Monday, February 1, 2010

Ubuntu + Yahoo...what next?

Canonical, the company which runs Ubuntu has entered into a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo! As per terms of the deal, the default search engine for Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04/Lucid Lynx will be Yahoo! (Official confirmation of this deal can be found here by Rick Spencer, Ubuntu Desktop Team manager at Canonical.

I will repeat here what I have already expressed on Ubuntu forums.

I had been a Windows user for many years. My first introduction to computers was with Windows. However I switched OSes just to be part of the ‘community driven’ open source projects. I switched mainly because with Ubuntu I knew my thoughts, my opinions would be given its due importance. Whenever a new release of Ubuntu comes out, I feel good, coz I know that I have contributed (even though to a tiny tiny tiny extent to the development of the OS).

Without a doubt, Ubuntu wouldnt be what it is today without the support of Canonical. In the same way without the support of the community/developers (most of whom I believe are not Canonical employees) I dont think Ubuntu could have been this popular/awesome an OS.

I think all of us agree on the fact that Google is the best (okay if not the best, undoubtedly the most popular) search engine out there. And now, canonical, knowingly is asking us to use Yahoo! as the default search engine. I know that I can change the option with just 2 clicks but frankly speaking Canonical expects us to use Yahoo! (that is exactly the reason why they have entered into the deal) knowing that they are asking or lets say expecting users to use an inferior (or a less popular) search engine by default (after all, they wont be able to earn any money if a user didnt use yahoo). Frankly, I am a bit uncomfy with that. Just to make my point clear, I am not at all worried with the 2 clicks change. (it takes many many more clicks for me to even get Ubuntu working, for me that is, when i install it afresh. codecs, other softwares I prefer etc etc.) what i am worried about is the fact that now, Ubuntu ‘expects’ us to use a particular search engine for Firefox. In other words, Ubuntu, lets say Canonical, (coz clearly it seems as though Ubuntu NOW is more of a product of all the hard work of canonical than of the community) is expecting us to use the OS in a certain way. Forgive me if u think this is silly, but isnt this asking users to use the OS in a particular way the domain of Microsoft and Apple?

About consulting the community, I think (or so I thought, seems that i was mistaken) Ubuntu is a community driven OS backed by a company called Canonical. Now we definitely dont have the right to interfere with the functioning of the company, (eg. we dont have any say if Mark Shuttleworth steps down as the CEO of Canonical and appoints someone else, which he did or if Canonical ties up with some other company for better distribution of Ubuntu) but we, as users of an open-source operating system, do have a right to discuss and debate about the development of Ubuntu.

I thoroughly and absolutely appreciate what Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical have done for Ubuntu. As i always say, Ubuntu would never have been what it is today without their help. But certainly that doesnt mean, that Canonical can enter into a deal with another corporate giant relating to the functioning of the OS (the browser in this case) without consulting or at least having the courtesy to inform the community (which has so strongly supported it so far in all its endeavours) beforehand. I feel hurt that way.

Going mainstream doesnt mean giving up on values but retaining them and striving to maintain them. i am willing to put up a Pepsi/Coca Cola wallpaper on my desktop if that brings canonical money, since apparently Canonical is SO desperate for financial support.

I hope and I pray, Ubuntu doesnt lose its values, and the support of its community, something which made it stand out in the first place.

Sorry, if you think I got a bit emotional with all of this, but Ubuntu is something I feel strongly about.

UPDATE : Ubuntu 10.04 will have Google as its default search engine. This has been confirmed by Rick Spencer (Official confirmation)



  1. yahoo sucks bucks from websites for default search hits and tracks users.

  2. [...] this article: Ubuntu + Yahoo…what next? « Explore Ubuntu Рубрика: Разные рубрики | Метки: a-revenue-sharing, deal, deal-with, [...]

  3. [...] Read the original post: Ubuntu + Yahoo…what next? « Explore Ubuntu [...]

  4. Well Canonical is pretty commercial with ubuntu one and now this, they need money to pay the developers and this is probably a good deal for them.