I have been a very big supporter and user of Ubuntu since I discovered Hardy Heron (8.04) and dual booted my MBP to unleash its full potential. I have also been a self proclaimed crusader of open source software and personal privacy. In the past few weeks I have noticed that, with its growing popularity, Canonical has started to play hardball with its image and “intellectual property”. Wired and ARSTechnica have both published articles criticizing the owner of the popular “open source” OS alternative to Apple and Microsoft solutions. Ubuntu has been under the interrogation light for sometime now with regards to how it has changed its popular OS to make it more mainstream. Many in the contributors to Ubuntu Forums complained about the UNITY gui changes and many more protested with the Ubuntu amazon search functionality. Currently there is privacy concerns for its users. Linux and most of its variants are notoriously secure and this scary trend has many Ubuntu supporters asking WTF?!
FixUbuntu.com has an explanation and code to help patch the privacy issue brought on by Canonical. Lately, Canonical has flexed its corporate muscles issuing trademark misuse and take down orders for those lone voices in the wilderness crying foul about the abuse of trust with the open source community.
I was talking with a friend that was looking for some Ubuntu ISOs for a lab and he said that Ubuntu.com was giving him trouble. I tried browsing to the site and too noticed it was experiencing some strange issues. With all the corporate bullying from Canonical and the forced changes to open source culture upon its users over the past few years, I believe that they are being targeted by Hacktivists. I hate to use the word “Hacktivists” but there isn’t too much else in the thesaurus to help me get my point across. Watch the website closely. I think we will start to see “The Rise of the Users” against corporate bullying.
Personally, I think that of the top three operating system producers; Microsoft, Apple, Canonical, Canonical has the most to lose. It offers its OS for free and only has a strong hold on the “technically inclined” and the people too cheap to buy or too scared to pirate its competitors. MS as a huge command over enterprise environments, Apple has its own hardware, Ubuntu belongs to the open source community. When that community feels betrayed or cheated, it is going to migrate to one of the other several hundred Linux derivatives and support, develop, and promote another distro.
I love Ubuntu. The idea of a free and open operating system is a powerful thing and to attempt to reign in that power with take down orders and trademark misuse claims is a dangerous and foolish thing to do be doing so late in the game.