Bradley Kuhn on switching back from Ubuntu to Debian

Jani Monoses jani at
Wed Jan 27 21:11:15 GMT 2010

> Any person lobbing stones at Ubuntu One needs to take a big step back
> and consider the other proprietary web services they're using on a
> daily basis, and ask themselves if they're really being fair.

Until recently Ubuntu/Canonical have been perceived as a different 
category altogether, so such comparisons were not even attempted.

The fact that now the Ubuntu ecosystem is incorporating software and 
services which have not historically been parts of the Linux desktop,
and thus comparisons to other suppliers of desktop/web combined 
offerings become meaningful, the people who are complaining and lobbing 
stones are doing so because they perceive a departure from the high
standards of software freedom which are stated in Ubuntu's philosophy.

1. Every computer user should have the freedom to download, run, copy, 
distribute, study, share, change and improve their software for any 
purpose, without paying licensing fees.

Since nowadays 'their software' is increasingly becoming equated with
'software they use' and no longer 'software installed on their machine'.
the Ubuntu philosophy is adhering to the GPL era notion of software 
freedom but does not state much about AGPL & co.

While Canonical and most outside developers are aware of this, some 
users may become confused or disappointed if such changes occur without
knowing exactly why a certain decision was made and more importantly if 
it is indicative of other similar or more intrusive changes to come.

The line used to be drawn at essential firmware, but with the web in the 
mix everything is blurrier.

Another thing which may be hard to adapt to is that these changes are 
directly related to Canonical's business decisions. This too is 
perfectly normal industry practice, but for enthusiastic users who would 
spread Ubuntu and say that it is 100% free with no commercial strings 
attached unlike Xandros, Linspire or even the Pro Editions of other free 
distros, it serves as a reality check and a disappointment.


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