22 March 2010

Gamesters of Triskelion

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Like a few others, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the direction that Ubuntu seems to be headed. In essence, it seems that there is a concerted effort 1) to brand Ubuntu in such a way that it conceals the Linux that it is and 2) to do this in a way, along with some other stuff, to lock users into the OS. In other words, the motivation behind Ubuntu may not be to create a better Linux through which the parent Canonical will make money by providing support to Enterprise and other commercial users; rather the whole raison d'etre may be to develop a platform to market and sell to regular desktop users proprietary services that will increasingly come glued to the platform. And it just so happens that a Linux base provides most of the functionality for the required platform--as well as a core of well-meaning developers who are willing to work for free and who will have done all the heavy lifting for you

In other other words, I am concerned that the monetization of Ubuntu via content services is the gold standard and that the love-for-all goals stated in Canonical's publicity is just propaganda meant to get people on all sides on board. I really, really, really hope I am wrong and that I am being far, far, far too cynical because I've been well conditioned with the nutty stuff that Microsoft is known for doing, Apple has started doing, and Novell is doing with openSuSE.

In any case, based on my growing concern I did a tiny bit of research into Canonical Ltd. Just about everyone knows that it was founded by Mark Shuttleworth, who is (according to Wikipedia) South African by birth, a SA and UK citizen, and a space tourist. But not everyone may know that the company he founded to develop Ubuntu is registered in the Isle of Mann.

It's worth noting that the Isle of Mann is not part of the UK--it is a British Crown dependency. However, it is a great place to setup a business because, "The Isle of Man is a low tax economy with no capital gains tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, death duty or inheritance tax and income tax rates of 10% and 18%; corporation tax is at 0%." In fact it is quite well known as a center for offshore banking, and, "banking and other services now contribute the great bulk of GDP."

I now place the tinfoil hat firmly upon my head.

The national symbol of the Isle of Mann is the triskelion:

Compare this with:


Just a coincidence or a weird joke?

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