Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Open Letter to Amazon - Support Linux or Give Up Now!


You were the first in many ways

  • You revolutionized the online buying experience

  • You were the first to really contend with Apple iTunes with Amazon MP3 and offer a DRM-free music experience which is unparalleled still to this day

  • You entice people to choose you over others by offering Amazon Prime and free two day shipping for everything. I am a member!

  • You give away TV shows for free with Amazon Prime members.

  • You started the eBook revolution with the Kindle (Sorry, Sony you failed).  The Kindle runs on Linux.

  • You started CloudDrive with 5gb of free storage that does not count against your quota when you buy music from Amazon MP3

You are still king of sales of physical items, but you are going to loose out to Apple in the digital sphere because you have failed to support the Linux operating systems for your software.  You take but do not give.  You take Linux and use it for the Kindle.  You have made hundred of millions of dollars on Kindle sales.  You fail to recognize that Linux support will help you combat your biggest digital content competitor.  Apple sells hardware - phones, MP3 players and computers.  They have a captivate audience with their poor customers because they have hardware platforms.  You're only hardware is the Kindle.

The time is up Amazon... You need to support Linux starting today or just give up now!

A little history of places where you don't support Linux:

  • Your Amazon MP3 software does not support the latest versions of Ubuntu; only the old 9.x versions.  I've been waiting for Ubuntu 10.x support for over a year now.

  • Your Amazon MP3 software does not support for 64-bit Linux operating systems. This has "been in the works" for more than a year now.  This is all smoke and mirrors on your part.

  • Your Amazon MP3 software cannot even be downloaded as source. This is a failure because Linux fans cannot build .deb and .rpm packages for their favorite flavor of Linux.

  • Your CloudDrive and CloudPlayer software does not support Linux at all.

Even Adobe is making an effort in making 64-bit version of the Flash Player for Linux. And I don't give praise to Adobe that often...

What Amazon can do today - I made a list for you!

  • Update your builds to work with the latest versions of Linux and add 64-bit editions for the top Linux operating systems for your Amazon MP3 Downloader software

  • Optionally create a way (even under NDA) for developers to access your software source so .deb and .rpm packages can be created for other Linux distros

  • Build Linux support for your CloudPlayer software with editions for the latest Linux operating systems and offer 64-bit editions immediately.  A widget / daemon like the Dropbox integration with Nautilus on Ubuntu would kick ass.

With the greatest candor,

Peter J. Farrell

Software Developer / Open Source Advocate / Linux Fan