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I call BS.
Mark Shuttleworth on companies and free software
Posted May 17, 2011 21:33 UTC (Tue) by dgm (subscriber, #49227)
Posted May 17, 2011 21:44 UTC (Tue) by AlexHudson (subscriber, #41828)
If you care about sustainable business models, giving someone else the control over your revenue stream is not a sure-fire recipe for success.
Posted May 18, 2011 7:22 UTC (Wed) by ingwa (subscriber, #71149)
If the banshee developers want to create a revenue stream from their free software project, it's not at all a given right that they can demand help with this from the distribution.
When it comes to users, it's the shared interest of the developers and the distro that as many users as possible get access to the application. But when it comes to revenue stream, they suddenly become competitors. Or rather: they become different steps in a standard sales channel: the vendor and the distributor. It's only fair that they share the revenue.
This said, it's entirely possible that the best strategy in the long run is to build your own distribution channel and get 100% of the revenue. After all, you should own your own customers, right? But then the devs or (more likely) their fanboys shouldn't complain that the distributor doesn't give them a channel for revenue generation for free.
Posted May 17, 2011 22:32 UTC (Tue) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
I'm not saying Corbet's interpretation of what Mark said really is what Mark intended or not. Without the original conversation I can't make the judgement for myself. Corbet did admit this was hard for the LWN team to wrap their head around what Mark said here and I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as I'm the _only_ professional Mark Shuttleworth mind reader. I have business cards and everything...very classy..very professional..I'm available for birthday and retirement parties.
I'm saying,that correct or not, that particular interpretation doesn't make any sense in the context of what happened with Banshee. And if that is what Mark really meant to say, Mark needs to take a second run at explaining his point using the Banshee situation as an illustrative example of how Canonical is willing to take a financial loss in order to empower application developers and the ecosystem to build viable revenue streams to take application development to the next level. Because from where I sit, it sure looks like Canonical actions are out of step with the intent expressed here.
Posted May 17, 2011 22:45 UTC (Tue) by jake (editor, #205)
I think what Jon meant was that I didn't describe what Mark said very well. I/We thought that a revision of that particular spot in the article fixed the problem, but evidently it did not. I agree that Jon's characterization of what Mark said is my understanding as well, which should come as no surprise because I am the one who explained what was meant during the review process.
I do think that Mark would put a much different spin on the Banshee situation than you are (of course). He would, I think, argue that he is trying to empower Banshee with a larger revenue stream by bringing the application into Ubuntu, which will, at least in his mind, bring many more users (and much more revenue) to the project. You can agree or disagree with that, but it is in keeping with what he said in our conversation, I believe.
Posted May 17, 2011 22:58 UTC (Tue) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
Clearly Banshee developers felt empowered before Canonical as a distributor decided they deserved a cut for providing a platform. Nothing Canonical did "empowered" Banshee devs to build that revenue stream.
And since we are talking numbers... does Canonical have a public fee schedule for application developers who want to build revenue streams that Canonical will be taking a reasonable cut of in the future as platform provider?
We've seen Google just announce at GoogleIO a flat 5% commission on revenue generating apps which make use of their html5 based platform on ChromeOS (AngryBirds being the showpiece for that). And we've also seen some information concerning Apple "empowerment" of application developer revenue models (poor poor CoverFlow) But I really haven't seen anything concrete from Canonical about what application developers can expect. Or does Canonical anticipate that so few developers are going to be interested in their platform that they can just handle revenue sharing on a case by case basis.
Posted May 25, 2011 5:00 UTC (Wed) by loftsy (guest, #75160)
Posted May 26, 2011 8:02 UTC (Thu) by farnz (guest, #17727)
I don't see how such an agreement would help the Banshee developers; they choose to release their code under GPL terms, and Canonical/Ubuntu are complying with those terms. If one entity held all the copyrights on Banshee, I still don't see how they could use that leverage to affect Canonical's behaviour.
Copyright-wise, what Canonical is doing is legal. Its the morality of their actions that's in dispute; legal ownership of the copyright is a non-sequitur.
Posted May 26, 2011 16:39 UTC (Thu) by loftsy (guest, #75160)
Banshee could have written the Amazon plugin under a more restrictive license which prevented Ubuntu from changing the billing code. Then used their control of the Banshee source-code to allow the usage of the proprietary plugin.
Posted May 26, 2011 16:59 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted May 26, 2011 17:24 UTC (Thu) by loftsy (guest, #75160)
Still - it doesn't change the fact that retaining copyright provides you with options. In this case it would have to come down to relicensing.
Posted May 26, 2011 17:34 UTC (Thu) by farnz (guest, #17727)
Effectively, what you're saying is that if the Banshee developers had chosen to take their code proprietary, they wouldn't have trouble with Canonical taking advantage of the benefits of Free Software.
While that's certainly true, that's not a benefit to Free Software, and if that's the sort of thing that people are coming up with that justifies copyright assignment, then I'm going to remain sceptical of Mark's motivations.
Posted May 26, 2011 8:04 UTC (Thu) by renox (subscriber, #23785)
Only if they're willing to threaten to go from a free license to a proprietary license only otherwise their position wouldn't be much stronger.
If a project do this, it wouldn't be considered anymore as a free software project I think..
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