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Banshee vs. Ubuntu Linux on Revenue sharing

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When Banshee, the popular Mono-based open-source media player was first included by default in the next version of Ubuntu Linux , Banshee’s developers thought this was great news. But, then Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company decided that they wanted 75% of any revenue from Banshee’s built-in connection to the Amazon music store-revenue that Banshee was already donating all of to the GNOME Foundation.

Now, this isn’t a lot of money–As of February 1, 2011 Banshee had raised $3,077 for GNOME–but it was the principle of the thing. So when Canonical, “concerned with how our [Banshee] Amazon store would affect their Ubuntu One store.” and proposed two options: “Canonical disables the Amazon store by default (you could enable it in a few easy steps) but leaves the affiliate code alone (100% still to GNOME), or Canonical leaves the Amazon store enabled, but changes the affiliate code and takes a 75% cut.”

The Banshee developers “unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent” As my buddy Joe Brockmeier explained in his column on the Banshee/Ubuntu conflict, “Canonical were worried that their music service wasn’t competitive enough with Amazon MP3.” They had reason. Brockmeier continued, after all, “It isn’t. Amazon has aggressive pricing and (from what I’ve seen) a better selection. Amazon is also aggressive with promotions and offering free music, which makes it a fairly attractive service to people looking for new music as well as trying to fill out their music collection with music they already are aware of.”

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