From Out There

Thoughts from years of using Free Software in the wild

Microsoft is jealous of Ubuntu’s release parties

Note: This is a cross-post from my personal blog.

I’m a bit late to the party (ow, that one hurt) on this, but it’s fun to see none the less.

If you’re an Ubuntu or Debian user, you might know the tradition of release parties. If you’re neither, you ought to come to one. On every new Ubuntu release, people all over the world get together to celebrate. Sometimes there’s just plain ole partying, sometimes more organized info events, sometimes install parties. People usually look like they’re having fun, and there is no bribe from Canonical for having these parties.

I’ve helped organize two of them myself, and while I totally messed up the schedule on the first one (I’m still sorry about that), we had fun and information and community stuff. The Free Software developers themselves gave talks, you could poke a real Amarok coder, there were people from Edubuntu setting up a cluster of diskless thin clients that anyone could use to try Ubuntu during the party, we drank a lot of FreeBeer; it was great, a manifestation of the oft-quoted Ubuntu community spirit in the flesh. This isn’t an isolated event, parties have been happening since at least 2005, and Debian has had them a decade ago as well.

Now cut to 2009. The Ubuntu community is preparing for the 9.10 release parties all over the planet. Meanwhile at Camp Microsoft, they want to copy our cool. I can see how Marketing cooked that one up. “Hey, if those smelly geeks can have so much fun, how much more fun could you have with Windows 7 at a party! Let’s call it… Oooh, here it comes: ‘Windows 7 Launch Party’!”

Yep. Sure looks enjoyable. Just my kind of weekend, exchanging false pleasantries with a committee-selected family (complete with token black dude) who all talk like they’re on Valium.


I feel dirty even looking at the video, and not just the bleeped one.

Microsoft are sponsoring a copy of Windows 7 for those who officially register their Win 7 launch party with the company, by the way. I’ve never needed a bounty for organizing an Ubuntu party, those were fun enough all on their own, without the need for compensation.

How long until MS and Apple finally copy the more important aspects of our operating systems and our communities? The freedom, for example?