Ubuntu delusion: BuildYourUbuntu.com won’t come to life, trademarks win, ideas lose

Introduction:

We (CreaLabs) are Ubuntu affiliate because of:

  1. some Ubuntu promotion/spreading activities
  2. 2 ubuntu derivative distros: ubuntu italian iso, ufficio zero
  3. Ubuntu Customization Kit

We constantly and actively support open source and free software with many projects (check crealabs.it for the list).

All of these projects were created and are maintained for free.

The new condition

Ubuntu affiliate program changed, actually some points of the new programs are not clear to me but I read

The other tracks have distinct revenue requirements for progression through them. These numbers are not being made public, but will help you understand the reasons for the tiers.

[cut]

The figures are the revenue that flows to Canonical from sales that you make. These sales can be made up from the range of Canonical services and future product offerings.
These may look initially high, but we have set the bar for the highest level quite high intentionally. Any partner that reaches gold tier has really earned it.

We have based the tiers on revenue to alleviate any potential entry fee to the programme.

I can’t really understand if we’ll have to pay to remain affiliate or not… anyway I hope more info will be given us.

The idea

We said “hey, if we’ll have to pay, let’s try building some real business on Ubuntu, so we can remain affiliate”.
Working on UCK the idea was easy, build a website where people can customize their Ubuntu adding software, language support and many other things and get their brand new shining DVD at home for a price.

I wanted to call that buildyourubuntu.com. It seem to us that’s really a good name, you can understand what the service do and that’s what we want.

A good business must have a good name, a good business would bring us revenue and we would give part of them to Canonical (we haven’t decided prices and revenues yet) for the affiliate program and would keep alive our free projects and maybe build other new free services.

The problem

Ubuntu is a trademark, we can’t use that name without a license.
We write to Canonical trademarks team.

The answer

After 3 weeks we get a “NO, you can’t use that name for your business, you could for a free service but not for a business one”.
Why? Because it could seem too “official” meaning “related to Canonical”.

Our delusion

How would you call a service that build a custom Ubuntu for you? Oh I don’t want to hear flickr/scriptaculous clones please.

The point is, I think I can say we do fair play with free software, it’s not right to avoid us the possibility to create a new original service that would also bring money to Ubuntu itself.

Sure we can call that service “BuildYourOs.com” or “BuildYourDistro.com” or “BuildYourLinux.com” but:

  1. it’s not clear: you can’t understand we’re ONLY talking about Ubuntu
  2. it’s simply ugly, if you work in marketing tell me if I’m wrong
  3. Linux is a trademark too thus you must gain a license to use the Linux name

Is my love for Ubuntu ruined?

Actually I don’t know, I’m feeling really sad right now.

9 thoughts on “Ubuntu delusion: BuildYourUbuntu.com won’t come to life, trademarks win, ideas lose

  1. Fabrizio Balliano

    @Vincent: I’m gonna ask them anyway I could undestand for someone who doesn’t show support for Ubuntu, but not in my case. Let’s call it mutual trust. And anyway I would clearly type on the website that “this is not the official blah blah blah”, my goal in not to capitalize on Ubuntu’s name.

  2. ubuntista

    Fabrizio,
    I’m very sorry for this bitter ending. I really appreciate what you did, do and will do for Ubuntu and Free Software, and hope you’ll get another chance to start your idea.
    I’ll try to help you, if my help can be of use.

    Best,

  3. Pingback: Ubuntu ha perso qualcosa di grande « www.ubuntista.it

  4. Fabrizio Balliano

    update:
    After 3 weeks we get a “NO, you can’t use that name for your business, you could for a free service but not for a business one”.

  5. Vincent

    @Vincent: I’m gonna ask them anyway I could undestand for someone who doesn’t show support for Ubuntu, but not in my case. Let’s call it mutual trust. And anyway I would clearly type on the website that “this is not the official blah blah blah”, my goal in not to capitalize on Ubuntu’s name.

    It’s not so much that they might think you would start saying bad things about Ubuntu or anything, but more that you will be linked with Canonical and Ubuntu, and if there are bugs or anything similar, this might damage Canonical’s and Ubuntu’s reputation or users might contact Canonical with support requests.

    Also, you might know you can be trusted, but to Canonical, you might just be an Ubuntu support which has this idea but if the idea doesn’t work out and someone offers you a sh*tload of money you might sell the domain to someone with worse intentions.

  6. Fabrizio Balliano

    @vincent: well we can discuss about that, I think I could also sign an agreement with Canonical I won’t sell the domain, that’s absolutely not a problem. For the Ubuntu related thing… what would be different if the project is done for free?

  7. Pingback: BuildYourUbuntu is dead, long life to CreaLabs YourWay « Fabrizio Balliano

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *