Year 2010 is also a trial for free software proponents in Free/Open Source Software (FOSS). This addressed specifically by the bold moves made by Canonical in decision to put their popular distro, Ubuntu. Many would insult Mark and friends as being taking the fruit and making them as theirs. What significant codes do Canonical done that they were proclaiming themselves a great contributor of FOSS? Many felt enraged by the popularity of Ubuntu and the way people talking about GNU/Linux system as Ubuntu.
What I love to remember is how Mark talked about his commitment on Ubuntu. Years ago, after he sold Thawte and take a space tourism, he built Canonical and brought Ubuntu to live. When he flew to Jakarta, he said a statement about Ubuntu business model:
The software is free, but the service is ours.
What does that mean to be free? Is it a free of charge? I believe he may talked about free as in freedom, not free beer. That means, Ubuntu will always be a distro for free software. That’s why, like other seasoned GNU/Linux users, I got a little bit weary about all Canonical decisions in 2010. The way Ubuntu now is making it more and more like Mac and Steve Jobs. It have directions where people will only have flavour of Ubuntu. That is so wrong. The free software should always be a free choice, a freedom exercised by creating systems you like and not bounded to one option.
Let me tell some background stories.
I think this is the conception of what I and others may get wrong. The catchphrase of Ubuntu is “Linux for human being.” and seasoned GNU/Linux are not human beings, they are immortals, i.e. gods. 😛
Seriously, what blocking GNU/Linux from being adapted with general people is the stigma around it. Its main feature, the freedom itself, is actually scaring people away. Common people would never really care about X stacks, kernel versions, or even patches. They just need a computer that Just Works. Furthermore, many hostile personality of engineers that would look down upon rookies scared these commoners. (Remember the RTFM?)
This man, Mark Shuttleworth, is making a stage where he sought that these free softwares should be taking down to earth. And I see that’s why I think Canonical contributed something very important for free software movement: Code of Conducts.
This invaluable contribution made the development of free software as a whole drawn with better tone towards new users. That’s why, we see communities growing steadily and people getting used with the free software ideas. Many community-based revolutions are happening in Ubuntu and implemented into other distro as well. For example: Install Fest, Ubuntu-tan, LoCo, etc.
Fast forward to the current time.
2010 is the year where Canonical get high criticism about its bold move on making the Ubuntu non-free software repository.