Developemnt and use - Training manual

Matthew East mdke at
Tue May 6 07:07:05 UTC 2008


On Mon, May 5, 2008 at 9:02 AM, Billy Cina <billy.cina at> wrote:
>  Ubuntu is a free distribution and will always continue to be free.
> However, this does not mean that every service provided to support Ubuntu or
> its further expansion must also be free. Both the Ubuntu community  and
> Canonical have invested a lot of time and money in developing this course,
> it is therefor reasonable for: a. the community to be able to use the
> material (freely) to further spread the work of Ubuntu and grow the user
> base, and b. for Canonical to determine who should be seeking a profit out
> of its investment.

I'm also uncomfortable with this argument. As others have pointed out,
the same reasoning could be applied to the Ubuntu distribution itself.

There may be a better distinction to be made here between work done by
the Ubuntu community, and Canonical's profit-making business.

When the training manual was first released I was disappointed not
only that it had been released under a non-free licence, but also
because I looked on the mailing list and found no public discussion
whatsoever of the licence to be chosen. The non-free licence has meant
that it is completely impossible for the project to share content or
work with the Ubuntu documentation project (in either direction),
because of the incompatibility of free documentation with non-free
documentation. I think the reason for my disappointment was that the
training project had been promoted as a community project.

I understand that Canonical is investing money in order to produce
this material, and I don't have a problem with Canonical seeking to
recoup money from that investment, but if a non-free licence is
required to protect that, I think the emphasis placed on community
involvement in the project is misplaced. The Ubuntu community has an
obligation to its philosophy to produce free material.

I think my view remains the same even though I recognise that
community members might easily wish to contribute to the project
voluntarily, in the knowledge that the project is producing non-free
material. I think the Ubuntu community has a duty to ensure that each
of the sub-projects that it is being associated with are compatible
with its philosophy.

Having said that, it's obviously a difficult question, and I think
that public discussion should have taken place over this right at the
start of the project.

Matthew East
gnupg pub 1024D/0E6B06FF

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