There are a lot of naive users and customers out there, and then there are companies and websites out there only to trick them. That’s why we can find an Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Flash Drive with just 8 GB of space selling for a huge price.
The fact that you can buy Linux distros right now from eBay and other similar sources is not really a surprise or something that’s even recent. This has been done for a long time, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. It’s not technically illegal, and there is no way to curb it unless people get educated about this kind of behavior.
Some of these hustlers have moved past the confines of eBay and similar websites and started their own business. There is a website called HELLOTUX that, for the most part, is just selling some really overpriced polo t-shirts with various logos on them, such as Linux Mint, KDE, GNOME, and so on. Not really a problem, but they also sell USB sticks with Linux distros on them for a ridiculous price.
Your choice about HELLOTUX
HELLOTUX says that it promotes Free Software, and that’s their right. One of their products, which has been making the rounds on social media, is the new Ubuntu MATE 15.10 8GB Flash Drive selling for €30 ($33). That’s a lot, given that Ubuntu MATE is provided free of charge, and you can pick up a small USB stick for a tenth of that price.
It’s not enough to say that they promote free software, and they sell stuff you got for free for a huge profit margin. Now, as I said, everyone is free to buy from them, but it’s good to have well-informed users that can decide whether what they see is a good offer or not. The Ubuntu MATE 15.10 8GB Flash Drive doesn’t feel like one.
Update: Martin Wimpress from the Ubuntu MATE project reached out to us and explained the following:
“I personally endorsed HELLOTUX making the USB flash drives pre-installed with Ubuntu MATE. The Ubuntu MATE project gets a small commission on every one sold which helps cover the projects expenses, just like all the other items you’ll find in the Ubuntu MATE Boutique – https://ubuntu-mate.boutique“