Linked by Amjith Ramanujam on Thu 24th Jul 2008 04:32 UTC, submitted by snydeq
Linux Mark Shuttleworth today urged development of Linux models to rival what Apple has done on the desktop and mobile devices. Certainly on the desktop experience, we need to shoot beyond the Mac, but I think it's equally relevant [in] the mobile space, Shuttleworth said, outlining the challenge as figuring out how to deliver a 'crisp and clean' experience, without sacrificing the community process. Key to this will be services-based mechanisms for creating revenue for free software that go beyond advertising, Shuttleworth said, adding that cadence in free software releases spurs innovation, and that a regular release schedule, as well as meaningful ties to Windows, will be essential to fulfilling the vision.
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Coral Snake
Member since:
2005-07-07

One thing that I strongly dissagree with this author about is that some vague thing called "services" is the best way to make money with Free Software. "Services" is a good model for the large companies like IBM, Novel, Mandriva etc. However it is not a good model for the thousands of one to ten person developer teams currently producing software onder the proprietary "shareware" model but may like to go to the Free Software model while still deriving some profit from their software.

For "shareware" people who would like to make Free Software out of their projects yet still profit from them I would propose a packaged software model similar to the "rackware" approach that put many of the "shareware" based games on the map in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Basically this would consist of building statically linked apps (these work under ALL Linux and Windows versions and distrubutions) complete with source code under the GPL or some other free software license, putting them on a cd or DVD and placing them on racks in stores willing to cooperate with this distribution model again or sell them on Ebay or similar services for about $5.00 to $10.00 a cd.

I believe such a free software "service" as the one I'm proposing here would be very profitable for small developers and developer teams who wish to free their software for whatever reason (the reason could be political or simply a wish to avoid the legal problems tied to defending copyrights and patents on a proprietary app in court) but still profit from it.

Reply Score: 1

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"I believe such a free software "service" as the one I'm proposing here would be very profitable for small developers and developer teams who wish to free their software for whatever reason (the reason could be political or simply a wish to avoid the legal problems tied to defending copyrights and patents on a proprietary app in court) but still profit from it."

Personally, I think it would put the small software developers out of business. Shareware worked/works as it lets people try something, but then to get full functionality/game levels/etc you have to pay for it. Under the model you are proposing, the developers would be under. It would cost more to make the DVD's or whatever and out on store shelves then they would take in. Unfortunately the majority want free as in beer, and can care less about scruples or free as in freedom when it comes to software. Why spend $5-$10 when, if the source is released and the program is GPL, I can legally download it elsewhere at no cost at all? The anti-piracy schemes we see today are the result of people doing just that, not the fault of the software developers that want to make money. It is all about the money my friend, nothing else matters to most folks. The way I understand your post, there would be hundreds of thousands spent for packaging and such, yet little to no income from the product. I would like to believe otherwise, however I do not from looking at normal human nature.

Reply Parent Score: 7

mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

it's about funding not profits. Part of the reason Microsoft can bludgeon everybody else is that they get pre-sales from OEMs for those 180 MILLION* copies at $50 a pop that's money to do whatever they want, whenever and answer to nobody. Ubuntu needs to target OEMs to get them to see that for say $5 per unit they could use real Ubuntu and let Canonical take care of support and updates rather than each OEM copying it (badly, like gOS or eeePC) In a way it's "service", but it needs to be to OEMs that will value it and can pay, the only work needed from the OEM will be to send along patches for the latest hardware (much easier to NDA Canonical than random dev)... and maybe something to hook their proprietary bits for multimedia that can't be shipped without licensing.

Ubuntu wants to be a "hub" for development rather than run the whole show. That's what makes them different from Apple or Microsoft. They do need a way to point the projects in a unified direction rather than just "keeping up". They'd take part of that money and put it up as bounty to get developers to fix things (get paid for boring, bu needed, stuff!) but the stuff would still be other people's and everybody would benefit. Again, they don't want to be Red Hat or Suse putting all the "famous" people on the payroll so they don't quit projects, and many devs simply don't want to work for the "man" anyway, so they want to find a third way of doing things.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Coral Snake Member since:
2005-07-07

The reason I believe it would work is this. Despite all this "Broad Band" and fast internet stuff we keep hearing hype about a substantial part of the internet is still on DIAL UP and have you EVER tried to download a major app on DIAL UP!!! Not only is such activity notoriously slow but very long dial up downloads tend to crash as well. And this can also even happen on faster connections like Satalite, DSL and cable modem when there is a large "free beer" demand for the product. Furthermore the "free beer" internet download products tend to be dynamically linked with all the "dependency hell" and "upgrade hell" consequences that accompany such linking. The CD free software products I propose would be STATICALY linked to their dependencies effectivley eliminating these two "hells". The would be literally installable by simply copying the app to the hard disk just like most modern MAcOS apps. I think people would pay to get out of download frustration related to dial up internet connection crashes, high demand "slashdotting" crashes and frustrations related to dependency hell and upgrade hell. In fact I BUY all the Linux distros I use precicely because of these problems.

Reply Parent Score: 0