An Open Letter to the Ubuntu-au Members

Matt Palmer mpalmer at
Sat May 6 02:31:16 BST 2006

On Fri, May 05, 2006 at 10:18:35PM +1000, Robert Stoffers wrote:
> James Purser wrote:
> >Nobody is asking the ubuntu-au team to become the mouth piece of say
> >Solutions First, or any other company that comes along. However at some
> >point the group is going to be asked about commercial support for the
> >Distro, and it would be nice to able to point to a number of LOCAL
> >companies and say "Yes, see the power of Ubuntu, empowering the local
> >ICT industry in wonderful ways."
> Yes, I agree that it is nice to be able to point to local commercial 
> support if we are asked about it. It would also be nice to not be 
> influenced in any way, which currently isn't the case.

If you don't want to recommend Solutions First, then don't.  There's no
pressure here.

> Solutions First own both the domain name

Yes, because Dave had the foresight to recognise it's value to the
Australian Ubuntu community.

> and hence the registered business name in this country "Ubuntu". This

Wrong on *so* many levels.

1) Business names aren't registered nationally, they're registered on a
per-state basis.

2) Registration of a domain name in no way confers any sort of official
business name status in the eyes of any state or federal government agency
or regulatory body that I am aware of.

3) 10 seconds on ASIC's names search would tell you that there are several
Ubuntu-related names already registered -- "Ubuntu Pty Limited" was
registered in 1997 (before Canonical -- and even Sol1, AFAIK -- existed). 
There are also 3 registered business names listed, one each in NSW, WA, and
VIC.  I can't be sure, but I don't think that any of them were registered by

> gives them an unfair advantage and control over other Linux support
> companies we could also suggest


> and to add to that I believe we have several employees who also toe the
> company line within the team also

What *is* the Sol1 company line on this issue?  If you can tell me what it
is, I'd be happy to tell you whether I'm toeing it or not.

I can tell you categorically that I have received no instructions from my
employer as to this (or any other) issue, and would most likely be inclined
to provide detailed anatomical instructions if I were ever instructed to
state something that I did not myself believe.

As far as anyone else in Sol1 being associated with ubuntu-au, I think only
Jeff (a former, rather than current, employee, and not somebody I could ever
imagine toeing anything but his own line *ever*), and Dave (who half owns
the company, and hence makes the line, rather than toeing it) being involved
in this list (for the few days I've been on it).

> I would like to see Ubuntu empowering the entire local ICT industry, not
> just one local company riding the wave of free publicity and marketing
> whist making a quick buck.

Money that sol1 has made out of Ubuntu that they wouldn't have otherwise
(instead of say, using Debian or another distro): $not much

Money that sol1 has spent promoting Ubuntu and FOSS: Well, there's stands at
CeBIT and LinuxWorld (which were several thousand each plus several
employees' wages and lost earnings while manning the stand) at which many
CDs were handed out -- mostly to people whom there was little to no chance
of ever getting consulting; a portion of my wages, since I spend some of my
time helping people -- outside of paid support contracts -- install and use
Ubuntu, as well as being a Debian Developer and hence an Ubuntu
Developer-by-proxy; and a lot of time spent evangelising Ubuntu and FOSS to
anyone who will stand still long enough to listen.

Who's riding the wave of free publicity, again?  Sure, Sol1 is planning on
making money out of all of this, otherwise they'd be *insane* to spend money
doing this, but they're not standing idly by while others do all the work. 

> This latest "plan" to push for registered not-for-profit status does not 
> benefit the community at all. The only tangible benefit was point three 
> of the plan which only serves to help business such as Solutions First 
> pimp their support products to other businesses and government. The 

This is the funniest thing about your whole rant.  I am *completely* opposed
to the Australian LoCo team creating an Incorporated Association for the
reasons that have been given for doing so, thus far.  (I'm not against them
in general, and there's every possibility that one will be needed later, but
it certainly isn't needed at the moment).  I don't know what Dave's opinion
is too deeply, but I haven't seen him waving the flag for the NFP plan,

Which means that, of the (past and present) Sol1 people I know about on this
list, we've got 2 against and 1

How the hell do you go from that to intimating that Sol1 is pushing this NFP
plan?  Do you think we're all dissembling on this list, and secretly
plotting to make this happen behind the scenes?  That is both an insult to
myself, Jeff, and Dave, and *also* to the people who are publically in
favour of the scheme -- suggesting that they are merely our puppets.

> worst part of this is that the Australian Ubuntu Loco Team would be 
> doing all of the marketing/hard work whist Solutions First sits back and 
> profits, all the time the team thinking they are doing this for the good 
> of Ubuntu and Linux.

Why the intense hatred of Solutions First?  Did Dave kill your kitten or
something?  Are you deeply irritated that Sol1 has been involved with and
pushing Ubuntu for longer than you have?  I just don't get where your
deep-seated fixation on one company comes from.  What about all of the
companies who employ or who are owned by people who actually proposed the
idea we're discussing -- why don't you sling some mud in their direction,

- Matt

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