Canonical's revenue and the "commercial" question
@Anonymous coward asked "How do they make their money"
This wiki article:
originally written by Mark Shuttleworth a couple of years back, should give you something to go on. I'm surprised this article isn't referred to more often by journalists and commentators as It addresses not only your question, but also many of those commonly asked about Ubuntu. It provides plenty of detail regarding the distribution's essential non-commercial nature, its organizational setup, its public pledges, motivations, funding arrangements, relationship with Debian, and quite a bit more besides, it's quite long!
Whether you're a friend or foe of the project, if you're going to publicly comment and engage in conjecture about Ubuntu, you should really read this first.
For the "commercialism" cynics out there, here's a snippet:
"Will Ubuntu ever demand licence fees or royalties?
No. Never. I have no interest in taking Ubuntu to join the proprietary software industry, it's a horrible business that is boring and difficult, and dying out rapidly anyway. My motivation and goal is to find a way to create a global desktop OS that is *free*, in every sense, as well as sustainable and of a quality comparable to anything you could pay for. That's what I'm trying to do, and if we fail, well then I will go and find some other project to pursue rather than get into the proprietary software business. I don't think any of the core Ubuntu developers, or much of the community, would stick around if I went loony and decided to try the latter, anyhow.
If that isn't enough for you, then you will be happy to know that Canonical has signed public undertakings with government offices to the extent that it will never introduce a "commercial" version of Ubuntu. There will never be a difference between the "commercial" product and the "free" product, as there is with Red Hat (RHEL and Fedora). Ubuntu releases will always be free."