|Linux Mint 11 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
So it comes to no surprise the latest move by Ubuntu to protect 'it's intellectual property' is to licence Ubuntu. Sounds harsh? Some people will think I am being unfair using language normally used to describe Caldera. How else should I react when Canonical is asking derivative distros to sign a license to use 'Ubuntu binaries'? Ubuntu apologists have already made their stand known. They have made light of the gravity of the act of demand to licence and trying to convince us that the issue is about protecting the Ubuntu brand when it comes to derivative distros, Linux Mint, specifically.
I have ask: Why Linux Mint specifically? Does Canonical ask the same from Kubuntu and lubuntu? Is it because Linux Mint is becoming increasingly popular at the cost to Ubuntu? I've been thinking about writing of the possible danger of other distros basing their work on Ubuntu and how dangerous it is to base their work on a source that is actively consolidating their hold on it. I guess I don't have to now.
Really, I don't. At the end of this post are links to articles that go into this deeper.
I am not faulting Ubuntu for looking to start a business. But it should do so the way RedHat does it, through providing value to customers. RedHat is probably as guilty as Ubuntu for not putting Linux front and center at it's website or marketing. But it doesn't have to because there is question of what RedHat is using and what they are really selling are total packages. The value is in the total solution that is based on Linux and open source technologies.
Of course the trick is to find customers who will pay for that value. Canonical should play to their strong point. Ubuntu's strong point has always been the desktop. Why they haven't capitalize on it is beyond me. The only missing component is the management suite to manage desktop as a fleet. This suite will track, configure and distribute software and updates, offer a secure infrastructure for remote support, manage the physical asset Ubuntu is running on and provide a flexible framework to generate reports that big businesses love. There are existing solutions available. Pick one. Canonical can put the icing on the cake by providing human beings to answer support calls. Businesses are questioning the need for Windows 8 on the desktop? Why hasn't Canonical provided an answer.
What should Linux Mint do? Grow less dependant on Ubuntuk by shoring up Linux Mint debian edition. Offer a Ubuntu developers unhappy with Canonical a place to continue doing what they do in an environment similar to what they are used to. Or take a page from CentOs and start re-compiling. I heard SuSe has a build system available.
By the way, I have an unopened box of Caldera Linux available to be burned in effigy (in an environmentally friendly way, of course).