×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is Ubuntu Selling Out or Growing Up?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the six-of-one dept.

Linux Business 345

AlexGr notes an article by Jeff Gould where he says " Sometimes I wonder whether Ubuntu is really an open source software company any more. Yes, yes, I realize Ubuntu is not a company at all but a free Linux distribution, GPL'd and open source by definition. But still, the Ubuntu distro is sponsored by a traditional for-profit company. The answer that has recently emerged to this question is, "yes and no." Yes, of course, because Ubuntu's web site promises that the distro "will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates." But Ubuntu the enterprise ecosystem — understood as the collection of desktops and servers running Ubuntu in a given organization — is not."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

345 comments

Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255536)

Since Canonical is a for-profit company, this raises an interesting question. Namely, how exactly are they making money? Their wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] only indicates a couple of minor proprietary products, neither of which I've ever even heard of. Is this one of those internet boom style companies that only makes money in theory, or do they actually have an income source?

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (1)

Hawkeye05 (1056362) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255708)

1) Make A free Open Source and highly successful Linux Distro
2) Get It installed on Dell's machines
3) ?????
4) Profit

Talk about begging questions . . . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255954)

God, I love his singing, vibrato so refined.
And, man I dig that Cajun beat, it nearly drives me out of my mind.
But I saw him on the TV, and something's out of place.
What is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?

Yeah, what is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?
Is it a mole, or a tumor or a milk dud he misplaced?
It's like a little desert island, the black hole of outer space.
Yeah, what is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?

I wish I was half as successful, or had a quarter of his cash,
Cause you gotta know he's got the dough to take care of that funky rash.
I hope he never hears this song or he'll put me in my place
but, what is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?

Yeah, what is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?
It could be a smudge, or a piece of fudge, a huge freckle out of place.
Hell, it could be melanoma, get that spot erased!!
What is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?
Yeah, what is that thing on Aaron Neville's face?

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (5, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255712)

Is this one of those internet boom style companies that only makes money in theory, or do they actually have an income source?
They've figured out a way to power light aircraft using only the condensed ire of militant slackware users.

Paid Support Just Like RedHat's RHEL (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255780)

Software as a service style support [canonical.com] . There's their pricing. They also have a merchandise store. This is just like RedHat's model, what's so surprising? Also, Shuttleworth chucked a ton of change at them initially if my memory serves correctly.

Re:Paid Support Just Like RedHat's RHEL (2, Interesting)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256350)

Its also worth noting that it took 10 years for RedHat to establish themselves as a top-tier enterprise vendor. So even if Canonical isn't doing much significant now, IMO they are preparing the groundwork for a real revenue stream and probably an IPO.

(While RH sold boxed distros for the longest time, it was more to build name recognition. They never really made money until they switched to the subscription model.)

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (4, Interesting)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255796)

The summary asserts that Canonical is a "traditional for-profit company," but the Wikipedia entry you point to paints a picture of a company that is not traditional. For example, it says the company was created for the purpose of promoting free software products. I don't really see anything traditional about that.

As for how they make their money, I think they primarily earn revenue by selling support for Ubuntu. You know, so, like, a business installs Ubuntu on its servers or on a bunch of desktops or something, they can purchase a support agreement for those computers from Canonical.

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256136)

It's really funny, this whole selling out business.

When I first started using Linux, I used Debian because of apt and because the ideology appealed to me. Then I immediately started making compromises in the name of getting shit done and having a difficult time installing and maintaining those compromises.

Ubuntu lets me make the choice to sell out in the name of getting shit done. Through the restricted and multiverse repositories, it makes it easy to do so. But it also lets me see exactly where I'm doing so, and makes it easy to stop doing so if I should wish, though of course not without consequences.

People who wish to be uncompromising in their principles or need the capacity to roll out systems with the confidence that they are not legally encumbered can do so, while people who respect the ideals but are ready to compromise can do so with foreknowledge and a minimum of fuss.

This is showing a great deal of respect for the positions of a great many users and would-be users.

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255922)

I think their goal is to eventually make money but, at the moment, Shuttlesworth can afford to bankroll the whole thing until they actually start doing so. In essence, I would say that they are a great company because they can "do the right thing" for as long as needed until "doing the right thing" eventually starts to make them money.

I disagree :) (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256216)

I respectfully disagree

a: you can have the systems without the support (aka support it yourself), and
b: selling support is infinitely greater than charging for the distro. People always need support. People don't always need more copies of the distro. Distro free also = no piracy.

I seem to recall that there are companies out there that have techs who know how to handle their own Ubuntu servers, no?

What really makes me wonder is that since it's open source, and people know what landscape is designed to do, why doesn't someone else start working on a GPL'd software that does the same as landscape?

This is why claiming it means anything remotely having to do with open source or not, is just plain stupid. As much as I love open source, not every program in existence must be open source.

Re:I disagree :) (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256398)

Exactly, its a difference of Value that is up to the individual to decide. I might decide to skip support, because I will figure the problems out on my own. I might have a very important app running on my server, and think it is a better value to pay $k a year to them to have my problems fixed quickly, than to sit around (losing $X an hour, or even minute) and try to figure it out on my own.

Very similar to how I can choose to not get an extended warranty from my PC Supplier, or choose to get a 3 year NBD warranty, or for important things, a 4-hour warranty. You choose the level of service that you (and your wallet) are comfortable with.

Free as in your first hit of crack (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255980)

That's the FOSS business model, which is why IBM is dumping money into Teh Lunix. Get companies locked into your software, then charge them up the whazoo for support.

It's really great, because rather than having the up-front costs involved in planning out what you are going to do, then hiring quality programmers to impliment it, spending time testing, etc... you just sucker people and companies into volunteering to test your software for you. Then when you get someone dumb enough to pay for support, they are really paying you to debug your code... something which would have already been done with closed source software.

Open source is a really lucrative scam, if you play your cards right. Just ask that armada of $100+/hour Lunix consultants who have been raping the city of Munich for the past several years (and have nothing to show for their work).

Lunis Torvball's about to make you his bitch. Suck it down.

Re:Free as in your first hit of crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256356)

Just ask that armada of $100+/hour Lunix consultants who have been raping the city of Munich for the past several years
Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256058)

I think the company is primarily to protect the owner's personal assets. It's Mark Shuttleworth's personal company. He made like 600 million dollars off of his old company and he was the (I think) the first space tourist, which he paid for personally. So he's not particularly hurting for cash.

Re:Just how is Canonical making money, anyway? (1)

eapache (1239018) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256280)

They sell support for Ubuntu. I remember reading somewhere that they recently became profitable, but I don't recall where.

And your point is...? (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255538)

Nowhere the GPL forbids making a profit from GPLled software, as long as you adhere to the conditions of the GPL.

Re:And your point is...? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255710)

And while I can see some random journalist not understanding that, surely CmdrTaco, of all people, does...?

Re:And your point is...? (2, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255722)

Yes... exactly...

WILL THE PUNDITS OF THE WORLD PLEASE STOP EQUATING "OPEN SOURCE" WITH "COMMUNISM"!!!

(and yes, I am intentionally shouting--I don't even own a "caps lock" key, <adding some filler here to get past the lameness filter...>)

Re:And your point is...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255918)

I also wish people would stop equating communism with totalitarian military dictatorship.

Communism is a principle that says that everybody is equal.

Two examples:
- lots of countries have free health care for all their citizens
- it is the basis for the internet (free speech, equal power to publish, etc. - forced government filters aside, of course).

I can't think of more right now (have stuff to do), sorry. Anybody care to continue my list? (yes, that's communism)

Re:And your point is...? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256092)

Communism is a principle that says that everybody is equal.

Not quite. Communism says that, not only are all people equal, but that all people own all the property. As defined my Marx, true Communism only occurs when the means of production are owned and shared by the workers.

In this sense, Open Source is actually rather close to communism, in the sense that a GPL tool is free for all to use, share and modify.

Re:And your point is...? (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256182)

In this sense, Open Source is actually rather close to communism, in the sense that a GPL tool is free for all to use, share and modify.
Not at all -- the GPL has never meant "free" in a monetary sense. You may have to pay for the software, but you will be able to modify it yourself, disseminate your modifications, etc.

Re:And your point is...? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256112)

Sigh. Communism was supposed to be a stepping stone between Capitalism and Anarchism. The idea being that the proletariat aren't, you know, ready to govern themselves, so we, the helpful party of the people that we are, will help them get there.

It is NOT a principle that say everyone is equal, it pretty much says the opposite. If it said everyone was equal, it would be Anarchism.

In fact, Communism attempts to provide only equality of outcome and ostensibly equality of opportunity as well. Free health care isn't communism, its socialism. And the basis of the Internet isn't communism, its anarchism.

The problem is (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255850)

That a non-trivial amount of free software users claim they care about "Free as in speech" but really want "Free as in can I crash on your couch?" There is a mentality among people like this that free software CAN'T cost money, and that for-profit operations are bad and such.

I think it is one of the problem OSS faces in terms of getting more companies to adopt that style. For every person that is actually honest about simply wanting the freedom to modify their software, but being perfectly ok with still paying for it, it seems there is at least one person who just wants a free lunch, and only spouts OSS dogma because they believe it'll lead to them getting more for free.

Re:The problem is (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256158)

it seems there is at least one person who just wants a free lunch
This person just has a louder voice then the 10 guys behind him that think the opposite.

Re:The problem is (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256184)

That a non-trivial amount of free software users claim they care about "Free as in speech" but really want "Free as in can I crash on your couch?"

Indeed. I got into an exchange with a guy via email a few years back about my open source software because he wanted a user manual for it, and I couldn't do one as fast as he wanted.

The thing was, he didn't seem to grasp that I was too busy, and as he wouldn't be paying for it (I didn't ask, but he never offered), I was pretty much free to set my own timetable for such a thing.

He actually got annoyed with me, as if I was somehow failing him as a customer, at which point I just blocked his email address.

I have one now, it took months to do, and it's used by lots of people daily, but I don't know if he's one of them.

and more to the point (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255904)

if people didn't make a profit from OSS, then htf would it exist. Please point me to an industry that exists without somebody making money.

Re:And your point is...? (1)

opus (543) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256316)

Yet Mr. Gould thinks it's an "Orwellian contradiction" to charge people to work on the software distribution that you gave them for free. He must be new to technology blogging... or maybe, he figured out that being a tech troll is easier and more profitable than real technology analysis.

brick (-1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255562)

All I know is that upgrading to Hoary bricked my PC, I can't even boot into XP anymore due to GRUB errors.

Re:brick (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255622)

You sir, are an idiot.

Mod parent informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255730)

Mod parent informative

Re:brick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255656)

so boot with the live cd and fix grub.....:).......the great thing about linux is that you can do things like that.

Re:brick (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255838)

the great thing about linux is that you can do things like that.

That's a completely foreign concept to someone who would say

All I know is that upgrading to Hoary bricked my PC, I can't even boot into XP anymore

I've been bitching about XP's contiunually rebooting until it "catches" and reaches the desktop while Mandriva boots right up with no complaints, but I finally found our why it was doing that.

The power supply was on its way south. My PC is now truly bricked, at least until I replace the power supply.

Re:brick (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255704)

That doesn't mean your computer is bricked.

Boot to a Live-CD. Chroot, go into grub, have it setup the MBR, and presto!

Re:brick (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256096)

I think you mean "Hardy". If not, for the love of the gods, install an upgrade, man!

If you are using SATA drives, pay close attention to how your drives are mapped by linux. I ran into the same problem recently with Gutsy, turns out that Linux and the Bios disagree with how to order my SATA drives. Updating grub to use the linux-side hard drive numbers fixed it.

HTH

So... FUD? (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255564)

So... FUD right?

Yes, of course, because Ubuntu's web site promises that the distro "will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates.

Get over it, guy. (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255566)

You can't have everything for free.

Re:Get over it, guy. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255642)

your mom on the other hand, is still free.

Re:Get over it, guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256100)

Your mom charges?

If everything must be open then I suggest: (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255574)

Don't use an Intel or AMD CPU. The schematics of those CPUs are not Open. Nor is the schematic diagram of your motherboard, monitor etc.

But you're right to focus on those Canonical bastards. They don't even post all their bank account and password details!

I really have no idea what you're talking about (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255594)

Shuttleworth has never pretended Ubuntu was purely about being nice to the community - he always planned that one day it would bring some money in.

It follows that Canonincal has to offer something that they charge for. And seeing as they've pledged that the distribution itself remains free, it makes sense that the things they charge for are the kind of things a business might need and might be prepared to pay for - support and bells and whistles that aren't in the free version and frankly aren't terribly relevant to the individual with one or two systems.

Re:I really have no idea what you're talking about (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255714)

I always assumed they sold support contracts like Red Hat, but I never looked into it.

Ubuntu is not an open source company (0, Redundant)

joeflies (529536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255610)

Ubuntu is a distribution, not a company. Canonical is the company.

Redhat (1, Insightful)

minusthink (218231) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255620)

Redhat.

Re:Redhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256016)

To expand that point a bit, take a look at Redhat, SuSE, Mandrake, Linspire, etc.. Indeed, there have been many companies who profit from their distros by selling CDs, support, t-shirts, books/manuals/training courses, and the like. Is there any reason to hold Ubuntu and its parent company to a different standard while giving all the rest a pass?

Yawn.

Re:Redhat (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256064)

Redhat [fansedge.com] is the most widely used distro in St Louis, but in Chicago [hatworld.com] they'll kill you for using it.

In Springfield [slashdot.org] , a thitd of the way between the two cities, wearing either hat in a bar may result in severe bodily injury. Use at your own peril. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Redhat (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256210)

Agree... and I wonder if this will hurt redhat in the long run. You have the same idea with a free desktop and a free server (Fedora or CentOS). However Ubuntu has the name recognition with keeping the Ubuntu name on it. I could see this adversely affecting redhat. I hope not since they seem to do a good job contributing.

I wonder if that's why Ubuntu went with debian as a base. If they (Canonical) went with a redhat base I could see them having a harder time being a corporation to make money. I wonder if that was the strategy from the beginning... to become a competitor to redhat.

Note: Moderators, he's clearly on topic. It's a counter-example to saying OSS companies can't make money

Unfortunately (1)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255636)

The general vision and direction of Ubuntu is where it has to go to start getting mass support. And who cares? Even if Ubuntu starts to do evil things, all would never be lost in the open-source community.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255784)

The general vision and direction of Ubuntu is where it has to go to start getting mass support. And who cares? Even if Ubuntu starts to do evil things, all would never be lost in the open-source community.
The real reason open-source projects are so infrequently odious is that satan doesn't want us to see the libraries for pure, undiluted evil.

I don't know what he's worried about, it's not like they'd be well commented.

he writes but he says nothing (2, Insightful)

mofag (709856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255644)

Open Source isn't some hippy anti-capitalist religion. Its a way of doing business. If you alienate or disqualify companies who want to make a profit from being "true open source" then I and many like me will have to go back to releasing proprietary software only. What pap! When people like this get to air their views, this whole free speech and the internet thing have gone too far.

Re:he writes but he says nothing (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256160)

Its a way of doing business

It can be a way of doing business, but it isn't some corporonazi mammon worshiping religion, either. Open source simply does what you need it to do the way you want it to do what you want. If you want to use it for business, it can be used for that. If you want to simply give, it can be used for that as well.

And I though vi vs emacs was bad...

this whole free speech and the internet thing have gone too far.

I'll leave it to the younger slashdotters to flame you for that particular piece of "wisdom".

Re:he writes but he says nothing (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256426)

The "piece of wisdom" was actually in jest. I expected my hyperbole to be spotted as such on here and yes open source is more than just a way of doing business (I should have been more specific). I think the important thing to remember here is that the original article did nothing more than to flaunt the ignorance of the person writing it when it comes to the terms open source and free software. Incidentally, I highly recommend "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property" by Lawrence Rosen for anyone thinking of going into business with an open source model or trying to persuade their boss to.

Re:he writes but he says nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256312)

I disagree with your comment on free speech. After all, it is due to this view of his that you were given an opportunity to reply and express the view from the other side for those of us that know nothing about business.

Neither and both (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255662)

Canonical needs a revenue source. It wants to derive revenue from support contracts, and is using an enterprise software tool as a carrot. Landscape isn't part of Ubuntu, anyway, it's a separate product. What's the big deal?

Free (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255664)

Does the submitter of this story understand the distinction between free as in beer, and free as in speech?

They are questioning whether or not Ubuntu classifies as open source, because the parent company might want to make money. The entire preposition here is flawed and silly.

Re:Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255832)

So then a proposition is a word that a sentence should not be ended with?

Re:Free (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256116)

Preposition

Prep`o*si"tion\, n. [L. praepositio, fr. praeponere to place before; prae before + ponere to put, place: cf. F. pr['e]position. See Position, and cf. Provost.]

1. (Gram.) A word employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word; a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word; -- so called because usually placed before the word with which it is phrased; as, a bridge of iron; he comes from town; it is good for food; he escaped by running.

2. A proposition; an exposition; a discourse. [Obs.]

He made a long preposition and oration. --Fabyan.

Re:Free (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255858)

They are questioning whether or not Ubuntu classifies as open source, because the parent company might want to make money. The entire preposition here is flawed and silly.
Even the Free Software Foundation makes money selling [fsf.org] Free software.

Re:Free (1)

sabaco (92171) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256130)

Does the submitter of this story understand the distinction between free as in beer, and free as in speech?

The answer that has recently emerged to this question is, "yes and no."

:)

Re:Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256214)

The problem with free speech is that idiots speak louder than intellectuals - and right now we're seeing an idiot who doesn't understand any of the related topics tell us how it works.

Which is something like asking an infant for help with your quantum physics equations, they might be able to communicate, but they aren't able to explain.

heh (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255670)

Well, it's sort of obvious that they are selling out with a name of 'Hairy Hardon'. But on a serious note (and slightly offtopic - don't mod down), not just Ubuntu but many Linux distros are making people think that they aren't just different distributions but different OSs altogether. In fact, some people think Ubuntu and Kubuntu are different OSs.

I dunno, maybe it's because I've been a slackware user since version 8. Linux isn't referred to as Linux anymore.

Should web-apps be open source? (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255738)

It takes the author quite awhile to get to his point about the greater Ubuntu ecosystem being non-free. His point is:

Canonical has introduced a new twist into the Ubuntu business model with the launch of its Landscape systems management and monitoring tool. Basically Landscape is very similar to Red Hat Network. It allows you to track the configurations and status of all your Ubuntu desktops and servers, and to install updates under central control (though with full customization options). And the catch is? This is completely proprietary code. It's not GPL'd, you can't see the source, and you can't get it for free. In fact, you can't even have the binary, because Landscape is provided as an online service only. Only the Landscape client is free and open source, which it has to be of course because it cohabits physically with the kernel on each of your Ubuntu machines.
(emphasis added)

So his complaint amounts to: "Sure they give you the source code for all distributed binaries, but they don't give you the source code for a subscription-based online service that they run."

For those of us who believe in software freedom, the question is really "does software freedom extend to web services?" Is providing someone with a web service akin to providing them with a binary? That is, you should give them access to the source code (where I'm using "should" as shorthand for "it's the free software thing to do").

The fact is that this is a point of contention in the community. It was debated considerably during the writing of GPLv3. Both sides have valid points: on the one hand, an online service isn't distributing software to end-users. On the other hand, this may be a "loophole" that allows companies to modify free software, but deny the eventual users of that software the ability to use the changes or further modify the code.

The author was inherently assuming that not providing code for web services was non-free. But really that's an unfinished debate, and he should have pointed out the nuances.

Re:Should web-apps be open source? (2, Informative)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256294)

Thank You.

I got about 1/3 of the way through TFA, mentally tagged it as BS and came back to watch the fireforks. I never got to the quoted part and I missed the point of the article.

And this is indeed an interesting debate for me as I'm in an GPL'd code project that could be monetized with an optional web service. /goes back to finish reading TFA with fresh eyes.

I fail to see the problem (3, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255744)

An open source project having roots in a for-profit company is not a problem.

If they start data-mining Ubuntu computers for profit or something just as devious - THAT's a problem.
I'm going to use Ubuntu as long as it remains free of evil and cost. If one of those changes, I'll move along to a different distro, but as long as they have the most easy to use open-source desktop environment and continue to develop this project as quickly and as beautifully as they are I'll continue to use it - simple as that.

Who? What? (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255752)

I RTFA, and I think this guy is an idiot. The method Canonical wants to use to make money is pretty much the method I hear OSS people talk about all the time -- selling support, as opposed to product.

But then I got to wondering -- who is this tool? There's no Wikipedia entry for him, and googling doesn't really produce anything helpful. So should the title of the /. post be "Some random tool thinks Ubuntu isn't OSS"?

Re:Who? What? (1)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256212)

I googled 'Jeff Gould Peerstone Research' (minus the single quotes) and found:
http://www.glgroup.com/Council-Member/Jeff-Gould-110923.html [glgroup.com]

CEO
Peerstone Research
Member of the Technology Council
Jeff Gould is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research at Peerstone Research. He produces primary research and independent analysis focused on enterprise applications software, middleware software and server hardware.

Mr. Gould uses proprietary primary research to identify and quantify the impact of emerging user trends on enterprise applications, middleware stack and server hardware vendors. The Application Vendors inlcude: ORCL, SEBL, SAP, LWSN, MSFT, QADI, MANU, ITWO Software Stack Vendors: MSFT, ORCL SUNW, BEAS, IBM, NOVL, RHAT, SAP (Netweaver); and Hardware Stack Vendors include: IBM, DELL, SUNW, HPQ, UNI, INTC, AMD. (This is me - Update Profile)

Employment History 2001 - present CEO
Peerstone Research
1995 - 2001 Editor in Chief - International Editions
InformationWeek Magazine

What a rediculous article (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255756)

The free community support is on par, if not better than many of the other free distros, not commercially backed. Just because they offer commercial support, it is no reflection on the distro itself, and just because they offer products like Landscape it again doesn't really mean much.

It's not like Suse or Redhat that have (or had) significant differences between the free and commercial versions of their products.

If you never talk to Canonical, or give them a penny, you will still have a completely open, free Linux distribution. The services they charge for is just the icing on the cake that among other things help enterprises feel better about using Ubuntu and the products they promote can be written by anyone with an itch to scratch and released under the GPL.

A little more growing up to do, thanks. (0, Flamebait)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255762)

I'm a little confused - how can Ubuntu be "growing up" and still suffer the most juvenile string of unprofessional release names?

I'm personally waiting for "Homoerotic Horse" to come out before I start pitching Ubuntu to professional clients. Because that's classy.

Re:A little more growing up to do, thanks. (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256126)

Don't worry, they're coming out with much more client-friendly nicknames after that:

Idiotic Iguana
Jobless Jaguar
Kolpophobic Kangaroo
Lustful Lynx
Menstruating Moose

I think that's proof of Ubuntu growing up a bit.

Re:A little more growing up to do, thanks. (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256146)

The latest release is called 8.04. The release before was called 7.10. What is your point?

Re:A little more growing up to do, thanks. (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256180)

I'm personally waiting for "Homoerotic Horse" to come out before I start pitching Ubuntu to professional clients. Because that's classy.

You are aware that the H release has been released already? Anyways, you could always refer to it as Ubuntu X.04, or X.10.

Re:A little more growing up to do, thanks. (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256238)

Technically speaking, they aren't official release names - they are development code names (must like Microsoft uses). The official release "names" are just version numbers. For example, the latest release of Ubuntu is officially just called "Ubuntu 8.04".

That being said, a lot of people still continue to use the pre-release code name, even press. Even package qualifiers use the code name.

Maybe the "communism" comments have validity (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255764)

So, a company can't be "truly open source" if it makes money; i.e. is commercial.

Why?

So? (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255788)

If you choose to pay for support then you get support AND you get to use proprietary software to manage your servers. Just because they make Ubuntu free they should also make their specialized software free too? That's like getting a free car then complaining when you have to pay for gas.

They have to make money somewhere. Everyone knows Ubuntu is free because it's a hook to get companies, eventually, to sign up for support. So what?

What is he talkin bout? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255794)

Let me be the first to ask the submitter: What are you talking about Willis? Put down the hashpipe, get out of your parent's basement for a spell, enjoy the fresh air and learn about products vs. companies.

Re:What is he talkin bout? (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255982)

Would I be called a grammar nazi if it's my correction that contains improper english?

It's "whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis". And, if possible, there should be some indication that the phrase is spoken in a comically low tone.

So what exactly is wrong ... (1)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255812)

with For-profit companies? Even living on the street is not free you know, you have to make money somehow. IMO open-source by itself is fine, free is definitely not a given.

And the point is? (1)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255860)

After reading the article, it appears that his gripe is that Canonical has a closed-source proprietary systems management function that you have to pay for if you want to use it. Oh, the horror! They actually want to make money, and even worse, aren't a "pure" open-source company!

Maybe I'm unusual for thinking this, but if you're going to have a support personnel and professional programmers on staff, it follows that you need a revenue stream, since most of them are real big on getting paid. There is no gun being held to the head of any one to purchase this. From my own experience, many businesses feel more comfortable paying for support and tools. You can tout "free" all you want, but "who do we get to support it - guaranteed" is a big part of the thinking. Shuttlesworth may be willing to support this, but he doesn't have unlimited resources. He has a lot, but not unlimited. He's also not immortal. So it makes sense for Ubuntu to be able to support itself.

That's the point (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255868)

A large part of the FOSS movement is about making money. The FOSS philosophy posits that freely distributing code and encourage others to share and share alike creates more value than closing it off and slapping a price tag on the bits. While "everyone can review and modify sourcecode" is true in principle--not everyone has the knowledge or desire to do so and are willing to pay people to modify code how they want it.

Also, enterprise customers want support contracts and they'll pay quite a lot for that.

Canonical ain't a charity organization. They're in it to make money, and they intend to get it by paid support contracts and maybe change orders. I don't perceive that as selling out--it's right in line with what FOSS represents.

Are Ubuntu and Canonical the same? (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 5 years ago | (#23255958)

The author of this article is basing his entire argument on the assumption that Ubuntu and Canonical are the same. He creates this assumption early on by saying that Canonical owns the rights to the name, and offers support contracts. Therefore, Ubuntu is Canonical. He then points out that Canonical is not purely open source, as they produce some proprietary software and charge for it. His argument is NOT that because Canonical tries to make money, that they aren't open source. Making money has nothing to do with being open source, it's the licensing.

However, I disagree with his assumption that Ubuntu and Canonical are the same. They are not the same. Ubuntu is an open source operating system. The fact that it is supported by a company who may produce proprietary software is irrelevant. Do I think it's hypocritical that Shuttlworth is evangelizing open source while at the same time selling proprietary products? You bet. But that doesn't change the fact that Ubuntu IS open source. By his logic, SuSE is not open source either because the company that owns and supports it, Novell, also has associations with proprietary products (and a deal with the ultimate proprietary software company).

The article is fairly confusing. It's not until more than half way down that he actually gets to the point. Simply, Canonical makes a proprietary application for managing Ubuntu systems. The rest of the time, he keeps building up his argument that Ubuntu is Canonical and goes on and on about how Canonical is trying to make money. All this time I'm thinking "There's nothing un-open source about making a buck!". But still, his Ubuntu is Canonical basis is flimsy. The article is really nothing more than a headlines grabber. Say something outrageous, the OSS fans go nuts, you get lots of page hits and ad revenue. The typical Slashdot sensationalist article.

And Fedora is??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23255962)

Red Hat anyone?

Oh noz! Someone wants to make money!

Religion vs Reality (2, Insightful)

ickoonite (639305) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256000)

For fuck's sake. It's never good enough, is it? Like the binary drivers thing or countless other trifling irrelevancies before it, this is a classic example of why open source has as many detractors as it does supporters â" the polarising ideology of its most ardent supporters. To these types, if you are not with them, you are against them, an open source hater and betrayer of the cause.

But seriously â" let's look at Ubuntu for a moment. It's one of the freest and most principled distributions of Linux out there, building off the same dogmatic (some would say excessively so) tradition as Debian. A default install of Ubuntu does not contain any non-free software (in that most pedantic sense), but a lot of distributions make no such distinction. So to try to paint it as the product of some evil conglomerate is disingenuous at the very least.

The fundamental issue here is in their dogmatism, open source's most ardent supporters become like the architects of a communist régime, where all enemies are members of a bourgeoisie that only ever gets bigger. At first it is just the most blatant offenders â" wholly proprietary companies like Microsoft. Then it is companies like Apple, whose commitment to open source is, shall we say, pragmatic. Finally they come for the most well-intentioned - companies like Canonical, who are behind Ubuntu. Why? One can only assume that it stems from some frankly communistic hatred of money.

This is misguided, because in the real world, even free is not free. As we are well aware, many open source contributors are paid to work on open source projects by their employers - IBM, Novell, Apple, Sun. And indeed, every open source contributor that is not still living with their parents has to work to live. Money buys food and shelter; money buys the free time to devote oneself to contributing to open source. And it buys things like the thousands of Ubuntu CDs that get pressed and distributed for free. Yes, someone had to pay for those.

Ideology is our enemy. The wars of the 20th century were wars rooted in ideology; in the 21st century, religious ideology seems to have once again reared its ugly head. If we were to try to think a little more pragmatically and a little less ideologically; in terms of shades of grey rather than black and white, then the world would genuinely be a better place.

:|

Ubuntu Schmuntu Yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256042)



I stopped at Ubuntu Breezy. No emacs tells the whole story.

You'll spend most of your time using apt to a URL and fixing
depencies.

Did they... (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256044)

Kill this guys Dog or something?

Call me crazy, but I regard for-profit organization initially not with hatred, but suspicion and skepticism. Here we have Canonical, they support Ubuntu, which I and many other people enjoy and like. Shouldn't that be worth some moral credit? Have they done something horrible and evil that outweighs the good of supporting Ubuntu?

Don't get me wrong, I hate Microsoft, but I hate them for REASONS. Namely, they're products aren't very good and are often very bad, they're a convicted monopolist, and they engage in a wide variety of Anti-competitive business practices. Not just "because," but because of reasons that I can articulate in a reasoned argument.

Why should I hate Canonical?

Flamebait (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256188)

I don't want to RTFA because it seems the summary ...well, summarizes it all.

There's nothing wrong with trying to make money off of F/OSS software. In reality, here on Earth, people need to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Ubuntu is embracing a very unique model in that they give away software, and even hire coders to work on the software they give back to the community. Who cares if they charge for support? There is still a HUGE, FREE community backing it. You don't have to pay Canonical for support to use Ubuntu. Of course, the option is there, which is nice for some individuals and companies.

They aren't stealing open-source code and making it proprietary (COUGHlinksysCOUGH), they aren't even charging for updates that come from paying people to find/fix them, and they're even contributing back to the most pure OSS Linux platform IMHO (Debian). What is the problem here?

Re:Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256370)

there's nothing unique about their model. get over yourself fanboi.

So Canonical is bad for doing what FOSS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23256290)

... has been preaching all along? Namely it is making money off of support rather than the software itself. Oh No, Not That!!!

oh noes money! (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256300)

They sell support and merchandise along with a handful of proprietary products.

This earns them money just as it does for others. They're not microsoft as far as profits go so the anti-rich brigade has some time to go before they can start attacking Ubuntu, imo.

The article is content-free (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256336)

And I don't mean "free as in speech", I mean "free as in he's wearing out his keyboard but nothing of meaning comes out". There's no problem stated, as a result there's no conclusions, there's only a badly disguised attempt at trolling, which I even doubt is fully intentional and conscious.

You type an address, they mail you a stack of CDs (2, Insightful)

bsharma (577257) | more than 5 years ago | (#23256430)

You type an address, they mail you a stack of CDs - High quality OS, Applications, web based updates - And THEY PAY FOR SHIPPING. Not a single Virus, malware, trojan etc., How much more FREE can anything get?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...