Bradley Kuhn on switching back from Ubuntu to Debian

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Fri Jan 15 21:52:41 GMT 2010

I came across this today and thought it might be of interest to folks here:

An excerpt follows:

> I didn't take this decision lightly, and didn't take it for only one
> reason. I've gone back to Debian for three specific reasons:
> UbuntuOne's server side system is proprietary software with no prospects
> of liberation. This has been exacerbated since Canonical now heavily
> focuses on strong integration of UbuntuOne into the desktop for the Lucid
> release. It seems clear that one of Canonical's top goals is to convince
> every Ubuntu user to rely regularly on new proprietary software and
> services.
> Canonical has become too aggressive with community-unfriendly copyright
> assignment policies. Copyright assignment on Free Software can be put to
> good uses. However, most for-profit corporations design their copyright
> assignment process primarily to circumvent the company's potential
> copyleft obligations; Canonical's copyright assignment is sadly typical in
> that regard. Even worse, Canonical's management has become increasingly
> more aggressive in pressuring the community into accepting such copyright
> assignment policies as a fait accompli. (I'll likely write more on this
> issue this year, but in the meantime, my “Open Core” Is the New Shareware,
> Michael Meeks' Thoughts on Copyright Assignment, Dave Neary's Copyright
> assignment and other barriers to entry, and this LWN article are all good
> “further reading” resources.)
> The line between ‘restricted’ and ‘main’ has become far too blurry. I was
> very glad when I first saw Ubuntu's “you're about to install restricted
> drivers” warning window, and I find that a good way to deal with the
> issue. However, there are many times (particularly during initial install)
> when Ubuntu doesn't even inform the user that proprietary software has
> been installed. I realize that there's a reasonable trade-off between (a)
> making someone's hardware work (so they don't think Microsoft is better
> merely because “it works”) and (b) having a fully FaiF system. However,
> this trade-off is only reasonable when the users are told clearly that
> they own hardware made by vendors opposed to software freedom. If the
> users never know, how will they know what hardware to avoid in the future?

There seems to be no comment facility on Bradley's blog, but you can CC him
at bkuhn at if you like.

 - mdz

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