back more control. (I remember Didier Roche’s blog in preparing Ambiance and the Ubuntu experience on GNOME.) The result is this Discourse forum, a new theme, a vibrant presence on social media, a renewed cooperation with the GNOME community, with hardware vendors (Lenovo to name one!), even with Microsoft and Google …
Every new chapter in Ubuntu’s history seems to have been (and still is) welcomed with a lot of complaining (I remember vividly the merciless criticism on Unity), criticism that very often heralds ‘the end of Ubuntu’.
To me, Ubuntu has reverted back to what it was before the start of Unity. It might not have been what people were expecting, it might have been a painful decision, but Ubuntu is still here, and it still has a unique position in the Linux world.
So, my question is: to which extent ‘is the community dying’, as you say? (I see a LOT of activity on Reddit, here on Discourse, in education (where I work).)
Let me also take the opportunity to speak out for GNOME. There is a lot of criticism on GNOME and the GNOME community, but from where I am sitting, it is the most popular Linux desktop and it is thriving. They have a lot of new sponsors, their own new Discourse page, … What Ubuntu needs is a continuing involvement with GNOME. I for one - and I know I’m not alone, love vanilla GNOME, but also love the tweaks that the Ubuntu Community has made to it to make it a genuine Ubuntu experience. It is not a Unity-grade endeavour, but it comes close to what happened back when Ubuntu used GNOME 2. Using GNOME, branding and tweaking the experience, and opening the doors to 3rd party software apps. It is what Ubuntu does best. I hope for a prosperous future!