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I’m sure many of you already know that Ubuntu is not only available as a free download, but you can also order it on a CD at absolutely no cost. What’s the fun in that when you can actually pay to have the CD delivered to your home?

As someone over at Digg found out Best Buy (a retail electronics store in the United States) has actually placed a $20 pricetag on the open source operating system. Shipping charges range from $3.99 for standard to $16.99 for overnight delivery, or you can pick it up in store to save yourself a few extra bucks. I double-checked store availability around me and almost all of the Best Buy’s have the boxed copy in stock.

Can they really sell free software? You bet. According to the GNU license this type of thing isn’t even frowned upon:

Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it.

When I told Ashley about this her first response was “wouldn’t it be funny if someone bought it, and then paid Geek Squad to set it up.” I don’t see anything that says that the Geek Squad can’t install Linux, and I’m guessing that the $129.99 computer setup fee is what you’d get charged. Yikes!

So what do you make of all this? Is it a good thing since Ubuntu is more apt to being exposed to the general public, or are they out to just rip people off?

I think I’m going to hold off on picking up a copy right now. I’ll get mine in October when these go on clearance in preparation for the new release. ;)