The ShipIt program has been at the core of the Ubuntu project since its inception. The goal was to make sure that there are no restrictions, as far as was possible, to people having access to Ubuntu. In the last five years we have shipped millions of CDs and seen Ubuntu’s popularity and reach grow in ways that would be impossible without ShipIt.
And that aim continues. We need to make Ubuntu available to as many people who need it, particularly those for whom the download options are limited. The goal has not been to supply a CD to every Ubuntu user of every version of Ubuntu. Remember, one of the coolest things about Ubuntu is the way you can upgrade from one version of Ubuntu to another – without the need for a CD!
While these CDs are often referred to as “free CDs”, they are of course not free of cost to Canonical. We want to continue this programme, but Ubuntu’s growth means that some changes are necessary. Therefore we are adjusting how we handle CD requests to try to find the right balance between availability of CDs and the continued viability of the ShipIt programme.
We will continue to supply CDs to LoCo teams and Ubuntu members. And we hope to make CDs available to everyone who is just discovering Ubuntu. And we continue to search for additional ways to make Ubuntu and Ubuntu materials available to everyone. But we are limiting shipments to people that we think have alternative paths of getting Ubuntu. For instance,
* you can upgrade to the new release without a CD
* you can download your own CD for free
* you will be able to download the CD wallet artwork
* becoming an Ubuntu member by contributing to Ubuntu, and thereby becoming eligible for more CDs
* And finally, you can purchase CDs.
We will change the language on the ShipIt site to make it clearer what we are doing. We hope that you support this effort and realise that the intent is to continue to make Ubuntu available on CD to everyone who needs it.
Jane Silber, Canonical