The distribution of free Ubuntu disks comes to an end. Canonical announced in a blog post yesterday that the company is killing the ShipIt Programme that distributed free disks with the Ubuntu OS – a service that has helped millions of people around the world to get their hands on the Linux operating system, and in a large way contributed to the continued success and steep adoption rate of Ubuntu over other distributions.
The ShipIt service was started back in 2005 when broadband was in its infancy and disks were still the best way to get the software in the hands of users. But technology has moved, says Canonical, and it no longer makes sense to distribute CDs via postal mail. Canonical has been slowly easing back the programme over the last two years by limiting the number of CDs per person and the number of times a person could apply for a CD. But for Ubuntu 11.04 you will no longer be able to order a free CD.
This is not the end of the free CD program though. CDs will still be available from the Ubuntu Local Communities (LoCos) through a shipIt-lite program. These communities are spread all over the world in various countries. Locate your local Ubuntu Community on this page and ask them if they will ship you a CD. You can also buy them at a minimal price from the Canonical store.
In place of the ShipIt programme, Canonical is now planning to launch a free online trial for Ubuntu using the “goodness of the cloud”, possibly a virtual operating system on the cloud to test drive.
Canonical also talks about “doing much more this year” designed to reach out to the mainstream markets across the world. No further details were provided as to how Canonical plans to reach the “next wave of users”.
[via Channel Register]