Home opinion-and-analysis Open Sauce Kubuntu funding cut just one step in Canonical's grand plan

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Canonical's withdrawal of funding to the Kubuntu project apparently is not very important to the company's owner, Mark Shuttleworth.

That's one possibility. The other is that Shuttleworth knows that if he tries to explain, the process will follow the familiar routine that has been gone through whenever he has tried to explain things to the FOSS community.

It goes like this: Shuttleworth writes long, verbose piece explaining X or Y; people post comments, lots of them very snarky; Shuttleworth initially stays cool whil responding; after a while Shuttleworth loses it a bit and says "that's the way it's going to be"; people dump on him more and more and finally comments are closed.

That may be why the company's only official act, after the fund withdrawal was made public by Canonical employee Jonathan Riddell, was to send out its chief spinmeister Jono Bacon to throw a little water on any flames.

It is worth noting here that Shuttleworth has posted on his blog as recently as Friday (February 10) but made no mention of the Kubuntu funding cut.

Bacon turned up on the Linux Weekly News website, and posted a few comments, trying to create his own version of reality. For the most part, he was given a polite reception.

But there are others who have a harsher view of the events that have led up to the Kubuntu fund withdrawal. A SUSE Linux developer, whose views are probably influenced by the fact that he works for a competitor, sees it as one more step in a grand conspiracy by Shuttleworth.

According to this theory, Shuttleworth created the Kubuntu project to cheaply tie up competitors' resources. He had a five-stage plan that would "establish the Ubuntu brand amongst early adopters; expand it to the wider Linux user base; make Ubuntu the default Linux for non-technical users; tie up a paying market and profit".

Make of this theory what you will.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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