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Thread: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

  1. #131
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguruguy View Post
    As noted by Jono Bacon, the idea was inspired by the Humble Bundle. Since its inception, the Humble Bundle has generated over $23M, most of which has gone to the game developers, all of whom are presumably businesses who are trying to make money.

    You might argue that it makes no sense for the game developers (and now, musicians and authors) to participate in the Humble Bundle, but the fact that they continue to do so suggests that they would disagree with you.
    I think you are missing an important point here.

    The developers are contributing to open source writing software under the GPL (or other work under the CC). By the terms of the licence, all this work is available outside Humble Bundle and for free. Humble Bundle's business model is to collect donations for them and make it easy for users to download and install the software. For that they take a percentage. Good business plan.

    But that's not at all what I perceive Canonical is doing. They are not, as far as I know, collecting donations for distribution to Debian and developers and extracting a fee for Ubuntu's role in providing it.

    Programmers contribute to open source not to make money for any entity. The GPL makes their work open and available to anyone to build upon. In short, it's a service to the community. That is their motivation.

    Anyone is free to try to make money with open source in any way except selling it! The GPL makes that very clear. And it's a good thing, too. If it weren't that way, Ubuntu wouldn't exist.

    I'm not accusing Canonical of trying to sell Ubuntu. It's clear the donation is optional. There is no legal problem with this as far as the GPL is concerned.

    I'd just rather donate to non profits. If Canonical provides a service I want to buy, I'd be happy to pay.

    I'm not against the profit motive in any way. And I'm also a big proponent of open source. I just find it odd the way it's being done here. Makes no sense to me in fact.

  2. #132
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    I think you are missing an important point here.

    ...

    Anyone is free to try to make money with open source in any way except selling it! The GPL makes that very clear. And it's a good thing, too. If it weren't that way, Ubuntu wouldn't exist.
    Wait... what? First of all, you're wrong.

    Secondly, Canonical pays a bunch of people, and (as already mentioned in this thread), the requests relate to projects being done by Canonical.

    I'm not convinced that I'm the one who is "missing an important point."
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  3. #133
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Moreover, the following statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    The developers are contributing to open source writing software under the GPL (or other work under the CC). By the terms of the licence, all this work is available outside Humble Bundle and for free. Humble Bundle's business model is to collect donations for them and make it easy for users to download and install the software. For that they take a percentage. Good business plan.
    ... makes clear that you have no idea at all what the Humble Bundle is.
    If you are asking about a problem with your system, make sure to give details about your setup. OTHERWISE, NO ONE CAN HELP YOU.

  4. #134
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguruguy View Post
    Moreover, the following statement:



    ... makes clear that you have no idea at all what the Humble Bundle is.
    You might be right about that. I was just going on what you said about them distributing money to developers.

    OK, yes the GPL does allow for charging for distribution, but the source code has to be freely available to those it is distributed to. Those persons can do whatever they want with the source code.

    The moment Ubuntu charged for the binaries, someone else would compile it and release it for free. That's the main reason most distributions are freely available. The market dictates it.

    I got ahead of myself speaking in shorthand. Thanks for pointing it out.

  5. #135
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    The developers are contributing to open source writing software under the GPL (or other work under the CC). By the terms of the licence, all this work is available outside Humble Bundle and for free. Humble Bundle's business model is to collect donations for them and make it easy for users to download and install the software. For that they take a percentage. Good business plan.
    As thatguruguy pointed out, this isn't correct. The developers whose work becomes available in the Humble Bundles are not all writing open source software, and the games are not all under the GPL. Many of the games have been proprietary, and have not been offered elsewhere for free. The business model of the Humble Bundle is to allow users to purchase these games in a "name your own price" sort of way.

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    But that's not at all what I perceive Canonical is doing. They are not, as far as I know, collecting donations for distribution to Debian and developers and extracting a fee for Ubuntu's role in providing it.
    Why does this make any difference? I can't see any relevance to this right now. Canonical develops a product and is now distributing that product on a "name your own price" model just like the Humble Bundle model. I can't see why it matters that Canonical is both the developer and the distributor of the product, or why it matters that Canonical is not merely giving these donations to Debian. Canonical's product is based on Debian, but it is not Debian itself. Perhaps you simply have an issue with making money off of GPL software? If so, then it seems you have a problem with the license itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    Programmers contribute to open source not to make money for any entity.
    This is certainly not always true. Many people develop open source software with the goal of making money for various entities.

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    Anyone is free to try to make money with open source in any way except selling it! The GPL makes that very clear. And it's a good thing, too. If it weren't that way, Ubuntu wouldn't exist.
    As thatguruguy pointed out, this simply isn't correct, so:

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    I'm not accusing Canonical of trying to sell Ubuntu. It's clear the donation is optional. There is no legal problem with this as far as the GPL is concerned.
    there would also be no legal problem with this as far as the GPL is concerned if Canonical were to try to sell Ubuntu.
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  6. #136
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    You might be right about that. I was just going on what you said about them distributing money to developers.
    I did more than that; I provided a link so you could read about it yourself. I'd suggest that it's generally better to actually research your position prior to making your points than to make others do the research to prove you're wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    OK, yes the GPL does allow for charging for distribution, but the source code has to be freely available to those it is distributed to. Those persons can do whatever they want with the source code.

    The moment Ubuntu charged for the binaries, someone else would compile it and release it for free. That's the main reason most distributions are freely available. The market dictates it.
    Which is why, I suppose, you are encouraged to PAY WHAT YOU THINK IT'S WORTH, rather than Canonical simply charging for Ubuntu. If you don't think it's worth anything, don't pay anything. That's up to you.

    But that's not what you've argued. These are the main arguments you've made:

    • You've argued that it makes no sense for an actual company to accept donations; I've shown that the "Humble Bundle" method of allowing people to pay what they want (which Canonical is explicitly following) is a successful way to generate money.
    • You've argued that selling open source software is prohibited by the GPL, which is simply wrong.
    • You've argued that Canonical/Ubuntu is somehow diverting funds away from Debian and other institutions by charging money for the work of others, although it's been mentioned repeatedly that Canonical is suggesting that users donate to projects that Canonical is, itself, working on. If you don't think any of those projects are worthwhile, don't donate to them, but your original premise is faulty.

    Again, if you don't feel like donating, don't donate. But don't pretend that the reasons you don't want to donate are the reasons you've given thus far, because those reasons don't hold any water.
    Last edited by thatguruguy; October 15th, 2012 at 03:29 PM.
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  7. #137
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguruguy View Post
    I'm assuming you missed this post. You can use a credit card or debit card. I don't know of a way to submit a money order via a a form on a web page.
    Your correct, I did miss that post. Now my donation has been made.

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  8. #138
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by jrog View Post
    Why does this make any difference? I can't see any relevance to this right now. Canonical develops a product and is now distributing that product on a "name your own price" model just like the Humble Bundle model. I can't see why it matters that Canonical is both the developer and the distributor of the product, or why it matters that Canonical is not merely giving these donations to Debian. Canonical's product is based on Debian, but it is not Debian itself. Perhaps you simply have an issue with making money off of GPL software? If so, then it seems you have a problem with the license itself.
    No! I don't. I just have a problem with a for-profit company soliciting for donations. Actually, "have a problem" is too strong. Canonical can conduct its business any way it wants to. I just don't understand why anyone would do it.

    Anyway, I think I've talked this subject to death here. I'm even starting to bore myself! I hope to see you guys in other threads where we can perhaps agree.

  9. #139
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguruguy View Post
    I did more than that; I provided a link so you could read about it yourself. I'd suggest that it's generally better to actually research your position prior to making your points than to make others do the research to prove you're wrong.
    Guilty as charged. I apologize.


    [*]You've argued that Canonical/Ubuntu is somehow diverting funds away from Debian and other institutions by charging money for the work of others, although it's been mentioned repeatedly that Canonical is suggesting that users donate to projects that Canonical is, itself, working on. If you don't think any of those projects are worthwhile, don't donate to them, but your original premise is faulty.
    I don't think I ever said "diverting." I just said I don't get why anyone would contribute donations to a for-profit rather than to guys who are donating their time. That's it.

    And you are taking my stance in the most negative way possible. I'm not sure why. I never said Ubuntu's projects weren't worthwhile. Never even implied that.

    Anyway, I've tried to make my opinion as clear as I can as have you. It's all good.

    I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do.

  10. #140
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    Re: Canonical asks desktop users to "pay what you think Ubuntu is worth"

    Quote Originally Posted by furtom View Post
    No! I don't. I just have a problem with a for-profit company soliciting for donations. Actually, "have a problem" is too strong. Canonical can conduct its business any way it wants to. I just don't understand why anyone would do it.
    But why even understand it as a "donation?" The title of this thread says that Canonical is asking users to "pay what [they] think Ubuntu is worth," which is different than asking for donations -- it is requesting a payment for software/services provided directly to the paying user. And the page where you actually choose the payment amount also doesn't portray it as a donation, as far as I can tell (it says "contribution," but not all contributions are donations, and one of the examples it mentions is a tip, which is not a donation).

    Presumably, you don't have problems with for-profit organizations seeking payment for software/services from those who use the software/services. So, I'm not sure that I understand what the problem is with Canonical/Ubuntu doing it, particularly when it is using the "Humble Bundle" model of allowing the user to set the price that they pay and even providing the option of paying nothing.
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