Despite its world-saving image, open source software has not made much real revolution. But Becky Hogge at OpenDemocracy.net finds hope in new software “for human beings”, designed to bridge the digital divide.
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So maybe Ubuntu wasn't such an altruistic endeavour after all. But is the fact Shuttleworth might make a profit bad news for the thousands of people downloading the desktop version every day? It's hard to say. Ubuntu could quite easily stay true to its first goal of Linux for human beings, providing usable free software for non-geeks in the developing and developed world while also making a tidy profit from support contracts with commercial companies on the side. On the face of it, this looks like the perfect social enterprise. To achieve it, however, Shuttleworth will have to keep the Debian community on side, since beyond the usability question they still provide most of the code behind the Ubuntu distro.