Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

Summary: It's not often that open-source projects find themselves at loggerheads over revenue sharing but that's what happened with Ubuntu Linux and the Banshee music player. Fortunately, it looks like an equitable solution is in the works.

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When Banshee, the popular Mono-based open-source media player was first included by default in the next version of Ubuntu Linux , Banshee's developers thought this was great news. But, then Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company decided that they wanted 75% of any revenue from Banshee's built-in connection to the Amazon music store-revenue that Banshee was already donating all of to the GNOME Foundation.

Now, this isn't a lot of money--As of February 1, 2011 Banshee had raised $3,077 for GNOME--but it was the principle of the thing. So when Canonical, "concerned with how our [Banshee] Amazon store would affect their Ubuntu One store." and proposed two options: "Canonical disables the Amazon store by default (you could enable it in a few easy steps) but leaves the affiliate code alone (100% still to GNOME), or Canonical leaves the Amazon store enabled, but changes the affiliate code and takes a 75% cut."

The Banshee developers "unanimously to decline Canonical's revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent" As my buddy Joe Brockmeier explained in his column on the Banshee/Ubuntu conflict, "Canonical were worried that their music service wasn't competitive enough with Amazon MP3." They had reason. Brockmeier continued, after all, "It isn't. Amazon has aggressive pricing and (from what I've seen) a better selection. Amazon is also aggressive with promotions and offering free music, which makes it a fairly attractive service to people looking for new music as well as trying to fill out their music collection with music they already are aware of."

Besides, as Brockmeier pointed out, and this is the important issue, "While I have no problem with Canonical trying to make money on Ubuntu One, I think this sets a lousy precedent. If every vendor either takes a grab at affiliate fees for projects or overrides defaults, upstream projects have no good way to raise funds."

I agree. This kind of conflict is not what open-source needs. Fortunately, it's a conflict that may be on its way to an equitable resolution.

Cristian Parrino, Canonical's VP of Online Services, told me "We are still talking with Banshee on their position so it's not possible to be definitive on this but there are a couple of points we can address. The first is that there is no intention of creating any walled garden around Ubuntu One for the provision of content to Ubuntu users. Quite the opposite. The fact is that we want choice for users and to that we want an Amazon MP3 store as part of that choice. We are very happy that Ubuntu One stands up as a competitive choice for users and they can decide between options."

Parrino continued, "Furthermore we want the Banshee project and GNOME to be part of that provision in this case. We are dealing with an evolving situation. There was no Amazon MP3 default option when we started the decision to switch media player. Now that there is we are now working hard to accommodate that in a way that fairly reflects the contribution of each party. We can't say more except that we hope to have a solution soon that is best for the Ubuntu, GNOME, and Banshee communities and best serves the millions of Ubuntu users."

Well, here's hoping they're successful. Banshee, Ubuntu, and GNOME are three of my favorite open-source projects and I don't want to see them fight with each other. In the long run, this kind of disagreement can only hurt all the parties.

Topics: Amazon, Linux, Open Source

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29 comments
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  • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

    The moral of the story: use linux and you won't make any money. Also shows us that linux users simply can't get along with one another. These are reasons why I do not use linux or recommend it to anyone. The drama revolving around linux is just too great and is not something people need in their lives. Move off of linux and go with the alternatives.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

      @Loverock Davidson There's plenty of money to be made with Linux and lots of companies are doing so. And as far as not using Linux because of situations/drama like this, you obviously don't use Windows or OS X either then. The last time I checked there were dozens of similar situations going on with those OS'. Every business that uses complimentary services eventually has a disagreement over revenue sharing and things have to be hashed out. That's business! I submit that you saw an opportunity to bash Linux and decided to spout off just to pass the time.
      cj100570@...
      • Still, isn't open source all about, sharing, working together

        @cj100570@...
        understanding, for the betterment of all?

        Unless money's involved, then everybodys just as greedy as proprietary software companies.
        John Zern
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        Same dribble written previous, nothing new.
        Lovery suffers from Tech OCD and its eaten him up.
        daikon
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @cj100570@...
        The last time I checked there were dozens of similar situations going on with those OS'.
        ------------
        Show us proof, or just FUDS?
        FADS_z
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @cj100570@FADS_z
        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=apple+app+store+controversy
        bfkelsey
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @cj100570@... I agree in part but very few companies make very much money comparatively directly from developing OSS. Google makes it's money using a proprietary search engine. Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM make most of their money on proprietary software. Microsoft alone probably makes more money on mice, keyboards, xbox and halo than RedHat (one of the few pure-play OSS vendors).
        DevGuy_z
    • ummm wrong

      @Loverock Davidson
      linux runs a latge number of servers out there, many of which bring money into their respective owners. What linux drama? you mean "hey if you have a problem with any distro, try any of the tons of others?" This isn't drama, that's the exact opposite. You don't like Linux, fine that's your choice, but don't bash something when you have no idea what you are talking about.
      KBot
    • Loverock do you REALLY want to know the moral of the story

      simply skip reading any of Loverock baseless dribble otherwise known as FUD.

      The only thing I wonder about is how Loverock Davidson always seams to be the FIRST one to post every time a Linux related article comes out. You/he Loverock must really get your kicks spewing your anti Linux FUD everyday.

      You'll never be as funny as Mike Cox used to be ..........
      Over and Out
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @SoYouSaid
        Loverock aka Rubberduck gets Insider information.
        choyongpil
    • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

      @Loverock Davidson <br><br>Here Here, <br><br>who wants buggy insecure code that you have to compile yourself when you can get a more secure and reliable OS from Microsoft.<br><br>I've already sold all my children to buy three windows 7 licenses. Next week I'm to put my wife in servitude for a year so I can buy office, it's all worth it for secure and reliable computing.
      Rubberduck Rabidson
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @Rubberduck Rabidson
        aka Loverock Davidson: You really that lonely, another set of Aviators for what.
        choyongpil
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @Rubberduck Rabidson

        Dripping with Sarcasm, and quite funny. Too bad there are some that might think you really mean it.
        YetAnotherBob
    • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

      @Loverock Davidson

      How does this moron so often manage to be at the top of the Talkback. ZDnet employee posting to kick off a flame war?
      GWCC
    • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

      @Loverock Davidson Using linux has no effect at all as to whether you make money or not. Developing OSS in my opinion is not as profitable. But you can "use" the technology and make big bucks. Google does and many other Fortune 500 companies
      DevGuy_z
  • ohhh bad move canonical

    Man that's a greedy move, especially when banshee is giving all of the money away. Well, I disagreed with their choice to move away from gnome and i disagree with their choice about trying to rip off banshee, so, in the next distro I will simply download gnome and if not the default, download banshee. problem solved. Thanks for the heads up though.
    KBot
  • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

    So when Canonical, ?concerned with how our [Banshee] Amazon store would affect their Ubuntu One store.? and proposed two options: ?Canonical disables the Amazon store by default (you could enable it in a few easy steps) but leaves the affiliate code alone (100% still to GNOME), or Canonical leaves the Amazon store enabled, but changes the affiliate code and takes a 75% cut.?

    This is not a sentence.

    The Banshee developers ?unanimously to decline Canonical?s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent?

    And this lacks a verb and a period. I enjoy your columns, but dude, you need to proofread them before you post.
    chinwong
  • Who wants a Microsoft Mono infection ?

    No thanks,

    Clementine is far better.
    Alan Smithie
    • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

      @Alan Smithie
      I agree. Besides I think Canonical is reasonable. They want to make money, like any other company, and the choices offered are reasonable.
      hunnia
      • RE: Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

        @hunnia

        People are screaming about Apple trying to take 30% of in-app purchases, but Canonical trying to take 75% is "reasonable?"
        aep528