Blog Post

Ubuntu Ichiban

I guess I should start off with some sort of disclaimer. What you are about to read is probably useless, my opinion, not the opinions of Ubuntu and Canonical, and probably not even worth 2 cents.

Who cares? Really? All of this complaining is destructive, interruptive, and really annoying. So now that I have said my 2 cents, let me be destructive, interruptive,a nd really annoying as well as elaborate a bit.

Everyone keeps quoting the Ubuntu Philosophy. That’s great, however there is a flaw to that.

1. Every computer user should have the freedom to download, run, copy, distribute, study, share, change and improve their software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.

You have the freedom to download, run, copy, distribute, study, share, change and improve the software that is provided to you by Ubuntu One. Last I heard the client was open source, has that recently changed? You aren’t getting the backend to the entire thing are you? No. Have you been asked to pay a licensing fee? Besides the insanely amount of $10/month for 10GB of storage, you haven’t been asked to pay a licensing fee. Heck you haven’t even been asked to agree to a EULA!

Our philosophy is reflected in the software we produce and included in our distribution. As a result, the licensing terms of the software we distribute are measured against our philosophy, using the Ubuntu License Policy

Dean this is not a pot shot at you the least bit, as you didn’t start this or weren’t the first to quote this, however you were right up top in the Planet when I started writing this post. This doesn’t pertain to Ubuntu One either, because a) it isn’t being distributed with Ubuntu, and if they do distribute it with Ubuntu in the future, the client that is, this is perfectly valid.

I really like what Dave Morley said about voting with your feet. If you don’t like it, don’t use it, plain and simple. Also, most of the people seem to complain as well that it is a DropBox knock off, and in its current state, you are absolutely correct. But also in its current state it isn’t complete. There will be more offerings from my understanding in the future.

Now here is where I do have a problem, actually it isn’t a problem at all to me, just something I do not understand. The entry price point, it makes absolutely no sense to me. If you release something that is a direct competitor to another product out there already, why do you offer less for more? I always thought the motto should be more for less. In this day in age storage is very important, and remote storage is just as important. The price per petabyte is very important, or in this case the price per gigabyte. If I used Ubuntu One month on a paid plan, I am looking at $1 per gigabyte, if I use it for a year, I am looking at $12 per gigabyte. This is a bit much in my opinion, but I do have a bit of experience when it comes to storage and pricing. Spending the last year of my life working on a distributed storage solution, I had the opportunity to learn the market and the business quite well.

Ok, that’s it, now can we all quit complaining about it and get to work? We are wasting to many cycles, me included, talking about this until we are blue in the face. If you want to be constructive, check out the following:

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  • Indeed…

  • Amen

  • Jim Campbell

    Richard, in the heading to your blog you quote, “Letting proprietary solutions sleep with the fishes.” This is, in essence, a proprietary solution. The back end, which actually provides the feature itself, is closed.

    Moreoever, this is kind of a different animal for the Ubuntu world. It’s something that is headed to be an integral part of the OS, something that will be extended to be used in untold ways throughout the desktop. The fact that this is starting off as a closed platform does not bode well for me.

    I don’t expect better from Google or from Amazon – they make no claims to be Free Software champions, but I expect better from Ubuntu and Canonical.

  • Jim Campbell

    P.S. I’m at work, hence the use of Windows. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @Jim, dude, I gave you a ride man! ๐Ÿ™‚ You are right, I like my stance on letting proprietary solutions sleep with the fishes. When it comes to a storage solution as this, is there an open source solution? There isn’t, so if I need a service like this I can either keep needing, write one myself (which isn’t a bad idea), or go ahead and and take the fall. Of all people Jim, you had to make me a hypocrite with my own blog quote ๐Ÿ˜› I still love ya man!

  • I’m far more annoyed by the name than the license on this one. If I don’t like the license, I can choose not to use it. However, by giving it a confusing pseudo-association with Ubuntu, which I DO like and want to use, Canonical is degrading a product and community I already participate in without approval of that project. That’s why I filed https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubunet/+bug/375345 – in hopes of generating some discussion that hopefully will result in a more appropriate name for the service, such as “Canonical One”, that actually reflects what it is rather than mooching off of the popularity of Ubuntu simply because in a purely legal sense they can get away with it.

  • @Tony, I understand and do agree with you some what. I think another name would be appropriate and here is why? Ubuntu One, yeah it may conflict with the Ubuntu brand a bit, but it doesn’t conflict with Canonical’s trademark use of it. I hear “Ubuntu One” I think of only an airplane. As a matter of fact the first I heard of it, a friend asked me what I knew of it. My response was, “I think you mean Canonical One, it is a jet, some what fast, and gets you from one place to the other quite quickly.” I also belive the way you handled it was ideal. You filed a bug and filed it well, it was a shame that it was closed over and over again as “Won’t Fix.” If this is the attitude we are to expect from Canonical on this situation, then I think we should mark bug #1 as “Won’t Fix” while we are at it. And you are right, it doesn’t reflect its offering at all, and could easily be seen as mooching off of the popularity, which I will actually agree with.

  • Andrew Mitchell

    https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubunet/+bug/375272/comments/13 explains pretty well why the bug was getting closed as “Won’t Fix” – not out of any desire for shutting people up but to move the discussion to blogs like these.

  • Ya, but filling the planet with these blogs is doing more damage than good. Hell, Mark doesn’t want the bad publicity, but since they have been reading our planet, he got it. If that is the case, then I think the same needs to be done with Bug #1. At the same time close out all of the Launchpad bugs we filed over the years that have a similar objective. This is obviously a bug, a wishlist item, but nonetheless a bug.

  • The Ubuntu one backend being closed source may not be against a strict interpretation of the Ubuntu philosophy, I think it’s firmly against the spirit of it though. I have no objection to Canonical having closed source products – that’s Marks business, it’s when they’re branding closed source products ‘Ubuntu’ that it becomes problematic.

    I’m assuming it’s currently priced “more for less” as in the future it will be more for the same price and people always whine about rising prices.

    Anyway that’s the last from me on this I think, time for bed.

  • @Dean exactly

  • @Dean, don’t get me wrong, I agree with the Ubuntu naming scheme to an extent.

    I was going to go to the actual trademark, the legal trademark, filed for further information, but upon further reading, it looks as if there may be a trademark infringement. Even if Canonical owns the name, they are utilizing the term out of trademark. Though the word Ubuntu is a common word with meaning, you can pretty much use it for whatever you want, but tying it to the operating system and such as their trademark states, might very well be an infringement. Here is the URL to their trademark: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4003:hobs2f.9.17

    If you read it there are 3 subsections:

    This one:

    IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Computer operating system software and computer software for use in collaborative application development and language translations; downloadable publications, namely, magazines, newsletters, guides and manuals, relating to computers and computer programs; digital music downloadable from the Internet

    and this one:

    IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Providing educational training services relating to computer operating system software and computer software; entertainment services, namely, providing prerecorded music on-line via the Internet

    and this one:

    IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Consultancy services relating to computer hardware and computer software; providing on-line non-downloadable computer programs for use in collaborative application development and language translations; writing design, installation and maintenance of computer software for others; providing information relating to the design and use of computer software

    As for offering it now with the possibility of a “more for less” in the future, that just isn’t the way you enter the market, it is dangerous and typically downright silly.

    What they named it though, I could honestly care less. Ubuntu is far more than anything Canonical releases now with that name because of the community. This is a really tricky subject no doubt, I am just tired of hearing about it already. I wish I wouldn’t have done this blog post in a way, as I had a feeling it would get comments. Maybe I will be lucky and wake up in the morning and the sun will be shining.

  • OK, I just found this out. They are not violating their trademark, and actually they need to trademark this if they really want to keep the name. Because the use of Ubuntu One is not defined in the trademark owned by Canonical, then Ubuntu One in itself is not covered. So there is no trademark issue, unless one of you go and file for the trademark first :p

    As for the philosophy part, I am still 50/50 on. It has been aparent that over the years Ubuntu has wanted to seperate itself from any type of philosophy that may link them to the FSF. For instance, we switched from the GFDL on all documentation, the wikis ditched GFDL, god forbid you use Ubuntu GNU/Linux in any documentation, publication, or publicity/promo stuff.

  • I disagree with you when you say:

    All of this complaining is destructive, interruptive, and really annoying

    I think people are perfectly entitled to express their opinion about any issue that arises in the Ubuntu community. I think you’ve made it clear in the comments to your post that you understand the bug report filed by Tony, and you’re 50/50 yourself on whether the name is appropriate (which is what people are complaining about). On that basis, it must at least be recognised that there is an issue to discuss here, and that people should be able to express their opinion on the issue.
    That’s not destructive, it’s what our community is all about.

  • OK, the destructive part was a bit harsh, but interruptive and annoying it is. Take it to a mailing list where it can all be sorted, archived and easy to look at. Blogging it is silly and annoying, especially when you try to track it via the Planet, because sometime tomorrow half of them will be lost anyways. Everyone is beating the same damn dead horse, over and over again. If they want to beat that horse, take it elsewhere, a place that removes the litter from the planet. I can’t believe the planet police aren’t out in droves yet, wondering when they will learn about Ubuntu development again. Shoot, if you want to do a political post, do it right now, it might not get noticed. The Ubuntu One project has a mailing list, why aren’t people expressing their stuff there? Why keep putting it into the blogosphere. I can understand an update or two from the mailing list to the planet, but everyone and their mother posting about the same damn thing. Reminds me of release day, when everyone says “Hey look, Ubuntu x.x is released, get it now.”

    I am just tired and grumpy, maybe my age is catching up to me.

  • If people have an opinion about it, I think they are entitled to express that opinion on their blog. That’s kinda what blogs are about. Planet Ubuntu isn’t made for working ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Just dropping a note about the price point:

    It’s much harder to increase the price than decrease it, and as has been said before, Ubuntu One is going to have more feature than the file syncing service currently available.

    Thanks!

  • anonymous

    This is exactly what you *always* get when you flirt with the GNU/FSF zealots and business at the same time.

    Not a big deal. Like you said, let’s move on.

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