making deals with M$

Luke L lukehasnoname at
Mon Jun 9 20:22:40 UTC 2008

Good read, and more elegantly put than the way I said it. One most
look beyond the ultimate goal of total freedom of software and be
pragmatic. Technically, one must follow the law, and proprietary
codecs are too widely used to ignore.

Mark very well summed it up, I need not go on.

On 6/9/08, Mark Shuttleworth <mark at> wrote:
> Mark Fink wrote:
> I just read this
> article:

> hope this is wrong or I will have to stop using ubuntu and find
> distro to use. Such a shame...

> Mark, Remco
> There is (again) absolutely no truth to the rumour that Canonical has done a
> deal with Microsoft for access to codecs - either in return for money, or
> for some other quid-pro-quo.
> The recently-announced netbook remix is a prototype of the sort of platform
> that Canonical is working on with OEM's. Those OEM's almost always want to
> make sure that media is *legally* playable by the users who purchase their
> devices, and Canonical will gladly work with companies like Real Media or
> Fluendo to make sure that is possible. If you are an OEM you should be able
> to ship machines based on Ubuntu and not break the law, and if you are an
> individual user you should be able to purchase media codecs and not break
> the law. Those codecs include things like Flash, MP3-4, WMV, QuickTime and
> so on.
> That said, I will defend (again) the importance of being willing to work
> with Microsoft, under reasonable and transparent conditions, to further
> goals that we share, if the opportunity arises.
> I'm entirely against the idea that any company is "untouchable" - we have
> our values, they have theirs, and it's important to remember that we might
> actually have many things in common. For example, we both have an interest
> in making sure that countries have open and competitive internet access,
> because both Ubuntu and Windows depend on having fast internet access for
> updates. We might well work together to encourage good telecommunications
> policy. To reject that sort of collaboration is, in my mind, just as
> self-defeating as it was for Microsoft to call the GPL "a cancer". The
> reality is that the world is a heterogenous place, and Windows and Linux are
> both real forces that need to be accommodated. That does not mean we need to
> sell out on fundamental principles, as we think some distributions have
> done, but it does mean we need to stay open to the possibility of
> collaboration on terms that we are comfortable with. It's not working with
> Microsoft that would be wrong, it's working with Microsoft in a way that
> undermines free software. And Canonical has not and will not do that.
> There is nothing new in what is being done with the netbook remix. It is not
> an edition of Ubuntu. It is not even a real "finished product" - what you
> have are a set of packages that can be used together with Ubuntu to make the
> starting point of an image for an OEM. There is no intentions to put
> proprietary codecs into standard Ubuntu - that would be against our stated
> principles. You are welcome to download and modify any of the pieces
> Canonical has put together for that remix. The remix is more of a statement
> of intent to the OEM industry - that there is an easy to use, classy,
> effective starting point for their devices that is intrinsically Ubuntu
> while still being friendly for "newbie netbook users".
> OEM's have always - as long as I have been around - wanted to help users
> with the codec problem. Dell very kindly underwrites the cost of DVD
> playback for people who purchase a machine from them with Ubuntu
> pre-installed, using legal codecs and players. You might well question the
> wisdom of the law that makes it necessary for that to be proprietary, but I
> think Dell deserves praise and thanks for their willingness to help their
> customers make DVD playback work. The more people are using Linux, the more
> awareness there is of free software issues, the more likely it is that laws
> are not written which make it impossible to do things in a free software
> way. I'm proud to be part of the process of bringing free software to a
> wider audience, and don't believe that working with OEM's to make it
> possible for products - or end users - of Ubuntu to achieve their goals
> legally is a setback in that regard.
> While I appreciate the vigilance of folks who have expressed concerns on
> this thread, and understand that the role of Canonical within Ubuntu is such
> that we *must* have constant scrutiny of Canonical's decisions by the
> broader community, I would ask that this scrutiny itself be held to a high
> standard. This rumour and thread sprung up with no evidence of a breach of
> trust on the part of Canonical, and escalated into ad hominem attacks that
> are not in keeping with the Ubuntu code of conduct. I encourage people to
> ask questions of their leaders in the community, but not to slander them
> without evidence.
> Mark
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Luke L.

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