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Why I won't be supporting Ubuntu Edge on Indiegogo

Ubuntu has launched a crowd-funding campaign for its phone, the Edge. I'm not supporting this campaign.

The campaign seems to be extremely successful, they raised over two million dollars on the first day which is rather mind-boggling. At this pace, I think that they should have little trouble in reaching their 32 million goal, which means that we should be seeing Ubuntu Edge in a year.

For me, pledging $830 for a phone that does not even exist --- something with undecided specs --- is unthinkable. I don't have that kind of money to blow: I'm a grad student after all. I support open source, and I'm looking forward to the Ubuntu phone as a means to get away from Android and the Google ecosystem (more on that in a later post); however, $830 on a phone is a ridiculous bet, given that a netbook costs half as much.

I really don't get the rationale behind ever increasing compute power in our phones and tablets. Come on, the average phone today has much more power than NASA had in 1969. NASA could send a man to the moon. All we do is launch birds into pigs.

I predict that the price of the phone when it releases will be less than the $830 they demand right now. If the phone indeed costs $830, I won't buy it. I have no need for a laptop in my pocket. I only use my phone for making and receiving calls, checking email, and for managing my calendar. I see no reason to lust for any quad/octa core giant running at 2 GHz for those tasks.

At the same time, I'm increasingly worried about Canonical's changing attitudes towards free software. They removed all mention of Linux from the Ubuntu website, Linux and Debian is mentioned as a "good-to-know" thing, rather than as the core of the "Ubuntu operating system", as it rightfully should be. The Amazon ads in the Unity dash, the commercialisation of the Ubuntu store, and premium services like Ubuntu One mean that Canonical is moving away from the community supported model to a commercial one, and while this may be great for ordinary users, and it's not a deal breaker for me yet (I removed Ubuntu shopping, and don't use Unity, or the Ubuntu One system); I cannot actively support any venture that does not align exactly with my philosophy regarding free software.

So, I'll pass on the Indiegogo campaign for now. I'll probably buy the phone when it's released commercially. Maybe not.


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