Vi trascrivo una mia email indirizzata a Mark Shuttleworth e Tim O’Reilly.
Purtroppo sembra che Mark non sia minimamente interessato alla cosa.
Voi che ne pensate?

Ideas to fund Ubuntu and Canonical

Canonical is trying to get revenues from two sources:
1. paid technical and/or commercial support
2. training and certification (still in early stage)

This is very similar to Red Hat’s policy and marketing strategy.

I think that there is an untapped third point, much more interesting than the first two ones:
3. users

I also think that Canonical’s strategy is innovative only in part.
The 21st century will see more and more companies that earn money using an Open Business Model (see Open Business Models,, and that’s almost certain. Canonical is leading the path, in that sense. Despite that, some part of Canonical’s strategy are very old: the community is seldom central in business opportunities. Examples:
1. The Dell-Ubuntu partnership is good in itself, but Ubuntu lacks a common platform to allow ANY company, even small ones, to participate in the Ubuntu diffusion.
2. Training is much like LPI, RHCE, Cisco’s, and others. It’s CLOSED. I personally developed an interesting alternative to such kind of training and certification practice (DebianCE); I entirely based it on the community, and revenues would come from people willing to have the certification, at a lower cost for them. More details on it if you ask.

Now, let’s see why USERS are a much more interesting revenue source than the other two.

Ubuntu users LOVE Ubuntu. Lots of them would happily share their browsing interests, bookmarks, favourite songs and videos, even bandwidth, to help the growth of Ubuntu. Doing such a thing in an open way would lead to a strong adoption, and very interesting revenues for Canonical.

Firefox, as an example, partnered with Google to offer a Google-based search form in the upper right corner of the browser, much like an Adsense account. It generated more than 60M USD for the Mozilla foundation in 2006. I’m sure 2007 figures are going to reach 100M.
That’s only a SMALL FRACTION of the revenues that USERS can bring to Canonical.
Even Tim O’Reilly, in his keynote, suggested that “every time a user googles, it helps google a lot”. It’s true. When you search, listen, browse, publish pictures and videos, you are GIVING AWAY money to companies. Let Canonical take a share of this Cornucopia.

Jimbo Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, is going to build a distributed, peer-to-peer, search engine, to compete against Google. The same thing could be done with Ubuntu users, whose browsing habits could be the new meter to rank web pages (together with other parameters as well), and note that 99% of Google’s revenues are from advertising (10.6 Billions of USD in 2006, something around 14B in 2007).
I’ve recently started a new project, called Beeseek (the metaphore is: bees (peers) seeking things around), an open source search engine. I’m sure such kind of thing could revolutionize the Search Engine market, but obviously, doing it in my spare time leaves few chances of success. Canonical has the necessary weight to adopt this idea and bring it to life.

Canonical could also build a new, a new technorati, a new myspace, a new youtube… all using the Ubuntu platform as a common base. Every one of them is generating revenues. Users are USED, and sometimes they aren’t aware of it. Let Ubuntu be their awareness.
Then, let the users choose where their contribution could go: to Ubuntu, to Canonical, to NGOs. A big part of them would choose Ubuntu, or Canonical, because they like to help a company, or a Linux distribution, that is doing things GOOD.

Those ideas can be a success ONLY if Canonical creates them inside Ubuntu.
I am simply very interested in being a part of this.