Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (103 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Can we support for-profit organizations to make money? (Was: Ubuntu One Music Store)
  • From: Henne Vogelsang <hvogel@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 11:56:16 +0100
  • Message-id: <4B83B450.7020402@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi Jeff,

On 02/20/2010 03:12 AM, Jeff Mitchell wrote:

I'm Jeff Mitchell, one of the Amarok authors. Nice to meet all of you.

Likewise :)

Canonical however is a for-profit company. Other distributions
shipping this plugin means that you're helping Canonical make their
money for them, and I haven't heard of any method of Canonical
sharing profit with other distributions.

Why is this a problem? It isn't, necessarily -- but I do worry about the
implications of for-profit distributions or projects or companies
getting in a habit of pushing code upstream -- or on other distributions
-- with the sole purpose of earning money (as opposed to earning money
by improving FOSS and creating a more salable product). It seems like a
fairly slippery slope. I'm not sure that Canonical will try to get this
in Rhythmbox trunk, but I'm interested in knowing how openSUSE would
respond in this case, if openSUSE might voluntarily ship this plugin,
and the thoughts of the openSUSE community in general.

Since quite some time we follow a simple approach here and mostly ask
two rather practical questions: "Is this legal?" and "Whats in it for
our userbase?". If the answer to the first one is "yes" we decide based
on the answer to the second one. For instance we provide in our non-oss
repository some commercial applications that clearly bring advantages
for our users. But we don't provide binary only drivers because they
clearly violate the kernels license. These are the decisions we make.

Now what you ask is a morale question: "Can we support for-profit
organizations to make a buck?" The answer from us so far, although
implicit through our actions explained above, is "Yes we can.".

But this is the first time this question has come up explicitly and i
completely understand why you ask it. I think we're at a point in the
evolution of the free and open source software world were these
questions of morale come up more often because, frankly, money comes
into play. And as we all know money tends to bring chaos into the life
of society.

I welcome this discussion, and think its a necessary one, but i would
like to discuss it uncoupled from this example. So what is our answer to:

Can we support for-profit organizations to make money?


Henne Vogelsang, openSUSE.
Everybody has a plan, until they get hit.
- Mike Tyson
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