Growing at similar rates... doesn't actually say anything about the nature of relationship between the two. Are the paid deployments driving unpaid or is it vice-versa.
Is the unpaid to paid deployment for linux distributions a close parallel to parasite and host relationships in biological ecosystems? And if so which is the host and which is the parasite? And what is the nature of the relationship? Is it primarily symbiotic where both groups benefit? Is it parasitic where one group is harmed at the benefit of the other? Or is it mutual convenience where for the most part neither is harmed or helped by the other (until an environmental stressor puts one community under pressure and throws off the dynamic balance)
I think we all want to believe the nature of the relationship its symbiotic. But I'm not sure we have metrics which point out that it is.
I certainly want to believe that non-paid deployments are beneficial long term. But then again, I'm probably part of the parasitic community and its difficult to convincing tell myself I'm causing harm for not paying for my deployments. As a species..we seem to have an inexhaustible capacity at denying our own accountability for harm if given half a chance to rationalize it away.