Ubuntu entering scary territory

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Ubuntu entering scary territory

Post by Void Main » Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:12 pm

I have always been very cautious about getting too close to Ubuntu. This story doesn't make me feel any warmer inside about it:

http://www.theregister.com/2006/07/25/u ... ainstream/

I'll continue to stand by and observe but I just don't care for the commercial aspects of this. If this will get turned into a money making project for Shuttleworth then I would have to put this in a lower category than Robertson with Lindows. At least Robertson went at it as a commercial venture from the start. Yes, Shuttleworth has dumped a lot of money into Ubuntu and if that was done just for the love of Linux then it would have been a very noble thing and I would have been on the stump yelling "Ubuntu for everyone". I think he gave the appearance that this is how things would be which drew a lot of people in as a community donatating their time in developing and documenting. They come in wanting to be part of this giving community.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind people commercializing Linux. I certainly have *nothing* against Red Hat or SUSE and they surely have contributed a *significant* amount to Linux (RPM, kernel develepment, etc). The difference is, Red Hat and SUSE were commercial ventures from the start. Marc Ewing founded the company and hired people to help build it into what it is today. Ubuntu on the other hand is a customized version of Debian, tailored by a group of volunteers who believe they are involved in a really cool community project, and as it stands right now that's what it is. I really hope it stays that way because I think the hints of what I read in that article can potentially ruin this distro and potentially betray a lot of people. Let's hope it doesn't turn out that way.

Nervously standing by...

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Post by Master of Reality » Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:22 am

It may not be nearly as bad as you make it sound. The implications arent really clear. The article mentions support and training. It could be that there is plans to introduce commercial support, and/or training program.

Isnt that what companies want these days is support for their systems so they know that they're always covered in case of emergencies.

Or perhaps he wants to split it up and make a solid corporate version that will be commercial and then keep Ubuntu the way it is. Just like OpenSUSE and NLD, or Red Hat and Fedora.

I think he is being to cryptic with his commercial plans to foresee whether the Ubuntu project will be going in a better or worse direction when he introduces some sort of commercial plans.

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Post by Void Main » Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:31 am

I didn't mean for it to sound that things are that bad now or are definitely going to be that way. I do believe there is potential for it without knowing more details. As I said, I am treading very cautiously until more details are known.

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Post by Jenda » Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:09 pm

I admit not to have read the article, but from what I know - Mark has been dumping about $10 M a year from his own pocket into ubuntu every year.

Now if Ubuntu is to turn into a money making project for him, and it really makes it up... respect, man. But honestly, does it sound probable? And would it be the intended plan?

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Post by Calum » Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:06 pm

no.

there's one flaw with what you said. here we go...

if somebody pours a lot of money into a business, selling products based on ideas which originate within their business, then fine. if microsoft had done this instead of ripping off ideas (and code, i bet) from other sources, then i would have no problem with their ethics (only with their monopolistic behaviour, but that's another story). as i said, if you pour money into your own ideas, then go for it, make a profit, fine.

if you pick a project that thousands of hobbyists have honed into a very fine "product", and then build a business around that, pouring money into those ideas, then you are treading on very shaky ground. any decision you make is effectively pushing community development in the direction that your money wants to go in, you are effectively buying the hobbyists out of their own ideas for next to (if not literally) nothing, simply to line your own pockets.

This also brings up the attendant issue of stagnation. i believe that corporate software development usually stifles creativity in quite the classic cathedral/bazaar model, with few exceptions. A large company could, and probably eventually will, effectively halt the development of "linux", unless intelligence is employed.

in short, i think that companies and linux don't mix well, unless supervised by some very responsible adults.

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Post by worker201 » Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:45 pm

Well, then, is Mark Shuttleworth a "very responsible adult"? So far, it appears that he is. The problem is that he could become very irresponsible child overnight.

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Post by Calum » Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:08 pm

that's the sort of thing the GPL was supposed to prevent. i don't think it's fair to take code under the GPL and make it the basis for a private enterprise. if it's done in a two way fashion like red hat or mandrake were, then this is ok, but to do it like lindows (as mentioned above already) would be scandalous. people put their time and skill into writing this GPL code, and they believe that their work is protected by the GPL, so to have some guy take it upon himself to pour money in and then claim it all for himself is disgraceful, if indeed that's what's happening. if it's not going to happen like that then fine, but as i see it it'd take a messy court battle, if indeed some unscrupulous individual tried to do this. unfortunately the GPL relies on goodwill a lot of the time. Actually that's a good thing, if it works, which it appears to do most of the time.

edit: that was pretty stream-of-consciousness, but reading back over it, i still stand by what i said.

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Post by Void Main » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:38 am

Calum wrote:that's the sort of thing the GPL was supposed to prevent.
I agree with most of your sentiment except for the very first line. The GPL really has nothing against his venture. It's only purpose is to make sure the code under it remains open/Free. I haven't seen anything that would indicate he has any intentions of violating that license. Personally, I have no problem with him distributing any of my code. However, if I were someone who poured my heart and soul into helping make Ubuntu what it is today (graphics, configuration, documentation, etc) I might (but not necessarily) feel a little betrayed. Since I am not someone who has contributed specifically to Ubuntu I can't really have a beef with what he's talking about doing.

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Post by Calum » Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:25 am

i didn't specifically mean he's violating the GPL, i just meant that if somebody did go full out and ruthlessly exploit code which was coded for free by amateurs (well, professionals, a lot of the time, but in their off time if you like), who believed they were benefiting the community, then in my opinion it kind of goes against the spirit of the GPL when the main person to benefit would be just some guy with a good business sense (again, i can't help but think of good old MS when shrewd business tactics come up).

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Post by Jenda » Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:58 pm

Let me just chip in that I've contributed a lot of work to Ubuntu... and I don't consider myself betrayed at all. It's a symbiosis, I believe. And... I believe we're on the better side of the deal.

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Post by Calum » Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:08 pm

i hope everyone who has contributed (including everyone who has contributed to the software which is packaged with ubuntu, eg: linux kernel, gnome UI, sendmail et cetera et cetera) feels the same way you do.

anyway all i said was *if*. there's nothing in that article that suggests to me that ubuntu will be any more ruthless than slackware or red hat, as a distribution.

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Post by Jenda » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:45 pm

i hope everyone who has contributed (including everyone who has contributed to the software which is packaged with ubuntu, eg: linux kernel, gnome UI, sendmail et cetera et cetera) feels the same way you do.
Unfortunately not very probable.

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