back to article Ubuntu goes fishing for donations with new download page

From now on, for every download of the popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, parent company Canonical will be passing the hat. Beginning on Tuesday, the download process for the open source OS includes a new screen that gives users the opportunity to donate – or rather, contribute – to the project via PayPal, with a …


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  1. Goat Jam

    That's An Interesting Business Proposition

    Take the hands down best desktop distro, drive your users elsewhere with the stupidity of your new Unity interface and then pass around the begging bowl to the few who are left behind.

    I know their hand was forced by the even stupider Gnome3 Shell but really . . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's An Interesting Business Proposition

      Actually, back when I was a Ubuntu fanboy I DID contribute some cash every month (because I thought Ubuntu was such a Good Thing) but when they started shoving Unity down my throat I jumped ship. I loved Ubuntu, but they've just totally lost the plot.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Shoving Unity down your throat?

        Download the LXDE Desktop ...

        Download the XFCE Desktop ...

        Download the KDE Desktop ......

        Download the GNOME Desktop .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's An Interesting Business Proposition

      Agreed - but I do notice that they don't allow those sliders to go in to the negative I'll give you $2 for increasing app performance, but $-5 for your work on making the desktop more amazing. I'll take a cheque please.

      1. Euripides Pants
        Thumb Down

        Re: That's An Interesting Business Proposition

        They need another giving category - Stop breaking sh!t

    3. Dare to Think
      IT Angle

      You can always donate to Fedora, Debian, Wikipedia or others...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Could be the end of Ubuntu...

    Now, I'm not saying this because it seems that Canonical is going straight against the whole philosophy of Ubuntu; but am I the only one who considers that donation screen to be extremely suggestive? To be quite honest I personally think its actually plain out misleading, at the very least heavily bordering this behaviour.

    First; lets not forget the target audience shall we: end users who want to "Use Linux" without having to deal with all the hassle; hacking Xorg.conf is a big no no there.

    So how hard is it to assume that "Make the desktop more amazing" could actually be picked up as "The more I donate, the more bling I'll get on my desktop, whoah, cool!" ?

    Sure; I agree that such users should read more closely; especially the part of "Of course you don't have to pay" and the statement that this only shows Canonical what users care about the most. But even so; no where on that page does it clearly say that no matter how much you donate you'll always get the same product.

    I agree that people should be smart enough to realize this is implied. But once again: the target audience are end users, and personally I think its only a matter of time before some won't read closely enough and may very well end up quite upset over all this.

    IMVHO this is a disaster just waiting to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could be the end of Ubuntu...

      Not surprisingly the mere idea of maybe having to give someone money makes a freetard think the end is coming.

      Don't worry, I'm sure the council can prove you with an OS.

  3. Martin 47

    The whole 'make the desktop more amazing' thing just about sums up why I am an ex ubuntfanboi

    I initially turned to it from windows because that OS moved (for me) from one that enabled me to do what I wanted to one that I had to work around to get things done, and I moved away from Ubuntu for exactly the same reasons.

    But hey, it was fun while it lasted.

  4. kb

    Proof the GPL just doesn't work on the desktop..

    It works in embedded because its not about the OS, its about the hardware you are selling. it works in server because its not about the software, its the services. Linux can never and will never get any share on the desktop because the GPL simply doesn't work in that use case. Not saying its a bad license, just saying like all licenses it doesn't fit all uses and desktop is one of them.

    Sadly the license could be fixed...if RMS wasn't a hypocrite. You see all you would have to do is remove the redistribution clause, that's it. you can still hand them the code, which would solve the problem of "the printer story" that caused RMS to make the GPL in the first place but there is simply no way for someone to spend the millions of dollars it would take to bring linux up to the level it would need to be to stand toe to toe with OSX and Windows if somebody can just copy the entire thing and give it away for free. Again this does NOT mean you can't use it in servers and make money, RH proves that, but desktop users don't buy support contracts so its either that or the tin cup begging model we are seeing here.

    Oh and as for why RMS is a hypocrite? have you EVER seen him say that doctors or lawyers or CEOs should work for free? nope JUST programmers. in fact if programmers actually follow what he says and then finds a way to make money off of FOSS he turns on them, probably because he is a failed programmer whose only claims to fame were forked away from him. For example when it was pointed out that nobody could pay their bills if they gave all their work away for free he said they should sell documentation, so what happens when programmers start withholding documentation from GPL so they CAN actually sell it? He screams that "documentation should be free!". Of course he is a self proclaimed squatter at MIT so maybe he doesn't have any uses for money, the programmers of this world? they generally like to eat and not sleep under a bridge, thanks anyway RMS.

    The mistake Shuttleworth made was using Linux as the base, he should have learned from Jobs and used BSD instead, then he could have given back changes to the core components while keeping the GUI and userland changes proprietary and actually been able to stay afloat. but that's too late now and soon Canonical will join Xandros, Linspire, mandriva, and all the other failed linux desktops.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Proof the GPL just doesn't work on the desktop..

      Apparently he is rather unhygienic too. Seriously.

  5. Change can be good

    All contributions should be welcome

    Any contributions & help are always good if paid in cash or kind. As long as the help is legal & ethical, I say, go for it.

    Why should our favorite OS's benefactor (Astronaut/ Cosmonaut & empowering Juggernaut) Mark be the only one to pay? We should make it as easy as possible for others who want to pay by facilitating efforts.

    I also strongly recommend the free manual “Getting Started with Ubuntu 12.04” be made available with the 12.10 download. Please have it on the same webpage. Although this Manual is for the 12.04 version of Ubuntu, I feel most points will apply.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: All contributions should be welcome

      "Why should our favorite OS's benefactor (Astronaut/ Cosmonaut & empowering Juggernaut) Mark be the only one to pay? We should make it as easy as possible for others who want to pay by facilitating efforts."

      Mark has something that most of us do not, about 500 Million net worth and this is only one of his pet projects. With or without Mark, Linux will continue to move forward.

      Mark made it slightly more public and gained a fair amount of publicity at the same time, everyone is a winner.

  6. Tac Eht Xilef

    That's strange...

    There's a "Tip to Canonical - they help to make it happen" choice, but no "give some money to Debian, the people whose work we've slapped a fugly UI on" option.

    Xilef's law: when the "Donate" button is bigger than, brighter than, and placed where the download link normally is, death by marketing can't be far behind.

  7. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Bug fix

    Where is the option for "fix the known damn bugs and quit pissing around with GUI"?

  8. Chuunen Baka

    About time

    I've used Ubuntu on various boxes since about 7.x and it always puzzled me that they didn't beg for any donations. They just gave the impression of being funded by the largesse of Canonical.

    I use lots of free software and do make donations for stuff I like and use frequently.

  9. Mark 75

    Who cares

    Who gives a rat's ar5e? It's a privately run company, little different to Microsoft and as such they can do what they want.

    Use Debian or BSD and get over Canonical.

  10. James Hughes 1

    Please please please

    Don't let this becomes another endless and unnecessary whinge about Unity. I get it - some people don't like it. News for you - I do, and so do lots of others. As an aside I just had a play with Windows 8 on some demo kit, and, stunningly, found that to be quite good as well. This seems to be the way the world is moving.

    This donation scheme seems sensible - not a lot of cash, you don't need to provide it if you don't want to, and i like the option to spread the cash where you think the dev should go. I reckons I've had more than $16 worth out of Canonical over the last 6 years. Perhaps time to give something back.

  11. hugo tyson

    desktop - amazing?

    Who is it that wants the desktop to be amazing? I just want it to do what I expect, it's a tool not a hobby.

    (Staying with 10.4LTS for now, heard too much horror about 12)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: desktop - amazing?

      12.04 is fine once you get used to it, really. ClassicMenu Indicator provides a traditional start menu for those times you really need it, but mostly I find Unity does the job.

  12. Naich
    Thumb Up

    Happy Unity User here

    What is actually so bad with Unity that it gets all this hate? I've been using it since April and it's fine. Not perfect, but certainly no worse than Gnome 2 or Windows 7. Everyone seems to be jumping on the hating Ubuntu bandwagon, but I'm perfectly happy with it and quite willing to donate to them.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: Happy Unity User here

      Mark? Is that you?

      I guess you and the other employees of Canonical will be happy, while the rest of us skip to other systems (to avoid having to rip it out our selves).

  13. Fatty Eglon

    Not to flame but I think this is a great idea!!

    The Amazon thing had me totally livid. This is reasonable.

    If you want to donate then donate. If you don't want to donate then don't. Simple and reasonable. Let's not get silly about the semantics on the donate page. The point is yes Ubuntu have made some plain silly mistakes. However, they have brought some great innovation to Linux. So credit where credit is due. i respect them for this decision, as this is transparent and honest. The Amazon thing wasn't. It was plain wrong.

    Other Linux distro's have a donate facility for example:-

    If donating is wrong then why don't people complain so vitriolically about other Linux distro's doing this?

    I find it so frustrating that so many 'Linus users' just repeat parrot fashion what they've read elsewhere. This is brainless. Ubuntu is a solid distro. If you don't like Unity then don't use it. Please think for yourself. Choose for yourself. Use for yourself. But don't comment 'Fail' etc just for the sake of it.

    Respect to Mark for this move. Simple, transparent and honest.

  14. Oninoshiko

    I note

    A lack of an entry for me to offer my contribution for Unity to "Nuke it from orbit"

  15. Shannon Jacobs

    As financial models go, I think it's actually a slight improvement

    Their financial model has always been badly broken, but this is actually a tiny bit of improvement. Well, maybe not, since they are putting the cart in front of the horse. Yes, they should ask the users what they want, but in a way that has meaning.

    My long ignored suggestion is that they sell virtual shares on a by-project basis. The projects might represent individual features, or groups of related features, but the money wouldn't be released until AFTER enough donors had indicated that they really wanted to vote their wallets that way.

    I'm sure there are many ways to implement this, but my version would be like a kind of charity brokerage, with the broker holding the money up front. That would be the Ubuntu organization in this case, but there would be no risk for them since they would be holding the money already.

    You can argue that there would be some risk to the donors, since they might not find any projects that they want to fund, but that wouldn't be a major problem for two reasons. (1) If a donor picks a project and it doesn't get enough support, then that money would go back to the donor's balance and the donor would get to pick another project. (2) There is always risk in donating to a charity that might fail to complete it's objectives.

    I do hope that Ubuntu succeeds, if only because Microsoft and Apple are mostly evil companies. However, they have working economic models, and this thing with the slide bars is NOT yet an adequate response. As for me, I'm still running Ubuntu on a couple of machines, but the utility has steadily declined over the last few years, I'm not using it for any "production" work, and at this point I won't miss it.

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