Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 10th Oct 2012 22:37 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Donating to software projects - or, more accurately, open source projects. It's hardly new, it's hardly rare, and I'm sure most of us have donated at some point. That's probably why Canonical has opened Ubuntu up for donations - but with a twist.
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But why Ubuntu?
by Morgan on Wed 10th Oct 2012 23:36 UTC
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Ubuntu is, as the article suggests, a project with several revenue streams to begin with. And let's face it: One of the biggest reasons people run F/OSS software is not because of the philosophy but because it is freely available. Given that a few other distros have done almost as much as Ubuntu to push GNU/Linux forward without a steady revenue stream makes me think we should be "donating" elsewhere.

Take Slackware, for example. The oldest surviving distro, barely more than a one-man operation the entire time, and yet Pat has managed to not only survive but make a modest living doing nothing but maintaining Slackware. It is perhaps the most stable and unchanging distro out there; it is often said that you can leave the project in version 9 or 10 and pick it back up at -current with barely a hiccup. I'm living proof of that: I recently went back to Slackware with the release of 14, and I'm immediately at home. Even more, for once I actually like KDE enough now to use it daily. Will I be buying a box set from You bet your ass I will! And I will be donating to the KDE SC project as well, since I now get a hell of a lot of work done in it. But I don't expect Pat or the KDE maintainers to make changes just because I paid for their beer this week. I'm content to trust them to continue the great work they do.

I think this is a bad idea for Ubuntu, and while it may just be an attempt to "keep it real" to the F/OSS users out there who do value openness above price, it also seems just a bit disingenuous. I have to wonder how much of my money would really go towards the area of improvement I want it to. I'm guessing it's more of a slightly underhanded way to gauge which areas of the OS people want improved the most, and the money is just one more revenue stream for the project.

And don't get me wrong: I don't think really big, successful projects like Ubuntu should go without funding. After all, for it to be as good a project as it is (and let's be honest, it's the most forked/expanded upon modern distro for good reason), it must have the money to pay for support and development. I'm just saying I'd love to see the donated money instead go to Debian. After all, Ubuntu owes its very existence to that particular project.

Reply Score: 11

RE: But why Ubuntu?
by Lennie on Thu 11th Oct 2012 02:35 in reply to "But why Ubuntu?"
Lennie Member since:

One of the goals of Ubuntu has been for years to make it be able to stand on it's own feet.

I think Shuttleworth donated money to a fund which raises which generates a revenu stream, but it isn't enough.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: But why Ubuntu?
by moondevil on Thu 11th Oct 2012 08:49 in reply to "But why Ubuntu?"
moondevil Member since:

Slackware 2.0 was my first distribution, but which users outside OSNews type of users, get to use it on the desktop?

When Pat decides to stop doing it, Slackware will die, it is that simple.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: But why Ubuntu?
by Morgan on Thu 11th Oct 2012 17:02 in reply to "RE: But why Ubuntu?"
Morgan Member since:

Slackware 2.0 was my first distribution, but which users outside OSNews type of users, get to use it on the desktop?

Well I used it long before I was an OSNews regular, so... ;)

I get what you're saying though.

When Pat decides to stop doing it, Slackware will die, it is that simple.

I don't know about that. I have no insight into the inner workings of Pat's mind, of course, but I would like to think that he has a plan for core contributors like Eric and Robby to take over in his absence. It has a large enough user base to continue thriving, though I don't doubt there would be changes. A lot of the way the distro works is a reflection of Pat's personality and philosophy. I think that's one reason the distro tends to mesh very well with certain people and confuse the hell out of others.

I think there's definitely an age barrier too; most of the people in my tech circles who have even heard of Slackware are over 30 years old. That's not to say that all younger people are clueless about old distros, but those of us in our 30s and older grew up in the same era as Pat and probably had similar experiences with computers. Slackware was not the first GNU/Linux I ever tried, but it was the first one I could get to work properly on my hardware, and that was due to how it just kind of made sense to me. I came up with DOS, CP/M and the TRS-80 so I wasn't afraid of the command line.

Reply Parent Score: 2