[ubuntu-us-ma] ubuntu? one

Daniel Hollocher danielhollocher at gmail.com
Wed Feb 17 19:22:22 GMT 2010

So I've been thinking about the debate over Ubuntu One.  I saw this
take place a little on ubuntu-devel-discuss, and the main complaint
there was the source code for the server was not released.  At first,
the issue didn't seem like a big deal to me.  Who cares if the source
code is not release?  All Ubuntu One is is a place that you can put
your files.  There is no vender lock-in, so that limits the problems
that can arise.

But, there is an issue with the notion of what Ubuntu is overall at
stake.  Is Ubuntu a commercial venture, or a non-profit venture
governed by ideals?  I found a posting with Mark Shuttleworth's
opinion on the issue [1], and he seems to think that Ubuntu is his
property.  Ubuntu is something that he puts together and offers to the
community, but he reserves the sole right to make money with Ubuntu.
OTOH, I see many people refer to Ubuntu as if it is a non-profit
venture worthy of actives like fundraising, and offering free support.
 Also, the terms for the community to use the Ubuntu trademark is that
it be for non-profit (non-commercial maybe?) activities, which
furthers the notion that Ubuntu is an ideal.

I had assumed that this project by Shuttleworth was going to be a
combination of both commercial goals and free software ideals, and I
had also assume that those two were divided by the two names chosen
for the project, Canonical and Ubuntu.  Canonical would be the
commercial side, and Ubuntu would be the idealized side. Now my
understanding is that Ubuntu is a trademark owned by
Canonical/Shuttleworth, and is licensed to the community in a way that
doesn't compete with Canonical.

I think that is fine in principle.  Google is this way.  But does it
make sense to treat Ubuntu as a non-profit type organization, one
where you would donate money and time to support it?  Google is
structured this way, yet do we have Google LoCOs?  Does anyone
fundraise on Google's behalf?  I don't think these make allot of
sense.  Why not have a separate org that is non-profit, where we
invest our energy and money into?  It now seems like people are
unpayed employees rather than volunteers.

What do you guys think?  Martin especially, since you invest so much
time, how do you feel about Ubuntu?  Do you feel like you are working
for an ideal? or a commercial venture? or something else?


[1] http://www.stefanoforenza.com/shuttleworths-take-on-ubuntu-one-trademark-issue/

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