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Thread: Ubuntu Prompts For Donations When Downloading

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ares Drake View Post
    Is that still true? With upstart and unitity ubuntu now uses two big software elements no other distribution uses. How much costs that develoment and is it really wise spending money on that?

    Do you happen to have any official statistics on canoncial's employees and what these are working on?
    Of course it's not true. If it weren't for things like Launchpad, people would still be writing plain-text messages back and forth on mailing lists. Complete with little right angle brackets to show what the person before them wrote so that it's easy to take things out of context and so hard to go back and figure out what the original context was. You have to read it all from beginning to end and you've got mails in there that have combinations of 4, 3, 2, and 1 indentations because people feel the need to take quotes taken from different points in the thread. I absolutely loathe mailing lists.

    Don't even get me started on the fact that the open source community hasn't been able to bring big commercial software to Linux the way Canonical has with the Software Center.

    Canonical has done a lot and that's a fact.



    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    The difference is that Canonical receives revenues today through people using Ubuntu, and then keeps all those revenues for itself without in any way sending some upstream.
    That's just not true. Canonical employs people to work on Linux, such as the lead developer of Compiz/Fusion gets his paycheck directly from Canonical. If that's not "sending revenues upstream", please tell me what is. You mean letting money go to open source projects that then just sits in a bank account because they're too afraid to hire people because people in the open source community will flip out over it?



    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    You are right that they are under no legal obligation to redistribute any money upstream.
    No legal responsibility, true. But they are trying to make Desktop Linux happen, and so of course they employ a lot of people to work on Desktop Linux and would employ a lot more if they had more revenue. It's called building a market.

    Quote Originally Posted by grotgrot View Post
    As for Canonical's financial prospects, they seem to hire a heck of a lot of people. The "community" team is 6 people! As I recall several years ago it was revealed that half of Canonical employees actually worked on Launchpad.
    According to Wikipedia, Canonical employs over 500 people. So I think you're off by a little bit.. The money has to come from somewhere.



    So...

    Canonical wants to hire people to work on Desktop Linux. In fact, they've already hired a lot of people but really need to hire a lot more people. The income from the Amazon MP3 store and the Software Center is barely enough for a single person to survive on, yet people keep bashing Canonical for it, for reasons I have yet to understand. They think Canonical is so greedy, but they're only going around picking up pennies from under sofa cushions.

    Meanwhile, Debian is sitting on a pile of money. Every year, they talk about how badly they need more manpower, but then they can't hire anybody because once you start paying somebody to do some work, then other people don't want to do the same work for free and so they stop making contributions. It's a real Catch-22. From Debian's perspective, donating money is great as it pays for things like DebConf and sprints, but there is still only so much manpower to go around and it's nowhere near enough.

    Most other Linux distributions are thinking to themselves that if they just had more users all of their lack of manpower problems would go away. Which is just nothing more than a Myth. You're not going to magically increase the number of people in the world with the expertise to work on open source software and dedicate so many hours every week to it, and do it without any pay. You can take marketshare away from Windows all you want, but somebody who plays games, browses the web, and uses Facebook on Windows will do the exact same thing on Linux. They don't magically become contributors and help out with manpower.

    So how to solve the manpower problem on Linux? I think SUSE and Red Hat have already figured it out, *YOU NEED TO HIRE PEOPLE*. Canonical isn't as popular in the server market as Red Hat is, so they just don't have that income stream. Red Hat goes and spends their money on Enterprise Linux, and not on working to improve Linux for regular Desktop users the way Canonical tries to.

    Canonical is trying to figure out how to create a synergy with Desktop Linux users where the Desktop Linux users generate revenue which then goes to hire more people to work on the Linux Desktop which then gains more market share which brings more Desktop Linux users. Yet, people keep bashing Canonical for trying to do this and I think that is just plain silly considering the Linux Desktop marketshare is pretty abysmal.

    People keep wanting to donate money, but what they really need to donate is manpower. Canonical is in the unique position where they can hire a lot of people, while other distros like Debian believe they can't without their userbase screaming bloody murder and feeling alienated.

    The problem keeps boiling down to manpower.. If you can figure out how to get a ton more manpower without money, then I'm sure every Linux distro, including Canonical, would love to adopt whatever suggestions you may have.. Until then, they have a manpower problem and the only way Canonical knows how to fix it is to throw money at the problem and hope for the best. It worked for Red Hat, at least.
    Last edited by Sidicas; 10-10-2012 at 04:05 AM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidicas View Post
    The problem keeps boiling down to manpower.. If you can figure out how to get a ton more manpower without money, then I'm sure every Linux distro, including Canonical, would love to adopt whatever suggestions you may have.. Until then, they have a manpower problem and the only way Canonical knows how to fix it is to throw money at the problem and hope for the best. It worked for Red Hat, at least.
    While you are definetely right on some points, I have a mixed feeling regarding to other points.


    • It is still very hard for someone who has no programming education to contribute to some projects. Documentation in the code as well as a summary on IDEs, compiling, etc just to get started summarized in one place would be tremendously helpfull. I use Linux to do my work to earn money. I teached myself some bash and python scripting and stuff, but I can only spend so much time "toying" with it. I found a lot of small points to improve in many applications, yet I see no way to help solving them. Pointing problems out is just not doing much, as user you get ignored far too often. I know the saying "talk is cheap, show me the code", but if producing code means I have to spend the free time of a complete month on a single tiny fix, I'll just pass.
      So one way to get more manpower would be to make it easier for powerusers to start contributing small things, even without being an IT professional.
    • I would gladly donate money though to get those problems that concern me get fixed. The idea to let the donators decide what to do with the money donated to Ubunu is basically spot-on. It is however imho only the first step. The categories are too broad for example, I don't want to sponsor Gnubuntu or other derivates, but only KDE (more precisely KDE Akonadi & Kmail integration with a Zarafa Server) - this seems not possible via this categories. Maybe a kickstarter- or bounty- or whatever- program where problems could be solved for money by freelance programmers upstream and then passed down to the different distros would make more sense. This could also empower the linux users and integrate them into the decisions, where the Linux Desktop is heading.
    • The concept of a BDFL has it's advantages and I don't want to outright reject a BDFL. (I personally think that most of Mr Shuttleworth decisions of recent times are bad, but that is not important). BDFLs however don't mix well with a community-paid distro. If users pay for it, they want a say. Thus I think canoncial should clarify which aspects of future decisions can be influenced by donating / community voting and what is reserved for the BDFL's authority.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidicas View Post
    The problem keeps boiling down to manpower.. If you can figure out how to get a ton more manpower without money, then I'm sure every Linux distro, including Canonical, would love to adopt whatever suggestions you may have.. Until then, they have a manpower problem and the only way Canonical knows how to fix it is to throw money at the problem and hope for the best. It worked for Red Hat, at least.
    While you are right on some points, I have objections to others:

    • It is still very hard for someone who has no programming education to contribute to some projects. Documentation in the code as well as a summary on IDEs, compiling, etc just to get started summarized in one place would be tremendously helpfull. I use Linux to do my work to earn money. I teached myself some bash and python scripting and stuff, but I can only spend so much time "toying" with it. I found a lot of small points to improve in many applications, yet I see no way to help solving them. Pointing problems out is just not doing much, as user you get ignored far too often. I know the saying "talk is cheap, show me the code", but if producing code means I have to spend the free time of a complete month on a single tiny fix, I'll just pass.
      So one way to get more manpower would be to make it easier for powerusers to start contributing small things, even without being an IT professional.
    • I would gladly donate money though to get those problems that concern me get fixed. The idea to let the donators decide what to do with the money donated to Ubunu is basically spot-on. It is however imho only the first step. The categories are too broad for example, I don't want to sponsor Gnubuntu or other derivates, but only KDE - this seems not possible via this categories. Maybe a kickstarter- or bounty- or whatever- program where problems could be solved for money by freelance programmers upstream and then passed down to the different distros would make more sense. This could also empower the linux users and integrate them into the decisions, where the Linux Desktop is heading.
    • The concept of a BDFL has it's advantages and I don't want to outright reject a BDFL. (I personally think that most of Mr Shuttleworth decisions of recent times are bad, but that is not important). BDFLs however don't mix well with a community-paid distro. If users pay for it, they want a say. Thus I think canoncial should clarify which aspects of future decisions can be influenced by donating / community voting and what is reserved for the BDFL's authority.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ares Drake View Post
    While you are right on some points, I have objections to others:[*]I would gladly donate money though to get those problems that concern me get fixed. The idea to let the donators decide what to do with the money donated to Ubunu is basically spot-on. It is however imho only the first step. The categories are too broad for example, I don't want to sponsor Gnubuntu or other derivates, but only KDE - this seems not possible via this categories. Maybe a kickstarter- or bounty- or whatever- program where problems could be solved for money by freelance programmers upstream and then passed down to the different distros would make more sense. This could also empower the linux users and integrate them into the decisions, where the Linux Desktop is heading.[/LIST]
    I'd love to be able to throw $1, $20, $50 into a pool, of which then I could specify which group of bugs / feature-set / application's are my top priority (and perhaps their max worth to me $1-5). And the more people in this funding method, more expensive bugs could get fixed, more bugs could get fixed, or any give bug/feature would cost each person less.

    [I was trying to think if there was some way that someone who contributes code or testing, could also influence the bugs/features voted up to be addressed... but really, if you can code, you already can vote all by yourself :-) ]

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidicas View Post
    So how to solve the manpower problem on Linux? I think SUSE and Red Hat have already figured it out, *YOU NEED TO HIRE PEOPLE*. Canonical isn't as popular in the server market as Red Hat is, so they just don't have that income stream. Red Hat goes and spends their money on Enterprise Linux, and not on working to improve Linux for regular Desktop users the way Canonical tries to.
    Sorry, what? Red Hat pours tons of resources into desktop Linux, even though it's bread and butter is still in the enterprise. Seriously, look around you, passed Launchpad, Unity, and the USC and most things have either a Red Hat or a Novell connection. Red Hat has done everything from working on the underlying driver infrastructure, to desktop applications, to desktop environments, to actively supporting one of the most popular desktop Linux distros (Fedora). This is not to minimize the contributions of others, but the fact is Red Hat still plays a large if not the largest role in keeping the Linux ecosystem working of any major vendor. To say they contribute nothing to the desktop is simply laughable.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by uid313 View Post
    I think this is a great idea!

    I hated the Amazon thing, but this I like.

    I'd be willing to donate too. Especially if your Launchpad account gets a icon that says you payed.

    Though, admittedly I feel a bit reluctant after the Amazon ads thing which have made me start to consider ditching Ubuntu in favor of other Linux distributions. Maybe Fedora or Arch?
    If you're like me, you're after something that feels more "by the community, for the community" than the somewhat dictatorial and commercial leadership of Ubuntu.
    I've scanned distros for my Eden and I've settled with Mageia. It's a young project, the organization is still a bit fuzzy but it's shaping up and the base goals and values ensure Mageia a great future. I feel more at home after a couple weeks than I've ever been with Ubuntu. See you there maybe.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxToTheMax View Post
    I don't think Canonical is doing anything ethically wrong here. However, isn't it nominally supposed to be a for-profit company, capable of supporting itself? If I was an investor I'd be getting nervous about this.
    You mean you know about any other investors in Canonical than Mark Shuttleworth...?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    Sorry, what? Red Hat pours tons of resources into desktop Linux, even though it's bread and butter is still in the enterprise.
    And the enterprise includes desktops, of course. Even if there are a lot more Red Hat server installs than desktop installs, there are certain "niche markets" like scientific research, engineering, sysadmins, developers etc. that prefer a linux/unix desktop to do their work (be it Red Hat or Fedora or something else), and in many cases those work for companies that pay the enterprise support & service contracts Red Hat sells. So Red Hat has good reasons to keep working on the Linux desktop.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanC View Post
    And the enterprise includes desktops, of course. Even if there are a lot more Red Hat server installs than desktop installs, there are certain "niche markets" like scientific research, engineering, sysadmins, developers etc. that prefer a linux/unix desktop to do their work (be it Red Hat or Fedora or something else), and in many cases those work for companies that pay the enterprise support & service contracts Red Hat sells. So Red Hat has good reasons to keep working on the Linux desktop.
    Agreed. But even the oft stated "regular user" who has never (or their employer has never) paid a cent for Red Hat support still feels the benefits of Red Hat's contribution.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    Sorry, what? Red Hat pours tons of resources into desktop Linux
    ...
    To say they contribute nothing to the desktop is simply laughable.
    I draw a distinct difference between a Server Desktop and a regular user Desktop. Red Hat focuses on the Server Desktop, because they need to compete against Windows Server.

    Canonical has done orders of magnitude more for Desktop Linux than Red Hat ever has.

    Canonical had a netbook remix that was directly targeted towards Netbook/Laptop users. What has Red Hat released that was directly targeted toward Netbooks?

    Canonical worked with companies like Asus to get Ubuntu shipping on laptops and netbooks right out of the factory (Asus EeePC). Where is an example of Red Hat being supported and shipping from a hardware manufacturer on netbooks? Or even laptops? Never seen it.

    Canonical created a certification process where regular desktop and laptops systems made by major manufacturers could get approval if the hardware worked well on Linux.

    Canonical has done user feedback testing where they actually went outside, sat average Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X users in front of an Ubuntu PC and collected feedback and changed the graphical user interface based on this feedback. When has Red Hat ever been so concerned about the non-Linux regular desktop user's experience using their software? Never.

    Canonical is trying hard to get Ubuntu / Unity shipping on Tablets. What is Red Hat doing to get Red Hat Linux shipped on tablets? Nothing.

    Red Hat is focused on training IT Professionals to use their software. Canonical is focusing on getting all Desktop users to use their software. How is Red Hat marketing their software to regular Desktop Windows users or regular Desktop Mac OS X users? Just go to the Ubuntu webpage and see how all the wording there is specifically targeting Desktop users. Go to Red Hat's webpage and see how it's full of IT jargon. See the difference now? Which company is targeting only IT Professionals and which company is *really* targeting the Linux Desktop?

    Canonical created a marketplace where regular desktop users can purchase commercial games and software from. Again, creating solutions for desktop users rather than just bundling all needed server software with the OS and not caring about a marketplace, like Red Hat does. Servers don't need a marketplace so of course Red Hat doesn't care because only regular Desktop users need that.

    Canonical created UbuntuOne and their Music Store, again, directly targeting Desktop linux users. Where is Red Hat's Music Store and Cloud Storage service? I sure haven't seen it.

    Sure, Red Hat has made contributions to having a decent graphical user interface for a server. But really, that doesn't have much to do with Linux on the Desktop as opposed to Linux on the Server. If they fix a problem on the Server Desktop that also impacts the regular User Desktop, then of course, I suppose that's a contribution to User Desktop. However, they're not really focused on the User Desktop and it's more of a bi-product rather than a serious goal of Red Hat.

    Just my 2 cents. If Red Hat really was targeting regular Desktop Users, the Linux Desktop user marketshare would be a lot higher than it is. In my opinion.
    Last edited by Sidicas; 10-10-2012 at 11:51 PM.

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