Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Battle of Open Source: Why Can't We Be Friends?

I just read an article on Network World[!] that has me totally floored.
The Banshee[!] developers made it where you can sample, buy and download music within their media player from Amazon MP3[!], and 100% of the affiliate revenues is donated[!] to the GNOME Foundation[!].

Upon further review, Canonical[!] has their own Ubuntu One Music Store[!] that Banshee would be competing with and Canonical wouldn't be getting any cuts from Banshee unless they used Canonical's affiliate ID instead of GNOME's[!]. Canonical wants 75% of the affiliate revenues, with the remainder 25% going to the GNOME Foundation. With the release of Ubuntu 11.04 swiftly drawing near, and Banshee Media Player replacing Rhythmbox[!], the Banshee team opted to disable the Amazon MP3 store all together.

Now it's time for my opinion. Banshee is a wonderful iTunes[!]-like media player for Linux. Since I am such a music buff, and I liked sorta liked iTunes back in the day when I ran Windows[!], I set out to find something similar. As I was searching through media players on Freshmeat[!] back when I was running Debian Linux[!], I came across the Banshee Media Player. It looked like iTunes and had many of the same features. This was the one I chose to go with. A couple of years later, I switched to Ubuntu Linux because of its rapid releases and programs were more up to date than Debian was. I stay fairly current with the happenings behind the scenes in Ubuntu development, even though I am not a developer myself. I even often times over voice my opinions a lot on Twitter about various things in development. I still use Banshee in Ubuntu to this day.

Back when Mark Shuttleworth[!] was pushing Ubuntu for open development, he didn't show greed or ways to control people or projects. He wanted his Ubuntu project to be available for EVERYONE. Sure, projects take money to develop, but there are other ways to go about doing. Changing the affiliate IDs[!] of other open source programs that you distribute is not the answer. That just turns into open source projects fighting one another and NOTHING gets accomplished.

By changing the affiliate IDs in programs such as Banshee and Firefox[!], Canonical is steering, shall I say stealing, possible development revenues from the original program developers. This is not only unfair, but it is just plain wrong.

What do you think? I would love to know your opinions. Please read the whole story from Network World at the top of this post, then either leave me a comment on the blog or better yet, contact me directly on Twitter at @jpyper. I would love to hear form you.