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The Business Model of Ubuntu 254

Andareed writes "Open-source software companies, such as Ubuntu (an open-source Linux distribution), are better able to respond to user request and bugs than traditional software companies, such as Microsoft. Simon Law, head of the Quality Assurance department at Ubuntu in a talk given to the UW Computer Science Club, explains why this is, and how Ubuntu is leveraging the open-source model. Simon explains how the QA department at Ubuntu differs from traditional QA departments, through its use of the open-source community at large. Most interesting is Simon's views on what motivates open-source developers to develop software, and how open-source oriented businesses (specifically Ubuntu) are making money."
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The Business Model of Ubuntu

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  • More Talks (Score:4, Informative)

    by Andareed ( 990785 ) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:19AM (#15816608)
    There's also more talks at []
  • Inaccurate (Score:4, Informative)

    by Risen888 ( 306092 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:20AM (#15816612)
    Ubuntu [] is not a company, it is a community-driven distribution. Canonical Ltd. [] is a major financial sponsor of Ubuntu, but (AFAIK) provides very little guidance of the project.
  • X & NVidia Drivers (Score:2, Informative)

    by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:42AM (#15816753) Homepage
    Is it just me or did Dapper increase the problems related to X when updating kernels. I had to recently upgrade to 2.6.15-26amd64-k8 because of a serious security flaw (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered just yet), but inevitably I had to recompile my NVidia drivers. Is this the sort of QA Mr Law is overlooking perhaps?

    I have to say though, the Ubuntu forums is an awesome resource for fixing Ubuntu related problems. If it is any sort of testiment to the level of paid support then Canonical Ltd. (the commercial organisation behind Ubuntu Linux) are certainly on the right tracks.

    Kudos to them.
  • Re:QA at Ubuntu? (Score:4, Informative)

    by asudhir ( 987272 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:48AM (#15816795)
    You should check out the Ubuntu forums--there are tons of people with serious wifi issues, including those whose hardware worked perfectly in the earlier release but now doesn't. Also, WPA support shouldn't be THAT difficult to implement. Why require the end user to download and manually configure wpa_supplicant? Ubuntu is supposed to be easy to use and user-friendly to those new to open source operating systems, not tedious and complicated. Now I know Ubuntu is not very mature, so hopefully this will all be ironed out in the next release.
  • Hope this helps.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by CptnHarlock ( 136449 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @09:50AM (#15816805) Homepage
    Yepp, I've run into some problems wint the new kubuntu and wireless. For some reason it won't let me do "chanel switching" (the parameter that messes it up is "channel 6"), and since that is the GUI driven wlassistant tries to do the whole configuration fails. My solution is to "strip" that part of the command and run it like this:

    /sbin/iwconfig eth1 mode managed rate 11M key open 1234567890 essid firewall nickname mycomp
    dhclient eth1

    I've got those rows in a file called that I run as root with sudo.

    The problem has something to do with insufficient rights on the device. I know it's a bummer and ubuntu should not have to be fixed with haxx0r scripts considering one of their goals is to be simple at a Joe SixPack level... but I've run into this problem on just one comp and all the others are working excelelently.. :)


    P.S. No, that's not my passphrase or my essid or computers nick.. :P .. and yes, I'm running against an old router which can't do better than that.. :P
  • by Andareed ( 990785 ) * on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:19AM (#15816963)
    Unfortunately, the build of ffmpeg we were using didn't allow theora encoding. We tried :(
  • Linux desktop (Score:2, Informative)

    by rhaas ( 804642 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:22AM (#15816995) Homepage
    Either that, or it's just that the Linux desktop isn't that great to begin with. I realize that's an arguable point, but it seems to me that, for example, Firefox running on Linux is significantly slower than Firefox running on Windows on the same hardware. I have to say the Windows desktop looks a lot more polished, too. And the fact that GNOME (at least on the systems that I've used) opens a new folder for every directory instead of replacing the contents of the current window is just really annoying. So I use Windows for my desktop stuff and Linux for development and other real work. YMMV.
  • Re:QA at Ubuntu? (Score:4, Informative)

    by rsidd ( 6328 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:26AM (#15817028)
    Doesn't work for me. And did with Breezy. Your anecdotal evidence against mine.

    Specifically, though, it's not wifi that's broken -- it's networkmanager. Which wasn't a default part of breezy so one can argue that nothing was really broken. I can no longer authenticate to a WEP network that requires a key, and that's with two different laptops, one using NDISwrapper and a Windows driver, one using a native Prism2 driver. On both, manually using iwconfig and dhclient works. I can live with that but it doesn't look good in a desktop OS. And it's not just me -- there are many bug reports (including mine).

  • Re:No Bittorrent... (Score:2, Informative)

    by coffeeisclassy ( 991791 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:32AM (#15817078)
    I think this is the second time the csclub has been slashdotted with large video files. Last time, it went up to the top of IST and then nothing changed. This time, perhaps things will change, but the general internet connection is still not being maxed out. IST has there mrtg stats [] online, and you can clearly see when the slashdot article went up :-)
  • Re:QA at Ubuntu? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ewan ( 5533 ) <> on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:38AM (#15817109) Homepage Journal
    For my card, it was straightforward enough, copying from this webpage T2500Old []

    However, like I said it depends on your hardware, which is a bit of a pain. Hopefully someone will come up with an intelligent enough software tool to cope with this soon.
  • by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:45AM (#15817169) Homepage
    Ahh interesting. FYI, you may want to look into module-assistant (sudo apt-get install module-assistant, man m-a and use m-a install kernel-module-name as root to build and install a kernel module).

  • Re:QA at Ubuntu? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:52AM (#15817211) Homepage Journal
    Only suse come close to this, but everyone else seems reticent to copy their approach.

    FYI, Xandros aced this back in version 3. Their wlan setup is excellent, even if the kernel suffers from some of the driver shortages that are common on Linux. At least you get ndiswrapper with it, unlike Suse.

    With Xandros 4, you can monitor interface status, enable/disable and reconfigure right from the systray icon.
  • Re:wow, the hate (Score:2, Informative)

    by a_karbon_devel_005 ( 733886 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:23AM (#15817431)
    I see people whining about Ubuntu. Frankly, its the first distro that works right out of the box with minimal config.

    What rock have you been living under? SuSE has shipped a product that worked well out of the box for quite some time now. Mandriva has as well.

    Ubuntu is easier to set up than like, Debian or Gentoo... but other than that, there's nothing that really makes it any more easy to use than a solid Deb install or even Fedora. It's all the same software.

    At least SuSE and Mandriva (Mandrake) have added nice system tools.
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by lullabud ( 679893 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:57PM (#15819367) Homepage
    Looks like Ubuntu expected that since they registered and simply redirected it to Perhaps they should have a little message informing people that they are mis-spelling Ubuntu, rather than directing them to the correct location even though an incorrect location was typed. (Don't want to do any negative reinforcement, you know.)

    Better yet, they should make a new organization for Ubunutu and call it "UNU" for "Ubunutu's Not Ubuntu".
  • Re:Inaccurate (Score:4, Informative)

    by chris_7d0h ( 216090 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:33PM (#15820266) Journal
    In a speech by Mark I heard him explain that the entire Ubuntu initiative is a purely social contribution in a philanthropic sense from his side. Canonical is not in this to make money.

    Most people with insane riches want to be seen as philanthropic. Bill G. for example started a foundation where he funds initiatives related to education and health (a wide domain where he helps financing selected initiatives).

    Mark on the other hand is more focused and is aiming at a specific and narrow problem domain in the technology sector. He wants to help Linux become a viable computing platform option for the average person, by providing both financing as well as leadership. Seeing that Slashdot is mostly comprised of people who have an education and "food on their table", the work of Mark will likely have a more direct impact on our lives than other initiatives, thus making the effort of Mark rather interesting in our little technology corner of the world.

    Being an industry professional I am (as I believe many of you are as well) constantly consulted by friends and family about technical matters. If one day these people would be willing to start using a platform which I am familiar with, the effort on my part as well as those seeking help would greatly diminish and we would all be able to spend more time on stuff that matters. Ubuntu is in that regard an extremely interesting initiative to me personally and I commend Shuttleworth for incepting Ubuntu and his colleagues and the rest of the contributing community for focusing on the last 10% of what Debian is missing for wide spread adoption.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman