We made some mistakes in our handling of the discussion around revenue share with the Banshee team. Thanks to everyone who helped make sure we were aware of ‘em ;-)

Money is particularly contentious in a community that mixes volunteer and paid effort, we should have anticipated and been extra careful to have the difficult conversations that were inevitable up front and in public, at UDS, when we were talking about the possibility of Banshee being the default media player in Ubuntu. We didn’t, and I apologise for the consequential confusion and upset caused.

The principles from which we derive our policy are straightforward:

The bulk of the direct cost in creating the audience of Ubuntu users is carried by Canonical. There are many, many indirect costs and contributions that are carried by others, both inside the Ubuntu community and in other communities, without which Ubuntu would not be possible. But that doesn’t diminish the substantial investment made by Canonical in a product that is in turn made available free of charge to millions of users and developers.

The business model which justifies this investment, and which we hope will ultimately sustain that effort for the desktop without dependence on me, is that fee-generating services which are optional for users provide revenue to Canonical. This enables us to make the desktop available in a high quality, fully maintained form, without any royalties or license fees. By contrast, every other commercial Linux desktop is a licensed product – you can’t legally use it for free, the terms for binaries are similar to those for Windows or the MacOS. They’re entitled to do it their way, we think it’s good in the world that we choose to do it our way too.

We know that we need a healthy and vibrant ecosystem of application developers. We think services should work for them too, and we’re committed to sharing revenue with them. We want to be entirely aligned in our interests: better code means a better result for both of us, better revenue means more resources to do what we love even better. Our interests, and upstream interests, should be perfectly aligned in this. So we have consistently had the view that revenue we can attribute to a particular upstream should create a revenue share for that upstream. We support Mozilla in this way, for example. The numbers are not vast, but nor are they insubstantial, and while we are not obliged to do so, we do so happily.

Those are the principles, the policy is straightforward: Canonical seeks to earn revenue from services delivered to Ubuntu, and we will share a portion of that revenue with relevant projects who help make that possible. Our interests, and those of the projects, should be aligned to the greatest extent possible.

In engaging with Banshee leads at UDS, we should have been absolutely clear about our expectations and commitment. Apparently, we weren’t, and for that I apologise. There was certainly no conspiring or maliciousness, it apparently just never came up. But it was my expectation that we would share revenue with Banshee, I mentioned it briefly to someone closer to the conversation, but I failed to follow up until I heard rumours of a potential disagreement on the subject in recent days.

We also made a mistake, I believe, as this blew up in private conversations, when a well-meaning person presented a choice to the Banshee developers, who then of course made a choice. But our position isn’t at all what was communicated. Our position is that we’ll deliver the best overall experience to users, we’ll derive services revenue from that, and we’ll share it with upstreams where we can attribute it efficiently. It wasn’t in the mandate of that person to offer a choice outside of that framework, but it was an honest mistake.

So, every free software project out there should be confident of a few things:

Canonical would like you to succeed, would like to make it as easy as possible for many, many users to adopt your software, and is willing to share the benefits of that with you. Whether your software is promoted as the default in Ubuntu, or simply neatly packaged for easy consumption, we’d like our interests to be well aligned. We have a bug tracker that helps us pass issues to you if they are reported in Ubuntu first, we have a revenue model which matches that with passing through a share of revenues, too. And that goes for any kind of revenue that we can attribute to your project; for example, if we offer a support service specially tailored to people using your code, you can reasonably expect to agree a revenue share of that with us.

Canonical invests heavily in creating a big, addressable ecosystem that you can easily reach. That’s worth something. We also want a big, vibrant upstream community that innovates and makes its own investments. We know that contributions come both from volunteers and paid staff, and it’s good to be able to have a bit of both in the mix, for the sake of both the volunteers and the paid staff!

Documenting this position is obviously a priority; we should have done so previously, but we just relied on internal precedent, which is a dumb idea when you’ve grown as quickly as we have in the past few years. So we’ll do that.

As for the revenue share we’ve offered the Banshee team, I would love to see them use that to make Banshee even better. That’s what it should be for. Don’t be shy, don’t be nervous of taking the money and using it for your own project. Canonical has already provided much more in the way of funding to the Gnome Foundation than this is likely to, through initiatives like the bugzilla.gnome.org work that we funded, and many other forms of support. I think money generated by an app should go towards making that app rock even harder. But the offer stands for Banshee devs to take up if they’d like, and use as they’d like. If they don’t want it, we’ll put it to good use.

This certainly won’t be the last word on the subject. I expect these situations to become more common, not less. But I think that represents a great opportunity to see sustained investment in desktop free software, which we have been sorely lacking. I think our model gives projects a nice, clear roadmap: build awesome stuff, partner with Canonical and be confident you will share in the success of Ubuntu. This is the model which catalysed the founding of Ubuntu, seven years ago, this is what we’re here to do: make free software available freely, in the best quality, to the widest audience we can. That’s an opportunity for every project that cares about how many people get to use their stuff, and under what terms.

177 comments:

  1. George Notaras says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I think the FOSS community, sooner or later, will have to face itself regarding the future and the evolution of a software development model that is currently mostly based on voluntary work. I think that the creation of economical connections between open source projects will further strengthen their current positions and also promote their quality. IMO, this is the right direction. Your efforts in creating a high quality product for the desktop are admirable. Thanks.

  2. Mark Murphy says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Canonical having revenue-earning optional services in Ubuntu *for software that it wrote* is perfectly reasonable.

    Canonical altering affiliate codes or similar identifiers, to hijack revenues from software that Canonical did not write, is simply unethical and immoral.

    When Web sites are accused of altering affiliate codes on links from user-generated content, the outrage is palpable. When Web sites copy other sites’ content and slap their own ads on, adding no additional value, people complain about “content spam” and Google rejiggers their search algorithms to punish the copiers. When ISPs inject ads in Web sites its users surf to, negative press is frequently just the starting point. Why is Canonical changing affiliate codes in open source applications any different?

    Yes, it is permitted by license, and hence it is not a breach of copyright. However, that should represent a *floor* for ethics, not a ceiling.

    If Canonical truly believes that, because of the size of its user base, it is entitled to revenue from packages it distributes, then at least be up-front and even-handed about it, and charge a marketing fee to each and every application and library that Ubuntu ships. Of course, you will find that many developers will be disinterested in paying such a fee, resulting in a smaller, weaker Ubuntu. But at least you will be documenting your expectations and applying them across the board, not on a selective basis.

    I write this on an Ubuntu 10.10-powered notebook. I have frequently looked for ways to contribute to Ubuntu, but I never saw a donation area, and last I looked the Ubuntu merchandise store didn’t seem to be set up for US customers. I apologize for using your product without contributing to you, but you haven’t given me a simple way to do that. Perhaps Canonical should focus on those sorts of efforts, to improve the usability of ways to give you money, so that you can leave applications’ affiliate codes alone.

  3. Andreas Kuckartz says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    You write “every other commercial Linux desktop is a licensed product – you can’t legally use it for free, the terms for binaries are similar to those for Windows or the MacOS.”

    What?! Please name those “other commercial Linux desktops”.

  4. srinivas v says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Mark, Please do note the following.
    1. Ur explanation of the whole situation is most confusing.
    2. U have not taken any stand.
    3. Ignorance of law is also a crime. Ignorance of the banshee scenario is no explanation for such a heavily debated topic
    4. Banshee or any other “free as in freedom” developers do not need ur advice. They very well know how to make money or not from their favorite project.
    5. Your re-iteration of telling the banshee developers to develop “their” project, improve “their” project, think about only “their” projects is something that will not be taken easily by the “free as in freedom” developers.
    6. Ubuntu is “your” project. So go ahead and do whatever u want with it.
    7. Since u dont like nasty comments here please head out to my blog, If u have time(And if u think that it might give ur monetary returns).
    8. “U” and “U”buntu are here at this commanding position because of the “free as in freedom” developers(gnome, linux kernel, open office, kvm, qemu, firefox, X, all the plethora of window managers, GNU/Debian and all the fantastic “free as in freedom” developers.
    9. U seem to be interested only in the beatification of GNU/Linux.
    10. U have spent only “dollars” in making brand ubuntu known(If allowed, u might have a windows kernel if it was free.)
    11. U in fact should have spent those “dollars” in making the world understand “free as in freedom” software.
    12. stop aping Apple.

  5. Martin Owens says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    The percentages and specifics are really a distraction. So long as Canonical is clear about it’s position regarding non-direct funding sources (incidental money) like referral fees. It would also be helpful to know whether Canonical would put direct funding into upstream projects that it includes by default; should the company become more profitable. Much like OEMs are currently putting money into Canonical for inclusion in their products.

    This issue, like so many before, has been more about communication and a regard for the community, than for any specifics.

  6. David says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    So I want to make sure I understand your position. You wait for a group of volunteers to create a great piece of software that you believe will provide the best experience for the users of your product. You add it to your your product because it adds that value. You then take the revenue stream from the original developers and pretend your doing them a favor.

  7. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    @David, no, you clearly don’t understand my position, but I don’t think that was your real goal for the comment ;-)

  8. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    @ Srini, I did go to your blog, and was very glad that the proprietary ATI drivers appear to be working well for you.

  9. Jan Gutter says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Notwithstanding the arguments about ethics, morality, free software and commercial software, this raises an important question: which model of funding would be the most sustainable to foster open source and free software in the future?

    The model that Red Hat, Novell, Oracle and others use is to sell a high-end, server-class support contract to fund development. As a byproduct they cannot help but to contribute to some of the more fundamental infrastructure in Linux (the kernel, glibc, plumbing, etc.) The fact is that this plumbing work is HARD to do correctly, and a lot of individuals able to do have to be paid.

    The model that Debian and Gentoo use is almost entirely based on volunteers and donations. This means that development is driven more by (for lack of a better term) developer ego and a desire to code something beautiful. Monetary gain *seems* to be secondary here, but the fact is that talented developers donate their personal time to the system.

    Then there’s the model Ubuntu is pioneering. Trying to monetize systems in and around a Linux distribution to provide funding for developing and extending the same systems. At first glance this would seem to be the least likely way to be sustainable. Apple with iTunes and the various cellphone App markets have decidedly shown otherwise.

    I’m positing that there’s two major factors that will make or break such a micro-sales system:

    The first is monopoly. If you are the only game in town (let’s face it, that’s most probably the reason the iTunes store dominates music sales) then there’s very little that prevents you from growing.

    The second is trust. Apple, PayPal, Amazon, I would not trust any of them to act other than big, monopolistic companies. Because of the massive userbase they have, I do trust that most people, however, are suckered or forced into being their clients. My emotional response to this is “they must be doing something right”. Gaining reputation and trust is obviously very important (as the former owner of Thawte should know!)

    So, if you haven’t fallen asleep at this point, you might be expecting some kind of point or summary, or at least something you can take as a constructive comment. Unfortunately there’s none of that here. When dealing with humans, and especially humans /en masse/, there are just too many parameters to predict anything.

    Hindsight, I presume, will be the only way to determine what actually works and what doesn’t. Which is the EXACT opposite of engineering. Which is why engineers are so easily agitated by the ethics and morality of free and open source software.

  10. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    @Andreas: Red Hat Workstation, Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop.

  11. David says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    @Mark,
    The point of my comment was to try to get to the bottom line of the situation in a very direct fashion. If my comment shows a lack of understanding of your position, it’s because I find it difficult to find what your position is. As far I can tell you believe you have dedicated a large sum of money to Ubuntu and the community and want to see return on that money. I agree that you should see return on your investment. I question whether your taking money that doesn’t belong to you to get that return.

  12. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    (trying to keep this short)

    Mark, can you remember when Ubuntu started out there was much more of “Ubuntu is a community project backed by Canonical” and how that changed more to “Ubuntu is a Canonical project with some community involvement”. It’s not said like that directly anywhere, but if you look at Ubuntu and Canonical now and then there’s a clear difference in how the project is delivered to people who are new to it.

    I don’t know who I should talk to about this but I also think that the community manager role should be reviewed. Currently the tasks seem to be stuff like “Make sure community has buy-in for Unity” and other tasks that seem more marketing related for Canonical than actual Ubuntu community building work.

    Honestly, Ubuntu just doesn’t feel like a community project at all anymore. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a bug or feature. I can assure you that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    Having said that, I’m still happy to contribute to Edubuntu and for people using Ubuntu and all it’s derivatives, and I’ll continue to chug along doing my little bits toward the project. I also think that Canonical plays an important role in the bigger eco-system and hope that it does things right and succeeds. I also believe that if you want to fix a system you have to be a part of it, which is why I wouldn’t leave the project just because I’m unhappy with some grey areas and which is also why I applied for sponsorship for UDS again.

    “Only a sith deals in absolutes” -Obi-wan Kenobi

  13. João Pinto says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Mark,
    if you believe that this hard conversation should had happened at UDS, why did Canonical follow-up with the affiliate code change after the initial meeting ? At that time it was already known that a) there was an error on part of Canonical management, b) this aspect of the change was not properly communicate to the Community.
    It would be much more respectful to the community to keep the banshee code untouched for this cycle, and to take whatever measures would be appropriate for a more constructive and effective dialog until the next release.
    In my opinion the main issue is not about the money, it is more how Canonical business engagement takes priority over Community engagement

    And I am sorry but the sentence the policy is NOT straightforward. “Canonical seeks to earn revenue from services delivered to Ubuntu, and we will share a portion of that revenue with relevant projects who help make that possible. “.
    There are many ways to deliver services do a product which do not require direct changes to the product. Be very clear that those services can include random changes to the Ubuntu product as dictated by Canonical.

  14. Max Kanat-Alexander says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Hey Mark. As usual, your point is made with great clarity and intelligence. I agree that money is a contentious issue in mixed volunteer/paid communities, but I hope that that sort of conflict doesn’t prevent your proposed model from taking off. Open source volunteer developers very much need a revenue stream, Canonical needs a way to support itself forever, and your model sounds frankly brilliant and extremely practical. I for one am all for it! :-)

    -Max

  15. IGnatius T Foobar says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Quite frankly, I think Canonical has every right to keep *all* the revenue.

  16. Vincent Untz says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Mark: feel free to use SLED for free: http://www.novell.com/products/desktop/eval.html ;-) “The only limitation of this evaluation software is the duration of your free access to update.novell.com.”

  17. shlomil says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    This whole debate is silly.
    When you release your source you should always take into account that it will be used in ways you may not approve.
    Canonical and Ubuntu contributed to the Linux increased popularity we see in recent years and is entitled, IMHO, to change the source code and use Ubuntu’s user base to generate profit. However, Banshee devs should be motivated to improve their software and that’s why profit sharing is the prefect solution. I have a feeling that 25% will be worth much more (than the current 100% with smaller user base) for GNOME and Banshee devs after it become default.

    I would go even further with this idea: let the users define (during first purchase) which percentage of the generated revenue should go to Canonical like those guy with the Humble Bundle did. This will surly make all these bad feeling go away.

  18. Nick Mailer says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Mark, would you re/affirm that you believe you were accurate in your claim that RHEL and Suse’s “terms for binaries are similar to those for Windows or the MacOS”?

    As far as I can tell, this represents a distortion, even taking into account the “binaries” caveat.

    Have I missed something?

    PS: You need to update the copyright boilerplate at the bottom of this page which, telling, stalls in 2007 ;-)

  19. Mateusz Mucha says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Mark,

    These situations are bound to happen – there’s no such thing as a successful project that doesn’t receive any criticism. You guys make a lot of decisions and many of them in regard to problems that don’t have a perfect solution (free drivers / users’ convenience, to name one problem). I’ve been using Ubuntu since Hoary and didn’t love everything you did, but I’ve always felt Ubuntu’s getting way more crap than it deserves when it comes to FOSS community.
    As long as your intentions are clean (I don’t doubt it), we should be fine.

  20. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    @Vincent: sounds like a free eval for a proprietary product, to me ;-)

  21. Cheryl says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I find the whole topic rather annoying. And not from the perspective of the Gnome/Banshee community. Banshee is released under the MIT license, if they have an obligation to their software being used commercially then they should have chosen another license type.

    That was their choice and now they have to live with the decision.

    The community around Gnome acts as if Ubuntu is the only platform that Banshee is available for. It isn’t. But it is the only one that will be replacing the ID. That means whatever other revenue that Banshee generates will be theirs to do with as they see fit.

    If they decide to donate 100% of that to Gnome then that is their right. However, to say that it is a Gnome application and that 100% of all revenue generated through it, regardless of the platform, belongs to Gnome is pretty short sighted.

    Ubuntu, while free, incurs expenses and goodwill doesn’t pay the bills. I would much rather fund Ubuntu and Gnome through purchasing music rather than other models available.

    As a closing observation, I wonder how many users Banshee has if they are afraid to lose the Ubuntu platform.

  22. linuxuser says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Mark, I fully support you! Many here do not know that as Red Hat have a commercial distribution, together with the operating system, SUSE and Ubuntu as opposed to those operating systems offer full support!

    In the near future we hope to Ubuntu for my graphics card ATI Radeon 9000 to provide support for full 3D view, so he could enjoy the benefits of Unity Compiz Fusion.

  23. Jan Gutter says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Unfortunately perception, not the “truth”, and certainly not facts normally rule these kinds of debates. Take, for example the Xemacs vs Emacs wars: people fighting over very fine points of principle that simply do not make sense to other people. And thus, great religious wars were ignited…

    So, the bottom line is that the following perceptions about this whole sordid affair has permeated the blogosphere:

    1. Banshee’s developers explicitly ask, in the source code of the Amazon plugin not to change the referrer ID. They seem to have no intention of enforcing it, but politely ask people not to.
    2. Banshee’s plugin donates ALL the money to the GNOME foundation. Not to the Banshee developers.
    3. Canonical and Banshee’s developers had behind-the-scenes discussions. Banshee’s developers requested that the plugin be deactivated by default and the referrer stay the same. This was in response to Canonical misrepresenting that there would be a choice.
    4. The plugin will be modified so that 25% of the revenue goes to GNOME, and 75% to Canonical.
    5. Mark Shuttleworth explains that this is because of Canonical’s principles, and proclaims them upheld.

    Again, these are highly slanted perceptions. Here’s some perceptions to counter them:

    1. Canonical has spent a large amount of money, not only to promote Ubuntu, but to give it mainstream appeal.
    2. In order to continue this, Canonical requires a form of revenue.
    3. Canonical implements new forms of revenue gathering regularly, and shares this revenue with the projects that underpin Ubuntu.

    In conclusion:

    It’s very easy to describe Canonical and Ubuntu as merely packagers of code that hard-working coders wrote for breadcrumbs and the occasional tepid splash of water. Canonical is also, by no means, a philanthropic organization dedicated to free code, Linux on every desktop and hippies everywhere. The truth is somewhere between. Unfortunately, this whole affair has shifted public perception (mine included) somewhat to the wrong side.

    It’s not going to be as easy as to put up a blog post to repair the reputational damage here. But here’s the kicker: Canonical has only suffered reputational damage on a small subset of its users. The subset of developers annoyed by this might be larger, but short-term they cannot do damage to Ubuntu’s marketshare.

    So Canonical has a choice to make: repair the damage, or just shrug it off. A community-please-everyone decision here would have bottom-line impact. A corporation with shareholders will never, ever, think twice about this… stuff the vocal minority, all hail the bottom line!

  24. Trevor Williams says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I’ve been reading many articles and comments related to this issue, but I have not heard anyone comment on the potential upside for the Banshee developer’s by giving Banshee the default music player position on the desktop. Though many of you do not care for Apple as a company and some of you may not care for their products, there is a lot to be learned from their strategies, especially their App Store. When an application is promoted on the App Store (i.e., placed in their “Top 25″, “Featured”, or “Recommended” lists, the sales of those apps goes up considerably. Likewise, it stands to reason, that by promoting Banshee as the default (i.e., best or recommended) music player in Ubuntu, usage of it should, in theory, increase significantly, increasing the rate in which sales are made through it. So it’s entirely conceivable that more money will be given to the Banshee development team than they are currently receiving. It can’t be proven until it occurs and one can argue with the percentages given to Canonical and Banshee (personally, I think it should be the other way around if these numbers are maintained). Just something to offer that may provide a slightly different perspective on the situation.

  25. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    @Jonathan

    This is interesting. I can understand the experience you’re having; it seems there have been a number of issues where a decision has been taken by me, or someone else at Canonical, and that’s been controversial. But remember, the mere existence of Ubuntu was controversial to many people at the beginning. Most decisions have both proponents and detractors, which is why a lot of open source projects, which depend to some extent on harmony within the bounds of the community, struggle to take decisions at all.

    As for the impression that there has been a change, I think that’s because the most high-profile decisions taken appear to place Canonical and non-Canonical folks at loggerheads. But let me ask you this: don’t you think that most of the people who work at Canonical want the best for Ubuntu? It’s a very tough place to work – lots of intellectual debate, lots of travel, huge numbers of bugs to fix, the relentless cadence of releases. As far as I can tell, it is still true that the majority of people at Canonical are here because they love Ubuntu, they want free software to succeed, and they think being part of this company is the best way to achieve that. It’s premature to talk of a deep divide between the interests of the company and the community – because most people in the company think of themselves as being in the community too.

    Let’s look at some of the decisions.

    I decided, as part of my job in design, that we would move the window controls to the left. That was very controversial at the time, but there has been hardly a peep about it since. It was played out as “Canonical vs the Community”, but it wasn’t. This is how I think Ubuntu will be best, it has nothing to do with corporate interests. Yes, I have the authority to make a change like that, and yes, that change happens despite being controversial. But in order to tackle Microsoft, Apple and Google, I’m pretty certain we’ll need to be controversial :-) So it was an easy decision, I believed it was the right thing to do, and it does not make Ubuntu one bit less community-centric.

    We decided to include Ubuntu One as part of Ubuntu. Now, services delivered to the desktop are the rationale for our investment in Ubuntu. A framework for those services is a good thing – it enables them to be consistent and coherent. All of the major OS’s are building those. The free communities have been unable to agree on how to do so, because they are not well setup to deal with commerce, which is at the heart of such frameworks. Should we shy away from that controversy, or should we move forward and get it done? Has Ubuntu One made it any more difficult for a member of the community – specifically someone who does not work for Ubuntu – to participate in Ubuntu, to make changes that express their creativity and their expertise and make the platform better for the millions of users who enjoy it free of charge? I would say not.

    We committed to build Unity, despite the fact that we have no need of control of a shell (obviously – we grew quite well thank you just shipping vanilla GNOME previously). We did so because we had ample reason to believe that the trajectory of the alternatives was going to fail. And it did fail – Gnome 3 looks much more like the vision we painted with Unity than the original vision, and it would not have done so unless we had the guts to commit to, and deliver, an alternative picture of the future. I am sorry that a few Gnome leaders have blocked Gnome’s adoption of Unity API’s, and the stress that will cause, but I feel proud that we had the guts, and the capacity, to design and deliver something wonderful. We have a vibrant community around Unity – both in design, discussion, quality and development.

    We decided that we would ensure that Qt was a first class toolkit on Ubuntu. Has that created any barriers to participation? You could well argue it has *reduced* those barriers, but enabling developers who like Qt to participate and contribute directly. Time will tell, of course, because that’s only going to be done in the future. But it’s an example of a decision described as “tension between Canonical and the Community”. Nonsense. We have lots of community members who use Qt every day and love it, what about them? Are you going to bring another community’s dogma into Ubuntu, and say we should serve that toolkit ideology rather than our users and developers?

    We offered to share revenue with Banshee. We are confident that Banshee will do very well, and that the offer reflects the value we create in making an audience of millions of users for that code. Other projects would be delighted to replace Banshee in that equation, and we have similar arrangements with existing, professional open source organisations. Yes, this is highly controversial, but does it make it more difficult to participate? Does it prevent someone from doing wonderful work and enjoying it? Will it prevent rich and open and frank conversations at UDS or on -devel? I don’t think so at all.

    Controversy is difficult.

    But without the willingness to make tough decisions, I am certain we will fail. Tough decisions are always controversial. And what would you think if I, or any other leader in Ubuntu, was afraid to make a tough decision, and in the process made the work of thousands of contributors less relevant, or less useful? You’d say we had failed in our obligations.

    We are principled, we have stuck to our principles.

    Everything we put into Ubuntu is open source. All of our investments in Unity are freely available for competitors and collaborators alike. We have gone to great lengths to support champions of free software, both under the Ubuntu banner, and directly in their various pursuits and projects. Our business model is risky, unproven, and if successful it will ensure that free software is freely available to the whole world. I think that’s worth supporting, I think that’s why so many people participate in Ubuntu – they know that the muscle that Canonical can bring, while it is likely to create a few bruises, is also the best chance to see free software *really* change the world of software, and they want to be part of it. That’s why Ubuntu has a community of extraordinary diversity and talent and generosity and energy – and that’s not changed at all.

  26. Conscious User says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Mark,

    I think another big problem, other than communication, is rush. I’m going to assume the financial situation of Canonical is still comfortable enough for you not to be *desperate* for money, so I personally believe things would go better if handled with more calm.

    Why not give Banshee at least one release cycle of unedited affiliate code, and then take the six months of concrete usage statistics as the basis for future decisions concerning revenue?

    Accusations involving moral and ethics aside, this whole business sounded like an admission that the Ubuntu One Music Store has little to offer compared to Amazon, and that Canonical chose the easy path instead of the hard one, which would be making U1MS more attractive.

  27. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    @Nick: Oh yes. https://www.redhat.com/licenses/ For a start:

    5.1 Reporting. Client will notify Red Hat (or the Business Partner from whom Client purchased Software or Services) promptly if the actual number of Units of Software or Services utilized by Client exceeds the number of Units for which Client has paid the applicable Fees. In its notice, Client will include the number of additional Units and the date(s) on which such Units were first utilized. Red Hat (or the Business Partner) will invoice Client for the applicable Services for such Units and Client will pay for such Services no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the invoice.

    5.2 Inspection. During the term of this Agreement and for one (1) year thereafter, Red Hat or its designated agent may inspect Client’s facilities and records to verify Client’s compliance with this Agreement. Any such inspection will take place only during Client’s normal business hours and upon no less than ten (10) days prior written notice from Red Hat. Red Hat will give Client written notice of any noncompliance, including the number of underreported Units of Software or Services, and Client will have fifteen (15) days from the date of this notice to make payment to Red Hat for the applicable Services provided with respect to the underreported Units. If Client underreports the number of Units utilized by more than five percent (5%) of the number of Units for which Client paid, Client will also pay Red Hat for the cost of such inspection.

  28. mark says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    @Vincent: a free trial is not “use of the solution”. It’s an evaluation of a proprietary product, just like you can get a free trial version of Microsoft Office. By contrast, Ubuntu includes all updates without requiring a subscription or license fee. You can actually deploy it in production, safely, and have no obligation to pay or subscribe, or notify anybody of your usage.

  29. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    @Mark: those “agreements” are included since ages by RedHat, that’s why several companies I worked for didn’t want to use RHEL/RH Network.

    External People inside a private held datacenter is a no go.

    Regards,
    \sh

  30. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    @Jonathan:

    Honestly, I never saw Ubuntu as a community driven project in the first place.
    Community can do some work for Ubuntu and can change some bits and pieces, yes.

    But mostly I saw Ubuntu always a “free” product of Canonical.

    That’s why this actually works.

    But this whole story is really a problem with the point of view of the people involved.
    Indeed, I think this is the first time Mark said explicitly that Ubuntu is a product of Canonical (Mark, when I’m wrong just state it here), and this statement was missing for quite sometime.
    The public slogan “Ubuntu, Linux for Human Beings” was never meant to say that Ubuntu is not a product, and only community driven.

    Community driven distros, besides Debian and Gentoo, are not real. There is always a catch when companies are sponsoring and are involved in the development or even in providing the infrastructure.

    Nevertheless, with Ubuntu we (the non paid contributors) do have a possibility to change parts of it, and we do so.

    Regards,

    \sh

  31. Fanen says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Methinks a “pay any price you want” model will work quite well for ubuntu, and still retain its core values.

    When a user clicks download, give them a textbox that defaults to perhaps ‘$0′ and give them the option of paying something before downloading.

    I’m the kind of person that will pay for a good product, and thus far, ubuntu has been a great product. I can’t pay for it presently, because i can’t afford to buy the support which I don’t need, and know of no other means of paying (I lack the time to contribute effectively in non-financial ways).

    [cheap diversion]: i don’t like the idea of unity though, and i have personally concluded that my relationship with ubuntu will come to an end if Gnome3 is not packaged with the usual quality I have come to expect of ubuntu. That’s not a threat, I’m just someone who recognises when something is out of my control.

  32. yungchin says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for writing this up. You’re obviously right (and very understating) in that there’s value in providing all the infrastructure, organisation, and vision that make Ubuntu a polished, powerful, and comprehensive solution for people like me. Hence the position of revenue-sharing as articulated here sounds very reasonable and sensible: any piece of software is worth that much more to me coming as part of Ubuntu than standing on its own. The whole is greater than the parts, and all that.

    For the specific case of the Banshee plug-in that you were referring to, I suppose matters are however a bit delicate because the revenue stream had originally been “ear-marked” for a non-profit (ie the Gnome Foundation). Can you comment on that?

  33. Jonathan Blackhall says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    “But the offer stands for Banshee devs to take up if they’d like, and use as they’d like. If they don’t want it, we’ll put it to good use.”

    I am curious if I’m understanding the end of your post correctly. Are you saying that if Banshee developers were to keep the money for themselves to help fund Banshee development, they would be getting a larger percentage (or even all) of the revenue, but since they’re donating it to the GNOME Foundation, then you’re only giving them a (smaller) percentage of the profits? If so, that’s a ballsy statement. Not saying I completely disagree, but I can see it pissing some people off.

  34. Gareth says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    So, RE The Banshee issue: “Take the 25% or don’t, we don’t care. We’re taking either 75% or 100% of the revenue. We’ve done lots of other stuff that has benefited you, so be damn grateful for that and that we’re offering you the 25% at all!”

  35. Anonymous says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    > every other commercial Linux desktop is a licensed product – you can’t legally use it for free

    I am using Slackware Linux for about ten years and I always saw it as a commercial Linux desktop which I can legally use for free.

    I admit I may be wrong about it, because I’m not a lawyer, but neither I am sure that your above quote is correct. Can you comment on this please?

    My point is that extreme sentences like this one of yours only harm Ubuntu. Even if you are right, there are lots of people (zealots and other kinds of “extremists”) which will see this whole situation as “Mark is trying again to justify himself and Canonical by bashing the other Linux distros”. I think Canonical is doing something certainly wrong, and I don’t mean episodes like “Ubuntu vs Debian”, “Ubuntu vs Fedora” or this “bansheegate”. There must be some wrong general strategy.

  36. Paradiesstaub says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Mark, I like your Ubuntu leadership.

    The commander takes decisions for the best of all, even if the crowd dose not understand why.

  37. Allan Day says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Mark,

    “Gnome 3 looks much more like the vision we painted with Unity than the original vision, and it would not have done so unless we had the guts to commit to, and deliver, an alternative picture of the future.”

    As someone who has been closely involved with the GNOME 3 design process, I can tell you that that statement just isn’t true.

  38. Canonical se justifica y trata de sobornar al proyecto Banshee | el mundo según Linux says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    [...] La discusión ha llegado a un punto tan critico, que el mismo Mark Shuttleworth, fundador de Canonical ha hecho una declaración por medio de su blog, con la que intenta justificar la posición de Canonical en todo este asunto, titulado “Mistakes made, lessons learned, a principle clarified and upheld”. [...]

  39. TheGhost says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    To my mind you have made the right decision. Both, Ubuntu and Banshee (and also Gnome) benefit from the decision made. There are always critical voices but as you said, choices have to be done. The number of Ubuntu users proved that Ubuntu (including Canonical’s decisions) is on the right way. But it is clear that this way also needs revenues to keep up the great work. Most of the users know that, it seems that the most critical voices are from “outside”.

    My mind as an Ubuntu user is, as long as all participants benefit from this decision, the decision is right.

    The benefits are clear:

    - To provide both music stores instead of disabling one as default is the best experience for the users of Ubuntu. That is my opinion as Ubuntu user.
    - Gnome gains shares from U1MS as well as the Amazon sales. Probably this means, Gnome gains more money than before (let time show).
    - Banshee benefits from the wider audience, which means more supporters etc.

    So as you have seen, there is no real problem.
    A lot of discussions for a lot of benefits. :)

    Ok, the only flaw was how the information of this decision came to publicity, but I think people at Canonical learned their lessons, that it is not always the best to do these things behind closed doors.

    Btw, you should keep in mind that Canonical supported Gnome as well as KDE in much more than just upstream work. So keeping some shares is the one side of the medal.

  40. TheGh0st says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    To my mind you have made the right decision. Both, Ubuntu and Banshee (and also Gnome) benefit from the decision made. There are always critical voices but as you said, choices have to be done. The number of Ubuntu users proved that Ubuntu (including Canonical’s decisions) is on the right way. But it is clear that this way also needs revenues to keep up the great work. Most of the users know that, it seems that the most critical voices are from “outside”.

    My mind as an Ubuntu user is, as long as all participants benefit from this decision, the decision is right.

    The benefits are clear:

    - To provide both music stores instead of disabling one as default is the best experience for the users of Ubuntu. That is my opinion as Ubuntu user.
    - Gnome gains shares from U1MS as well as the Amazon sales. Probably this means, Gnome gains more money than before (let time show).
    - Banshee benefits from the wider audience, which means more supporters etc.

    So as you have seen, there is no real problem.
    A lot of discussions for a lot of benefits. :)

    Ok, the only flaw was how the information of this decision came to publicity, but I think people at Canonical learned their lessons, that it is not always the best to do these things behind closed doors.

    Btw, you should keep in mind that Canonical supported Gnome as well as KDE in much more than just upstream work. So keeping some shares is the one side of the medal.

  41. lzap says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    @Mark Murphy: Instead of philosophical paragraphs do simple math. An upstream projects makes a little money (ads, partnership). Then Canonical comes, take their work, invest in the marketing, do the “last mile” and earns a lot of money. Canonical shares the money. The upstream team now earns 10 times more with great possibilities to growh (hundred of times more). They can focus what they can do – engineering. Not marketing.

    Just do the math. Think about it. It is a real world out there. People work, people earn. No offence.

  42. Jason D. Clinton says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @mark

    You are entitled to your opinion but taking credit for GNOME’s design work is utterly reprehensible behavior.

  43. lzap says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    @sadig: About the RH license. Did you ever heard about NDA? You think other vendors including Canonical has no such agreements? Do you think it’s abnormal to allow your vendor to come in (and help you)? How do you think vendors should support their customers when >real< problems come into the picture? Over the phone? How often you think these visits occur?

    Life is not black or white. You can disagree, but this is the only thing you can do.

  44. Justyn says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Mark,

    I support your attempts (including this Banshee situation) to create new revenue streams and create a sustainable business model for a consumer-oriented Linux desktop. I agree that you’re going to have to be gutsy to compete with the likes of Apple etc, and I hope that Canonical will be able to improve its handling of the complex company-community relationship in the future, and anticipate these issues in advance. PR is hard.

    “People will forget what you said
    People will forget what you did
    But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou.

    On a different note: in the interests of free desktop community harmony, I implore you to make a minor change to this post, where you compare other commercial Linux desktop offerings to Windows and OS X. I know exactly the point you are making but while accurate what you have written is misleading. These distributions release the source, and are therefore very different to those proprietary operating systems – see the existence of CentOS for example.

    I know you were not intending to misrepresent anyone and you clearly use the word “binaries”, but it will cause many people to get the wrong idea, and that is a shame. Ubuntu has suffered quite a lot of rather slanted coverage in the media/blogosphere recently, we do not want to start perpetrating it ourselves.

    I genuinely ask you to please, make a simple clarification like:
    “although the sources are released, you can’t legally use the distribution itself for free, the terms for binaries are similar to those for Windows or the MacOS”. Or similar.

    Thank you.

  45. Dylan McCall says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I think one problem on both sides is we don’t really tell our users where their money is going (or even that someone other than the store is _earning_ money). Did you happen to look at the Humble Bundle a while ago? (This thingy: http://www.humblebundle.com/)
    They have a really cool slider thing so you can choose exactly who your donation goes to. I imagine it all feeds into a single average in their database, so pretty straight-forward to implement. It’s a neat way of handling the VERY contentious issue of how you split a donation between multiple entities, not all of whom are non-profit.

    We also kind of fail at communication sometimes. I think a lot of the recent “Canonical is evil!” debacles have been about communication. People writing things to mailing lists in ways that end up being misinterpreted, features landing that the community didn’t see coming, that kind of thing. Of course, the beautiful thing with free software is we’re all people, but does Canonical happen to have a go-to person for communications? Not necessarily marketing; just someone to help ensure that the really significant messages like “guys, we want to change the Amazon music store’s referral code” are in their best possible state to avoid confusion or unhappiness.

  46. Adam Williamson says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    mark: “@Andreas: Red Hat Workstation, Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop.”

    You appear to be forgetting at least Mandriva (most of whose commercial editions are free-as-in-speech; only the non-free components that are provided as part of the commercial edition are not so) and the non-enterprise Suse, which you can still buy boxes of:

    http://en.opensuse.org/Buy_openSUSE

    it comes with DVDs of openSUSE itself (which is of course free-as-in-speech) and a supplementary CD of non-free apps which are probably non-redistributable.

    There’s a few others, still, too.

  47. Justin says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Mark, I believe that two things have contributed to the amount of heat that this topic has generated.

    One, the lack of communication from Canonical about the change to Banshee. You’ve covered a lot of this in your post and apologized many times about it. One can see that the lack of communication is a big point with all the calls for “wait a cycle” and then general sense of confusion by a lot of users of GNU/Linux, not just Ubuntu users’, about this whole episode. The up side of this is, an apology was given, hopefully lessons will be learned, some people will finally just let it go (like the moving control buttons on the left side of a window), and the rest, well, haters gonna hate.

    Two, the feeling that you are taking someone’s revenue. Basically, the view of Canonical is that they are promoting Banshee and that entitles them to a cut of the revenue. Some people take exception about this promoting fee because it sound a lot like how (random industry being pulled here) the recording industry works. Others take exception to it because Canonical didn’t write the software. Honestly, if the Banshee team took large exception about the issue they very well could have asked that their software not be part of Ubuntu. I think that if Canonical wanted to change this so bad maybe they should have instead made Ubunshee (fork of Banshee). Forking or just going their own way has been almost the norm for Ubuntu (the biggest I can think of being Unity over Gnome Shell or Wayland over X.org) so I am not sure, actually surprised, why Canonical didn’t just make a Ubunshee client.

    Just to come clean, I am not a Ubuntu user (Slackware user) but I totally understand that projects, no matter who backs them, have to be funded to continue. Tough calls have to be made for every project (you can only imaging the upheaval that came with the removal of GNOME from Slackware) and there is going to be people who are pretty vocal about it, communication only softens the blow. Canonical has position itself as a company to promote free software, provide packaging services for their platform (Ubuntu), and acts as the customer/community rep for issues with that platform. I get more and more the feeling (and I could be wrong) that Ubuntu is less about the individual items that make it and more about the Ubuntu platform as a whole (much how Android is less about GNU/Linux that it uses and more about the platform it provides). I sometimes help people understand that by saying that tomorrow Canonical could decide that Linux doesn’t work for them anymore and that everything will be based on BSD, it would then be up to Canonical that the switch did not change the over experience that users of Ubuntu would have. That’s not to say Canonical has beef with Linus but just to make a point that any part of the Ubuntu platform can be switched out because it is more about the platform than the underlying tools that make that platform (of course I could be very wrong about all of that).

    I feel Canonical has to do what they’ve got to do, and just try to weather the storm that comes from it. You all have a platform that you have to sustain and that’s going to require making money and making tough calls to make that money. I still don’t understand though why Ubuntu doesn’t have its own media player to promote its own music store?

    Cheers!

  48. nnonix says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Mark,
    Keep doing what you’re doing. Your plan is unique and daring and more importantly, necessary.

    People were comfortable with their idea of Ubuntu being a type of Debian v2 or similar. As they realize it is not, you are likely to shed some hippies, like the body sheds a virus. This is a good thing and necessary to move forward. No drum circles. No compromises. Those of us paying attention have always known this day was coming. We signed on because of the promise that you would never pull the rug out from under us and charge for the OS and/or updates (MS, Apple, SLED) or make us agree to some type of warrant-less body-cavity search (Redhat). We still retain our rights. The right to uninstall Banshee and install from source if we absolutely MUST respect the wishes of Banshee Developers. The right to modify Ubuntu in any way we see fit. You don’t & won’t stand in the way of that ability. You are, simply, making good common sense decisions about the default state of Ubuntu.

    The vocal minority are just that. Vocal, a minority and often inconsolable. Push on.

  49. Chris says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Here is what, from my prespective, a healthy FOSS affiliated corporation would do in the banshee occassion:
    a) add only the code to interfere with its services and leave the rest of the application untouched (defaults & everything)
    b) make its services better than the competitors (Amazon store)
    That would force the banshee developers to change the defaults themselves.
    There would also be pressure from the users towards that direction.
    But thats the most difficult part isnt it?

    Which steps are being done towards that direction besides “shoving your services down users throats”?

    PS1. Mark, you referred to “Ubuntu shipping a vanilla GNOME”. From what i remember this has never been true, maybe besides the 4.04 release.
    Ubuntu’s GNOME offering was always largely modified from upstream.
    If you want to know what a vanilla GNOME looks like, grab the latest Fedora release. Its very close.
    PS2. Mark, will reply comments on your blog ever be added under the post your reply to? Its very hard to keep track of conversations the way it is now. Thanks for considering it.

  50. Steffen Schaumburg says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Mark,
    Whilst I appreciate your contributions to free-as-in-freedom software I want to correct you on the license of commercial distros. Here’s the relevant section section 2 of the GPL3 as an example:
    “You may make, run and propagate covered works [...] without conditions [...]”

    Some companies do indeed abuse trademark law to restrict distribution, so the above quote isn’t the end of this topic. Now, I’m no lawyer, and my interpretation of the license on binaries could be wrong, but I am certain of one thing: The Windows and OSX licenses do not include any section requiring the seller to provide the source code to the buyer. Therefore, comparing the license of e.g. Red Hat or Suse to that of Windows or OSX is outrageous. When was the last time you got a written offer of source code with your new copy of Windows? Ubuntu is a good distro, you’re doing it and yourself a great disservice by bashing the competition with blatantly false statements like the one about licenses.

  51. Ryan says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Ubuntu is likely the worst contributor to the open source community when it comes to Linux distros. Canonical has a number of closed source applications that it pushes via its non-commercial distro. Take this in contrast to Red Hat, who specifically buys closed source applications to open them (see UEC vs RHEV-M, or Landscape vs Spacewalk). Canonical gives relatively little code back to the community in comparison to a company like Red Hat, as well.

    This is just one more example of Canonical being a poor community member. For shame Canonical.

  52. Sense Hofstede says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    It is good to read something about the company policy behind the revenue sharing. The policy makes great sense to me, and I think that I agree with the path taken here. (Though I found Luis Villa’s proposal of a progressive/tiered system of revenue sharing an even more appealing one.) Canonical is not a charity, people should not be so afraid of an entity that wants to make a profit.

    I agree in part with what Jonathan Carter writes about Ubuntu turning from an open source project with a company backing it, into a company with an open source project. I think that this has happened, and I think that Ubuntu will be better off thanks to that. You need a commercial, consumer oriented focus to succeed here, not a focus on scratching your own itch. However, I think that Canonical’s biggest problems when it comes to the perceived ‘community vs Canonical’ conflicts you mentioned, is that it needs to manage expectations better, and communicate better what is decided and how it is decided.

    When you give people the expectation that something is a community-run project, with transparent decision making done in the community online, they won’t all react positively when some decisions that are controversial to certain people are made internally, by a few people. Canonical should make clear that the decision making process is not a consensus-based one. The company should communicate clearly with the community how plans are made, that major desktop decisions are taken by Canonical teams. Manage expectations: make clear that company policy determines the future of Ubuntu, don’t raise the expectation that Ubuntu is designed by community decisions. Make sure the state of the community governance reflects the de facto way things are.

    If the communities understand better the role of Canonical, and if the way that role works is better communicated, then I expect there will be less resistance against decisions that are announced properly.

  53. James says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks for the post Mark. There are a lot of valid arguments for and against the way the revenue sharing deal went down and I’m happy that we can all talk about it. My hope is that the FOSS community will become more mature and avoid the temptation to be sensational and divisive.

    Also, thanks for acknowledging that Canonical didn’t handle this situation very well and please remember in the future that this IS a community project. I have quite a bit of trust that the people at Canonical are smart and that they care about FOSS, so don’t keep it secret. Show us what you’re thinking, show us your reservations and spell it out for us so we don’t have to wonder what your motivations are.

  54. CraigM says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Mark,

    I’m not sure if you got a hold of this blog entry that I posted on the subject of Canonical and Banshee. Here’s the link:

    http://decafbad.net/2011/02/25/canonical-banshee-and-the-supremely-dick-move/

    The biggest problem I have with this decision is that it appears that Canonical is using it’s position to bully another project into a revenue sharing model that went against the will of their community. In essence, you’ve put your good intentions ahead of their good intentions. Whether that move provides a greater good overall, the motives are hampered by a sense that Canonical will use whatever means are convenient for it, not the community.

    I understand where Canonical stands on this issue, but I’m disappointed with how it’s been handled thus far.

    - Craig

  55. Victor says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I’d like to support you, Mark, in this issue.
    Everything seems to me completely clear here. Canonical is a business, which brings use for the society.

  56. Martin Owens says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    > but does Canonical happen to have a go-to person for communications? Not necessarily marketing; just someone to help ensure that the really significant messages like “guys, we want to change the Amazon music store’s referral code” are in their best possible state to avoid confusion or unhappiness.

    @Dylan – Jono is the go to guy, but he’s really swamped with work. Doing the job of ten men is not healthy and at the moment I’m not surprised the community team is failing to be proactive.

  57. mandy sauls says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    U1MS product life cycle #music ~ word on the ground is, why? must we pay for music, when we can get it for free anyway. Fact is that Apples iTunes et al aren’t that profitable. Apps contractual agreements whether FOSS or Commercial needs to be clearly stated in monetary %ages. As profit loss ratio can never be accurately predicated. Music download Apps mostly not the big issue, its the speed and quality and primarily the visual pixel clarity.
    In all its the networks speed of broadband providers who need to be jacked up, and give end users value for money.
    Indeed Banshee is living up to its mythological name sake, let’s see if the excitement generated will result in a treasure to be hold for OS Apps and future software developments.

  58. dragonbite says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    How does Canonical make sure they are only supporting the servers and systems that are subscribed for?

    Yes, I may not like the idea of Red Hat coming into my data center to make sure I am only using the number I have paid for, but I also understand they don’t want me taking advantage of open source to subscribe for one and run a dozen servers.

    Unless you are bringing up that with Canonical/Ubuntu you can install all the systems you want, but only those you have paid for are the ones that will be supported by Canonical?

    I think I’ve answered my own question.

  59. Zizzle says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Surely Canonical did the bulk of the work and should just take all the money? Stupid developers will just squander it on GNOME anyway. And GNOME is a competitor – Canonical is moving away from GNOME to Unity and Qt.

    But seriously, with Banshee being distributed on Windows, likely a much larger audience, and having full control of where the money goes, surely they will get much more revenue that the 25% of a small audience on Ubunutu.

    Wouldn’t that motivate the developers to put the majority of the effort into the Windows port?

    The irony would then be that Windows developers support Linux software more than Ubuntu/Cononical does.

  60. deadcats says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Love your quote, “For once you have tasted flight…” Always thought it was from Saint-Exupery, but Google proves me wrong. Anyway, its certainly timeless–I felt the same way after first skydiving. I would hazard a guess it came from your space flight?

  61. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    @mark I think this snippet from IRC today answers my question much better than the reply you left on this blog, perhaps it was more spontaneous, I hope you don’t mind me pasting it here for others:

    16:28 when we were doing the branding work, we faced an interesting challenge
    16:28 normally, brands are exclusive
    16:28 you tightly restrict who has the right to speak for a brand
    16:29 and you make sure nothing gets done which looks, or feels, “different”
    16:29 we started out doing a brand for Canonical
    16:29 but we quickly realised that many things that are interesting, cannot just be branded Canonical
    16:29 and more importantly
    16:29 we needed to be able to empower non-Canonical people to speak for those things two
    16:30 we basically designed two brands that work really well together
    16:30 either “all one” or “all the other” or a mixture of the two
    16:30 where you can say “hmm, this is mostly canonical” or “hmm, this is mostly community” but still insert a taste of the other
    16:30 this is a long way of saying:
    16:31 Ubuntu is a shared effort between Canonical and the Ubuntu community
    16:31 and of course, many members of Canonical are also members of the Ubuntu community
    16:31 sorry I’m late
    16:31 np mdke, good timing
    16:32 the interesting question is “who owns Ubuntu”?
    16:32 which has a hard but misleading answer: Canonical
    16:32 it’s misleading simply because lots of people feel ownership of Ubuntu, and rightly so
    16:32 so

    There was more to this, it’s part of the community-council meeting that took place today (well, still taking place at time of this blog entry).

  62. MadsRH says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Informative post. Good leadership sabdfl. Looking forward to buying music through Banshee in 11.04. Nothing else to say except, keep up the good work.

  63. Manuel Dias says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Dear Mr. Shuttleworth,

    Honestly I have to say that I could not agree more with Canonical’s decision and this particular business deal. This is one way to get revenue and a good idea too.

    Thank you for the Ubuntu project.

  64. Joseph Smidt says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Mark,

    I am very happy with this and nearly all the decisions you and Canonical have made. Please keep it up as getting buried in these FOSS ideological issues is the biggest thing holding Linux back.

    *Thank Heavens!* you are willing to make hard decisions that are best for Linux even if they aren’t best for people’s FOSS political views.

  65. LovinUbuntu says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Mark,

    As an Ubuntu lover, I can see why Canonical is doing what it is doing. Thank you for the apology about communicating issues regarding Banshee’s role in future Ubuntu releases. From a revenue perspective, I think what you are doing is perfectly fine.

    What I really want to see is that the choices being made by Canonical result in the absolute best-possible OS for the widest possible audience. As long as you keep focused on a quality user experience (and I think you are), then we all win.

    You have now explained Canonical’s position and apologized for the miscommunication. But you do not need to apologize for Canonical’s position itself. Keep making Ubuntu the best OS ever! Haters gonna hate.

  66. yungchin says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Actually, never mind my earlier question above: I just realised that it’s all perfectly consistent. As before, the Banshee devs can “ear-mark” 100% of their (share of) revenue to go to the Gnome Foundation. For vanilla copies of Banshee that’s of course all of the store revenue, but for those that come as part of Ubuntu, it comes out of their share only. If this is the right way to think about it, it sounds entirely reasonable to me.

    By the way, thank you for, well, lots of stuff.

  67. Matthew says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Perhaps Canonical should negotiate a policy statement on revenue sharing and broadcast it far and wide. To avoid backlashes, expectations need to be appropriate and broadly established. A formal process would be a good start.

    This is new territory, so no-one need feel bad about making mistakes. In other life/social contexts, how often do people or communities get things right the first time? Focus on the bugs, not the disappointment.

    In my mind this episode illustrates a renewed need for discussions around governance. The interaction between corporate and community needs to be refined and even formalised with clear rules of interaction.

    Perhaps a track at UDS for some discussions on governance and community-corporate interaction?

  68. Doug says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    It seems to be a symptom of modern thinking that people think a modest cut of something substantial is less than 100% of nothing (or very little). Being installed as the default will dramatically increase the Banshee user base, and will benefit them financially even at the lower rate. A rising tide (Ubuntu) raises all ships (Canonical, and the software packages made popular through the distribution).

  69. rhY says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    If you actually listened to your end users, you would have made Linux Mint. Instead you made Ubuntu. You could still outmint Mint though. Maybe by making VLC the default video player, exactly cloning Mint Debian edition, and of course replacing pretty much all the forum mods.

    On the other hand, if you work for Microsoft, congrats on the continued 3rd place that Ubuntu has received behind the giant corporations that are raping all living things on the planet.

  70. Fábio César Canesin says: (permalink)
    March 1st, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Mark,

    MONEY IS NOT MOTIVATION FOR COGNITIVE TASKS… That is basic modern economics, the research that lead to this has earned a Nobel prize already, please see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

    You are trying to receive engagement rewarding the developers.. this is bound to lead to poorer performance, because you are removing the autonomous choose of the developers.
    Using the banshee case… if when you buy a music you could choose the share you wan’t to give between the developers and Ubuntu statically you will have a 50% 50% share, you can read papers about that.. or use the very good proprietary software IBM SPSS to simulate this.

    Just trying to help, I like Ubuntu =) and Banshee is really much better them any other gnome player.

    Fábio C. Canesin

  71. Joel P says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Mark,

    I fully support your position on this. Having Banshee as the default music player in 11.04 will give the project a wide range of users, while still generating revenue for the project.

    Natty, here we come!

  72. Shuttleworth on the Ubuntu Banshee controversy: Mistakes were made | Linux Desktop says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:37 am

    [...] The conflict between Banshee and Canonical over what should be done with Banshee’s Amazon Store revenue stream, while it was finally resolved, was not Ubuntu’s most shining moment. At the matter’s conclusion, Banshee developers were not happy with the results. This is not how open-source communities should work together and no one knows that better than Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, who wrote, “We made some mistakes in our handling of the discussion around revenue share with the Banshee team.” [...]

  73. Alex says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:43 am

    There are a number of freedoms that free software grants and amongst them is the freedom to make changes for any purpose. That freedom isn’t being curtailed by anything that Canonical have done here. If they aren’t curtailing other peoples ability to take advantage of the four freedoms they should be free to exercise theirs.

    Obviously from a community harmony point of view it makes sense for Canonical and the Developers to come to as mutually beneficial arrangement as possible. But as the code is free the most useful thing they can trade is goodwill.

    If people really want to right the perceived wrongs of the situation they are free to re-package the affected packages with the old affiliate codes in PPAs and encourage people to install them. That would involve them exercising those very same freedoms that Canonical have.

  74. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Redhat enterprise support contract. Pity much normal wording for X number of machines supported contracts. Person paying for 1 machine supported but having 50 is not really tolerable. I have had this problem.

    Mind you MS contracts are way worse for volume. No notice required. You must agree to allow inspects and if you are over by 1 you may have to pay for the total at full RRP again for all installed machines.

    Really I prefer Redhat model to yours. Redhat is upfront about where they are trying to extract money from me so I don’t have to worry about advertising being tempted to be added to improve profit lines.

    I wonder how you guys would take to this idea. I setup a ISP. I install a proxy server that rewrites all advertisement from all websites to be replaced with my own. Then promise to pay the sites 25 percent and take the rest for myself.

    This is no different to what Ubuntu has really done. Debian deleting advertisement is 1 thing. Making profit by taking someone elses name really should not be on. Also done in a blackmail pattern should not be on either. Ie we will still use your project name for our profit but we will delete your income stream unless you agree to our terms. That is basically what happened.

    The issue is possible deception. Users from other Distributions coming to Ubuntu could think there purchases in the amazon music store is going to Gnome when in fact that is not what is going on. Also the reverse can be true person leaves Ubuntu and thinks a percentage of income is still going to Ubuntu.

    Yes add your own music store. Complete on your own merits. If you are good enough you will profit out it.

    Being a Distribution comes with a lot of responsablity not to step over the line and abuse your location.

    Really I am not surprised that Ubuntu was first todo this. Failure by maintainers in Ubuntu to work effectively with upstream at times kinda said something like this will happen.

    Have balls reverse the tampering. Try playing your music store on its own merits to get it on as much of the Linux world as able. More profit to be made that way.

  75. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Also everyone remember. Debian deleting advertisements from Firefox ended up with trademark infringement dropped on them. Since the Firefox was no longer what Mozilla made so no longer entitled to use the Firefox name.

    Technically Banshee and Rythombox would be in there right to pull the same thing.

    Failure to play with upstream could bring very big legal problems.

  76. Through the mirror of my mind (@Ubuntu) says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 1:27 am

    “Our business model is risky, unproven, and if successful it will ensure that free software is freely available to the whole world. I think that’s worth supporting, I think that’s why so many people participate in Ubuntu – they know that the muscle that Canonical can bring, while it is likely to create a few bruises, is also the best chance to see free software *really* change the world of software, and they want to be part of it.”

    Surely you must know that capitalist colonialism of indigenous cultures with gift economies has traditionally resulted in the de…..yeah….

    Take care :)

  77. Barbara says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 1:31 am

    First, in the cases of both RHEL (Redhat Enterprise Server) and SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop), you’re paying for the support subscription, not the software. The bits are free. How free? For example, you can use CentOS, which is RHEL without the branding and support subscription. Anyone can take the source of either product, remove the non-free bits, and redistribute it without a support subscription from Redhat or Novell.

    To say that these are “like Windows licenses” is very misleading. Nobody is free to copy and distribute Windows without the Microsoft branding, among other things.

    Second, Ubuntu has a serious problem – no natural paying market. The OEM net-top deals were just a minor flash in the pan (as were net-tops), and devices running the Unity UI will look really tired next to Gingerbread and webOS. And now Google just gave away another bunch of CR-48s – you can be sure ChromeOS laptops will be in the stores by Christmas.

    Canonical isn’t the first linux distro to run into these problems. Mandrake/Mandriva charted pretty much the same path (including the “we’ll make money off of referrer fees”). It wasn’t enough to save them from bankruptcy, even though they did have a “natural market” (educational institutions in France) because they were the premier French linux distro.

    Linux is a commodity product with an incremental cost of zero. Redhat and Novell make money by selling support subscriptions tied to their offerings. Google makes money by bundling their services (gmail, maps, docs, etc) into Android (and soon also ChromeOS). HP will save enough money on devices using webOS to justify it – plus being able to offer one OS across all devices, from smartphones to tablets to laptops to desktops – is going to play big with business.

    Third, how to address the bad optics? Face reality. It takes a lot of chutzpah to claim you’re worth 75% when your far-more-successful competitors (Microsoft, Apple), would be embarrassed to take even half that. Change the policy immediately to 75% to the devs (or their pet projects) and make up the lost revenue by firing the person who came up with this idea in the first place – and fire the person who was responsible for approving it as well. Make a big deal about it – plead mea culpa, apologize, announce the new plan and tell people you hope it will encourage developers to build more services by providing them with the majority stake in the revenue. In other words, grow the market.

    Fourth, stop the bleeding. Recognize that the OEM market will never happen, that those few Dell deals are about the sum and total of it, and get out of it. Same with the Ubuntu Cloud offering – you simply cannot compete with Amazon, etc., with a “me-too” product. Scrap Unity. And please, fire the color-blind graphical “designers” who keep coming up with those ugly color schemes. Switch to KDE (yes, I know abut Ubuntu’s red-headed step-sister Kubuntu) as the main offering. It’s way ahead of what Gnome is promising, and it’s shipping NOW. Having the menu bar on top does not magically give Gnome an Apple halo.

    Last, I’d pick a market – ONE market – and go after it with everything. A few years ago, that market would have been education. Unfortunately, the timing is off – go on any campus and pretty much all you see is Apple. It’s the ’80s over again. There are other markets, but this isn’t the time or place to discuss it. That can only happen AFTER the axe has been taken to the deadwood.

  78. Allan Day says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 2:45 am

    [A previous comment of mine seems not to have made it on to this thread. This one's slightly longer.]

    The reason I am writing to you is simple. There’s something that you wrote in your comments which needs to be to challenged:

    “Gnome 3 looks much more like the vision we painted with Unity than the original vision, and it would not have done so unless we had the guts to commit to, and deliver, an alternative picture of the future.”

    I strongly disagree with this statement. As someone who has been closely involved with GNOME design, I can tell you that it simply isn’t true. Three points:

    1. The vast majority of the GNOME Shell design predates Unity and has remained stable since that time. This includes the panel, alt-tab switcher, notifications and messaging tray. Our core design concepts have also been consistent: an emphasis on distraction prevention, a modal overview, persistent notifications, and so on. (You’ve claimed that you developed Unity because GNOME 3 does not have a global menu [1]. We still don’t have one: was this the ‘alternative picture’ you had in mind, or not?)

    2. We have introduced unique, new interface designs since Unity has been public. The workspaces switcher is a prime example of this. Our window controls are another.

    3. The only aspects of GNOME Shell which have changed since Unity appeared and which have any resemblance to it are certain parts of the overview relayout, specifically the ‘dock’ on the left (it’s called the ‘dash’ in GNOME 3) and the layout of the windows and applications views. These changes were a response to our own dog fooding experiences, internal discussions, and our document search implementation being pushed back to 3.2. I was involved in those discussions. I saw the mockups evolve. It really isn’t hard to see how the earlier GNOME Shell design developed into the later iteration. We already had a ‘dock’ like interface on the left and a search bar towards the top of the screen. It’s really not *that* big a change – we (well, Jon McCann) expanded the window overview area, narrowed the bar on the left and expanded the existing application picker. There were good reasons to make each of these changes, and they were made after considerable debate and experimentation.

    Please, don’t try to take the credit for the GNOME 3 design. A huge amount of time and effort has been spent on it, including (small parts) by volunteers like myself. Your suggestion devalues that work and it puts us in poor light. That is unfair. GNOME 3 is our work and our product. We are exceptionally proud of what we have acheived, and we deserve the credit for what we have done.

    All this design predates Unity:

    * http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-shell/log/?ofs=2800
    * http://people.gnome.org/~mccann/shell/design/GNOME_Shell-20091114.pdf

    A detailed account of how our design has evolved:

    * http://git.gnome.org/browse/gnome-shell-design/log/

    [1] http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/10/shuttleworth-unity-shell-will-be-default-desktop-in-ubuntu-1104.ars

  79. Brian Fleeger says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Hi Mark, the most well-reasoned response to this that I have read is offered by Luis Villa, who offers inight into other alternative revenue sharing mechanisms: http://tieguy.org/blog/2011/02/27/slicingrevenuepies/

  80. Sean Kerner says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 3:56 am

    some free PR advice — get your financial people to try and quantify the value that Canonical is contributing back into the various project and create an annual report — The State Of Canonical Contributions – that will detail this stuff.

    It would likely help you to also put accounting values into the whole process, and help to take out some of the emotion. Though numbers can be mis-interpreted, I think that type of clear, financial transparency would help to elevate your position beyond the ‘he said/she said’ arguments.

  81. Peter Bright says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 5:54 am

    If you want to restrict the modifications made to a program you have written, you should furnish that program with a license that incorporates such restrictions.

    The Banshee developers opted not to do this. They could have; issue the Amazon module as a separate component with a separate license that restricts in some way the right of packagers to modify the referral code.

    But they did not; they gave everybody the right to make whatever modifications they wanted.

    Given that they have taken this action, they do not then have any right to complain that people are actually exercising that right. That is the price of freedom: some people may use their freedom to do things you would rather they did not. If you do not want them to do so, do not grant that freedom in the first place.

    It is irrelevant that Canonical has not contributed substantially to the codebase. The license terms do not require modifications to be substantial.

  82. Valtro says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Oh boy. This is a tough place to be in. I won’t jump in to the flames here. But I am wondering, how long can Ubuntu last without being profitable? Posts likes these make me worry about the future of Ubuntu. So I guess I’m glad cananocal is looking for other ways to generate revenue. Good luck with the business/community aspects. And remember to keep smiling and doing what you love.

  83. [mp] Canonical – Ubuntu: la strana coppia « Idl3's Blog says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 8:12 am

    [...] la risposta (che non risponde) di Mark Shuttleworth a queste [...]

  84. Jubal says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 8:37 am

    @oiaohm, re Debian / Firefox: check facts first, blabber later; you won’t get any credibility if you start with blabbering and leave the facts aside.

  85. lars says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 8:51 am

    No matter how you put it, your decision goes against the will of the Banshee developers. The developers could have made the plugin proprietary to avoid this problem, but they believed in freedom and chose to make it open source, explicitly asking distributors to not change the amazon code. They relied on the good will of open source distributors, and I’m pretty sure they are feeling betrayed now.

    I guess they too learned a lesson, one about Canonical.

  86. Lucas Nussbaum’s Blog » Blog Archive » Banshee and Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 10:08 am

    [...] If you haven't heard of this debate yet, you probably want to read Vincent Untz's and Mark Shuttleworth's blog posts. [...]

  87. frustphil says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Thank you Mark that’s all I can say. Only Ubuntu made me think that there’s a good if not better alternative to Windows and OSX.

  88. rojtberg.net » Doing the right thing says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 11:53 am

    [...] For reference: this and this. [...]

  89. Canonical, Banshee e o silêncio na Blogosfera — Espaço Liberdade says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    [...] pela manhã, eu ainda tive o total desprazer de ler a tentativa de Mark Shuttleworth de apaziguar os ânimos em seu blog que, entre outros absurdos, fala isso (tradução retirada do Google Translator, não [...]

  90. srinivas v says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Mark,
    1. Glad I made ur day.
    2. The “free as in freedom” eco-system provides me with myriad of options. So, for the past month I may be using the propreitory drivers. But tomorrow is a different day and I have an “option” to go back to “open source” ones.
    3. I am more bothered about the “eco system”.
    4. Increasing entropy is not the best way to increase energy in the eco-system.
    5. The eco-system would not throw me out just because I have installed a proprietory display driver.
    6. Thank u for ur precious time.
    7. some of ur time and capital is required for GNU/BSD, GNU/Minix(which would be exciting owing to the multi-core mobiles/handhelds/laptops available now)

  91. Simon says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Think about it, how many linux users switches to Ubuntu?
    How many Windows users switches to Ubuntu?
    Ask a hundred random Ubuntu users, my guess is that most of them is coming straight from Windows.
    That investment is by far the biggest gift to F(L)OSS communities, although a long term one.

    If the money went directly to Banshee-development I would probably be more upset, but Ubuntu has really helped GNOME a lot already.
    I have no idea how Canonical’s economy is going, but my guess is that Ubuntu isn’t really a huge income. I would be glad to see Ubuntu going plus sometime too.

  92. Alberto Oses says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I think Canonical supports Ubuntu as the main contributor, and, as a for-profit company, they expect to generate revenue from it, and that is good. I’m not against it.

    It’s good that they contribute code to upstream too (upstream being Debian and any other included in Ubuntu).

    What I’m against to is to hide that, compare to Microsoft and Apple just highlighting the good things and without taking into consideration the normal things that you would expect from a for-profit company.

    I think Canonical should change that, including a section of the Ubuntu website dedicated to the ways they generate revenue from Ubuntu, where they explicitly tell the public the paid services they offer for Ubuntu. There they can include, for example, the paid support options, the UbuntuOne storage service and the UbuntuOne Music Store.

    In other section of the website, they can include the ways they contribute to the open software community.

    I think that’s fair.

    The current situation in which every time there is a conflict between paid and volunteer efforts, Mark makes a statement about it, it’s not (and I think it’s not the correct way for Canonical to handle the matter, it reflects a lack of planning).

  93. Rafael Rosa says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Mark, I really agree with the revenue share, but, what I think is that the percentages are just…. well, not right. I.think a 75 banshee 25 canonical would be way more right. See, i really admire ubuntu , since uts inception, but, 75%… is way too much. Its open source, U can do that, but, I dont really think thats the way to work with the comunnity. I usually agree with what U say, but this time , I cant. U are just saying that ubuntu brings Way More to tye table then Banshee, and , I dont think thays the case .

  94. Fewt says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I can see both sides here, I understand why Canonical would need to have an income and I would never begrudge them that, however I’m not sure that 75% is justified since the Banshee team does 99% of the work.

    That said, with Fuduntu 15 I am planning to deploy Banshee as a default, and the Amazon ID will remain as such that the Banshee team receives 100%. It won’t mean a lot to them as there are only a few thousand users, but without GNOME I would not have been able to create Fuduntu (http://www.fuduntu.org).

  95. Nick Mailer says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Hi again Mark,

    Sorry to be pedantic, but those agreements seem to relate to contracted services. Are you telling me that if I, without a contract with RedHat, install a RedHat CD on my desktop machine, and don’t attempt to utilise their update facility and so forth, I’m in breach? Really? Does the FSF know about this?

  96. Ivan says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Mark: “I decided, as part of my job in design, that we would move the window controls to the left. That was very controversial at the time, but there has been hardly a peep about it since. It was played out as “Canonical vs the Community”, but it wasn’t.”

    Mark, have you ever considered that the people that dislike that move (which was boneheaded, but easy to change) have just given up arguing with you about it because of your stubborn insistence that you are correct?

    “But in order to tackle Microsoft, Apple and Google, I’m pretty certain we’ll need to be controversial”

    You will _never_ ‘tackle’ Microsoft, Apple, or Google by being controversial, you need to provide a better product. Considering that Canonical has a habit of shipping pre-alpha versions of key desktop components as ‘stable’ that is a pipe dream, good luck with it.

  97. istok says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    “… and was very glad that the proprietary ATI drivers appear to be working well for you”

    why are you so mean?

  98. mark says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Allan

    The work you are doing in design for GNOME is excellent and admirable. However, I think I can express an alternative viewpoint, and justify it too.

    The design for Gnome Shell which emerged after the hackfest suffered from several major issues. The fact that it looks very different today is testimony to the fact that the designers came to the same conclusion :-). The real issue is not that the original design had problems, the issue was that the designers showed no inclination to listen to folks who wanted to comment or contribute. We tried. We watched others try. On multiple fronts, really bad design was justified with endless speculative statements by the designers. In that environment, we (rightly) had no confidence in the trajectory of the project, and chose instead to invest in Unity.

    When Unity was announced, with running code and mockups for its trajectory, Gnome Shell *still* looked pretty much as it had at the end of the hackfest. The only changes in all that time had been the addition of guidance on indicators and items like the message tray (which were added after equivalent work had landed in Ubuntu, with the clear statement that we intended to submit it to GNOME). I’ll note that the indicators work was described to GNOME Shell designers, who said “great stuff, that needs work”, but when we actually delivered it they said “actually, we’ve decided to explore some other ideas”, which was when those bits of the design for Gnome Shell got changed.

    In the weeks after Unity actually landed, we saw (for the first time) actual changes in the position of the Gnome Shell designers. What prompted those changes? I think many reasonable folks will conclude that it was competition from a credible alternative that prompted those changes.

    Some will say that “smart people will often come to the same conclusions”, and that explains why the rapid evolution of Gnome Shell, after Unity was published, morphed it into something like Unity. I would take a different view. It’s very, very unusual for two groups to tackle a complex problem and come to the same conclusion, unless one is following the other. But once a path is clear, if you’re a follower, it’s easy to find rationalisations for that path. It may seem like you’re finding that path for yourself, but you aren’t really exploring many others, so the path materialises in a predictable place.

    So yes, I feel very comfortable with the assertion that Gnome Shell has adopted much of the Unity design. And I’m happy that it has done so – it is much better for it. I don’t believe in hoarding ideas, I believe Steve Jobs quoted Picasso: “good designers copy, great designers steal”. We’ve followed others in our work. I just think we’re honest with ourselves when we do so.

  99. Jose says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Excuse me, Mark but,

    would you explain it better the whole Bandshee thing?, I have read your post and have not understood a word. It presupposes knowledge about an mp3 player that only experts that expend 24/7 over slashdot have. You have talk a lot in a politician way, speaking in abstract terms, saying actually nothing concrete at all.

    I’m not using Ubuntu at all lately but I had got to understand over the years that paying for software is somewhat like a sin for you Mark, and for a lot of people around Linux it is too. Last year I expended 1.500eurs on software(proprietary), this year I will expend more, I could do that because I got paid way more for using the right tools for the trade that improve my productivity, I don’t like “donating” to Ubuntu or anyone else, I want to give back to the people that creates amazing software so they could sustain their selves and even(heresy, heresy!!) live better, travel more, have a family.

    The beautiful thing about the App Store or Steam is that I could support software developers directly, instead of paying 90%of retail money to middlemen I could give 70% of my money to the amazing creators of Pixelmator or Word Lens or Final Cut. I would love to do the same for people in the open source world like Mirko Muller aka “macslow” from Ubuntu on specific projects, but I can not. I could only give to a generic pool and someone else decides how this money is expended.

    People project their values onto Open Source, the “from each according to his ability to each according to his need” crown would hate such a system.

  100. Jose says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Excuse me for the typos, I have to fine tune my speech recognition software(I made it my own so it has a lot of flaws to solve yet).

  101. S04E01 – New Frontier – MP3 HIGH | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    [...] to do with Banshee [...]

  102. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Mark,
    Can you point to any publicly archived discussions between Canonical and Gnome devs at the dawn of Shell’s design? It’s an easy thing to say you had the discussions. It’s a much more valuable thing to be able to reference a publicly archive discussion that happened in any of the relevant publicly archived communication channels that GNOME uses. That’s what is so great about openly archived discussion, it provides some measure of accountability and helps to forestall any egregious…misstatements..when people decide to recount publicly about how certain decisions or certain discussions went down.

    So please Mark, pretty please, point me to a publicly archived discussion which serves to support your view of the disconnect in the GNOME Shell design process. Dredging up _private_ discussions several years later in a _public_ forum is a guaranteed way to create bad blood because recollection will differ in significant and damaging ways…in ways that an archived discussion can minimize.

    -jef

  103. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 2nd, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Peter Bright
    “If you want to restrict the modifications made to a program you have written, you should furnish that program with a license that incorporates such restrictions.

    The Banshee developers opted not to do this. They could have; issue the Amazon module as a separate component with a separate license that restricts in some way the right of packagers to modify the referral code.

    But they did not; they gave everybody the right to make whatever modifications they wanted.”

    Please be upto your name. If you read the Banshee License it does not grant you trademarks or the right to use the product name for a altered product. Only the good will of the upstream means you can. Legally the upstream does not have to give. Its their creation not yours. So yes you are authorized to alter the code. But the trademark holder still has the right to enforce their will.

    Now lets say Ubuntu renamed it Ubuntu Music player or something else. Sure then they can do whatever they want.

    Some countries doing alterations without upstream approval could fall under a fraud case or fair trading case. Since end user possibility could be deceived. Here in Australia where I am I could legally goto fair trading and attempt to stop Ubuntu 11.04 being allowed in Australia on the grounds of end user being possibly deceived where money is going. You don’t need the copyright or trademark holders to take action here. Note using Fair trading is zero cost for person raising the issue.

    There are other countries that can do the same thing. Ubuntu is handing there competitors weapons to remove them from particular markets.

    Yes there are legal dragons. Money involved changes it from general bug fixing.

  104. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Fair trading is all about the customer. What the customer could believe. So even having a deal with the maker of Banshee if there is a possibility that the customer could be deceived its still a breach of Fair trading.

    Yes Fair trading laws here are tough.

  105. enedene says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I see nothing wrong in Canonical trying to earn money. Banshee will get many more users when it becomes a default music player, and money that they earn because of that, should be shared with firm that made it possible – Canonical.
    Percentages? Both parties should try to get the best deal, it’s only natural.

  106. koolhead17 says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I see the point here, If canonical is trying to make money, why is it unethical?

    I just hate these super elitist junk-heads who find issue in every single step canonical or mark takes.

    Ubuntu is for masses, now in order to survive in the market and keep delivering better product they need to earn.

    Who is scared of Ubuntu?

  107. Nick Mailer says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Yes, koolhead17: Canonical will ensure that Debian’s trains run on time! And they will take for the Party what is rightfully the Party’s ;-)

  108. buntudude says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 10:14 am

    There comes Jef again seeking for his long lost toys…

  109. Frederic Peters says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

    @Jef, the dawn of GNOME Shell was at Boston Summit, which is the kind of places where it’s not possible to have a hard accountability of the live discussions…

  110. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    enedene and koolhead17 My problem is the way Canonical has tried to earn money might be illegal under my countries laws. Forget being worried about unethical pure illegal.

    No business action can be deceptive to customers or even possibility is illegal.

    Adding there own music store to banshee I would be raising no questions. Adding a second amazon store with a notice about different split. Not nice since it might be annoying to users but not deceptive. Since user could choose to give the full percentage to gnome or give part to Ubuntu part to gnome.

    Taking the existing amazon store link altering it to pay to Canonical accounts instead of where it was going in every other distribution. This could be possibly be deceptive. Key thing about Australian law on this point is a person does not have to been deceived only the possibility has to be proved.

    Can you disprove the possibility that someone could be deceived by the alteration to banshee done by canonical. If you cannot disprove that then the alteration is illegal by Australian law.

    Australia is not the only country with consumer protection laws like this.

  111. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Just so you are aware. Fair trading laws are nasty. They don’t just come after Canonical. If there is a breach anyone supplying an item with Ubuntu on in Australia would be held to account as well. There is no defense that you did not know either. If you are supplying a product you are legally responsible to make sure it is above board.

    Yes this could possibly be a major offense issue.

  112. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    @Frederic

    And I’ve seen a personal account of conference experiences from another person that would contradict the history Shuttleworth is suggesting.

    http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?p=20940854&sid=45ebbbda219f42e8bbbf8856233b9649#p20940854

    Is Jason Clinton any more right or wrong than Shuttleworth is? Which one of them is misremembering the activities? Impossible to know not without pieces of verifiable communication. What we know is there is a difference of opinion. We also know that recollections from human memory are faulty.If we continue to dredge up non-archived..non-verifiable..communications to defend and to accuse, all it does is add _heat_. When Shuttleworth points to unnamed GNOME devs/designers and accuses them of be uncooperative and unreceptive without being able to point to an archived discussion that simply isn’t helping to resolve the conflict or to reduce tensions. Nor does it help GNOME as a project to do a self-analysis and address bad behaviours. All it does is stir up bad blood with no path forward for anyone.

    This sort of thing must stop. There are publicly archived discussion channels for a reason. People who are attempting to collaborate in good-faith use those channels for some portion of their collaboration. There has been a ton of communication in archived mediums since the introduction of the ideas behind Shell at the 2008 UX hackfest. Please, I’m looking for _any_ archived interaction between Canonical and GNOME devs/designers in the period of 2008 and 2009 that would support Shuttleworth’s contention about the uncooperative behaviour of people that Canonical does not employ. What is the earliest such archived discussion between Canonical and Gnome project participants that can be found?

    -jef

  113. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    @lzap:

    Of course I think that Canonical will have such contracts e.g. for Landscape usage.
    But I’m not forced to use it.

    With regards to the license agreements and service contracts between an RHEL user and RH, you are not entitled to get any “binary” (security) updates without an RHN license, which is legal with regards to the GPLv*, but it’s not I like from the point of an SysAdmin. I can’t give you numbers, sorry, but IMHO the TCO using a free Ubuntu Server is less then using RHEL with RHN contracts. And in technical terms, most of the software which is only certified for RHEL or SLES runs also on Ubuntu, and many times even more stable.

    So, the difference is between “I could” (canonical services) and “I have to” (redhat services).

    Yes, there are NDAs, and yes they can be signed, but honestly, I have something against external companies (which are eventually going into the same business as I am) in my datacenter or in my company.
    Redhat was in former times exclusively a linux distributor and linux services company (eventually a contributor of specialized software stacks with their Cygnus Software division). Now they do have more services, more software to sell, and nobody can tell or assure me, that they are not entering my area of service or software. The very same applies to Canonical or other companies, I have to adhere.

    That’s why I think it’s a better way to go to release an enterprise quality linux OS for free (as in free beer) and trying to earn money with other revenue streams, as Canonical is doing right now and I’m glad that they are doing it.

    And to be much better…when you are invovled in Ubuntu development, without being on the payrole of Canonical, you can change many things.

  114. zelrik says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Mark,

    “Documenting this position is obviously a priority; we should have done so previously, but we just relied on internal precedent, which is a dumb idea when you’ve grown as quickly as we have in the past few years. So we’ll do that.”

    I am a bit confused here: by ‘Documenting’, you mean a formal written agreement with commercial 3rd parties who want to submit their app to software center? :)
    If you can clarify please, that would be great.

  115. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    @sadig

    Yes, the Canonical approach does seem like a better value for consumers. But is it sustainable? Who really likes paying for anything if you can get something similar at a reduced cost elsewhere?

    Canonical’s business strategy is a classic-loss leader strategy. They delibrately give away something valuable at a loss to themselves (that other companies charge for in a self-sustaining way) to delibrately undercut the business of those competitors and to drive them out of the market.

    Wal-mart does this with gasoline in some locations. They sell gasoline at a loss, something everyone values…to attract customers to their stores and pull customers from competitors. Wal-mart can sell some items at a loss, because they make enough money from other items to make up for it. Ethical? That is debatable..but very effective at pushing other retailers out of a market.

    Canonical does it by giving away integration services and package updates instead of charging form them in a self-sustainable way. The absolutely most valuable service Canonical provides are those integration and package update services….and providing those services come at an expense to Canonical. The only problem is Canonical hasn’t figure out the second half the loss-leader strategy. They haven’t figured out yet how to make enough money to overcome the losses inherent in using a loss-leader strategy. So Canonical continues to bleed money year after year after year while at the same time devaluing the integration and update services for the whole marketplace as the bounce from revenue idea to revenue idea looking for something that will catch fire and grow into sustainable dollars.

    In some very significant ways Shuttleworth’s cashpile is actually distorts the competitive marketplace for services in damaging ways (not unlike Wal-mart as a retailer does). Who else but Shuttleworth would be willing to lose money for a decade+ before seeing a a single break-even quarter?

    Maybe this new app platform idea for Ubuntu that competes with Android will catch on. Maybe it won’t. The track record for execution for Canonical isn’t particularly bright. So far none of Canonical’s previous efforts at growing a sustainable revenue stream have caught fire. They even shuttered their training services entirely in the last year. If you are giving away the binaries, and you can’t even sustaining an optional training service to compliment your products..that spells real trouble to me for your overall business plan. But I’m just a part of the peanut gallery so I don’t expect my analysis to resonate inside the Canonical fenceline.

    -jef

  116. mark says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    @Jef

    Thanks for the reference to Jason Clinton’s comments, I’ll address them directly.

    He says:


    First, Zeitgeist hasn’t been rejected for 3.0; the proposal period just ended today. It was previously rejected for lack of project coordination and quality issues but things have improved. Decision is a ways off.

    The entire Zeitgeist team have consistently felt, for years, that their efforts to make progress were being actively blocked. Multiple requests for inclusion have been declined. By collaborating with Ubuntu and other communities directly they have slowly gathered momentum to the point where it will almost certainly be impossible for them NOT to become a recognised Gnome dependency, but they feel that has been a running battle. Revisionists can always say “oh, we never really considered it till it was approved” but the simple fact is that it has been much harder for ZG to get recognition than for other projects.


    Second, Canonical has not participated in any of the design process with regard to GNOME 3.0, at all. With regard to performance, they haven’t contributed any code to Mutter or Clutter (even though they’ve been using it for over a year) or even raised their concerns on IRC or on the Shell/Mutter mailing lists.

    Absolute nonsense. Many of our designers and I were at the hackfest which launched Gnome Shell. We contributed multiple patches to both Mutter and Clutter during the period we were using it.


    On the contrary, they have been actively working to fork the GNOME experience since two weeks after the 2008 GNOME User Experience Hackfest in which all *designer* attendees agreed on a new notification principals and a new GNOME shell design which came to be called GNOME Shell, later. Ted Gould made the first commit to what became notification-applet two weeks after that UX Hackfest and right before the 2008 Boston Summit (source http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~indicator- … revision/1 ); he attended the 2008 Summit and said nothing of Canonical’s plans or objections, there (source http://live.gnome.org/Boston2008/Participants ). Notification-applet implements a standard submitted to freedesktop.org by KDE, by the way, and was already rejected by the GNOME community at the time of this first commit. None of the work on the standard was done by Canonical; they merely implemented it. To imply that they designed anything would by revising history.

    Jason confuses and conflates notification with indicators, but even reading through that, he gets it *completely* wrong. Ted Gould spoke with Jon McCann at the UX Hackfest and specifically described the work we would like to do on the indicators. McCann ack’d that the hackfest had not expressed a firm opinion on the panel, and that the work we were proposing to do would be a valuable contribution as the panel clearly needed cleaning up. It was clear that this work would be done and contributed to the Gnome Shell efforts. As Jason notes, the first commits in that work began pretty much immediately after the hackfest, which *confirms* my position that the work was only started AFTER discussions at the hackfest. Yes, we specifically implemented it in a way that was compatible with a proposed freedesktop.org standard. Our view remains that cross-desktop collaboration and compatibility are powerful goods. There was no suggestion at the time that the proposed indication standard was “already rejected by GNOME”. Jason implies that “only implementing a standard” is not a positive contribution! In fact, there was a huge amount of work necessary to bring many apps into line with the standard, which we have done.

    And the real insult came when, having DONE that work, as agreed, we presented it only to be told that McCann “wanted to explore different ideas”. Thereafter, McCann published some thoughts on the panel and message tray, clearly failing to collaborate with work we had already, publicly, done on both fronts. In fact, McCann reached out to explore collaboration options, we expressed a willingness to do so, and never heard anything further until he published an alternative view.

    So, to be crystal clear: we briefed the Gnome Shell designers, they ack’d their interest in our work as a contribution, we did the work to a FD.o standard, then they rejected the *working code* in favour of “exploring other ideas”. That’s not the Gnome we know and love, where code talks and people uphold their commitments.


    Ted Gould, on behalf of Canonical, attended the *2009* Boston Summit in which vast and wide-ranging Shell and user experience topics were discussed. I documented the entire conference (with help from a few others) here http://jasondclinton.livejournal.com/tag/summit . Ted said nothing in any of those sessions; he did attend. I kept looking at him trying to read his facial expressions since Canonical has been utterly silent, but he said not a word. (He did chip in on the Geolocation session.)

    Specifically with regard to Ted attending but not participating on behalf of Canonical, I don’t know what his marching orders were and so I cannot fault him personally for the actions of his employer. We don’t know what Mark’s plan has been all along because Canonical has been nothing but silent about design issues–and because Ubuntu is a top-down organization.

    Nothing but silent on design issues? A top-down organisation? This reads to me like a direct statement that Ted was told to say nothing by “the top”. It’s as insulting as the rest of the comment, and entirely without basis.


    Last, they haven’t contributed any work to making the open source 3D drivers work without installing the proprietary bits. All of that heavy lifting has been–and is still–being done by Red Hat with community contributions. If indeed they manage to get a wide swath of graphics card working on Compiz; it will be because of work *NOT* done by Canonical.

    It’s true, we’ve little interest in writing these drivers. We think the best way to get them done is by creating demand for Linux-based desktops and devices, which will get the vendors to care about the platform. Till then, little progress can be expected.


    It’s been said before by many others in various forms with actual evidence backing it up but it’s still true today: Canonical excels at PR but fails at substance. Sadly.

    Strong words indeed.


    In any event, Canonical has always been a bad community member and if they continue to wonder off in their own direction, it doesn’t really hurt the rest of us because they’ve been contributing absolutely nothing in the way of actual upstream code. Best of luck to them.

    We have well over a hundred full time developers who do nothing but work on free software. As a contribution, it’s something I’m very proud of, as are they. I’m really not sure how Jason is counting, but I suspect he’s defining scope of contribution so narrowly as to validate his point.

  117. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Mark,

    Again.. I’ll ask… can you point to a publicly archived discussion from any forum which supports your view that Canonical made an effort to collaborate inside the GNOME process from 2008/2009 even if it was to constructively deconstruct bad design choices or any technical detail of the Shell implementation early on. Any publicly archived communication from 2008 2009 that shows Canonical engaging in the design process with GNOME shell will do. Any publicly archived discussions at all please.

    -jef

  118. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Mark,

    Also since you reference patches.. could you point to one of those early patch attempts that you feel Jason overlooked that was accepted. And failing that can you point to a patch to mutter/clutter that was not accepted that you felt was rejected on improper grounds?

    -jef

  119. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Mark,

    Also to be clear… be you are qouting the unnamed GNOME designers in your comment above when you say they said “working code” and “exploring other ideas” is that quotes from a private conversation? Was there no back and forth on a public mailinglist or perhaps an irclog at all at any point concerning the difference of opinion or implementation details from 2008 or 2009 that you can use to attribute the quotation? I mean, look at how much back and forth your own mailinglists get about differing opinions and feedback from Canonical externals about the Unity stack. And you are telling me Canonical didn’t at any point engage in the publicly archived channels and forums at any point in a similar way that your externals (externals that disagree with your design decisions) attempt to engage your designers on the mailinglists your team uses? If that is what you are saying..I find that highly inconsistent behaviour. But I continue to try to give you the benefit of the doubt. Please any publicly archived communication which you feel is indicative of how Canonical’s input was handled by the GNOME devs/designers in 2008 and 2009 would be greatly appreciated.

    Private conversations..especially when they are about conflicting opinions can be problematic when they are used to support a path of decision making later. This is exactly the reason why I went out of the way to request that you allow me to republish the short email conversation you started with me in response to a previous blog comment I wrote. I do not want any communication with you to be…mischaracterized…exactly because I know there is conflict. I want to be held accountable for what I say if and when opinions expressed are brought up in the context of a public forum on down the road. I certainly do not want to put words in your mouth because I’ve misremembered a private conversation. Something to think about for future engagements with externals who you will have differing opinions with. Keep private conversations private when they are constructive…put the disagreements on record in a public forum so noone can be faulted for misrepresentation of the other’s point of view as things evolve and develop.

    -jef

  120. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    “Canonical seeks to earn revenue from services delivered to Ubuntu, and we will share a portion of that revenue with relevant projects who help make that possible.”
    Fine goal but it does not include legal.

    Mark Shuttleworth will you please do me a favor and check out alterations to Banshee’s amazon store and see if does pass Consumer protection laws. Remember Consumer protection laws can force suppliers to recall products pay customers for there time due to the disruption caused by recall. So yes my head is on the line if I supply Ubuntu as well as yours.

    Simply adding a rule not to interfere at all with existing pay systems like Banshee’s amazon store would make sure you would not be walking into the land mine area of Consumer protection laws.

    Adding services to programs to make income is fine. Altering the preexisting this includes removing can land you in trouble. Really bringing new services and profiting from those to Ubuntu users would be a good goal legally harmless goal.

    I have nothing against you trying to make money. I just don’t want to end up in legal trouble. I also don’t want to be forced to black list installing Ubuntu due to legal risk from this kind of error.

  121. Ubuntu and Banshee | Amy’s Ramblings says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 12:35 am

    [...] puts it here.  Craig Maloney (aka snap-l) responds here.  Mark Shuttleworth responds to everyone here.  Also, I can’t forget about Jono’s post about it as [...]

  122. Ubuntu, Canonical, And The Open Source Community. | Steve Barcomb's says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 2:53 am

    [...] say that this situation should have been handled better. So has Mark Shuttleworth. Banshee very generously donated all of it’s profits from sales in the Amazon store to the [...]

  123. formar says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I’ve seen many cases where the open source community have forked projects due to various reasons. Canonical is an open source company and Ubuntu is an open source project. At this point of time it seems that any little change made to anything related to Ubuntu originates lots of noise coming from everywhere. My best believe is that its time to do something radical. Those who are not happy with the later decisions regarding Ubuntu, should better fork it. Canonical could also fork Ubuntu to get reed of those who seem to have better ideas about its future. Let them do what they want, and be happy. Competition is great for the end user, or consumer, and from this scenario that wouldn’t be different.

  124. hanzz says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Mark,

    please continue the good work! All of you – yourself, Canonical and all others particiapting in the success of Ubuntu!

    It is clear for many many people that a high quality product has to have a company and a business model behind it, that makes it even possible — and I find the business model of canonical is really a good and pragmatic way of providing a great system to millions of users for free AND generate revenues by offering additional commercial services.

    I know several people – we all love ubuntu, we all are using it basically for free and we all are willed to pay for additional services to participate “our part” (in terms of money) for ensuring the future and quality of Ubuntu we all love.

    Please don’t mind all those few guys who are shouting loudest and blame you and canonical only for the fact that you / canonical have a business model that includes earning money… I think these guys are just at the wrong place here, they did not understand what Ubuntu is all about.

    continue the good work and THANK YOU !

  125. ebonz says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Hey Mark, we believe you. Ignore those peasants RH has deployed. They are on a mission to disband the community. It’s so ironic that Jef always seeks for a proof when those that are under his belt are not in any means credible. They’re just blobs from people of the same color.

  126. mark says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    @ebonz

    While I understand the frustration, I think it’s important to remember that there are tons of great people at RH and other competitors. If they weren’t there, they’d be at Canonical, and many have moved in both directions. There are folks who fling mud, but they’re not the heart of the communities on either side. So what’s needed is moderate voices, folks who remind other of the code of conduct and keep people focused on the shared goals we have across the broader community.

  127. Open News | Marks Šatlvorts prāto par peļņas daļas novirzīšanu sākotnējiem projektiem says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    [...] Linux izveidotājs Marks Šatlvorts atklājis kompānijas Canonical nodomu daļu peļņas novirzīt sākotnējiem projektiem, pateicoties kuriem [...]

  128. Marks Šatlvorts prāto par peļņas daļas novirzīšanu sākotnējiem projektiem | Ziņas no medijiem says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    [...] Linux izveidotājs Marks Šatlvorts atklājis kompānijas Canonical nodomu daļu peļņas novirzīt sākotnējiem projektiem, pateicoties kuriem [...]

  129. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Peasant what a fascinating attempt at a character attack which bespeaks a lack of understanding of how the FOSS ecosystem is self-organized..and how very important the peasantry is in the context of how this ecosystem works. I’d rather stay the peasant than play the lord.

    “Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
    Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
    Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
    But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
    When once destroyed, can never be supplied.”

    – Oliver Goldsmith, Irish playwright, novelist, poet

    “The lord is the peasant that was,
    The peasant is the lord that shall be. ”
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  130. Debian or Ubuntu, which is the best place to contribute? says: (permalink)
    March 4th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    [...] a few days ago with the story of Banshee and the associated Amazon affiliate revenues. I liked Mark Shuttleworth’s clarifications on the topic, but it’s still a proof that the power of the Ubuntu community has its [...]

  131. Chauncellor says: (permalink)
    March 5th, 2011 at 5:18 am

    @rhY: In all respect, I don’t think you have a clue on how to make a linux distribution intended for the masses. You should do some field research and try getting inexperienced users to work with VLC’s abominable UI. Thanks for playing.

  132. Shuttleworth Admits Mistakes in Banshee Discussion, But Not Really says: (permalink)
    March 5th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    [...] Shuttleworth has posted on his blog about the now infamous Banshee revenue-sharing discussion. Although he starts with admitting [...]

  133. TheDonKilluminati says: (permalink)
    March 5th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t think everybody has the luxury to hack on Free Software *just* for fun. Finding ways to making a relatively large project (i.e. Ubuntu) sustainable is important for everybody, including the upstreams.

    So keep doing the awesome work you (Ubuntu community) has been doing and pls when possible promote the Free (as in GNU) over the non-free stuff :-).

    Novell*/Banshee devs/community: This “Our shit don’t smell” attitude of your is becoming tiresome. Maybe it’s time to re-think the license for your software. How about “MIT everywhere except referrer ID parts”???

    * Added Novell because, “This does not include the Banshee name, logo, or icon. The Banshee name is a registered trademark of Novell.” [From: http://banshee.fm/

  134. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 6th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    TheDonKilluminati
    >>* Added Novell because, “This does not include the Banshee name, logo, or icon. The Banshee name is a registered trademark of Novell.” [From: http://banshee.fm/<&lt;

    That is a key-point. Ubuntu just made the same move that allowed Mozilla to legally attack Debian. The agreement over what one wins trademark or copyright has been sorted already. Trademark wins as long as it there.

    Using the trademark requires playing by the up-streams rules on times like the ID for amazon purchases. So Ubuntu really did not have the legal right to change it approval first or redoing the software without the trademarks. Libreoffice/OpenOffice case in point correct way to deal with the issue. If you want to change the program in way upstream does not approve rename new trademark. Even altering defaults trademark over rules copyright. Reason when you get in court judge asks you if you could have changed the trademark to avoid being in court when you answer yes game over you have lost.

    So yes MIT copyright license means squat as long as the Trademark is there. Since the MIT license never granted you rights to use the Trademark so you don't have any rights to modify without approval of the trademark holder unless you risk Fraudulent use of the Trademark.

    Also the effect on Consumer protection laws regarding deceptive products.

    Personally I believe someone rushed the process. Take a few steps back and work out what option you are going todo.

    Rename banshee or put the amazon link back to what it was. Both options remove Consumer protection laws issues and trademark issues. Yes the legal way todo this.

    About time people here see there are legal and illegal methods. Legal methods get basically the same results long term.

  135. mark says: (permalink)
    March 6th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    @oiaohm

    Yes, the Banshee team could start to assert that the use of their trademark is conditional on meeting specific requirements, and we would gladly discuss that with them. We do the same with Mozilla, where we have figured out together how to meet Mozilla’s requirements while still having the flexibility we need. However, before encouraging the Banshee team to do so, you might want to consider that Debian is unlikely to accept ANY restriction on trademark grounds (hence Iceweasel in the Mozilla case) and that unlike Firefox, Banshee does not have a brand that is established enough to warrant significant compromise on the part of any distributors, who are more likely than not simply going to de-brand the result. In short, consider the possible unanticipated consequences of your proposal carefully ;-)

  136. arnoldas says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Why Banshee? Rhythmbox is pretty cool player. I like it. Come on Bring it back! :D

  137. SOURCES.LIST Aggregator » Blog Archive » [mp] Canonical – Ubuntu: la strana coppia says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 9:58 am

    [...] la risposta (che non risponde) di Mark Shuttleworth a queste [...]

  138. Allan Day says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Hi Mark,

    Apologies if my initial comment appeared confrontational. It was written in a rush late at night (never a good idea!) I hope you can understand how your comments were upsetting to those of us who have worked so hard on these designs, however.

    Looking back over this comment thread, it’s clear that different people have quite different understandings of what has happened between our two projects in recent years. You believe that Unity has influenced GNOME Shell, for example, and I have a different view. Jason believes Ubuntu hasn’t contributed to GNOME 3, whereas many in Ubuntu believe that they have, or that those efforts have been repelled. These conflicting understandings are driving our projects apart, and they are poisoning our already broken communications. Seeming statements of fact on one side cause upset and insult on the other. Good intentions and a real desire for collaboration on both sides are being lost due to repeated misunderstanding. We can’t go on like this. We have to figure out what has gone wrong (without resorting to recrimination) and figure out what we can do to correct the situation.

    ‘I’ll note that the indicators work was described to GNOME Shell designers [at the 2008 UX hackfest], who said “great stuff, that needs work”, but when we actually delivered it they said “actually, we’ve decided to explore some other ideas”…’

    Everybody that I have spoken to agrees that there was broad consensus at the UX hackfest. Everybody sees that as an extremely positive thing, and everybody is unhappy that our projects travelled in different directions after that event.

    ‘…they rejected the *working code* in favour of “exploring other ideas”. That’s not the Gnome we know and love, where code talks and people uphold their commitments.’

    It sounds like the GNOME Shell design had moved on by the time that Canonical had produced the working code in question. The divergence began quite quickly, in other words. It would seem that parties at the hackfest walked away misunderstanding each others’ intentions and/or that communication did not occur in an effective manner after the UX hackfest.

    You’ve emphasised working code a couple of times in this thread. One thing that a lot of people in GNOME are concerned about with regards to (some of) Canonical’s contributions is that components appear to have been designed and developed in-house and then pushed upstream. The general view is that GNOME shouldn’t just be a place where code goes, but a place where we work together to design and develop that code. I’d be really interested to hear what you think about this.

    ‘after equivalent work had landed in Ubuntu, with the clear statement that we intended to submit it to GNOME’

    How was that signal sent? Was there two-way communication about it? I’ve been a keen follower of GNOME for many years, and I can honestly say that I was never aware that that was the intention. When the proposal to include app indicators in GNOME came along, it seemed bizarre to many of us in the project. Why was it being proposed for inclusion, when it was so clear that it didn’t integrate with what the GNOME project was doing?

    ‘The entire Zeitgeist team have consistently felt, for years, that their efforts to make progress were being actively blocked. Multiple requests for inclusion have been declined.’

    First off, I’m personally extremely sorry to hear that the Zeitgeist team feel that way. They are an enthusiastic, talented bunch – exactly the kind of people we want to be participating in GNOME.

    There has been a lot of misunderstanding about Zeitgeist and GNOME. Zeitgeist was proposed for inclusion in GNOME at the same time as GNOME Activity Journal. The former proposal was later modified: it was proposed as an external dependency instead. In essence, Zeitgeist was never proposed for inclusion. It was to be a dependency.

    In the end, GAJ wasn’t accepted because the GNOME Release Team wanted Zeigeist integrated directly across the desktop. Because of this, and because Zeitgeist wasn’t being used by other GNOME modules, Zeitgeist wasn’t added as a dependency [1]. This wasn’t a judgement that GNOME didn’t want Zeitgeist, though. It was just that, since Zeitgeist wasn’t being used in GNOME, it wasn’t a required dependency.
    The release team and many in the GNOME project wanted and, we believed, encouraged Zeitgeist to pursue greater integration across the GNOME desktop and applications.

    Personally, I think there is more that GNOME could do to communicate effectively on issues like this. We should be doing more to ensure that we offer encouragement and detailed explanations in those situations. I have no idea why you or the Zeitgeist team feel that they have ‘been actively blocked’ however, nor why you think that ‘multiple requests for inclusion have been declined’.

    ‘In the weeks after Unity actually landed, we saw (for the first time) actual changes in the position of the Gnome Shell designers. What prompted those changes?’

    As you’ve said, you saw some changes after Unity was released. But I saw those changes coming long before Unity ever appeared on the scene. Take the blog post [2] that I wrote about GNOME Shell in March 2010. It flagged up several issues which were later addressed through design changes, and made design proposals which later emerged in the overview relayout design. Another thing that prompted the changes was that our document search implementation was pushed back to 3.2 (this was determined in April 2010 [3]). Pulling documents from the UI obviously had some major design repercussions. I was personally in conversation with the shell designers about the changes you have identified as being the result of Unity long before that project was publicly announced.

    I look forward to hearing your view on these matters.

    [1] http://mail.gnome.org/archives/devel-announce-list/2010-June/msg00001.html

    [2] http://afaikblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/gnome-shell/

    [3] http://mail.gnome.org/archives/desktop-devel-list/2010-April/msg00085.html

  139. Dave Neary says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I wonder if you could clarify this for me please: “But the offer stands for Banshee devs to take up if they’d like, and use as they’d like. If they don’t want it, we’ll put it to good use.”

    What exactly do you mean here?

    Thanks!
    Dave.

  140. mark says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @Allan

    Thanks for coming back with more detail, and in a more thoughtful frame. I’ll respond to your points below, and more importantly want to restate my view that it’s key for GNOME itself not to confuse competition WITHIN the project for competition WITH the project. The language being used frames this as “Gnome vs Unity”, where as we see it as “Unity vs Shell within Gnome”. The latter is healthy for Gnome, but only if it’s on a level playing field. And right now that playing field seems anything but level:

    Patches from Unity developers get little attention, so they rot, and adding insult to injury they are forgotten when the “who contributes” stats are being created.
    Areas of work that are agreed with Shell designers then get reneged upon, which results in unnecessary divergence of API’s, the indicators being the key example.
    Proposals for Unity API’s as external dependencies are refused, which is virtually without precedent.

    Apologies if my initial comment appeared confrontational. It was written in a rush late at night (never a good idea!) I hope you can understand how your comments were upsetting to those of us who have worked so hard on these designs, however.

    I can appreciate that folk who have worked on Shell’s design feel that they have full ownership of the result. But that misses a key point: it’s easy to justify a particular path after it’s been taken, hard to argue for a particular path to be taken in the beginning. For example, I note in your blog post of March 2010 that you celebrate the multi-column layout of the Well. That layout was dropped as part of the “relayout” work, which was published sans explanation after Unity became public in May 2010.

    Looking back over this comment thread, it’s clear that different people have quite different understandings of what has happened between our two projects in recent years. You believe that Unity has influenced GNOME Shell, for example, and I have a different view. Jason believes Ubuntu hasn’t contributed to GNOME 3, whereas many in Ubuntu believe that they have, or that those efforts have been repelled. These conflicting understandings are driving our projects apart, and they are poisoning our already broken communications. Seeming statements of fact on one side cause upset and insult on the other. Good intentions and a real desire for collaboration on both sides are being lost due to repeated misunderstanding. We can’t go on like this. We have to figure out what has gone wrong (without resorting to recrimination) and figure out what we can do to correct the situation.

    The only way to correct the situation is for GNOME leadership to acknowledge that the Unity work can be considered a contribution to Gnome, if Gnome just looks at it that way. We are committed to our course, and determined to take it to its natural conclusion. We’ve ALWAYS said that we consider our work to be done under the umbrella of GNOME, but at the end of the day, only Gnome itself can acknowledge and embrace that. And we’re getting tired of being left in limbo.

    ‘I’ll note that the indicators work was described to GNOME Shell designers [at the 2008 UX hackfest], who said “great stuff, that needs work”, but when we actually delivered it they said “actually, we’ve decided to explore some other ideas”…’

    Everybody that I have spoken to agrees that there was broad consensus at the UX hackfest. Everybody sees that as an extremely positive thing, and everybody is unhappy that our projects travelled in different directions after that event.

    ‘…they rejected the *working code* in favour of “exploring other ideas”. That’s not the Gnome we know and love, where code talks and people uphold their commitments.’

    It sounds like the GNOME Shell design had moved on by the time that Canonical had produced the working code in question. The divergence began quite quickly, in other words. It would seem that parties at the hackfest walked away misunderstanding each others’ intentions and/or that communication did not occur in an effective manner after the UX hackfest.

    Hold on a sec. There is no doubt that we disclosed the work we felt needed to be done on the panel/indicators. There’s also no doubt that the people we disclosed it to *subsequently* decided they wanted to explore something else. That’s bad faith. It came across as a very deliberate attempt to prevent the adoption of something in which Canonical had made an investment. Think of it this way: if you said to Jon McCann that you wanted to do a bunch of hard work on an aspect of Shell which was unspecified, and he said “go ahead sounds great”, and then when you actually deliver not just the design but a full working implementation he says “nah, I think I’ll explore something else”, wouldn’t you feel shafted? Of course you would.

    When you say to someone “that sounds like a good idea and will be a great contribution”, you are making a commitment. When you later say “no, I’d rather dream something else up” you are breaking your commitments, abusing your position and undermining the prospects for collaboration.

    You’ve emphasised working code a couple of times in this thread. One thing that a lot of people in GNOME are concerned about with regards to (some of) Canonical’s contributions is that components appear to have been designed and developed in-house and then pushed upstream. The general view is that GNOME shouldn’t just be a place where code goes, but a place where we work together to design and develop that code. I’d be really interested to hear what you think about this.

    There are MANY important elements which GNOME simply consumes from elsewhere. In most cases, that’s appropriate because it enables smoother collaboration across desktop environments. PulseAudio, for example, was not hosted on GNOME infrastructure, yet it was accepted enthusiastically. This is especially true of pieces which should work well across other environments. In the case of the indicators, it’s obviously preferable that apps written in other environments have a good result in Gnome. That’s why we specifically (as we said we would) pursued the FD.o standard which KDE had sketched out.

    The argument that GNOME should pre-judge any proposal before it becomes working code is deadly. It’s a recipe for the sort of horrible interactions that we’ve seen between ZG and the Indicators efforts and GNOME. It enables distros with influence in GNOME to prejudice ideas that come from elsewhere. In short, it’s right at the heart of the close-mindedness that I think has made GNOME rotten at the top, despite retaining a wonderful community across its breadth.

    In addition to this, it’s reasonable to expect some respect for the different perspectives and constraints for different contributors. In our case, the work we did on indicators was commissioned – that means other people have the right to see it before it gets released. You may or may not be subject to the same constraints, but to deny folks who are the ability to make contributions to GNOME seems shortsighted and self-destructive to GNOME ;-)

    ‘after equivalent work had landed in Ubuntu, with the clear statement that we intended to submit it to GNOME’

    How was that signal sent? Was there two-way communication about it? I’ve been a keen follower of GNOME for many years, and I can honestly say that I was never aware that that was the intention. When the proposal to include app indicators in GNOME came along, it seemed bizarre to many of us in the project. Why was it being proposed for inclusion, when it was so clear that it didn’t integrate with what the GNOME project was doing?

    That signal was sent at the UX hackfest where we outlined what we’d like to do. You may not have been aware of it, but Jon McCann was.

    ‘The entire Zeitgeist team have consistently felt, for years, that their efforts to make progress were being actively blocked. Multiple requests for inclusion have been declined.’

    First off, I’m personally extremely sorry to hear that the Zeitgeist team feel that way. They are an enthusiastic, talented bunch – exactly the kind of people we want to be participating in GNOME.

    There has been a lot of misunderstanding about Zeitgeist and GNOME. Zeitgeist was proposed for inclusion in GNOME at the same time as GNOME Activity Journal. The former proposal was later modified: it was proposed as an external dependency instead. In essence, Zeitgeist was never proposed for inclusion. It was to be a dependency.

    In the end, GAJ wasn’t accepted because the GNOME Release Team wanted Zeigeist integrated directly across the desktop. Because of this, and because Zeitgeist wasn’t being used by other GNOME modules, Zeitgeist wasn’t added as a dependency [1]. This wasn’t a judgement that GNOME didn’t want Zeitgeist, though. It was just that, since Zeitgeist wasn’t being used in GNOME, it wasn’t a required dependency.

    The release team and many in the GNOME project wanted and, we believed, encouraged Zeitgeist to pursue greater integration across the GNOME desktop and applications.

    Personally, I think there is more that GNOME could do to communicate effectively on issues like this. We should be doing more to ensure that we offer encouragement and detailed explanations in those situations. I have no idea why you or the Zeitgeist team feel that they have ‘been actively blocked’ however, nor why you think that ‘multiple requests for inclusion have been declined’.

    It’s easy to backpedal now. ZG has managed to engage, bit by bit and app by app, with enough of the ecosystem that it’s inclusion is inevitable. Those who set out to block it have failed. So it’s convenient for them now to say “oh, we were just arguing for it to get in a different way”. In practice, many of the apps which engaged with ZG have apparently been challenged behind the scenes. The political nature of that game is, in my view, inappropriate in an organisation that holds the value of “code talks”.

    ‘In the weeks after Unity actually landed, we saw (for the first time) actual changes in the position of the Gnome Shell designers. What prompted those changes?’

    As you’ve said, you saw some changes after Unity was released. But I saw those changes coming long before Unity ever appeared on the scene. Take the blog post [2] that I wrote about GNOME Shell in March 2010. It flagged up several issues which were later addressed through design changes, and made design proposals which later emerged in the overview relayout design. Another thing that prompted the changes was that our document search implementation was pushed back to 3.2 (this was determined in April 2010 [3]). Pulling documents from the UI obviously had some major design repercussions. I was personally in conversation with the shell designers about the changes you have identified as being the result of Unity long before that project was publicly announced.

    I liked your blog on Shell. But I don’t see any of the relevant changes called out there.

    For example:

    The multi-column App Well. You celebrate it, yet it was changed to look exactly like Unity’s launcher a few weeks later (a major change presaged by no consensus, just redrawn by Jimmac after what looks pretty clearly like a detailed review of Unity’s designs).
    The layout of the central area. You don’t suggest any changes there, yet a few weeks later (after Unity) it suddenly becomes a result space… just like Unity. And amazingly, called the Dash, also just like Unity. And all this with little discussion or commentary or evaluation of alternatives that I can see.
    The use of the panel – you critique it, and yet it seems little changed since.

    Allan, please understand that I don’t mind Shell’s resemblance to Unity one bit. I want the best for Gnome, and I can hardly argue that making Shell work more like Unity makes it worse, can I ;-). I can however reasonably expect some shout out for those changes. And most importantly, I can reasonably expect not to be accused of playing “pointless fork” when we’re clearly the ones setting the direction, with no basis for having been able to anticipate Shell’s adoption of those design themes prior to us actually having made the decision to move with our view.

    Also, I have great regard for your work. I think it sets a valuable example. I don’t think you’ve done anything improper. I do think folks in the Shell team have, though, and I think the wider Gnome community is being mislead on that point, to the detriment of the project as a whole. If what I say is true then it would clearly be better for Gnome developers to step back, let both Unity and Shell compete, and ensure that both carry the Gnome brand forward. That is not, however, what would suit our competitors. Think carefully how much you want their needs to cost Gnome.

  141. mark says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Dave, I mean that if Banshee don’t want the revenue share, we’ll keep it.

  142. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Mark,

    Who exactly do you think deliberately set out to block ZG? I see no evidence of blocking ZG. Feel free to point to the best example of publicly archived communication which you interpret as a deliberate effort to block ZG?

    -jef

  143. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Mark,

    When you say that GNOME needs to recognize Unity as a contribution to GNOME…. wouldn’t that same reasoning need to imply that GNOME should have considered the Hildon framework Nokia created as part of the maemo OS for the Nokia 770 as a contribution to GNOME for the several years in which Hildon existed outside of the GNOME project as a core part of the maemo OS interface experience? The fact however is that Hildon was not considered a GNOME contribution until it was official incorporated in 2007. And prior to that point there was no emotional handwringing or hurt feelings over the widely understood distinction of what it meant to “contribute to” GNOME.

    You need to understand that this diversified external work that Canonical is doing now with Unity is not setting precedent in how external diversified interface work being done by a corporate vendor. The technology details maybe different, but really you aren’t doing _anything_ new in terms of project interaction that was not seen previously in the dawn of Hildon. If you are ignorant of the history of Hildon as a diversified vendor offering then I suggest you read up on its very long history. For the years prior to 2007, Hildon was widely considered to be an external effort and not a contribution to GNOME. And everyone seems to have been cool with that general opinion of the matter. I can’t find any evidence that anyone ever suggested it should be considered a contribution to GNOME simply for existing as an outside vendor built project which leverages GNOME components heavily.

    -jef

  144. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Mark,

    To be clear… when you say the work on indicators was commissioned. Do you mean that an outside entity (which I do not expect or ask you to name) paid Canonical for the development of indicators?

    If that is the correct interpretation… was that public knowledge prior to this blog comment?

    -jef

  145. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 7th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    “Yes, the Banshee team could start to assert that the use of their trademark is conditional on meeting specific requirements, and we would gladly discuss that with them. We do the same with Mozilla, where we have figured out together how to meet Mozilla’s requirements while still having the flexibility we need. However, before encouraging the Banshee team to do so, you might want to consider that Debian is unlikely to accept ANY restriction on trademark grounds (hence Iceweasel in the Mozilla case) and that unlike Firefox, Banshee does not have a brand that is established enough to warrant significant compromise on the part of any distributors, who are more likely than not simply going to de-brand the result. In short, consider the possible unanticipated consequences of your proposal carefully ;-)”

    So Zero respect for upstream. Why am I not surprised. So I can take this is that you intentionally stepped on Banshee trademark on the belief they could do nothing because they are too small. Thank you for now moving the case up a level where a case over Banshee trademark now would become possible destruction of Ubuntu trademark and all related. Also you have voided any legal grounds to change Banshee name by that comment. Threats to block trademark cases are not allowed under trademark law.

    Problem here if I was Microsoft I would hit Ubuntu with Consumer Protection laws. What the alteration currently done you would be in breach of. Problem is the alteration you have done puts on the wrong side of 2 laws groups. Trademark and Consumer protection.

    Nasty part about consumer protection laws is I don’t need banshee copyright or trademarks to apply them. I can be anyone including Microsoft.

    By the way mark I should I go out and release something name Ubuntu you guys don’t approval of.

    This is what I call double standards. Its not fine for me to use the name Ubuntu on what ever I like. But its fine for you todo the same with Banshee Trademark. There is a problem Legally if you keep on doing this ie if multiable cases can be proven. I will be able to use Ubuntu trademark however I like because you will no longer have trademarks. Prior cases for this exist. A party who fails to respect trademark law repeatedly has their trademarks invalidated. Trademark laws are nasty on double standards.

    Trademark law is not like copyright law. Copyright law brake many peoples copyright you get to keep your copyright items. Trademark law brake many peoples trademarks lose yours.

    Be-warned Mark yours are the only distribution altering banshee store. Not even debian alters it. Debian and Mozilla case had a privacy issue and it was not about money.

    In short, consider the possible unanticipated consequences of your actions mark. They are massive long reaching and could completely destroy Ubuntu and your company.

  146. oiaohm says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Really mark you need to think. Novell developers are behind banshee. If Banshee wins a trademark case against Ubuntu they may take the Ubuntu and Related trademarks,

    Debian vs Mozilla. Debian was able to produce a case that it was for user privacy and they were not directly aiming to harm the Mozilla trademark or Income.

    Your case is way worse. Money is basically being stolen using the Banshee name. Banshee has basically been blackmailed by Ubuntu. Since you would alter and remove the store just so Banshee would agree to your terms.

    So 2 crimes have been done. This put you in the the scary location where Banshee now can play for your trademarks. Novell is the trademark holder of Banshee so Novell could get the Ubuntu trademark. I really do class this as a worth while target for Novell to go after considering there money location and market share.

    Banshee as no legal requirement to threaten you with the Trademark to get you todo something. Failure to respect the trademark is enough for legal action to undertaken.

    Worst part is mark is that someone could end up serving jail time for blackmail out of this. Of course if you correct your path legal harm can disappear.

  147. mark says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 6:18 am

    @oiaohm

    You know enough about trademark law to be dangerous to yourself, but not enough to offer advice to either Ubuntu or Banshee. Yes, trademarks are important, and yes, they create rights for the holder against deliberately or inadvertently misleading uses of the mark. But it’s up to the trademark holder to specify the terms under which the mark may be used. That’s why we have an Ubuntu trademark policy and license, as does Mozilla, and Banshee may or may not have one, but it certainly does not specify “thou shalt make no changes”. Most open source projects implicitly or explicitly allow for changes to be made. Every single distribution patches many or most applications, and they would need to remove the brands of all of those apps if the trademark policies forbade that. That would not be in the interests of those upstreams at all.

    Now, I’ll say again, we’d be very happy to engage with Banshee on trademark grounds, just like we’ve been very happy to engage with them on other fronts. Despite your hysteria, there is a perfectly good channel of communication between members of the Ubuntu community and members of the Banshee community. If Banshee did decide that affiliate codes were an essential part of their trademark we would respect that, but would it would put us (and probably Debian) in a position where we would have to reconsider the promotion of the Banshee name at all.

  148. mark says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    @Jef

    It may or may not have been disclosed, but that’s not relevant. It’s a common theme in much of our work. Recognising that each of the groups that participate in development have different motivations, constraints, backgrounds and processes is a necessary step towards effective collaboration despite those differences.

    For example, members of the free software spend a lot of energy on debating the morals of the different positions those contributors find themselves in – is Red Hat’s approach of restricting rights in exchange for services morally superior to Novell’s approach of trading with proprietary companies and Canonical’s approach of services delivered straight to the platform – when instead, we could recognise that that diversity is healthy, and the goal is the quality and scope and degree of adoption of free software.

    If the indicators were designed and delivered as part of a commissioned work – which they were, Ubuntu Light, we nevertheless engaged with Gnome Shell designers, provided them with sufficient clarity of the scope of the work we would undertake and the nature of the result (it would be based on the FD.o standard, and would take the form of menus only). To turn around and reject that work on the grounds that “it’s not what we want to explore now” is arrogance that prejudices any collaboration. It essentially says “you can’t contribute on a level playing field, I can change my mind at any time, even if my sole goal in doing so is to be capricious”. In order for two groups to collaborate, both have to believe that an agreement will stand. Today, we have no basis for that belief, and ample evidence to the contrary.

  149. mark says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:10 am

    @Jef

    I’m describing a behind-the-scenes backstabbing effort to block ZG. I doubt there are any on the record, publicly archived comments to that effect, and your suggestion that either there might be, or that no behind-the-scenes action takes place in public projects, is naive in the extreme.

  150. Dave Neary says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    @mark: To be crystal clear, if Banshee developers ask for “their cut” to go to the GNOME Foundation rather than themselves, you’ll keep it, rather than do as they ask?

  151. mark says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    @Dave, no, you have it entirely wrong, and I was quite clear about this. The offer stands to the Banshee developers, who in turn can direct those funds wherever they wish including the Gnome Foundation. However, if they *reject* the offer, and I’m not sure what grounds they would do so other than in protest, then we’ll not send it anywhere else out of any sort of guilt.

  152. Allan Day says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for the swift response.

    ‘Patches from Unity developers get little attention, so they rot, and adding insult to injury they are forgotten when the “who contributes” stats are being created.’

    If you or any other Ubuntu contributor has a concern about a patch or a credit, they can message the relevant mailing list and it can be discussed in the open. And GNOME has been reaching out here. Please engage with us.

    ‘Proposals for Unity API’s as external dependencies are refused, which is virtually without precedent.’

    I have no knowledge of this, nor of precedents. If there are specific problems, let’s get them out in the open and get them sorted. This issue is obviously causing frustration. We can’t resolve it if we don’t know about it though.

    ‘I can appreciate that folk who have worked on Shell’s design feel that they have full ownership of the result. But that misses a key point: it’s easy to justify a particular path after it’s been taken, hard to argue for a particular path to be taken in the beginning. For example, I note in your blog post of March 2010 that you celebrate the multi-column layout of the Well. That layout was dropped as part of the “relayout” work, which was published sans explanation after Unity became public in May 2010.’

    You asked me what prompted the changes that you described. I gave you two clear examples (I could have given more). I did not indicate that I would document the entire design process, nor did you ask me to.

    I’ve given you a personal assurance that, as someone deeply involved with this, there was no mimicry, and I have given several examples of how the design process for this part of the shell was already on a trajectory towards what it later became prior to Unity being announced. I had hoped that that would be enough to enable you to understand the situation from our perspective.

    ‘The only way to correct the situation is for GNOME leadership to acknowledge that the Unity work can be considered a contribution to Gnome, if Gnome just looks at it that way. We are committed to our course, and determined to take it to its natural conclusion. We’ve ALWAYS said that we consider our work to be done under the umbrella of GNOME, but at the end of the day, only Gnome itself can acknowledge and embrace that. And we’re getting tired of being left in limbo.’

    Jef said this better than I can, but I’ll try and put it in my own words. ;) What you are expecting of GNOME is contrary to the project’s usual ways of working. It is not how the project works nor how it has ever (to my knowledge) worked, and it is not (in my experience) how GNOME contributors understand their project.

    GNOME is a dynamic project and has been changing, however. We recently(ish) had an excellent, open discussion about reorganising our modulesets, for example, and there was a lot of participation in that debate from right across our community. That would have been an excellent time to have proposed the kind of approach that you are advocating here, but we never heard anything. Nor has there been a public case made for the kind of change that you are making. Nobody has presented how and why GNOME should do what you are saying it should do.

    This is obviously a source of frustration for you. If there are specific ways in which you think GNOME should be operating, please make public proposals and suggestions, and let’s have an open discussion. Misunderstood or little known expectations are only going to create friction.

    ‘There is no doubt that we disclosed the work we felt needed to be done on the panel/indicators. There’s also no doubt that the people we disclosed it to *subsequently* decided they wanted to explore something else. That’s bad faith. It came across as a very deliberate attempt to prevent the adoption of something in which Canonical had made an investment. Think of it this way: if you said to Jon McCann that you wanted to do a bunch of hard work on an aspect of Shell which was unspecified, and he said “go ahead sounds great”, and then when you actually deliver not just the design but a full working implementation he says “nah, I think I’ll explore something else”, wouldn’t you feel shafted? Of course you would.’

    Discussing the actions of individuals is inappropriate and unhealthy. The point should be – how can we prevent recent history from reoccurring? Ubuntu and GNOME are huge projects. We need to be communicating in resilient and transparent ways.

    ‘There are MANY important elements which GNOME simply consumes from elsewhere. In most cases, that’s appropriate because it enables smoother collaboration across desktop environments. PulseAudio, for example, was not hosted on GNOME infrastructure, yet it was accepted enthusiastically. This is especially true of pieces which should work well across other environments. In the case of the indicators, it’s obviously preferable that apps written in other environments have a good result in Gnome. That’s why we specifically (as we said we would) pursued the FD.o standard which KDE had sketched out.’

    Zeitgeist’s use of Launchpad was seen to be not ideal for a module which wanted to become a part of GNOME. I am not aware of any criticisms of its hosting choices since it withdrew that application and set its sights on becoming an external dependency, however. (PulseAudio is also an external dependency.)

    This point about hosting is one that is recurrently misunderstood. GNOME obviously has work to do to explain the rationale for how our modulesets are organised and how the project operates.

    ‘The argument that GNOME should pre-judge any proposal before it becomes working code is deadly. It’s a recipe for the sort of horrible interactions that we’ve seen between ZG and the Indicators efforts and GNOME. It enables distros with influence in GNOME to prejudice ideas that come from elsewhere.’

    Indicators were before my time, but Zeitgeist was greeted with a huge amount of enthusiasm at GCDS and, in all my time spent around GNOME, I have never seen any evidence of prejudice. But again: if there are specific issues, let’s get them out in the open and discuss them.

    I think that it is fair that design considerations can trump running code. It makes no sense to include a module if it doesn’t accord with an overall design or integrate at the level of user experience. Just because code runs does not oblige any project to accept it, including GNOME. Do you agree with that statement?

    ‘In short, it’s right at the heart of the close-mindedness that I think has made GNOME rotten at the top, despite retaining a wonderful community across its breadth.’

    Can we have a conversation without resorting to inflammatory statements, please?

    ‘It’s easy to backpedal now. ZG has managed to engage, bit by bit and app by app, with enough of the ecosystem that it’s inclusion is inevitable. Those who set out to block it have failed. So it’s convenient for them now to say “oh, we were just arguing for it to get in a different way”.

    I asked for clarification on why you think Zeitgeist has ‘been actively blocked’ and why you think that ‘multiple requests for inclusion have been declined’. We need to work towards mutual understanding here.

    I am in no way back-pedalling, and nobody else is. Public statements were made at the time of the GAJ application that the Release Team wanted desktop integration and not a standalone app, including the official decision announcement that I linked to. Were you aware of those statements at the time? I said that there are things we could do to increase understanding and effective communications in these situations – what do you think of that?

    ‘In practice, many of the apps which engaged with ZG have apparently been challenged behind the scenes. The political nature of that game is, in my view, inappropriate in an organisation that holds the value of “code talks”.’

    This is the first time I have heard this accusation, and I’m surprised by it. *If* it is happening, it would obviously be against GNOME’s ethos. Again, we can deal with these perceived problems in the open, however. We can’t if we don’t hear about them.

    ‘Allan, please understand that I don’t mind Shell’s resemblance to Unity one bit.’

    You profit from such statements while, in my opinion, the GNOME Project is portrayed in a negative light. That is one reason why I am trying to engage with you.

    ‘let both Unity and Shell compete, and ensure that both carry the Gnome brand forward.’

    GNOME Shell is an official GNOME module which was approved after an open discussion in which anybody could have participated. There were no objections to its inclusion at that time from yourself or other Canonical employees. Can you be clear – you want the GNOME project to effectively eject an official module and the key part of a major new release, a month ahead of the release date? My point is – isn’t it a bit late to be making these kinds of proposals? GNOME 3 is in full swing and our project has made a substantial investment in that release.

    Many thanks – let’s keep the conversation going!

  153. Dave Neary says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    @mark: It was a question for a reason – there was room for misinterpretation, and I just wanted to be sure I understood correctly.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    Dave.

  154. Dave Neary says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    @mark: Also, in response to “Unity work can be considered a contribution to Gnome, if Gnome just looks at it that way” – I still think this is entirely possible, if only Canonical could agree to dropping copyright assignment on developer contributions – or require assignment to an independent third party (like the GNOME Foundation). I would love to see Unity & Shell compete & have the best man win over the course of the next year (as I mentioned to you in November).

    Dave.

  155. Stephen Munster says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Hello Mark,

    I just heard about you today. I wish I had time to wander around your website, but I am so busy at work and my website, that it will have to take a back seat till tonight. I can’t wait!

    Anyway, I wrestle with time and have it successfully pinned to the floor. Picture this: I have one hand on its neck, leaving the other hand free to ping -t the net. Imagine what I could do with both hands free. Such is life.

    LOVE the dragon logo.

  156. Raymond Yeh says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I believe that this is going to be just great, if conversations above keep going on and on.

    Just as the words said,”The truth becomes clearer through debate”
    The software become better through patches or something else.

    I see this crisis as a chance to establish better relationship between Canonical and other FOSS organizations.

    So, Mark don’t lose your chance for bringing the sweet couple (Canonical and FOSS’s) some words of warm.

    Keep up! Everyone! We’re talking about making the world better aren’t we? So let’s keep open source rock! And make our trick works better.

    Best regards!

  157. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    mark,

    Let be very strongly suggest that you refrain from commenting on backstabbing situations without evidence. Seriously Mark, that’s high school. Statements like that bring nothing but drama. There’s nothing even remotely constructive in that statement.. nothing in that statement which can be used for an objective self-evaluation of the GNOME community.

    If I played by those rules, if I just repeated every single little petty thing I overheard without naming names without at least giving those I would accuse the benefit of the doubt and a chance to defend themselves in public…would people think less or more of me?

    If you really think there is an injustice… you need to start being specific… in public.

    -jef

  158. Aanjhan Ranganathan says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    @mark, your reply to Srini (4th comment) was epic WIN. Just wanted to say that :-)

  159. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    @mark,

    As to the work and discussion on indicators which we know know was a commissioned work as part of a Unity Light delivery…paid for by a 3rd party contracting with Canonical…

    Let me make sure I have the timeline of events correct:

    2008 GNOME Summit/Hackfest: It is your contention that face-to-face conversations with GNOME dev/designers encouraged you to explore the indicator approach with the mutual understanding that it would be welcomed for integration at a later unspecified date with no agreed on deadline for consideration.

    Second half of 2008: No public record discussion in which any Canonical employee touches base with GNOME dev/designers to get feedback on the indicator implementation as it stands to start vectoring towards having it be suitable as an external GNOME dep that GNOME components could make use of. But there are ongoing private discussions in this timeframe with the entity that commissioned the work?

    All of 2009: No public record discussion in which any Canonical employee pings GNOME/designers to get feedback on the indicator implementation specifics to vector towards having GNOME modules start relying on it? But there are ongoing discussion in this timeframe with the entity that commissioned the work?

    Anything wrong in that timeline that you would like to publicly comment on?

    -jef

  160. Máirín Duffy says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Mark, you said “every other commercial Linux desktop is a licensed product – you can’t legally use it for free, the terms for binaries are similar to those for Windows or the MacOS” and further on in the comments you specifically called out one of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux products.

    Your assertion is simply not true. It is true that if you have one Enterprise Linux subscription from Red Hat, all of your copies of Enterprise Linux are required to have subscriptions as per your agreement with Red Hat. If you have no subscription agreements with Red Hat or if your subscriptions have lapsed, however, you may absolutely use it for free under the GPL (you won’t get updates from Red Hat, of course, but you are free to use it.) This is specifically stated on Red Hat’s website:

    http://www.redhat.com/rhel/renew/faqs/#6

    Neither Windows nor OS X to my knowledge allow this kind of free use of the product. Another key difference between the Red Hat model here and Windows & OS X is that to my knowledge, you must pay a fee to both Microsoft and Apple to upgrade your OS. I believe Apple charges $30 per major upgrade, and Microsoft as far as I am aware does not provide free upgrades from say Vista to Windows 7. A Red Hat subscription allows you to run any currently-supported version and upgrade at any time without charge.

    Red Hat provides more information about this on their website. If you would like to read up on it, you could start by visiting this page: http://www.redhat.com/about/understanding_subscriptions/

    I tried to find more information about Canonical’s support model to compare the two for your benefit, but it appears your “Buy professional support services” link on ubuntu.com resolves to a 404 error:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/business/services

    I would be curious to see how your terms handle cases where a customer purchases one support contract for 100+ systems and requests support.

  161. Debian or Ubuntu, which is the best place to contribute? says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    [...] a few days ago with the story of Banshee and the associated Amazon affiliate revenues. I liked Mark Shuttleworth’s clarifications on the topic, but it’s still a proof that the power of the Ubuntu community has its [...]

  162. mark says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    @Máirín

    The right to use a product without security updates is of little value – an OS with no updates is actively harmful. The only purpose that can serve is as a teaser trailer to the commercial product. In my view, that’s not a free solution, and while it’s wonderful that Red Hat has been successful with that model, it fall short of what I think free software is capable of achieving. Clearly, saying that and proving are different things, but I hope you’ll agree I’ve at least been willing to put my money where my mouth is in that regard.

    In the case of Ubuntu support from Canonical, we regularly agree to support parts of a company’s Ubuntu deployment. That means that you can deploy Ubuntu, free of charge, with all updates, on as many machines as you like, and agree a support contract for the portions of your network where that is a requirement. Of course, we won’t sign a support contract for a single machine in a class of thousands, but we will sign one for a class of machines in production, leaving aside test, dev, staging and other classes of machine.

  163. Máirín Duffy says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Actually a product without updates is still kind of a useful thing. This is true for both desktop and server situations, but I’ll stick to desktop cases since that’s what we’re talking about:

    - In some cases you actively may not want software updates, because they will break something you rely on. Think IE 5.5.

    - Not everyone who uses computers has access to the internet. Nor does every installed system have a connection.

    - You may need the OS simply as a support for some application for a one-time particular use case and not need it later. See my ‘taxes’ example below.

    Actively harmful without updates or not, you still cannot argue that Enterprise Linux’s model here is as restrictive as Windows and OS X’s. I do not have a copy of Windows or OS X but I needed to do my taxes, and the tax software I use only works on Windows or OS X. I had to buy the tax software and install it on a friend’s computer, and do my taxes on his computer. Using his license in itself may be legally questionable (please don’t sue me, Bill!) but certainly the alternative of downloading a Windows ISO from bittorrent and installing it would have been a big problem legally. Had Enterprise Linux been a supported OS for the tax software and I had no subscription to it, I could still obtain a copy with a clear legal conscience.

    Certainly if you want the updates you can build the SRPMs yourself and the aforementioned Red Hat FAQ mentions that as an option for folks who no longer wish to continue their subscription but would like to continue running their machines with Enterprise Linux. This isn’t an option for Windows / OS X users.

    Keeping copies of Enterprise Linux running without a subscription isn’t not really comparable to a ‘teaser trailer,’ because it’s something you can do indefinitely; there is no time limit to how long you may operate that way and again, if you need updates there are other ways of obtaining them.

    I personally agree that the model isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly sustainable and has fueled a lot of awesome stuff. I have tried to think of a better way that is still sustainable for a few years now and I really can’t.

    “Of course, we won’t sign a support contract for a single machine in a class of thousands, but we will sign one for a class of machines in production, leaving aside test, dev, staging and other classes of machine.”

    Are there any written materials regarding this that I could take a look at to learn more? How do you handle if additional production deployments take place; there are no audits to true up the support license? It sounds like you do require a support license for all production machines, which is a bit nuanced from “you can deploy Ubuntu, free of charge, with all updates, on as many machines as you like.”

  164. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    @Jef,

    I’ll try to comment on your points below. I’m sorry to comment so late, but I was on holiday, and I stay away from the Internetworks while I’m with my family :)

    You wrote:
    > Yes, the Canonical approach does seem like a better value for consumers. But is it sustainable? Who really likes paying for
    > anything if you can get something similar at a reduced cost elsewhere?

    TBH, I don’t cate paying bucks to a service which is really usable to me. But having no possibility to a) download RHEL 6 e.g. or do any work on “really evaluate this product and service”, is really a mess.
    Why should I spend hundreds of bucks for this, when I can have the very same or better quality for less hassle?

    > Canonical’s business strategy is a classic-loss leader strategy. They delibrately give away something valuable at a loss to
    > themselves (that other companies charge for in a self-sustaining way) to delibrately undercut the business of those competitors > and to drive them out of the market.

    Really? Well, that’s really bad. Actually it sounds like simple, free enterprise, which one of the german leaders of free enterprise prayed after 1945…could be wrong, wasn’t it that the US wanted to actually have that?
    Seriously, no ironic undertone, if someone is doing that, and undermining someones business plan, shouldn’t it be the right thing to do to think about someones business plan, and eventually change it?

    > Wal-mart does this with gasoline in some locations. They sell gasoline at a loss, something everyone values…to attract
    > customers to their stores and pull customers from competitors. Wal-mart can sell some items at a loss, because they make enough > money from other items to make up for it. Ethical? That is debatable..but very effective at pushing other retailers out of a
    > market.

    I know that from germany too..it works well, without letting BP/Aral/Shell/and other petrol stations die.

    > Canonical does it by giving away integration services and package updates instead of charging form them in a self-sustainable
    > way. The absolutely most valuable service Canonical provides are those integration and package update services….and providing
    > those services come at an expense to Canonical. The only problem is Canonical hasn’t figure out the second half the loss-leader
    > strategy. They haven’t figured out yet how to make enough money to overcome the losses inherent in using a loss-leader
    > strategy. So Canonical continues to bleed money year after year after year while at the same time devaluing the integration and
    > update services for the whole marketplace as the bounce from revenue idea to revenue idea looking for something that will catch > fire and grow into sustainable dollars.

    Do they? Honestly, I really don’t know how Canonical wants and earns money, I don’t really care, it’s not my money, and what Mark actually did with his earned “selling Thawte” money and what Jane and others are spending today, I don’t know and care, as said.
    I do care, that Canonical will stay as it is. If that means, buying Music from a store via Banshee plugin, if I really need that music, why not.
    If it means, to fork the project with a competitor with more money, hell, yes.

    But only with a working distro system like Canonical introduced. You can’t earn money anymore with selling software..you earn with support and good services. Sad to say so, but RH doesn’t deliver good services anymore, they did when Bob was still the boss, and when Matthew took over, there was a problem. Sad enough. Many people don’t even know those names. Pity. But since then, RH was acting like a linux based MS, and now we are going more to a linux, jboss based Oracle.

    > In some very significant ways Shuttleworth’s cashpile is actually distorts the competitive marketplace for services in damaging
    > ways (not unlike Wal-mart as a retailer does). Who else but Shuttleworth would be willing to lose money for a decade+ before
    > seeing a a single break-even quarter?

    Well, again, I don’t care about Marks money, it’s his and he can do what he wants with it. In terms of competition, when Mark is damaging the market, why nobody else did this? RH and Novell could have done this long time ago..but they didn’t. Why?
    Competition means: “Do something new”. And while I’m not agreeing with Marks and Canonicals steps 100%, I do like the “we are kicking the markets ass” attitude. You see that with the ARM market. (Really, RH could have gain a lot of marketshare when they knew how to bond RH Linux + Compaq IPaq in a commercial way, they could’ve kicked Palm these days).
    Anyways, the “problem” here, what we do see, Canonical is not a public traded company…so nobody knows, what exactly Canonical is earning, which is right now a good thing, or a bad thing regarding competitors.

    > Maybe this new app platform idea for Ubuntu that competes with Android will catch on. Maybe it won’t. The track record for
    > execution for Canonical isn’t particularly bright. So far none of Canonical’s previous efforts at growing a sustainable revenue > stream have caught fire. They even shuttered their training services entirely in the last year. If you are giving away the
    > binaries, and you can’t even sustaining an optional training service to compliment your products..that spells real trouble to
    > me for your overall business plan. But I’m just a part of the peanut gallery so I don’t expect my analysis to resonate inside
    > the Canonical fenceline.

    And you think that the RHCE is a good training? You think that having some training at a training facility + exam gives you, as an newbie, the experience to deliver good SysAdmin services for your company for linux based OS?
    Sidenode, I do not think that an LPIC gives someone a better experience.

    And Jef, I don’t think you are part of a peanut gallery…that’s why Mark still answers you ;)

  165. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 8th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    @Máirín:

    Can you do me a favour and ask Bob Young why he never released an Enterprise desktop product before 2002, oh sorry, Bob went before 2002..yes. And RHEL was introduced somewhat around 2002.
    Can you ask Matthew Szulik, why he said, during a meeting in Raleigh/Durham, 2001 why he thought, that Linux is not ready for the desktop?
    And can you ask him further, why he released then RHEL Desktop Linux, even when he knew that Linux on the Desktop is a no go?

    I’m sorry, but RH has a history of not listening to the market, not because of the Developers, but mostly because of the management. And really, since Bob “Under The Brim” Young left for Lulu, RedHat made a lot of mistakes.

    They tried to stop at least some mistakes behind when RH thought about Fedora Core as a broad QA testbed for RHEL…which works quite well, because food for the masses is always a good testbed. But somehow RH can’t stop their mistakes in selling OS support in a strange way. Instead of pure knowledge in terms of helping companies improving the OPS business, they are still selling old style security updates.

    As said, it’s not a problem of development, it’s a problem of management…

  166. Jef Spaleta says: (permalink)
    March 9th, 2011 at 12:24 am

    @sadig

    I’mn not sure how I can comment on the meat of your reply to me. I am in no position to comment on the value of any particular service offering as I have not been nor do I have any immediate plan to be a customer any services provided by either Red Hat or Canonical. And since I’ve never knowingly been a customer for either Vendor’s revenue generating services I can’t really add anything to the comments you make about value. Not with regard to the update subscriptions or with regard to engineering consulting nor with regard to training nor with regard to any online services. Nor do I make any recommendations as to the purchasing of any such services to anyone because I have not used them from any vendor.

    But I will say that “sustainability” is most definitely something consumers can and will think about when making purchasing decisions. There is a growing acknowledgement in the brick and mortar purchasing habits about food production sustainability for example. There are most definitely industry practises that help lower the acquisition cost of food which work against sustainability of the entire industry. Some consumers don’t care..others care very much. You personally may not incorporate a view of sustainability into your purchasing habits but it would be wrong to suggest that others do not. And I will continue to argue that supporting businesses which aid in the sustainability of the entire FOSS ecosystem is in your best interests even if you yet think it is so. And yes, I know exactly how big of a hypocrite I am for arguing that without myself being a paying customer for anything. I have to save my money for the peanuts that I throw at people. This seat my be cheap, but the cost of the peanuts sort of sneaks up on you.

    -jef

  167. Máirín Duffy says: (permalink)
    March 9th, 2011 at 3:13 am

    @Sadig

    “I’m sorry, but RH has a history of not listening to the market, not because of the Developers, but mostly because of the management. And really, since Bob “Under The Brim” Young left for Lulu, Red Hat made a lot of mistakes.”

    Bob Young was in charge of Red Hat when I was in high school and during my early collegiate years. I remember quite distinctly when Red Hat made its first profit – it was LinuxWorld 2004 in New York, they were handing out red ballcaps with the Shadowman logo that said “Proof” because it was the first quarter the company had made a profit; it was proof that the open source model could work. If Bob Young left Red Hat in 2002, he left without the company having made a profit. Amazing work happened under his guidance and leadership building a brand, but it just hadn’t gone into the black. Giving things away for the benefit of others is nice, it’s not sustainable and the well will dry up eventually, potentially leaving the recipients worse-for-the-wear. (And don’t forget the employees; I have many friends whose paychecks bounced in the dotcom bubble aftermath.)

    I have been nothing short of impressed of the management of Red Hat. The people in charge are brilliant, technically-savvy, inspiring, *good* people who believe deeply in software freedom and respect and listen to their staff, talking to folks regardless of job title or organizational chart position. I believe every company makes mistakes and no company (or person for that matter) is perfect, but I cannot agree with your sentiments about Red Hat’s management, my personal experience over the past almost 7 years now has been far too overwhelmingly positive.

    BTW Red Hat provides a lot more than security updates with a subscription, you could read about that at their website if you cared to learn more.

  168. René says: (permalink)
    March 9th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    @Mark:

    I would like to use Ubuntu One for buying music and storage space and what ever. The only thing that bars me from doing it is that the music store only offers music in MP3 format. I am not a MP3 fan, among other things because of the bad quality (even if encoding with high bitrate). There are some better audio codecs (OGG, AAC, …). I decided that AAC is my favorit music format. It’s quality is nearly the same as OGG but it is better supported on sound/audio devices. So if I want to buy music online I would like to decide in which format to download. If the Ubuntu One Music Store offers AAC formats I will buy all my music there and spend more money for online storage space.

    Perhaps You should upgrade the flexibility of the Ubuntu One Music Store (for example in offering more audio formats). This could be an advantage compared with other music stores (for example Amazon) and a reason for the users to buy music at Ubuntu. The more advantages the Ubuntu One Music Store has compaed with others the more users using it. As a result You don’t have to kick the other plugins from Banshee and You have less trouble with the community.

  169. Lococast Episode 14: Sitting at the same table « Lococast.net says: (permalink)
    March 9th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/611 [...]

  170. CHRSB says: (permalink)
    March 10th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    It makes me sad to read these comments. Many of you here are applauding “competition” as a way to a better product. And it is complete bullsheet.

    Competition is a race to the bottom. In appealing to the “common” user you will always create a worse product.

    It is people working together and sacrificing for a common cause that makes greatness. That is the essence of open source. That is the essence of freedom.

    Imagine if all the effort that went into making Ubuntu was put to use in Debian and Gnome…

    You have been divided, and so you will be conquered.

    Gnome developers, I am glad you held your own, it is Canonical that is damaging open source by trying to limit software freedom by controlling so much of the desktop. But I see the creep of it in Gnome as well; making totem and evolution a dependency for gnome-core, for example.

    So Gnome peeps, just make a basic desktop, with no hooks, that a user can build upon as they like. Ignore the children who walk away like spoiled children because they did not get their way.

  171. srinivas v says: (permalink)
    March 11th, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Aanjhan Ranganathan, can u pls elaborate.

  172. sadig says: (permalink)
    March 12th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @Jef:

    You wrote:
    > [...]
    > But I will say that “sustainability” is most definitely something consumers can and will
    > think about when making purchasing decisions. There is a growing acknowledgement in the brick
    > and mortar purchasing habits about food production sustainability for example. There are most
    > definitely industry practises that help lower the acquisition cost of food which work against
    > sustainability of the entire industry. Some consumers don’t care..others care very much.

    Well, it’s a matter on how you “define” “sustainability”. If “sustainability” is defined as: “We do have lot of SVs or HVs who are certifying their software/hardware on our OS”, and if you settle your business on this behaviour, then I think something is wrong.
    To take your example of “sustainable food production”: I’m living in Germany, and I buy my food from different vendors, mostly but, from discounters where I can buy the food for my family for less then upper class “discounters” (e.g. Aldi vs. REWE). What I learned from comparing the producers of the food products of Aldi and REWE is: It’s just the name. The producers are mostly the very same.

    So, what do we have in our Linux Business.
    We have old, known and “sustainable” vendors of Linux OS namely RH and SuSE (today Novell) (business)
    We have a old and known and “sustainable” “vendor” of Linux OS namely Debian.
    And we have a “new kid on the block” namely “Canonical” and “Ubuntu”.

    Most of the software comes from larger OpenSource Communities like Kernel Developers, KDE and GNOME Developers, ALSA etc.

    In the past (before Canonical and Ubuntu), people were forced to eventually use the “free” Linux OS Debian (after Debian was created), or to buy “commercial” Linux OS’ RH or SuSE. Some companies who were in the “Internet” business, they settled with Debian, disregarding all the problems they stumbled upon. Other companies or government near organisations settled with RH (mostly in the non european market) or with SuSE (mostly in the european market).
    But the software came from the same sources, only the integration for the different OS distributions were done inside the different distro companies or communities.
    In the past, SuSE and RH did that in “private”, Debian in public. Today, RH and SuSE(Novell) do (mostly) the integration now in the public (via Fedora and OpenSuSE).

    In the past, when only RH and SuSE were the real stars of Linux Based OS, many hardware and software companies (HP, IBM, EMC, Oracle, SAP etc.pp.) were certifying their software and hardware on those distros. Even today, there is no real alternative. You have to run Oracle on RHEL or SLES when you want to have support from Oracle. You need to have RHEL or SLES when you want to run EMC SAN storages on your Linux servers. Or having Adobes Flash Media Server, it’s only certified on RHEL. So you don’t have any support from Adobe when you are running Adobes FMS on other linux OS then RHEL.

    Remember, the software which is used on all of our available big Linux Distros comes from the same source.

    Actually, being an OPS guy, dealing with a lot of “commercial” software running on Linux, I’m able to state here, that all of the software, which is certified on RHEL or SLES, does run on Debian or Ubuntu or other not so big linux players. And sometimes much better then on the certified distros. Adobe FMS is one of the examples. Adobe FMS had(has still?) a problem with a security kernel update of RHEL. After the update FMS could only handle 512 user connections, instead of the documented 1024.
    Adobe reacted with a comment: “Downgrade your kernel”
    Installing and Running Adobe FMS on Ubuntu didn’t have the problem at all, and having stress tests on those machines, I came even higher then the documented 1024 user connections.

    Regarding this example, many people were complaining, and they didn’t know what to do now? Downgrading the kernel, having a remote exploit not fixed, or asking RH what to do now?

    So, end of story here was: RH people were saying: It’s Adobes problem, and Adobe saying: It’s a RH problem.
    Who should I trust now?

    I could give you other examples with EMC drivers certified for RHEL or SLES, which were running “unmodified” on Debian, having the same problems on Debian as they had on RHEL or SLES. EMC never supported any customers of EMC machines with EMC drivers running on Debian. So you had to buy a RHEL license to show EMC: It’s your problem and it’s happening on a certified distro.

    “Sustainability” is a very good business goal, when you listen to your customers. If you don’t there is no such thing as a “sustainable business”. It’s just “gaining revenue” like the others do, too.

    > You personally may not incorporate a view of sustainability into your purchasing habits but
    > it would be wrong to suggest that others do not. And I will continue to argue that supporting
    > businesses which aid in the sustainability of the entire FOSS ecosystem is in your best
    > interests even if you yet think it is so. And yes, I know exactly how big of a hypocrite I am
    > for arguing that without myself being a paying customer for anything. I have to save my money
    > for the peanuts that I throw at people. This seat my be cheap, but the cost of the peanuts
    > sort of sneaks up on you.

    Of course, I need an OS which will be available for a long time. But it’s all about experience.
    With Debian and/or Ubuntu I’m able to change everything to my needs. Even when Canonical will collapse (hopefully not), I’m still able to take the project and use it, change it, evolve it.
    RHEL or SLES i’m able to use it but changing it, evolve it? Yes, someone can work inside the Fedora and OpenSuSE project, but the last resort is still in the managers hands. There is no direct involvement of outside users and devs inside the commercial area of RHEL or SLES. (At least not that I know of).

    Ubuntu, it’s not all gold, but most of my problems I can solve directly or with discussions with the devs in question. And 90% of my problems are solved directly, or in one of the releases in between the LTS releases, without big troubles.

    So the difference here is “direct involvement” and “indirect involvement”.

    So, my payment to the FOSS world: Using the software the FOSS world is producing and changing bits and pieces to make a users life even more happier. Especially trying to solve the problems for the server side of the world.

    And the desktop? Quoting Jono here during a keynote at LinuxTag 2008: “Who is still using xterm or the text console?” “Oh, Yes, \sh who else” (imagine the ironic smiley). Anyways, I’m testing in my sparetime most linux distros (openSuSE, Fedora, Slackware, etc.pp) and no desktop release of the mentioned products came near the experience of Ubuntu today.
    Therefore, Canonical is doing the “right thing” to change the Linux Market. Hopefully others are jumping on the same bandwagon, to have real competition. Right now, for me, and I’m only speaking for myself, Ubuntu + Canonical are the leaders of the pack.

    And as always, when there is someone who is really good in something, there are others who try to critisize the work. But the world is changing, and especially in our “FLOSS” world, we need new ways of competing with the real “competitors” to FLOSS.

    Time will tell, who will still be the “star” on the Linux distro market and I hope that the example of Canonical and Ubuntu will be taken as the new way of doing the business. Eventually we see some developer communities being more “business alike” (when they are not already part of a business), but what we will see in the future is more competition between FLOSS projects being integrated in Linux distributions, being a first class project for Distro X and not for Distro Y.
    Hopefully this will increase the quality of FLOSS in general.

  173. jonj says: (permalink)
    March 12th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Mark,

    For me, Canonical deriving revenue via MP3 sales is a non-issue. Instead, it would be unfair (unethical?!? immoral?!?) if those few upstream apps capable of generating an income decided where all the money went. If an upstream depends on revenue for sustainability then that should be explicitly communicated.

    However, when it comes to criticism of GNOME perhaps more politeness and understanding wouldn’t go amiss (a point made well by Dave Neary http://blogs.gnome.org/bolsh/2011/03/11/lessons-learned/ ). If the GNOME shell took its best ideas from Unity, either back that up with good evidence or don’t mention it at all. That comment is sure to create offense where none is necessary.

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  176. inekke says: (permalink)
    July 12th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    ONE WORD:TOOOOOO LONG
    Shorten it PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LOve:inekke

  177. brian says: (permalink)
    August 15th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    great article and post, very nice info!