R.I.P Shipit: Canonical Retires Global CD Distributor Programme

Gerry Carr of Canonical has announced on the official Canonical Blog that they will be discontinuing the free CD shipping service ShipIt and would be focusing on their CD distributor programme and shipping CDs directly to LoCos instead. Below is an excerpt of the official announcement:

It’s with some regret that we are announcing the end of the ShipIt Programme and the CD distributor programme. … Technology moves on and as we look at ways to spread Ubuntu further, a CD distribution programme, especially one of that size and delivered in that way, makes less sense. We have been slowly easing back the programme over the last two years to limit 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 go to our website and apply for a free CD.

That’s not to say there won’t be CDs. We are going to make large numbers of CDs available to the Ubuntu Local Communities (LoCos) through a shipIt-lite program. We are asking the LoCos, who are much better placed than Canonical in many ways, to find creative ways to get CDs to those that need them. And of course, every single person reading this who has a CD is a potential distributor — it is after all free to copy, modify and redistribute. We will also continue to make the packs available through the store which are sold more or less at cost price (plus shipping).


For the late comer’s: What was Shipit?

Shipit was a service that Canonical used to distribute Ubuntu CDs free of cost to individuals around the globe. Shipit came into existence when broadband was non-existence and downloading a CD ISO image was a nightmare. Since then, Canonical’s Shipit service has shipped millions of CDs worldwide freely to people who weren’t able to download it themselves. This helped millions of people discover Ubuntu, Linux and the world of open-source.

What next then?

Now, starting with Ubuntu 11.04, Canonical has decided to stop the service and people would no longer be able to order the free CDs. But people who still don’t enjoy broadband connections should not feel left out as Canonical will continue to distribute Ubuntu through a Shipit like programme LoCos. And of course, you can still buy Ubuntu CDs from the Canonical store or burn your own ones and then duplicate and distribute them.

Gerry also hinted that Canonical would be launching cloud based free online trial service.

R.I.P Shipit, we all will miss you…

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