Why I don’t like Canonical

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So, I’ve just been (implicitly) quoted bashing the Mark Shuttleworth / Canonical business model. (The rating on my ZDnet post is a stunning -21 as I write - my most negatively rated comment anywhere ever - but, strangely enough, no-one’s replied to refute my argument). I thought it was worth expanding my point from my own tiny pulpit.

I’ve written before about what I think about Ubuntu. It’s a good distribution. It does a lot of stuff right. Around 2004 it was better than MDK / MDV in many ways. I don’t think it was ever better in every way, and I think MDV is a better product now, but that’s by the by. This is about Canonical, and Mr. Shuttleworth.

First, the facts: Canonical is a privately-held company. It has no external shareholders and is not listed on any stock exchange. This means it has no legal obligation to provide any information to the public about its assets, liabilities, revenues, costs, or anything at all along those lines. The only information we have is what is volunteered by Canonical staff in interviews and so forth.

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