Ubuntu loses its virginity, turns commercial

ronald munjoma simbiso at gmail.com
Thu Sep 25 10:00:02 BST 2008


Hello Neil,

The problem is not with Ubuntu or Canonical, the problem is with
Intellectual Property Rights, Software Licensing... To me this is akin to
Digital Rights Managements and as you might all know Digital Rights
Management does not work.

Steve Jobs, Apple and the iTunes store revolutionalised the way music is
distributed, they liberated the legal sharing of music files, to me
Ubuntu/Canonical is doing the same with proprietary codecs. They are making
it easy and legal to use proprietary codecs on your Ubuntu box.

Just like with music people have a choice of using the illegal peer to peer
sharing sites or use the legal iTunes store to download their music, in this
case users will also have the choice to use the free (illegal in some
countries) codecs or purchase the legit codecs from Ubuntu.

One important thing about the decision and announcement is the fact that it
does not take away the right and choice of which codec to use, we are still
FREE to choose between the free or commercially available codecs. Another
good thing is when you wipe off your Hard Disk drive you can still go back
to the store and downlaod the codecs for use (which I interpreted to be at
no additional cost)

I dont think the legalities of using the freely available codecs will affect
us this side of the world. We just need to make sure that we all understand
that Ubuntu is FREE (as in both Free Speech and Free Beer) and will remain
so as per Mark and Canonical promise.


It will be interesting to find out how the blogsphere will react to this
news, If i Digg or stumble upon something interesting I will point it out to
the list.

I have noted that Mark has not yet made an official statement or response to
the many questions regarding the announcement.

Good day

Ronald.

On 25/09/2008, Neil Coetzer <ncoetzer at halsteds.co.zw> wrote:
>
>  Hi Ronald,
>
> Thanks for the info. Personally I don't really see the problem. The free
> codecs are still available but users have the option of paying if they want
> to make it legal. Ubuntu as we know and use it hasn't changed, as I
> understand it, so I don't really think it damages the spirit of Ubuntu at
> all.... they're just trying to do the right thing. The problem is not with
> Canonical or Ubuntu... the problem is with the fact that such widely used
> codecs are proprietary. That is what needs to change.
>
> Cheers,
> Neil
>
> On Thu, 2008-09-25 at 10:16 +0200, ronald munjoma wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I am not subscribed to the newsletter (I will soon), will you please
> forward me a copy.
>
> Here is a generalised response, (I would have loved to read the other
> article refered to).
>
> Ubuntu Linux is Free as in Free Speech (the four Freedoms as stated by the
> Free Software Foundation [reads Richard Stallman] and Free Beer (Gratis, for
> no price). Mark and Canonical have clearly stated that Ubuntu will always
> remain Free and so far they have upheld their promise.
>
> Here is how I interpret the article;
>
> You might be aware that the Ubuntu distribution tries by all means to use
> Free Software (and avoid the inclusion of proprietary software as part of
> the distribution). However one can install restricted software and other
> third party software. The restricted and other third party software usually
> comprise of proprietary drivers and multimedia codecs. There are work
> arounds for most of the restricted software, for example my Aspire 5315
> wireless card, makes use of proprietary drivers, I was able to enable and
> use it by using Ndiswrapper (Ndiswrapper made it possible for me to download
> and use Windows drivers on the Ubuntu box). I have also installed most of
> the codecs by installing the Ubuntu Restricted Extras (from the Add/Remove
> menu)
>
> <quote>
> To be clear, it is certainly possible to get proprietary multimedia codecs
> and DVD playback capabilities running in Linux, free of charge. It's
> actually fairly simple. And depending on the codec, or your country of
> residence, it could also be illegal
> </quote>
>
> You might also want to know that Fluendo does also offer free (as in Free
> Beer) codecs to play mp3 file formats.
>
> Why the move?:
>
> <quote>
> Canonical aren't able to legally redistribute these codecs. So instead,
> they've opted to open an area in the storefront that makes downloading and
> installing purchased codecs work similarly to installing with Synaptic.
> They've made it so that a complete reinstall of a system won't require
> another codec purchase. They've made the best out of the situation.
> </quote>
>
> Neil: Like I indicated above I havent seen the CSZ newsletter and article,
> but one thing for sure Canonical issued the statement here:
>
> http://blog.canonical.com/?p=37
>
> which have been quoted and analyzed here:
>
>
> http://ostatic.com/173388-blog/canonical-opens-codec-sales-and-potential-can-of-worms#rss
>
> http://www.itwire.com/content/view/20762/1090/1/1/
>
>
> Personally I strongly feel that this move hurts the spirit of Ubuntu.
>
>
>  On 25/09/2008, *Ganyani Khosa Webmail* <khosag at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>  I received my copy today of the abovementioned newsletter. Our article
> claims UBUNTU is free and another article in the same claims otherwise
> quoting http://www.itwire.com/content/view/20762/1090/  This does not
> reflect a good picture of what we are trying to achieve.
>
>
>
>   We also need to pay close attention to the ICT Bill being proposed and
> ensure that it includes our interests. Lets not let it pass without our due
> attention. These are the policy issues I said I have keen interest. I will
> follow this and update team members.
>
>
>
>
>
>   Ganyani
>
>
>
> --
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>
>
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