Canonical cuts costs, sinks ShipIt
Canonical has announced that it is terminating the ShipIt programme which sent free CDs of Ubuntu to those that asked. Canonical says that it has shipped millions of CDs to every country in the world but it has been "easing back" the program over the last two years, limiting the number of CDs and applications for CDs per person. For Ubuntu 11.04, users will no longer be able to apply for a free CD. "Technology moves on" said Canonical's Gerry Carr "a CD distribution programme, especially one of that size and delivered in that way makes little sense".
The programme started in 2005 to address the lack of availability of high speed broadband. Since then, for many countries faster internet connections have meant that ISO images of Ubuntu could be downloaded quickly and burnt to CD-R. Those who still want Canonical produced disks will find CD packs still available to purchase through the Canonical store.
Canonical plans on making a large number of CDs available through Ubuntu Local Communities (LoCos) to assist them in their advocacy work. Canonical community manager Jono Bacon points out that this will only apply to approved LoCo teams who "have demonstrated significant and sustained contributions" around advocating and promoting Ubuntu. Those LoCos will just need to fill in a form to request their CDs.
The company also announced plans to end its CD distributor program which shipped a relatively low number of CDs but had a "surprisingly high" administrative burden. The money saved from the changes is planned to be used to fund a future launch of a "free online trial" of Ubuntu using cloud technologies, which the company sees as being a "great first step for Windows users".