[Bug 1] Re: Microsoft has a majority market share

Mark Shuttleworth mark at canonical.com
Thu Dec 20 09:03:34 UTC 2007

Conrad Knauer wrote:
> What is there to stop Dell from including all sorts of non-free codecs
> and STILL calling it Ubuntu?  At what point does Ubuntu slide down the
> slippery slope and the "Ubuntu promise" become a bad joke?
The Ubuntu promise has always been that *we* will publish a system which 
has only free software applications, but that we would work with 
proprietary vendors to make sure their stuff works on Ubuntu because 
Ubuntu users have every right to choose a proprietary application if 
they want. We took the difficult step of deciding to include proprietary 
drivers precisely because we WANT people to experience free software, 
even if their hardware provider has not yet figured out how to do Linux 
properly. In this case Dell is the user, and Dell is also acting on 
behalf of their customers.

The underlying idea is that Ubuntu should express the best of free 
software, but that it should also be useful to EVERYONE and a platform 
on top of which people can build even if they don't have entirely the 
same set of values. We are not trying to beat freedom into the skulls of 
those who do not want it, we are showing them what is possible and 
leading them towards that freedom one step at a time.

The set of people who will build their own kernel with all the firmware 
removed is very, very small, and they can help themselves. We, at 
ubuntu.com, aim to reach a wider audience, which is people who are 
passionate about free software and want a trusted, convenient place to 
get it. They will make their own decisions about non-free applications 
they might add, just as you describe. Dell is aiming for a slightly 
wider audience, of people who are willing to try something more advanced 
or new, but don't want to stumble on something they consider a basic 
element, such as DVD playback, just because there are US patents on that 

Microsoft has a majority market share
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