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  • Ubuntu Prompts For Donations When Downloading

    Phoronix: Ubuntu Prompts For Donations When Downloading

    Just a few weeks after Canonical integrated Amazon product results into Unity's Dash in an effort to generate more money through affiliate/referral revenue, they have taken another step today to try to increase their cash flow...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTIwMjg

  • #2
    Great

    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?

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    • #3
      It is a great idea, but it's a bit too aggressive on the site. You should not have to scroll down and look for the link to just download Ubuntu.

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      • #4
        I also feel this is a really good idea, because not only does this get linux funding more attention but it can get canonical to realize what really needs work. This reminds me a lot of how wine gets funded. Unfortunately, it seems like there are a lot of programs that have hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars donated but they haven't been usable in years.

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        • #5
          torrent it *smash the state!* haha

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          • #6
            Great idea. I already fund Wine dev by renewing my Crossover, help Linux gaming by buying every HIB at a worthy price (and at some point has phoronix premium - had to cancel during some difficulties - I should reinstate it). Always thought being able to directly to Ubuntu would be good.

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            • #7
              Excludes community and suppliers

              I've been blathering on about this kind of thing for a while. But with a crucial difference - just like with Humble Bundle some of the money should go to relevant charities (eg EFF), organizations (eg FSF, Gnome) and to upstream suppliers. And you should be able to do it for your desktop too. Something like "As you use your Ubuntu system, third parties provide referral and similar funding. How would you like it allocated?". Note that already happens today, eg Canonical get all the money when you use Firefox or make music purchases.

              But if they really believed in community, and realised that the vast majority of Ubuntu comes from others, then they would kickback to them too. Instead I can't distinguish Canonical's actions from sheer selfish greed.

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              • #8
                Well, if you want to donate to GNOME or the FSF instead, you can.

                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.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MaxToTheMax View Post
                  Well, if you want to donate to GNOME or the FSF instead, you can.
                  Just as you can donate directly instead of going via the Humble Bundle.

                  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. The Humble Bundle style sliders are the perfect way to redistribute the revenue fairly.

                  Originally posted by MaxToTheMax View Post
                  I don't think Canonical is doing anything ethically wrong here.
                  You are right that they are under no legal obligation to redistribute any money upstream. However over 99% of Ubuntu comes from those upstreams. Canonical is no way responsible for the web browsers, office suites, music players, games, development tools, editors, movie makers etc that people use. Remember that they have proactively changed revenues eg with that music player so they get the money. Again there is nothing illegal in what they do, but by keeping everything for themselves they show who they really care about, which means those upstreams are going to care a heck of a lot less about Canonical.

                  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.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by grotgrot View Post
                    However over 99% of Ubuntu comes from those upstreams.
                    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?


                    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.
                    Do you happen to have any official statistics on canoncial's employees and what these are working on?

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                    • #11
                      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.



                      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?



                      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.

                      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, 04:05 AM.

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                      • #12
                        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.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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 :-) ]

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                            • #15
                              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.

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