Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
Is it ok for other people to cannibalise your revenue stream from that free software? Legally yes, morally - well, that's what this entire discussion is about.
There's one obvious result from this type of behaviour, and it's that authors who write this software will no longer make the whole thing available as free software.
And let's be clear here. We're talking about a revenue stream which has generated ~$3.5k for a *non-profit*. And a multi-million dollar private corporation has diverted that.
Banshee Amazon Store disabled in Ubuntu 11.04 by Canonical (Network World)
Posted Feb 18, 2011 11:40 UTC (Fri) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
Actually I would argue that it constitutes a good reason to stop developing it altogether... Put the money somewhere it actually helps Novell and not just a competitor...
(note that I work for Novell and are completely not involved in anything Banshee)
Posted Feb 18, 2011 12:14 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
Banshee is MIT-licensed free software. If Novell does not want people to adopt its software and change it, they should not publish it as free software in the first place. (Actually, Banshee isn't a »Novell product« in the sense that some PHB at Novell went to their developers and told them to write a new music player – Novell just funds a bunch of free-software developers who had the music player already –, so it probably isn't up to some PHB at Novell to determine its licensing, but that is neither here nor there.) For all we know, Microsoft could take up Banshee, make it the official audio player in Windows 8, and change the music store setup such that all the revenue goes to Microsoft – and there is precisely nothing Novell could do about it.
One might argue that it is unfair for Canonical to point their version of Banshee to their own music store, but it makes sense for them and does not conflict with Banshee's license. (Even the Banshee developers don't really seem to mind.) On the other hand, under the present arrangement every Ubuntu system out there – and there are rather a lot of them – comes with a copy of Banshee rather than some other music player, so Banshee gets a lot of exposure that it otherwise might not have had. Given that the object of Banshee development is presumably not to make money for the GNOME foundation, but to produce a cool and popular music player and keep its developers entertained in the process, this may not be a bad thing. (And if, as you suggest, Novell is so disgusted with the affair to stop funding further Banshee development, it would probably make sense for Canonical to step in.)
Posted Feb 18, 2011 16:27 UTC (Fri) by jospoortvliet (subscriber, #33164)
You argue that the fact they distribute Banshee and in their infinite wisdom have chosen it to be default is plenty to morally entitle them to this income over the Banshee developers. I call bullshit. In no way are they doing this as a favor to Banshee - their users want a good media player, Banshee has developed one, so they ship it. Apple ships apps via the appstore, they do about as much work on 'packaging' and testing as Canonical - probably even more. And their developers are upset about a 30% cut they take off the sales. Now you say 75% is reasonable for Canonical to take off of Firefox and Banshee income?
The relationship between up-and downstream is symbiotic and should go both ways. Distro's should contribute to downstream, it is their life blood. Novell, Red Hat - they do it. Canonical - not only does it contribute little, it actively is taking away resources for downstream. Money that is used to fund hackfests, meetings and more - don't think this money doesn't matter to Banshee or GNOME! This move is bad for the ecosystem and sets a dangerous precedent.
Posted Feb 18, 2011 16:48 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
Remember that we're only talking about the default setting here. People who feel strongly that the kickback should go to GNOME are perfectly free to reset the music store setting to whatever Banshee puts in to begin with.
I think it is quite legitimate for Canonical to distribute Banshee just because they are interested in supplying a good music player with Ubuntu. Giving exposure to Banshee is a collateral effect albeit a nice one for the Banshee developers (even though the money issue leaves out the GNOME foundation). Canonical could certainly find another music player and hack that to access their music store if Banshee wasn't available.
As far as the 30% cut that Apple takes is concerned, if it was really that upsetting to developers then no one would develop for the iPhone and it would die. The iPhone app developers may bitch and moan but in the end they still seem to be happy to get to keep their 70% or they wouldn't bother. I'm not saying Canonical's 75% is reasonable – I'm saying that, with a freely licensed piece of software such as Banshee, Canonical are well within their rights to set their defaults up any way they please. (Distributions do it all the time with web browsers.) No one is forced to (a) use Ubuntu, (b) use Banshee, (c) get their MP3 files from wherever either Canonical or the Banshee developers say they should get them from. I use neither Ubuntu nor Banshee nor do I buy MP3 files from either of the outlets in question, so I personally don't have a horse in this race.
Posted Feb 18, 2011 17:32 UTC (Fri) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
I promise you, there will be a time and a place to bring up that up again and again and again. But right now the underlying issue here as to fair, sustainable,ethical distribution of revenue between non-profit and for-profit entities in the distributed developed software ecosystem is actually really important for the health of the entire ecosystem moving forward.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds