Linked by Hadrien Grasland on Tue 1st Mar 2011 18:32 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "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.""
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Hypocrisy
by vodoomoth on Wed 2nd Mar 2011 13:18 UTC
vodoomoth
Member since:
2010-03-30

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.


It's not like Canonical didn't know upfront that they were investing money and efforts into building a free OS offering. They were well aware of the costs and the lack of revenue. Moreover, he wrote:

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 Mac OS. 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.

They could have gone commercial and charged a fee for Ubuntu. They didn't. And now, when a project **they chose** to include as a default app in their distro happens to make money via Amazon's music store (a competitor to Canonical's own music store, which I didn't even know existed), they want to either levy a 75% tax on it or, in case Banshee devs don't agree with that revenue sharing scheme, disable the revenue-providing section of the code. Money that is 100% donated to an open source foundation. Money that amounts to something in the small thousands... Sorry but this stinks more than Microsoft's business practices in the late 90's and more than the Apple-pioneered "mere" 30% cut that's now widespread in the mobile app world. At least where these other companies stand as to open source is known.

<ENTER NUTTY MODE>
And now Shuttleworth says there is no maliciousness? Looks more like extortion to me. With this precedent, what says Ubuntu isn't or won't be selecting "default" projects based on whether they have a revenue stream, whatever the intended destination, instead of the good old merit? Who can say they're not infiltrated agents for the closed-source camp whose duty is to stymie OSS projects? They've opened a pandora's box that conspiracy theory lunatics will eagerly embrace. All that is bad for the open source movement.

I hope the Banshee team won't cave in.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Hypocrisy
by andydread on Wed 2nd Mar 2011 15:53 in reply to "Hypocrisy"
andydread Member since:
2009-02-02

"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.


It's not like Canonical didn't know upfront that they were investing money and efforts into building a free OS offering. They were well aware of the costs and the lack of revenue. Moreover, he wrote:

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 Mac OS. 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.

They could have gone commercial and charged a fee for Ubuntu. They didn't. And now, when a project **they chose** to include as a default app in their distro happens to make money via Amazon's music store (a competitor to Canonical's own music store, which I didn't even know existed), they want to either levy a 75% tax on it or, in case Banshee devs don't agree with that revenue sharing scheme, disable the revenue-providing section of the code. Money that is 100% donated to an open source foundation. Money that amounts to something in the small thousands... Sorry but this stinks more than Microsoft's business practices in the late 90's and more than the Apple-pioneered "mere" 30% cut that's now widespread in the mobile app world. At least where these other companies stand as to open source is known.

<ENTER NUTTY MODE>
And now Shuttleworth says there is no maliciousness? Looks more like extortion to me. With this precedent, what says Ubuntu isn't or won't be selecting "default" projects based on whether they have a revenue stream, whatever the intended destination, instead of the good old merit? Who can say they're not infiltrated agents for the closed-source camp whose duty is to stymie OSS projects? They've opened a pandora's box that conspiracy theory lunatics will eagerly embrace. All that is bad for the open source movement.

I hope the Banshee team won't cave in.
"


Its simple. Ubuntu should just remove Banshee from the distribution. After all it costs money to host a repository and PPA and to distribute Banshee in the first place. That way Banshee guys and the ubuntu haters like you won't have anything to bash them about. Here's a clue. IF Banshee wasn't included in Ubuntu there would be no revenue stream for them from the myriad of Ubuntu users out there. So just remove it. Problem solved.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: Hypocrisy
by vodoomoth on Wed 2nd Mar 2011 16:05 in reply to "RE: Hypocrisy"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

First of all, I don't care about Ubuntu. I don't use it. I've recently opted for PC-BSD. There is a thing called open source software that I benefit from without being a blindfolded proponent of it.

Second, I don't hate Ubuntu. Calling me a Ubuntu hater because I'm pointing out what appears as double language for an unjustifiable behavior is childish.

Last, there's no need to quote my entire post without editing it or selecting the relevant bits of it.

Now if you could provide a justification it would be more welcome than your post. Or point out the reasoning flaws in mine. That would have been useful.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Hypocrisy
by flypig on Wed 2nd Mar 2011 17:18 in reply to "Hypocrisy"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

It's not like Canonical didn't know upfront that they were investing money and efforts into building a free OS offering. They were well aware of the costs and the lack of revenue.

[snip]

...they want to either levy a 75% tax on it or, in case Banshee devs don't agree with that revenue sharing scheme, disable the revenue-providing section of the code.


Isn't this exactly the problem: that this argument can be used in reverse. The Banshee developers have chosen to release their code under an MIT/X11 licence, so they can't really complain if someone takes their code and uses it however they want (within the restrictions of the licence). It's presumably not like the Banshee team didn't know what they were getting in to.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the strong ethical argument that says the Banshee team deserve to get something back for their efforts. It's just they've explicitly made clear (in their licence) that they don't mind people taking this revenue instead. Please do correct me if I'm wrong though.

Any argument that says the Banshee team deserve revenue for their effort surely applies to anyone who adds to the value chain that ends with someone downloading a track? If I'm understanding Mark Shuttleworth's argument, he says this now includes Canonical.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Hypocrisy
by vodoomoth on Thu 3rd Mar 2011 19:13 in reply to "RE: Hypocrisy"
vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30

Of course, you are totally right; that's a kind of freedom that free software allows. Canonical could perfectly do what they wanted without asking permission from anyone.

The thing is they are doing it in a way that amounts (in my eyes) to basically forcing the Banshee team to condone what they (Canonical) knew would have cost them brownie points if they did it behind closed doors. It might have caused even more brouhaha than what has been caused by that dispute. Looks like they're aiming for a "we did that thing you think is ethically wrong but hey, they agreed!". That's weird. There was an apparently less enticing and effective third option for Canonical: leave the Banshee source code alone.

Reply Parent Score: 3