Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
Permalink for comment 499963
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
roger64
Member since:
2006-08-15

Why without telling us, Clem?

“Linux Mint altered the Banshee Amazon MP3 Canonical referral code to that of its own, taking 100% of all profits made in the process.

In ‘standard upstream’ Banshee all 25% of the money raised through the sale of MP3s via the plugin goes to the non-profit GNOME Foundation – which, as of September 2011, has raised some $9200.”

Edit by Clem: Link removed (assimilated to FUD). Already answered in the comment section of http://www.glasen-hardt.de/?p=1474 and I also added a comment on the blog you mentioned. There’s nothing secret and there’s nothing of interest here either. It’s a code change, we modified the patch on this package so that instead of replacing the Banshee code with Canonical’s, it now replaces it with ours. It’s written in plain English in the changelog, like any other package change. We’re happy to share with Banshee, and to give them more than 25% (that’s what they get from Canonical), just to make it clear to everyone involved, that when it comes to the revenue Mint users generate, Canonical isn’t in a position to decide on revenue sharing. For info, this particular revenue stream represents $3.41/month at the moment and we do not make a blog post about every package change out there. We’re also changing the Yahoo code (even though we do not monetize it) and any other affiliate codes present in Linux Mint, some to our own versions, others we simply remove. Just like branding, we are not using other people’s codes, unless we have an agreement with them. Previous versions of Mint used the Canonical code in Banshee (simply because we never really looked into it before), in Linux Mint 12 this was flagged as a bug and we changed it to our own. If we didn’t have a code we would have changed it back to Banshee’s (maybe) or removed all codes and linked directly to Amazon. Either way, when it comes to monetizing the traffic generating by Mint users, we make these decisions, not Banshee, and certainly not Canonical. As I said before, I’m happy to share upstream, but don’t expect to see 3rd party codes running affiliates in Linux Mint.

Edited 2011-12-13 04:57 UTC

Reply Score: 7