[CoLoCo] Ubuntu at Best Buy

Jim Hutchinson jim at ubuntu-rocks.org
Thu Jul 10 01:51:09 BST 2008

On Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 5:36 PM, Neal McBurnett <neal at bcn.boulder.co.us>
> Of course they can.  You're confusing "free as in beer" with "free as
> in freedom".  Best Buy can't take away the freedom for anyone to
> distribute copies of whatever open source software Bust Buy put on the
> CD, or the freedom to modify and resell, etc.  But they, and anyone
> else, can sell it for whatever price they want.  If Canonical tried to
> limit Best Buy's right to do that, Canonical would be the one that got
> in legal trouble :)
> And I think that's a good thing - just don't buy it if you don't think
> it is a good deal.

Ianal, but I think there is a problem with this. First, the Ubuntu promise
is "Ubuntu will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and
security updates." That is free as in beer. Someone charging $100 for just
the disc (i.e. no book or support) is breaking the promise. I understand how
FOSS works but isn't Ubuntu still copyrighted? Maybe Ubuntu is different
from say Red Hat, I'm not sure. However, if I were to take Red Hat and start
to sell it, wouldn't they take issue? I know I can download all the packages
and make my own Red Hat because most or all of the software is open. But can
I sell Red Hat proper? Can microsoft well it without an agreement? I would
think at the very least if someone was to charge a lot more than the cost of
the packing or added support, that they should at lest be required to say
something like "the enclosed software is free (as in beer) and can be
downloaded from the Ubuntu web site." Otherwise, it's deceptive. It may not
be illegal, but taking advantage of the ignorance of the consumer certainly
seems to violate the spirit of Ubuntu. I guess we'll have to wait and see if
anyone ever tries to charge $100 for just the disc. Of course you could
always say it includes $100 worth of support even if it doesn't or it's such
horrible support that it isn't worth $100 - and even then, since that would
reflect poorly on Ubuntu/Canonical I would hope they would try to prevent
anything that scars the product or their name.

Jim (Ubuntu geek extraordinaire)
Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
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