Canonical have today launched a new ‘contributions’ page through which users can donate money to the Ubuntu project.

They say that the initiative will help people to ‘..choose to financially support different aspects of Canonical’s work, from gaming and app, desktop, phone and tablet, to co-ordination of upstreams or supporting Ubuntu flavours.”

Canonical have offered a ‘donate’ page of sorts, though you’d have been hard-pressed to find it. From today, however, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss it!

Funding an OS as large and increasingly complex as Ubuntu doesn’t come cheap. As well as the personal pockets of Ubuntu’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical have created several revenue streams over the years – from super expensive enterprise support to corporate customers, to gaining a small slice of percentage every time a track is sold through the Ubuntu One Music Store.

But as a famous supermarket chain in the UK is fond of saying: every little helps.

And for Ubuntu going forward, as it diversifies into new technology markets like TV and mobile, such a statement will have never seemed truer.

Donation – Humble Style

Taking inspiration from the Humble Indie Bundle, the new ‘donate form’ sports sliders through which you can ‘gesture’ what areas you’d like your donation to go to.

This ‘granularity’ will, Canonical say, help them to focus on ‘which favourite features or projects deserve the bulk of our attention’.

So what areas can divy your donation between?

  • Make the desktop more amazing
  • Performance optimisation for games and apps
  • Improve hardware support on more PCs
  • Phone and tablet versions of Ubuntu
  • Community participation in Ubuntu development
  • Better coordination with Debian and upstreams
  • Better support for flavours like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu
  • Tip to Canonical – they help make it happen

As you configure your contribution the pictograms at the bottom of the page change accordingly:

  • $0 – Nothing. Use Ubuntu for free.
  • $2 – The price of a grande extra shot mocha latta chino
  • $5 – The price of pint of Micro-brew Nevada Pale Ale
  • $7 – The price of a Royale with cheese
  • $10 – The price of a movie. For one.
  • $15 – The price of King Kong versus Godzilla on DVD
  • $20 – The price of Peace, Love and Linux t-shirt
  • $30 – The price of stainless steel copper-bottom frying pan
  • $50 – The price of vintage SNES game bundle
  • $60 – The price of pair of vintage acid wash Levi 501s
  • $100 – The price of pair of LP Matador bongo drums
  • $200 – The price of pair of sexed Emu chicks
  • $500 – The price of flight from New York to London (one way)
  • $1000 – The price of an eight year-old dromedary camel

Some of the pictograms are quite funny (see Emu chicks at the top of this post) however the choice when selecting ‘$0‘ is a little harsh…

Payment Methods

So far only Paypal is the only accepted form of Payment. Canonical’s Jono Bacon says that this is only temporary and that ‘other payment mechanisms are currently being explored’.

Where the Money Goes

If you dropping some coins in Ubuntu’s pocket it’s only fair that you know specifically what the money will be used for. Community Manager Jono Bacon is clear:

“When a donation occurs, Canonical will act as a steward for the money and ensure it is managed fairly and in accordance of the user’s wishes…ensuring it goes to the part of the project outlined in the form. Importantly, Canonical will not be using the money for any Canonical business-orientated functions; all of the donations will be used to fund the Ubuntu project and continue it’s growth and development.”

Finding It is Easy

As altruistic as donating is it should never be compulsory. And although this ‘change’ means that anyone downloading Ubuntu from the official website from today onwards will be greeted with this form before their download, it is still completely optional.

Personally I find the opt-out text – ‘Not now, take me to the download’ – rather small and as it’s well below the fold of the page I worry that some users will have trouble finding it.

A direct link to the contributions page can be accessed by clicking on the button below.

Visit the Ubuntu Contributions Page

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