I would just like to add a few more points before this thread becomes a bit too complicated.
1. I think mmarq is missing the point of FOSS. FOSS is not necessarily about making a profit
(although there is nothing wrong with that) it is a concept a philosophical point of view.
Some people write FOSS just to scratch an itch, some because they need a specific app or
feature, some purly as a learning experience, some to make a profit and some to get a job.
The community is bigger than one single entity. But for it to continue and grow we need to
especially encourage people to write code and develop applications.
Now I living in the UK could afford to pay for an os, but the world is a big place and not
everybody can afford to pay for an os. Do we stop them from using FOSS. Do we say to people
in (for example) china. africa, bloody hell even in parts of the uk some people could not even
afford a computer let alone pay for an desktop os. We want to say to them come and join us
and with a bit of luck they will contribute back to the community and we will have a steady
stream of willing developers/helpers way into the future.
You might want to give redhat $500 for a stable os/Desktop. I would rather donate $500 to
debian (or some other nonprofit body) hoping that money would trickle down to the developers
who write the code. The likes of Paul Davis who has spent years writing and developing
ardour, Sven Neumann and the gimp developers, scott dylewski who writes dvd-slideshow, etc etc
2. Back to this profit word. I dont have a problem with companies making a profit from FOSS.
RedHat, Suse, Sun, HP, IBM etc they see a way of making money and thats great for them. If I
was CEO of a large company I would like to buy from IBM or Redhat and have a bloody good
support contract to bail me out if my server ever went down. But if I was a small business
owner I would just as comfortably rely on a small local computer consultancy business to keep
my systems in shape. And that works if you are in turkey, china, africa, pretty much
anywhere. Now yes hopefully they would make a profit and hopefully they would see fit to
contribute back to the community. (In some way isnt that what trolltech did? )
If suse, redhat, debian, gentoo, ibm, sun, hp, novel, all contributed to one distro then maybe
they wouldnt need to support the desktop as it would be so intuitive and stable and it would
3. Just one last point If I was microsoft and linux became too much of a threat this is what
I would do. I would pay some developers to work on linux and contribute code until I was part
of the community. Then I would fork the kernel maybe with a slightly better file system and
tell everybody how great this new system is and how much faster it is- genuinely providing a
better system. Then I would guarantee that other developers would try it out, and then they
would say but my network card doesnt work so I will patch that, then another dev would find
his sata drive doesnt work so he would patch that, and before long you would have two
completely different competing kernels that would be very hard to keep in sync. Each one
would probably have twice as many bugs as one all encompassing kernel would.
And then I would fork again. Bloody hell everyone would need a support contract then.
If a car is made with a slight fault and four years down the line owners have to replace the
part then the manufacturer profits from there mistake I hope that is not what is happening
with linux. (OK in theory this probably might get enough coverage to force the manufacturer
to cover it on warranty but only if enough people complain.)
Now I am not saying that Redhat Suse etc are doing this on purpose to split the effort of the
community (I honestly am not), but If you are going to do contribute something then you should
jump in wholeheartedly or not at all. Now I feel that they are doing that for the server
market but not on the desktop. Sure they are putting a desktop out, yes they contain gimp and
firefox and all the usual programs but do they package dvbcut or qvamps or little smaller apps
that can be very important to a home desktop/multimedia system . No that is the problem.
Just one last little point The new Ubuntu is coming out soon and they have packaged firefox 3
beta 5. Now I know these packages have to be tested, but should a beta not even a rc copy of
an important piece of software get into a stable distro. Now no wonder they sell support
I wonder if the next debian stable will come with an optional support contract.