Parallels to proprietary Linux companies

Story: Free Software is a democracy, NOT!Total Replies: 0
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Mar 22, 2010
1:29 AM EDT
Canonical's pseudo-democracy here (really a "meritocracy" as Shuttleworth deigns to call it) continues to have more and more similarities to the marketing tactics taken by two of the best-known proprietary Linux companies; Red Hat and Novell's SuSE.

Red Hat's business product is RHEL, see Red Hat's much less commercial, community-based distro is obviously Fedora, see

Novell's business products are SLES and SLED, see Novell's much less commercial, community-based distro is obviously OpenSUSE, see

Similarly, Shuttleworth's meritocratic Ubuntu may remain "free as in free beer", but now perhaps decreasingly “free” as in “free speech” (see 'The Free Software Definition' page at ) The Bezemer piece addresses this very point in this excerpt:
Quoting:That's why I don't understand why InaTux gets so upset. FOSS is not and never will be a democracy in the sense he (or she?) understands democracy. Design decisions are not made by simply voting them off - and certainly not by its users.

And yet, there exists the one key Linux distro which has remained as democratic as one can possibly and even chaotically imagine; Debian GNU/Linux, ( Debian obviously remains as the much-less commercial, widely-known, truly community-based, "universal operating system", this as compared to Ubuntu.

Whatever commercialized direction Shuttleworth may take Ubuntu, end-users and devs will continue to monitor this. The author even knows this quite well:
Quoting:If you don't like where Ubuntu is going, install another distribution. Nobody is saying that you should stick with it. It's easy.
Quoting:If too many people start doing that [leaving Ubuntu], Mark Shuttleworth has two options. Either he creates the perfect distribution for Mark Shuttleworth or he starts asking himself the right questions. A customer lost takes twice the effort to reel in than a new one.

Ubuntu's base-distro Debian will remain as yet another viable, non-commercial distro option regardless of "where Ubuntu is going" and regardless of when Shuttleworth "starts asking himself the right questions."

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