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The Almighty Buck Linux

Canonical Halts Ubuntu CD Free-for-all 324

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the no-such-thing-as-free dept.
Barence writes to tell us that Canonical plans on limiting the number of "free Ubuntu CDs" that people can mooch from the company. The growing popularity of Ubuntu has seen a dramatic increase in the number of CDs being shipped via the free "ShipIt" scheme. The only people able to take advantage of this program now will be the usual community teams, contributors, and first-time Ubuntu users. "'While these CDs are often referred to as 'free CDs,' they are of course not free of cost to Canonical. We want to continue this programme, but Ubuntu’s growth means that some changes are necessary. Therefore we are adjusting how we handle CD requests to try to find the right balance between availability of CDs and the continued viability of the ShipIt program,' [Canonical's chief operating officer Jane Silber] adds. Extra CD copies of Ubuntu will still be available for purchase through the Canonical store, although they need to be bought in bulk. Five copies of the open-source operating system will cost £5 exc VAT and shipping."
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Canonical Halts Ubuntu CD Free-for-all

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  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:22PM (#29875155) Homepage Journal

    I never got any of the free CDs because I never wanted to wait. I guess it was handy for people that couldn't burn ISOs like most windows users untill they installed an ISO burning program.

  • by jittles (1613415) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:22PM (#29875163)
    I once got flamed on Slick Deals [slickdeals.net] for asking people to show restraint and common sense after someone posted a deal for a free CD from Project Gutenburg. People were ordering tons of disks as if they were getting some special deal. I don't blame Canonical at all for placing limits.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770)

      Probably people that think it's some limited promotion to create buzz, then start charging once the demand coming it. They'd probably be very confused about the whole model. "It's free" "Now, yeah so I'm ordering a million" "No it'll stay free" "???" "It's free software" "But, but..." It's not just bean counters that throw a divide by zero error when they encounter free things.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        Probably people that think it's some limited promotion to create buzz, then start charging once the demand coming it.

        No, it's just some of us weren't able to complete our "AOL trial CD" thrones [cynical-c.com] before AOL got stingy.

    • by kraemate (1065878) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:44PM (#29875465)

      Stopping the shipping of free CDs is a long overdue but unfortunate move.

      CDs were absolutely the only way to obtain a linux distro for me, and canonical's generous free shipping saved me(and countless others in 3rd world countries) by providing the discs.

      However i have seen enough rampant abuse of this, so much so that i would rather see a few thousand people unable to use linux because they cannot obtain CDs than canonical shutting down because of the greedy unscrupulous jerks.

  • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:24PM (#29875185)

    Ubuntu seems to have hit the big time, riding off the Win7 release.
    There's half-a-dozen mainstream news sources that are mentioning Ubuntu in their coverage of Win7, some are even holding it above MS's OS

    Eg.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/26/kellner-linux-hits-user-nerve/ [washingtontimes.com]

    • 9.10 is really nice (Score:3, Informative)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      I have it running on my old D610, it's very nice. They have improved the software center, a lot. Much faster and easier to use. Imported all my settings and desktop from 9.04, no problems. Boot up seems about the same to me, but overall it seems faster. The default theme is very nice and the fonts are clear and legible.

      Overall I like it a lot. Good timing for release of 9.10, too. If you're going to change everything, might as well try something else first. What do you have to lose?

      It's reasonab

      • by gbarules2999 (1440265) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:47PM (#29875497)
        +1. It really has been a good release; everything works out of the box on my laptop (the sound, webcam, microphone, and wi-fi). If they can keep the quality high for the upcoming LTS release, there will be nothing but good news for the project and its growing popularity.
      • I just installed 9.04 this weekend! I didn't bother burning a copy. I just pointed VMware at the ISO and it installed it on the VM.

      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:28PM (#29876813) Homepage Journal

        It occured to me that it would be fun (and possibly significant) to ship ubuntu with a tool to make new ubuntu CDs. Of course you can do that with the built in CD burning tool but I mean making the process a bit more explicit with a prominent menu option (Make new Ubuntu CD) which asks for the install CD, extracts the ISO, burns a new CD ancd optionally prints the official CD label.

        Its the kind of functionality you won't be seeing in Windows 7 any time soon.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by HangingChad (677530)

          That's a really good idea. I hope someone from Canonical is reading. A SHARE button somewhere that burns a Ubuntu disk.

          Bonus points if it has the ability to burn the same desktop theme and layout. Some when someone says, "Hey, your desktop is really cool." You can click a button and hand it to them, minus your data hopefully.

          You won't see that in Windows 7 any time soon, either.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Thing 1 (178996)

            That's a really good idea. I hope someone from Canonical is reading. A SHARE button somewhere that burns a Ubuntu disk.

            Bonus points if it has the ability to burn the same desktop theme and layout. Some when someone says, "Hey, your desktop is really cool." You can click a button and hand it to them, minus your data hopefully.

            You won't see that in Windows 7 any time soon, either.

            Agreed. Even cooler, especially considering the clusterfsck that the XP-to-7 "upgrade" process is: be able to put the CD in a dri

    • by camperslo (704715) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:52PM (#29875547)

      Ubuntu seems to have hit the big time, riding off the Win7 release.

      Maybe we can help Ubuntu a bit this week, burning and giving away Ubuntu 9.10 CDs through places like craigslist.

      I haven't figured out the ad text yet, but I think a title along the lines of "free upgrade for Windows users" would get people to read the ad.

      I figured the text could mention the ability to try it before installing, the ability to dual boot, the included memory tester (something that would avoid one of the problems with Win7 installs), the speed boost seen on some machines due to it being leaning and not having the overhead of antivirus software, the great free apps included, the easy of finding adding/removing apps, freedom from registration keys and ads, freedom to copy.... great additional effects/features with a modern GPU... should include something about minimum RAM requirements. Maybe mention that Mac switchers could keep the old PC around to run Windows games, and be safely used for net access through Ubuntu.

      Something simple looking, like a list format might be easily understood?

      A bunch of us working on this could have an impact.

      Ubuntu : The New Efficiency (an MS slogan that fits Ubuntu much better)

    • Get it in the stores (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Smivs (1197859) <smivs@smivsonline.co.uk> on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:07PM (#29875737) Homepage Journal

      One of ubuntu's (and Linux in general) main obstacles is the lack of public awareness. You go to a computer store and everything on offer is pre-loaded with windoze...it's as if no other O/S exists. What Canonical really need to try to do (and I appreciate that this would not be without cost) is get the CD's in the stores so that punters buying a new computer will see it as a viable alternative to M$ products. Ideally, of course it would be nice if manufacturers could offer it pre-installed across their ranges as well. Also, as many people are hugely suspicious of anything 'free' and anything 'new', packaging it with a (sensibly priced) support service might be another way of 'selling' Linux to the masses.

      • They NEED to charge for it too. People see free and they think "it must be crappy if it's free".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Unfortunately, it is impossible to get something in stores without charging for it. Because the stores will surely charge you for the privilege of having anything in there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356)

        You go to a computer store and everything on offer is pre-loaded with windoze...it's as if no other O/S exists

        The OEM system install has been the gold standard in the consumer market for the better part of thirty years.

        Hardware and software ships as a factory-tested and generally well-balanced system for its intended - advertised - use.

        The buyer has a warranty - the toll-free number for support. He doesn't need to google for a solution. He doesn't need his son-in-law.

        The DIY Linux OS install is never goin

  • You mean I'm going to have to pay for my beer coasters now?
    • It's alright, we still have AOL, no?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Misch (158807)

        I just got an AOL CD in the mail this past weekend.

        First time in ages.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well.. You can come by one of those many Linux Fests, Linux conventions etc. Chances are good that some Ubuntu members will be handing out CDs there, and you will meet a lot of other like minded people and lots of awesome presentations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm new to F/OSS. Could someone please distinguish "free as in beer" and "free as in beer coaster" for me?
  • I think this is totally reasonable - after all, there are costs involved in sending out "free" disks and those costs can add up at a time when companies are feeling the pinch. More importantly, however, I think they should put a smidge of effort into developing a Windows and Mac client to make putting the installer on a CD or USB drive (or SD card) easier to encourage people to download and install with the equipment they already have. Just this weekend, I installed Ubuntu on my hackintosh (shhh, don't tell
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      If you install Ubuntu on a hackintosh, doesn't it stop being a hackintosh?

    • If they offered a quick "Load Installer on CD/USB" program (would take some programmer, what, ten minutes to write something like that?..), I think they'd get a lot more people giving it a try.

      Does UNetbootin count?

  • Just torrent it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:31PM (#29875279) Homepage Journal

    I just used the torrents. This way I get a disk in under two hours and shared the bandwidth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

      I just used the torrents. This way I get a disk in under two hours and shared the bandwidth.

      Don't let the RIAA hear about this. They'll sue you from orbit, and let God sort it out.

      • by kbielefe (606566)

        Shows what little you know about software piracy. It's the BSA that sues you for downloading Linux torrents. Well, I suppose those conga drums when you log in could be considered a recorded performance.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

          Shows what little you know about software piracy. It's the BSA that sues you for downloading Linux torrents. Well, I suppose those conga drums when you log in could be considered a recorded performance.

          What, the merit-badge guys? I'm not buying it.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Sending the CD via post might be good for those on really bad internet connections or with transfer limits that might want to try it out.

      Otherwise the 4-6 weeks wait most likely makes other people to just download or torrent ISO.

    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:42PM (#29875437) Homepage Journal

      You damn pirates think you get can everything for free, even things that are free to begin with!

      • by selven (1556643)

        Do YOU use tap water? Why? Why aren't you supporting American bottled water business like a good capitalist?

    • Two hours? It's just a CD isn't it? That takes 18 minutes on my slow connection here. Tops.

      *raises his share ratio to 94% of upload rate* Here, I hope that helps. :)

      • Two hours? It's just a CD isn't it? That takes 18 minutes on my slow connection here. Tops.

        I was thinking DVD, and was being generous. 2 hours is still an order of magnitude less that 2-4 weeks.

    • I'm surprised no one has written a small flash or java applet for downloading torrents. This way, they could use the power of bit torrent with the ease of a web browser for distribution. Even better, they should also make it available as an executable with a small open source cd burning program that is basically scripted to just say "place a blank CD in your cd burner" and burn the ISO. The biggest issue I've seen with beginners trying to install linux has been for them to actually download the iso and burn
  • Served it's purpose (Score:2, Informative)

    by Oasiz (1017554)
    The guys must get tons of orders each day and even hoax orders grow exponentially with increased popularity. I still have the old 5.10 discs around that introduced me and my friend to Ubuntu. But now with the increased internet connections and quick downloads speeds you can get it very fast and even use 'in-windows' installers in case you do not have a cd/usb stick to put the installer in.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:38PM (#29875359) Journal

    I would think they'd have some success starting a fund people can optionally donate a few bucks to, to help offset shipping and production costs on the free CDs they send out. Then simply tell people that if the fund runs dry, shipping of CDs gets halted until more donations are made.

    I suspect the majority of people requesting the free CD are doing so because they're in a situation where downloading and burning the ISO image is too troublesome (limited bandwidth like some corporations have, or someone using satellite broadband where they have a transfer cap before getting charged per K downloaded, etc.). Asking them to kick a few dollars back into the fund after they install and start using the product doesn't seem like a big deal.

    Obviously, it'd still be a good idea to track addresses and enforce a "one copy per mailing address, per release" rule....

  • Ubuntu CD's (Score:4, Interesting)

    by uneek (107167) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:40PM (#29875411)

    I would happily buy them from Amazon, if Amazon had up to date Ubuntu CD's. Its especially useful when you need a DVD and don't want to wait

  • Keep the free cdrom thing, add some flyers for Open Source companies or others who would pay for the advertising.(Windows emulators?) Then Sell an upgraded USB drive that looks like a Penquin for 5$ plus 10 dollars shipping and handling. Offer a support contract accessible from a shortcut on the desktop, and Bing! you have a profit from the loss! No one will want the free cdrom if they could have a penquin USB drive! Bait and Switch!
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:47PM (#29875499)
    I sent a suggestion that Canonical make their CDs/DVDs available through outlets like Netflicks for people that want physical media to install, but don't need it to keep (or to burn their own copy). Let those for-pay outlets take care of media distribution and return via their established infrastructures.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Itninja (937614)
      That would be fine until someone accidentally booted from the Netflicks [sic] DVD and hosed their system because they did not know what they were doing. I doubt they would ever open themselves up to that kind of liability.
  • 1998 called, they want their software distribution method back.
  • One thing that would be a nice idea would be to sell netbook remix installers on a USB stick. Not everybody knows how to download the file and convert a usb stick into a bootable version.

    I have 9.10 running off a flash card and everything is working properly - with no email setup, encrypted home, and browser history deleted on exit it's now my internet banking appliance, but I'm getting close to putting it on the HDD too.

  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:31PM (#29876025) Homepage Journal

    "Freedom isn't free"...

    (It costs $1.05...)

  • Gee.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hasai (131313) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:36PM (#29876101)

    ....What a wonderful problem to have.

  • There has got to be some way to install Ubuntu without having to boot from a CD (regardless of whether said CD is obtained by mail or by burning an ISO).

    Why can't there be a software program that is run in Windows, and it creates a partition and a installs a boot loader, so that you can install ubuntu in windows, restart and boot in ubuntu? I know there are already partition makers that run in windows, how hard would it be to put an ubuntu image in a newly made partition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by darthwader (130012)
      Windows is generally not happy about allowing applications to write to the boot sector, partly to avoid viruses, and partly because it just isn't designed to support that information changing while it is running. Basically, Windows will happily swap out info which it thinks will never change, and re-read it when needed. If you've changed it by installing a boot loader, it gets very confused (blue-screen).

      It may be possible to do this through the "do cool stuff during boot up" API (which is used for scandi
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by supersloshy (1273442)

      Wubi? http://wubi-installer.org/ [wubi-installer.org]

    • by bahstid (927038) on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:21PM (#29876685)
      Just in case my sarcasm detector is malfunctioning, and seeing as its the second comment I've seen along these lines, here you go [wubi-installer.org].
  • I ordered a few Ubuntu CDs some time ago. They came in cardboard sleeves with flaps, and the edge of the flap was tucked in and touching the surface. Arrived with half the CDs unreadable thanks to the thick secant line of scratches from being shipped like that.

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