Ah, look – don’t say I didn’t tell you so. (As always, these posts are entirely my own personal opinion and not in any way related to employers current, past or future.)
Here’s Canonical, revealing at least one way it’s going to try and monetize Ubuntu.
Here’s the shit, hitting the fan.
This is way too funny :).
Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that. It’s just a small group of users making panicked a broadly fallacious comments, about non-existent copyright infringements and the equally non-existent danger of source closure of existing products, etc.
Frankly, desktop Linux does have to start gaining revenue from somewhere, and a project that is broadly free (beer), with a free (speech) client is hardly that offensive.
No-one’s talking about copyright infringement, they’re talking about Canonical breaking its own trademark policy, which *would* be trademark infringement if anyone else did it. No-one’s saying Canonical’s legally wrong – they’re just pissed off that Canonical itself is using the Ubuntu trademark in a way it would never allow anyone else to.
Canonical, of course, has a perfect right to do this. And personally I’d agree with your argument that there’s nothing terribly evil about the service (Richard Stallman would be waving something indignantly at this point, but then he so often is). I’d prefer open source web applications, all else being equal, but *not* opening up your web application is hardly the worst sin on the books (and I wonder how many of the complainants use Gmail).
All that aside, though, that isn’t the point. 🙂 The point is that people are pissed off, whether or not they’re ‘right’ to be. The important question is whether it is, as you say, a ‘small group of users’, and whether it continues to be small as Ubuntu goes along this path in future. Canonical’s problem here is that, when you spend years giving everything away for free (as in beer) and banging on about it, what you gather will be a collection of people who damn well expect everything to be free, and will complain loudly with any threadbare justification about anything that isn’t. So it seems that Canonical is now starting to unveil this services play it’s been talking about using to make Ubuntu financially independent for a while; it’ll be interesting to see how well it succeeds, and how many Ubuntu-ites will be outraged.
BTW, they do have one fairly valid objection, which is that Canonical’s playing a bit of bait and switch with the Ubuntu name. Several of the complainers say they would be fine with the service as it is, if it were called something else. Their argument is that Canonical has been saying all along that oh, Ubuntu is a community, it’s not just Canonical doing things however it likes, we have a community committee and yadda yadda yadda. So if you swallowed that line (heh…) and believed that ‘Ubuntu’ was not just Canonical’s toy to do with as it chooses, you might well be a bit narked by a) Canonical’s using the ‘Ubuntu’ name for this product with apparently no discussion at all with the ‘community’ that’s supposed to help run the ‘Ubuntu’ project, and b) Canonical’s response to the complaints about this (roughly, ‘sorry, but we own the trademark so quit whining’).
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