Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Apr 1, 2012 0:46 UTC (Sun) by khim
In reply to: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Parent article: Free is too expensive (Economist)
If that's all it takes, why aren't people releasing for RHEL in droves, and leaving other distros behind?
Do you see millions of RHEL desktop users anywhere? I don't.
This is all about ROI. The goal of the application developer is to get as much bang for the buck as possible. Yes, even if it's free, noncommercial software: in this case developer does not get money back directly (thus we can not just calculate ROI) but s/he get the reputation, bug reports, etc.
If your platform is too unstable (like Fedora or Ubuntu) then this raises development and, more importantly, deployment cost. ROI is negative. If it's too rare (like RHEL: quite popular on server, almost unknown on desktop), then ROI is negative, again.
Stable API is strict requirement, but it's not enough. You also need good hardware support, pretty pictures (remember the infamous We made the buttons on the screen look so good you'll want to lick them?), etc. And the fact that GNOME3, KDE and others tackle this problem is good and proper if they want to attack desktop head-on.
But all these nice developments will not help if there will be no easy way to develop and deploy applications for said desktop!
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