Canonical has begun selling Ubuntu, its free, open source, Linux-based distro through Best Buy and Amazon for around $20 a pop.
Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, which has been packaged by ValuSoft, is being sold online at Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com, and through Best Buy's retail stores.
Customers happy to be $19.99 lighter of pocket will be handed a boxed-up version of the “Ubuntu Linux”. The bundled package includes printed documentation and 60 days of unlimited support.
We asked Canonical, the corporate body behind the Ubuntu distribution, why it has decided to start selling the software when it is legitimately available to anyone as a free download.
A spokesman at the firm confirmed the retail deal and pointed us to a statement on the Canonical blog.
“The aim is to provide Ubuntu to users who want the software and support conveniently presented in a boxed set,” it said. “Making it available through Best Buy is an opportunity to reach users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don’t want to download Ubuntu themselves.”
Ubuntu’s raison d'être to date has been all about reaching out to as many people as possible by freely distributing the software to Linux lovers.
Canonical's spokesman said the company's sharing-caring vision remains intact – kinda.
"Download it for free, get the CD from shipit for free," he explained. "Or you can go to Best Buy and get a box with a manual and 60 day support for $20. There is no contradiction between the two. It's just another distribution channel." ®