Ubuntu One, Irony, and Open Sourcing

Disclaimer, because they seem to be popular when posting UbuntuOne commentary to Planet Ubuntu right now: These are my opinions. I don’t work for Canonical, I don’t program, I’m just an Ubuntu user, Ubuntu Member, and opinionated SOB. End stupid attempt at disclaimer.

When you go to log in to the new, shiny & controversial Ubuntu One, you find it uses Launchpad’s authentication service to login. The closed beta currently means that everyone using it already has an LP account, of course, but they’re obviously planning for the future over on UbuntuOne – there’s a little blurb called “What is Launchpad and a Launchpad Account?”

It says, in part: “Launchpad is the central point where we gather all sorts of interactions around Ubuntu, Canonical and free software generally.”

Free software generally? Really? In which universe? Big chunks of Launchpad are still non-Free, and of course about half the mess with Ubuntu One is the fact that it’s only half-free – the client is Free, the whole server side is totally proprietary.

Another, even larger and more awesome irony: The proprietary nature of Ubuntu One’s server-side code has, so far, mostly produced controversy and a nifty but not ground-breaking web app. The open-source client side has already produced parts of a nifty new UI for encrypted directories that will (hopefully) be in the next release of Nautilus.

All the closed-source server code for Ubuntu One has produced in the past week is controversy. The power of open source shows once again…

If Canonical can swallow it’s pride, this is a really easy problem to solve: 1. Change the name. 2. Produce the source for the server side. 3. There is no point 3. Good night and good luck.

By Brian Burger

Started this site way, way back in November 1998, when the web was young. It's still here, and so am I.

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