What does a billionaire do when he finds an entire community full of free stuff that the citizens of the community gladly share for nothing among themselves? Well, if your billionaire Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical, you take the free stuff and resell it – back to the same community.
In an article last week titled “Ubuntu 12.10 & Amazon: How Far Will Canonical Take Embedded Advertising”, we discussed how Canonical’s Ubuntu has a new formed relationship with Amazon that many open source proponents are simply appalled at. In a nutshell, advertising is now, by default, built into Ubuntu 12.10 (see article for more details). With that said, this week brings more fun and excitement to the once ad-embedding free, open source community.
In an Ubuntu Wiki on Mark Shuttleworth written in May 2011, it was said that “Ubuntu releases will always be free.” It seems as though our friends over at Canonical have found more new and creative ways to generate more income from “free” though.
If you’d like to donate to Canonical, don’t worry, you can do that as always and now they’ll surely give you a chance to (per download). If you prefer to just continue using open source software, then don’t worry, you’ll be solicited.
Welcome to your new solicitation (what they call a donation) screen:
For those that willingly give to this open source project you get cute little phrases, depending on how much money you give of course.
$2 – The price of a grande extra shot mocha latta chino
$5 – The price of pint of Micro-brew Nevada Pale Ale
$7 – The price of a Royale with cheese
and even to
$1000 – The price of an eight year-old dromedary camel
Oh, but here’s the kindest part. If you choose to not to donate and continue to use open source software for “free”, you get this response.
For most people familiar with open source there’s never been so much talk over money like that of recent weeks.
Jono Bacon of Canonical blogged on this new fund-raising method to generate support for it. A blog commentor though, Martin Owens, put forth some well stated points when saying that: ”Canonical has traditionally been a very closed and opaque private company that shares less about it’s financial arrangements than most businesses that have real share holders. On the other hand here we have a solicitation for money for use by the community. The community doesn’t have open accounts, we’re not using the Ubuntu Foundation and no one disaccociated with Canonical is allowed to track or check up on what is happening with the money. There are no provisions for transparency.”
Canonical Ubuntu is a Linux distribution built on free open source code, most of which others made, and Canonical has always used for free. Yet now that Canonical has entered the “commercial” sectors in major ways (similar to Red Hat) and are now as eager to put Ubuntu on as many corporate desktops as they are in homes, they now seem to look for ways to make money from just about every avenue they can, even their own free community.
To conclude today’s disturbing Linux “open source” news, I’d like to leave off with a question.
Mr. Billionaire, excuse me, I mean Mr. Shuttleworth. I have a have a question for you. Take a look at the upcoming DailyFlux article, “Samsung’s New “Flash-Friendly File System” for Linux: Ideal File Handling for Flash-based Storage Devices”. Now, how much did Samsung charge you for that new F2FS file system given to Linux for free that you’ll certainly use in Ubuntu one day, for free? The answer is nothing Mr. Shuttleworth, it was free and you’ll use it for free. Yet how much would you like us to give you for it, “$7 – The price of a Royale with cheese”?