First things first. Ubuntu Linux is still free for anyone to use. That said, Canonical, it’s parent company, will be happy to accept any financial donations you might care to make as well.
Today’s announcement on the Canonical blog by Steve George, the company’s VP of Communications and Products that Canonical was “making it easier for people to financially contribute to Ubuntu if they want to. By introducing a ‘contribute’ screen as part of the desktop download process, people can choose to financially support different aspects of Canonical’s work: from gaming and apps, developing the desktop, phone and tablet, to co-ordination of upstreams or supporting Ubuntu flavours,” caught me by surprise.
As George had said earlier in the very same blog “Canonical and the Ubuntu community have established a solid position for Ubuntu in the worlds of desktop, server and now cloud computing.” Ubuntu Linux may not be the most popular of all Linux distributions—Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) wins the gold medal in business and the Ubuntu-variant Linux Mint seems to have more fans these days—but it’s still very popular.
Desktop Ubuntu may not be doing as well as founder and primary owner Mark Shuttleworth would like.