ShipIt becomes StopIt as Canonical cans free CDs


Canonical has announced it is ending the ShipIt free CD distribution programme which has brought Ubuntu to millions of people around the world, as it pushes delivery into the cloud.

The programme started in 2005 when, as the company said in its announcement, "broadband was still a marketing promise, even in the most connected parts of the most developed nations". Canonical now plans to launch a free online trial for Ubuntu, using the cloud, to allow users to try the product for themselves.

"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," the company announced on its blog.

"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."

Canonical still plans to make CDs available to the Ubuntu Local Communities (LoCos) through a ShipIt-lite programme.

"We are asking the LoCos, who are much better placed than Canonical in many ways, to find creative ways to get CDs to those who need them," the company said. The CDs are free to copy, distribute and modify.