EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.08.10

What Alfresco and Android Can Teach About Ubuntu

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Silhouette - technical

Summary: Canonical puts its own wheels inside the GNU/Linux system, which in turn it can use to deviate further into a package that’s open but not exactly free (as in freedom)

A LONG discussion in IRC this morning revolved around Canonical. It is important to just keep an eye on what Canonical is doing, not to accuse them (based on mere suspicion) of something which they have not yet done and may never do at all.

Last month Canonical was criticised for its copyright policy in Ubuntu. Now that we deal with Unity and Wayland in future releases of Ubuntu, one might also ask about control which goes beyond copyrights. There is growing concern among us that Ubuntu does to GNU/Linux what Alfresco does right about now by going proprietary with an ‘open’ core-like (dual licensing) structure. Canonical’s current COO came from Alfresco where such a business strategy had been implemented even before he left. Hosted plans are part of it.

“Now that we deal with Unity and Wayland in future releases of Ubuntu, one might also ask about control which goes beyond copyrights.”Canonical desperately needs to hire some Free software advocates, including the likes of developers such as Alan Cox (now in Intel). Canonical adds so-called ‘pragmatists’, especially for the management (there are even hirings from Microsoft), so guidance sometimes misses the point about freedom. Just consider the Yahoo! debacle (Ubuntu sending users to Microsoft), which Canonical eventually withdrew from, only after a lot of backlash.

There is a growing perception that’s difficult to deny about Canonical building its own Android-like environment which embodies GNU/Linux but disregards developers from other companies that use the same software. Android is good at addressing Ubuntu’s #1 bug (market share), but it does very little to actually promote software freedom.

Here is a new example of a key Canonical developer promoting Novell’s Banshee, which is based on Novell’s Mono that contains Microsoft code. We wrote about this troubling subject in:

Ubuntu should not be imitating Apple or emulating Microsoft. Trying to become something they are not will leave almost everyone dissatisfied. Additionally, in order to succeed, Ubuntu should work closely with other companies. Diverging and doing things alone would leave Canonical competing quite weakly against far bigger and more aggressive companies. A lot of developers associate themselves with Free/libre software through the GPL (which Apple hates). Ubuntu should not anger “developers developers developers developers” like Microsoft is doing right now; instead, it ought to consider working more closely with GNOME and with X. It would help everyone.

“That would be because we believe in Free Software and doing the right thing (a practice you appear to have given up on). Maybe it is time the term ‘open source’ also did the decent thing and died out with you.”

Alan Cox to Eric Raymond

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. vexorian said,

    November 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Gravatar

    [quote]A lot of developers associate themselves with Free/libre software through the GPL (which Apple hates). Ubuntu should not anger “developers developers developers developers” like Microsoft is doing right now; instead, it ought to consider working more closely with GNOME and with X. It would help everyon
    [/quote]
    Why X? It is not GPL, not unlike Wayland it has a license more like the FreeBSD ones.

    In desktops, we had Gnome and KDE, in apps we had plenty of options. It is surprising that until recently we weren’t aware that there are no alternatives in regards to graphics servers. I think it allowed X server to become stagnant. Graphics servers are an area in which GNU/Linux really needs help. So I am actually welcoming the idea of Wayland. Hey, it is not like Canonical is moving towards closed source apps. Unity and Wayland both are still FOSS and I think that overall, this would just increase the options for users. They cannot and won’t force anyone to use their stuff. I foresee staying with ubuntu as a distro but using the gnome desktop, and I can expect that it will be possible just like KDE fans that like Ubuntu use Kubuntu now. If it isn’t, then we can always leave ubuntu, but I think it is too soon to start flaming and spreading rumors against Canonical.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Matt Asay told me (later today, after this post) that when it comes to business models they already do fine providing desktop support. He implicitly reassured me that that Bradley’s concerns are not justified.

    twitter Reply:

    The problem that should be watched for is a lack of commitment to copyleft and software freedom which always leads to wasted effort and problems for everyone. Mark Suttleworth has denied a move towards open core, but without copyleft others will waste their time creating Tivoised or “open core” versions as telcos have done with Android. People should avoid non free versions of otherwise free software but the confusion is best avoided by using copyleft software to begin with. Developers understand this which is why the GNU GPL is one of the most used software licenses and we have such a rich free software world.

    There is, actually, a lot of choice when it comes to free software graphics. There are a lot of SVGA libraries for terminal users and portable graphics libraries used by things like Oppie, a QT environment for palm computers. There is also choice in the world of X11 with various versions of Xfree86 and X.org. X.org uses an X11 license which is free and GPL compatible. Wayland, according to Wikipedia, uses a “MIT License”, but this is meaningless because there have been many MIT licenses. The lack of attention to this detail on the Wayland site is troubling. Canonical should work to explain this issue, but I don’t see any mention of it on the ubuntu.org website.

    I think that X11 is a mature framework that people should continue to use. GPE and others have made it work on ARM and it performed very well there. This should be expected because X was made in the early 80s when computing resources were much more expensive. By the time you add network support and all of the other goodies people expect from X11 to any other framework, you end up with the same set of problems people like to complain about when they FUD free software desktops. Free software is powerful enough to make multiple desktops frameworks, so Ubuntu’s move is interesting and may work out well. X11, however, is not the root cause of bug #1.

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  3. Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

    Links for the day



  4. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  5. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  6. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  7. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  8. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  9. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  10. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  11. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  12. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  14. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  15. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  16. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  19. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  20. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  21. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  22. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  23. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  24. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  25. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  26. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  27. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  28. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  29. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  30. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts