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 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

    Links for the day



  2. The UPC Scam Part VII: A Fine Mess in the Making, as Nothing Can be Made of It Amid/After Brexit

    The final part in this multi-part series about UPC, which cannot be implemented in the UK as long as Brexit is on the agenda



  3. The UPC Scam Part VI: The Real Story Which People Missed Due to Puff Pieces Seeded by Battistelli-Bribed Media is That UPC Technically Cannot Come to the UK

    Another long installment in a multi-part series about UPC at times of post-truth Battistelli-led EPO, which pays the media to repeat the lies and pretend that the UPC is inevitable so as to compel politicians to welcome it regardless of desirability and practicability



  4. EPO Spiraling Down the Drain as Experienced Examiners and Judges Are Seemingly Being Replaced by Interns

    Implementing yet more of his terrible ideas and so-called 'reforms', Battistelli seems to be racing to the bottom of everything (patent quality, staff experience, labour rights, working conditions, access to justice etc.)



  5. A Lot of News From the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Today, With Some Important Decisions on Patents Coming Soon

    A roundup of today's outcomes from the US Supreme Court, which intends to review and decide on important patent cases



  6. In Historic Blow to Design Patents, Apple Loses to Samsung at the Supreme Court

    A $399 million judgment against Android devices from Samsung, with potential implications for other Android OEMs, is rejected by SCOTUS



  7. Good Riddance. Ray Niro is Dead.

    The infamous father of patent trolling is dead, so we need to remember his real legacy rather than rewrite his history to appease his rich relatives (enriched by destroying real companies)



  8. EPO Suicides Greater in Number Than is Widely Reported, Unjust System a Contributor to These

    The horrible regime of Benoît Battistelli has an enormous human toll (fatalities), far greater than the Office is willing to publicly acknowledge



  9. Lobbying Disguised as 'Reporting' by the Patent Microcosm, Which Wants More Patents and More Lawsuits (Lawyers Needed)

    A rebuttal to some new articles about patents, especially those that strive to increase patent-related activities (usually for personal gain)



  10. USPTO Echo Chamber That Lacks Actual Software Professionals Deciding on Patentability of Software

    A look at yesterday's "Roundtable on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility," which lacked involvement from those actually affected by patents rather than those who sell, trade, and exploit these



  11. More Examples of Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Taxing Linux, Even After Microsoft 'Joined' (Paid) the Linux Foundation

    A quick look at the past week's news and clues about Microsoft's (and its broad army of patent trolls) strategy for taxing Linux, or imposing bundling at zero cost (to Microsoft)



  12. Heiko Maas, the SPD “Cash for Access” Affair, and Suspicions of Unwarranted Censorship at IP Kat (Again)

    Unsayable views or just a glitch? Readers of IP Kat express concern about a culture of censorship at IP Kat



  13. Endgame for Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Battistelli turns bad into worse by spitting on the very notion of accepting justice (from the highest court in The Hague or even the UN in this case)



  14. Les Échos Chamber: Having Corrupted the Media (With EPO Money), Battistelli Now Uses It for More UPC Propaganda

    The lies about the Unitary Patent are now being broadcast (Battistelli given the platform) by the publication that Battistelli pays



  15. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  16. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  17. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  18. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  19. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  20. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  21. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  22. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  23. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  24. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors



  25. Patent Trolls of Microsoft and Ericsson Are Trying to Tax Everything, Especially Linux Devices

    An update on Intellectual Ventures and Unwired Planet, whose operations pose a growing problem for Free software and Linux-based products (e.g. Android)



  26. Asia's Patent Litigation Chaos Getting Worse, Reaching Countries in the West, and Sites Like IAM Actively Promote This

    The race to the bottom (of patent quality) in China, the growth of patent trolls in the region, and the ruinous litigation strategy which now spills over even to the US -- through the Eastern District of Texas -- and may inevitably come to Europe (especially if the UPC ever becomes a reality)



  27. More French Politicians Are Complaining That Benoît Battistelli is a Disgrace to France and Urge for Action

    The backlash against Battistelli spills well outside the EPO and is now apparent even at the French National Assembly



  28. Links 3/12/2016: Mageia 5.1 Released, Mozilla Revenue at $421.3M

    Links for the day



  29. Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Sees Decline in Patent Applications and It May Actually be a Good Thing

    Challenging the false belief that the more patents society has the better off it will be, citing examples and news from north America



  30. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits

    Worrying signs that an area of Free/Open Source software innovation is getting impacted by the plague of software patents


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