Ubuntu Linux [Canonical]  has decided to offer a boxed retail version for folks who can not or do not wish to download the freebie version. In a statement from Canonical it mentions that the boxed version will come with a manual and also 60 days of support. The announcement also states:

The aim is to provide Ubuntu to users who want the software and support conveniently presented in a boxed set. Making it available through Best Buy is an opportunity to reach users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don’t want to download Ubuntu themselves

The Valusoft and Canonical teams have worked hard on the packaging to show how Ubuntu has a program for the common activities that users need such as “Web Browsing”, “Productivity Suite” and “Email”. This makes it much easier for a consumer to work out if Ubuntu is right for them. I think the teams have done a great job presenting Ubuntu simply and concisely.

Bringing Linux and free software to new categories  of users is fundamental to our mission at Canonical. Valusoft. By adding a 60 day support service, ValuSoft are making it easier for consumers to install and get started with Ubuntu. Installing an operating system of any kind is still a scary task for many people so offering a ‘helping hand’ is a great reassurance for the new user and will help tremendously with the success of the product in this category.

We’ve very happy to be working with ValuSoft to make Ubuntu available to a wider range of users. And if you’ve been thinking about  a great  way to introduce someone new to Ubuntu then you could always hop to your local Best Buy for a brand new Ubuntu in a box!

Hmm………..the timing is interesting. Just when Xandros buys Linspire, both of which were paid Liunx versions, it seems strange that Canonical would take this approach. Or is it that Linux as a freebie can no longer survive? I always wondered what motivated people to provide a free operating system. Both Microsoft and Apple make a tidy sum with paid versions of operating systems. Why not Linux?

Is this the start to the end of the free Linux effort? Why haven’t people flocked to Linux?  If it is free why do people continue to  pay for operating systems from Microsoft and Apple?

Comments welcome.