Wandering Thoughts archives


Ubuntu is a Canonical product

A while back I wrote that from an outside perspective, Ubuntu is Canonical's thing, in that Canonical runs the show despite having outside contributors. But in the wake of wrestling with Canonical's advertisements in a stock 22.04 LTS machine and losing, I want to amend that observation with an important additional one. Ubuntu is not merely Canonical's, Ubuntu is a Canonical product. Which is to say, Ubuntu exists to make money for Canonical. Further, the current evidence suggests that Canonical feels it's not making enough money for them; hence the steadily increasing advertisements in Ubuntu, along with other moves.

Broadly speaking, we've seen this show before, most recently with Red Hat/IBM and CentOS, so we can make some guesses about where this version will go. If Canonical is now making enough money from Ubuntu, they might stop here, with annoying things in your message of the day and so on. Otherwise, they will definitely take additional steps to make more money, and they probably have a number of those. Would Canonical reduce the free LTS support interval from five years to two and a half years? Perhaps. And fundamentally Canonical is unlikely to be that interested in the views of people who have little or no chance of giving them money, people like us.

(A shortened free LTS support period wouldn't be the death knell of personal use of Ubuntu LTS, since Canonical currently gives free personal use licenses for their paid extra support.)

The good news is that the sky isn't falling today; there's no particular need to move away from Ubuntu for current or future use. The other good news is that because Ubuntu is so close to Debian, it will probably be pretty easy to move to using Debian for future machines if the sky does fall in. I'd expect almost all of our local customizations to the Ubuntu server installs to drop right in on top of Debian. The one area that will be different is the installer itself, since Ubuntu uses a new installer since 20.04.

(Energetic and concerned people might thus start building out a Debian installer environment, or at least explore it to build up their knowledge.)

Locally, we're unlikely to migrate away from Ubuntu LTS until we're forced to, because we continue to like the predictable release schedule and five years of support. However, I expect we'll be keeping in contact with anyone else around here who's switched over to Debian, so we can find out how they feel about the shift.

PS: The other thing that can happen with commercial products is that they stop being made (or they get sold and drastically transformed). On the sale front, I can imagine a future where Ubuntu becomes, say, 'AWS Ubuntu' after Amazon buys out Canonical at a suitably low price.

linux/UbuntuCanonicalProduct written at 22:05:28; Add Comment

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