What would you say if there was a way to support your favorite OS or X11 Desktop Environment by agreeing to use an ad-sponsored version? The ad would show *only once*, during the load of the OS or graphics desktop environment, something like a splash screen, and then it would go away after 5 or 10 seconds or if you manually close its window or after you have clicked to the actual ad. This way, you could be helping financially open source projects, like Gnome, KDE, FreeBSD, Gentoo and others. Part of the deal, of course, it would be that the ads in question will not be intrusive, disturbing or spying on you, they would not be massive and CPU/memory hungry (if in e.g. Flash), however, they would be allowed to download new ads every few days and possibly store them locally. A few other details of course will need to be cleared out. Some may say that “ads do not work”. Well, these OSS projects have nothing to lose. If the idea won’t work, well, it won’t work. Life will go on as it did before.
However, would an ad-sponsored environment be against the Free Software or OSI or BSD philosophy, or it would merely be a way to help your favorite project and help it financially to pay for testing hardware, web servers, CVS servers, even “marketing” etc. Naturally, if you are a bit capable with C/C++, you could freely recompile the OSS project and remove the ad splash screen – but how ethical that would be?
Ideas like these, at first might not sound very sexy, but let’s face it: if Lindows was doing something like this instead of that US$99 Click-n-Run thing, they would have today more credibility among the Linux community. Opera seems to do well with ad-sponsoring too, and in fact, their ads are not intrusive at all (especially if you shuffle the toolbars around the ad, so you utilize the available space better).
Update: The poll is now closed. Thank you all for voting. Results are following.
You can put a daily wall paper on my desktop for all I care, I don’t customize my interface at all. If it’ll make Linux distros and/or software better I’m all for it. I still think there should be some way of making and selling commcerial apps on Linux, and easy enough so that more people do so.
I really thought that the whole open source thing was a very academic type of endeavor. I just can’t see promoting commerce in such an environment. I would liken the suggestion to having advertisments on PBS or NPR. It is interesting to note that there *are* ways around the problem. NPR and PBS both mention the names and slogans of their big sponsors. The content is very controlled though, and pretty unlike the commercial advertising you’d see in other media venues. Perhaps if the advertisers were committed to supporting the effort with a large cash donation, it would be worth mentioning their support. I don’t want them to get paid on a per-boot basis though.
This could get way out of hand, there is no way in hell i am going to install a advertising sponcered OS…
Since the advertising industry is just about the only thing that funds the internet. As long as it doesn’t slow down my machine or hog too much of other resources, sure! Plaster my GUI with ads! Make the ok button an AOL icon for all I care. If it’ll give money to fund opensource projects like KDE I’m all game. All these people that think companies can exist without selling anything are crazy anyways.
I voted yes, assuming it would be as described. I am a social worker by trade and have worked for and know non-profit organizations well and how they operate. I don’t know if this is a good analogy or not, but in non-profits, there are a myriad of ways that they can get revenue, including fee based services (like in-home health care), to receiving donations from businesses, to what are called “in-kind” contributions, which means, for example, a taxi company can “donate” a certain number of taxi rides to elderly people with no transportation. In a case like that, no money changes hands, but Ajax Taxi gets to write off their in-kind contributions at tax time.and the elderly get rides.
All of these things are legit, above board and all is well as long as the books are open, income is spent properly and salaries and expenses aren’t somehow way out of proportion. It seems to me that OSS should and must find ways of being able to establish itself and still be “free”. Using the examples I gave above, I think there are many avenues OSS can take to help iself be viable and remain true to its nature.
Since I haven’t logged out of this machine during the past 89 days, any ads wouldn’t be seen very often.
Another idea would be a branded screensaver. If such sponsership is (a) unobtrusive, and (b) funds any worthwhile cause, then I would perfectly happy with it.
I believe it could be extremely counter-productive, drawing people away from those systems. And it would be difficult to find sponsors anyway because there is no way to make sure that people don’t manipulate the ad showing software (for example simulating views or clicks or whatever).
But I don’t think that’s neccessary at all, because something people often forget is, that OSS is already advertising at it’s best. For example: Netscape already gave away their browser when it wasn’t free and they didn’t make any money from doing so. But the popularity they got from it (everyone knew Netscape when it was still a popular browser) was worth a lot of money which otherwise they would have to spent on advertising.
Another example is Ximian, everybody knows them and that’s not because they pay millions for advertising but because they develop popular free software.
The trick is, to make money out of this popularity.
We also need micropayment, that would solve most of our problems. I know at least 20 projects which I would immidiatly donate a dollar and more if I could do so by just clicking a button. This would also help some popular websites.
I voted yes. Why? It’s a small price to pay to support development. However, I doubt I would see this ad very often. With GNU/Linux, I very rarely need to reboot, and when I do it’s usually ‘just for the hell of it’. I usually do something else while my system is booting, so I’m not looking at the screen during boot-up time.
Sound interesting, why not try it?
Well, I have nothing against it, as long as the license is left as it is… if someone don’t
like it you can always remove it, like any other feature/bug in a OSS project.
But I really wonder if it’s needed at all, I don’t think that any healthy OSS project have cash
problems, of course all could use a bit more money to found some “hack-thons” and the like, but
do you know of any popular OSS project that would really need this?
If you are talking about companies, like SUsE or Lindows, then I see no problem if they thing
it’s a viable business model (I don’t think so, but I know nothing about business ), maybe
adding it to the free versions of some distros could be a good idea… having in mind that some
of them already don’t distribute free ISOs this wouldn’t be a big loss…*
P.S.: I’m not a big fan of distros that use proprietary installers and the like, but is their
business, and as long as they don’t break the GPL they are free to try whatever they want to
make money, that is what a company is supposed to do
P.P.S.: To be more concrete about the Poll question, I voted “I am not sure”, depends of how
much I like the project, but probably it wont change my OS choice based on this… really there
are much more important things about an OS than the splash screen, well, I don’t really run any
OS with graphical installer or boot sequence, and I consider that a “feature”, of course they
could try a text add like Google..
Couldn’t people just modify and recompile the source code to remove the ads? I believe that’s what people do with Limewire. The advertisers wouldn’t be able to tell who had and hadn’t removed the ads.
Im trying to avoid tv ads (and im not watching any channels that have ad breaks inside the programs), i dislike newspaper ads, and there are some web sites i dont visit because the ammount of web ads are too much. This is the reason i wont even consider using Opera as well.
I might donate money to projects i like, i might buy tshirts, official cds, etc, i might just buy the software if possible, but there is no way im going to use adware unless it is a really unique program that i can’t live without, but if that is the case then i would much rather just buy it.
Really, there are ads everywhere these days, the more ads im bombarded with, the more they will annoy me and drive me away from things i actually like, just to get rid of them.
I am a fan of Mandrake and when they sent out a newsletter saying they were in financial trouble at the beginning of the year, I signed up for the club. Don’t get me wrong, I will support the software I use, but don’t barge in on my computer with ads. I get enough of those eleswhere.
Its bad enough i have to recycle the tons of junk mail i get via snail mail, delete 100+ spams a day from my inbox, and view hundreds of billboards on my drive to work whilst listening to advo’s on the radio, as well as all the banners popunders and other annoying things on websites i visit. I say whoever came up with this idea can cram it.
Is our purpose in life to be nothing but consumers?? If its not, it definately seems like its going there.
Annoying me with ads isn’t going to make me more likely to purchase anything.
The answer in short is “No.”
If the ad viewing, software use, or anything else was tracked by Spyware, the answer would be expanded to “Hell no.”
I would consider using a corporation-sponsored operating system with relevent ads under certain circumstances:
*if the company directly supported the development or distribution, or provided applications
*if the ad was a quick splash screen on boot up – banner ads would be no go
*there was absolutely no Spyware involved
I’m afraid with all the people complaining about Opera having ads (how many post have we seen “How can I disable the ads”). Trouble is, they want to disable the ads without paying for the product.
In practice, this proposal is unworkable, and unfair for the advertiser.
..I block tons of add serving domains at my DNS server. No resolution == no banners. BU-YA!
I really wouldn’t have a problem with ads in software I’m downloading for free, such as the free ISO images the vendors make available. Gotta pay the bills somehow, and the more money they make, the more money they can afford to put into R&D to improve the product.
OTOH, if I’m going to cough up the cash for buying the boxed set, then I want those ads turned off!
Opera seems to have a decent revenue model, and I don’t have a problem with providing compensation for something that provides value to me. And if that’s accomplished by nothing more intrusive than having to wiew ads with a product I’m evaluating for purchase, fine and dandy.
No adds please. Open source is won of the few places I can escape the rampant commercialization of daily life.
But I would like to see funding for open source developers. I think it would be great if there was some kind of none profit foundation that would provide grants, or scholarships so developers could dedicate more time to their projects.
I would even like to see the lead developers of important projects hired on a full time basis. I think it would also be good to pay developers to do the boring work that needs to be done but isn’t sexy enough to draw developers.
Another thing I would like to see is an organization that would audit important code, this could probaly fund itself by selling certified CDs.
What about a site where you could donate towards software you liked or needed. For example, one thing that is needed by lots of people is a good open source accounting software for small business. How many people would be willing to donate $20, $50 or more if they knew it was going to be effectively used to develop software they needed. I know I would.
People will equate OSS with beggars and we’ll be the annoying ones. We are trying to grow OSS adoption, not slow it!!!
Now I do use the ad version of Opera, but only until Mozilla fixes a few things. Some of the Opera ads are down right annoying and I’m suprised they don’t cause seizers!
In the previous poll, I’ve tried to view the result after gave my vote earlier. I don’t know the correct way so I put another different vote.
I think this poll got the same problem. Is there any way to view the result later without having to do the fake vote?
Use *another* browser. What browser do you use? It seems that you either have “movable” IP address or your cookies do not work! After you vote, it should show you the results automatically. Please use another browser.
Donate to your favorite developer(s)
Unfortunatley this is not always as easy as it seems, escpecially for small donations. As Spark says we need a micropayment system ( a universal one ). As more and more people migrate to the free software desktops, there are more users that can donate less. Large customers can still donate what they want for features of course. But large numbers of small donations is what free software needs.
I could easily give $5 for inmprovments to projects I like.
From my understanding, using GPL doesn’t mean we have to give everything for free. We can still make profit to feed our family but with condition;
PROVIDE THE SOURCE THAT CAN BE ALTERED by our user together with whatever we sell. What we sell doesn’t have to be cheap if we could convince our client to pay more. Ad-sponsored is one way of making profit to finance GPL or open source software.
It really sounds like, even if it is not through ads, most people would really like to support OSS development in some fashion. That’s great!
I’m using Opera on Window$98 platform. The cookies work well when I still on the same session and I can view vithout voting. When I quit the browser and start new session, I still can’t view it until I give a vote.
I doubt most developers would like to give up the ego trip they have now to be able to turn people away with the free excuse when they criticize or bug them for features.
Put a donate link on your project page, but be warned, if you act like a dick then people won’t donate. I think this is a better way of weeding out the real dedicated programmers from these guys that just want an ego trip and a soapbox. I really don’t want to donate into their hands.
GNU is gonna stop messing with linux once it gets HERD developed.
Search the preferences for something like “those cookies for this session only” or maybe “don’t permanently store cookies”. I have no clue how it’s called because I don’t have Opera installed but there really should be such an option if it doesn’t store cookies by default.
I’m alredy using an OS sponsored by advertising and propaganda: Windows XP. You get all these links and programs promoting Microsoft. Its hard enough to get Java installed, IE and Media Player are tightly integrated enough. WinME had that stupid intro video as soon as you install full of propaganda, not counting the AOL and MSN advertising on the desktop.
Last thing I want to see is a Linux distribution with advertising in it.
I think its clear that we do want to support developers somehow, reward them for the good they’ve done, in hope that they will continue. But honestly, how much money would developers see from this? Per person, how much money would be raised? I doubt it would be much at all. I think if you want to support OSS, donate money directly to your favorite project, im planning on giving money to Debian for having made the coolest OS i’ve ever seen. I think i’ll do more good giving 100$ to them than seeing an add once in a blue moon on my desktop.
The first internet ads too, were unobtrusive, and probably defendable.
Have you been to a popular ad-sponsored website recently ? With flash kitten walking over the text your trying to read? Those who are using GNU/Linux probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, as their browsers dont support such “features”
There is no way to garantee that such an ad system will remain unobtrusive and defendable.
There is no way I an ever going to use ad-displaying (free) software.
Moreover, Free Software aloready proved to be viable without ads. Let’s not pollute it,
And about Opera, remember: it’s non-free.
I don’t see those who value using it at all. So your point does not stand for me.
The idea is reasonable. I’m sure this can be controlled by someone we can trust, so that no spyware gets in.
Even if others don’t want, I’d like to have ads as a way to pay back (I don’t have the money at this moment).
I suggest this could even be done independently. Those who want could download a special pager (like the afterstep one) or even a background changer with ads and start generating revenue for projects of choice. I don’t know why nobody did this already.
Count me in. It works with Opera (btw, you Opera guys really rock, your browser is excellent), and could help other projects, too.
Provided it was optional, I guess many would do like me and allow ads — and those who don’t want wouldn’t have any reason to complain.
Anyone wanting can use Opera for free (funny, eh?)
Seriously, I don’t see how an ad in a corner could pollute anything. Ok, the gambling ads suck, but the jokes are fun.
If we are going by the book, then nothing really is free — not even GPL software… these guys working hard at projects like KDE and Gnome could as well be at the beach getting tan.
Opera ads are even somewhat aesthetical and totally unintrusive. I don’t get this “I won’t pay on principle” idea… the way I see it, ads are the best idea we got — specially for a product brand promotion.
Getting associated with free software was once freaky — now it’s cool, chic and many corporations want to be remembered as part of this movement.
Even lame users like me get a good reputation. Many NGOs use name licensing… why those GPL guys don’t do it?
First off, Advertisers havn’t figured out that Interned advertising should not be measured by “click throughs” so this idea wouldn’t work.
Second, I am not about to be plastered by ads when I boot my computer. I already see the BeOS splash screen assuring me that I have indeed booted the best OS on the planet. I do not need to wait 10 more agonizing seconds looking at ads for the latest sports utility vehicle while my desktop waits in the wings for the damned add to go away!
Nobody said that while the ad would be loaded for 5-10 seconds you wouldn’t be able to use your desktop at the same time! I am clearly stating in the article that you could manually close the ad window at any time if you want. If your desktop was “frozen” for these 5-10 secs, you wouldn’t be able to do that.
The question remains, how would you tell advertisers that nobody manipulates the code when it’s free software?
This could be solved by “pay for lead” advertisings but then again, we already have things like this, for example the Gentoo guys have a link where you can buy some RAM and they will get a reward for it. Maybe some kind of text ad applet would work for this. For my website, I found that textads are the best way to generate leads because usually people only click those if they are really interested in the product. Such a text ad applet (for Gnome, KDE, whatever) could constantly provide news about featured products (this should be customized to the viewers country, because I really don’t care if some store in new zealand has a discount tomorrow ). This would be very unobstrusive and rather informative than annoying. And it should work because advertisers would only have to pay if this actually generates a lead.
no more to say
What about – say – if links to commercial sites were installed on the Favourites menu in the default browser on installation ( deletable )
Windows does it anyway….
Like the header says, I’ll staick with donating money to the people/projects I feel worth while like Gentoo. Albeit $20US here and there ain’t much but a few times a year adds up and helps especially if I’m not the only one donating. Adds on my computer can goto hell as far as I’m concerned. I never pay attention to adds anywhere else and they only serve to give me an eye-sore.
Next we’ll have bloody adds on our daily appliances and in the bathrooms of the world. Geez why not make ones house a fully decked out advert with walls that display stuff I neither want or care to have. Let’s here it for less advertising then companies like MS wouldn’t have such a chance at public profiling (as we all know Windows is a marketing driven not technology driven piece of software).
I voted yes, but i really don’t like ads. In fact, i prefer to pay for the product or make a donation to the dev team. It’s a question of respect : if you like the product and use it, you must support its development. Even if your donation is very low, something is better than nothing … But if ads can help dev teams, why not.
First of all I use XP and debian (desktop / servers) and the second Microsoft would start ads I would seriously think about switching OS. If the Linux apps and distros would get ads I would either ignore them, or if I felt I had to use them, hack the code the first thing I do. I wouldn’t be shy about sharing the hacks either. I hate ads with a vengance, I try to avoid products with irritating ads etc.
So does this mean I think that raising money is bad? Hell no. I am just saying that it is done in the wrong way. If the splashscreen when I start KDE says “Sponsored by XXX” in one corner, I would think, that XXX company (ok, there is a joke in the seriousneses there;)) sure is nice. If I would get a splashscreen with just their name, I would think “bastards”. If worse than that, don’t even go there.
So I think that sponsorship is better than ads. So why would they ever want to sponsor? Give them a good reason. I personally dislike Pepsi, and I like Coca Cola. I wouldn’t switch regardless of any commercial in the world. But I am sure some geeks would go buy an extra case of CC when they saw “Sponsored by Coca Cola”. And why not a tasteful CC theme as standard when you install KDE 3.2 (that is, if the 3.2.x series is sponsored by CC)? I would surely change it, probably, others not. The message went through. CC has sponsored.
But should it stop with such simple ideas? There are larger commercial computer companies that needs exposure. How about a “Sponsored by HP” logo in the printer settings and printing dialgues. They aren’t irritating if done right, and they are directed. You are printing, you must care about printers at some degree. And if the printing goes well (i.e. HP has sponsored enough time/money/info) you think “These HP guys sure are swell”.
And how about a freely downloadable “Dell Gentoo”? It is just your general gentoo, but with a DELL theme as standard, and things are set up nice and swell for the DELL computers. They can tell everyone who buys a DELL computer that “you can download a free OS here and here, courtesy of DELL”. And how about a Gentoo/DELL server version? DELL sponsors with time/development/money/info, half goes to customizing the DELL Server version, making sure everything runs smoothly, half goes to the general gentoo distro. Here you got a win/win situation.
To say “Let’s do ads” will get you no where. My small ideas above will surely be a better start (I think), and I am sure others have even better ideas. After all, think about it, who uses Linux/BSD today? Geeks. And we all know how we/them are, they would, as I would, fight the ads. It would spread a whole storm of anger towards those who do it. I think that it might bring some money in the beginning, but it will scare away the free coders.
Smart sponsoring that works two ways, hell yes, ads, forget about it.
I voted YES and certainly would support this option in case a few things are made sure about this:
(a) The advertisement stuff should be _optional_; everyone who wants to support this should do this by his/her own choice rather than by having ad banners stuffed down her/his throat (as it happens in the Opera download edition). Same way, there should be an option to turn this off again whenever it gets annoying or whenever I (for whichever reasons that might be) want to cease supporting the certain project.
(b) Those things should be implemented keeping an eye on security. In other words: To me, it is _not_ an option to have software that, at start-up, tries to connect to some remote machine to get some ad banner just to display on my screen (and possibly send out some data I don’t want to be sent out – yes, I _am_ paranoid).
No way, I would rather pay for it, or use another product, banners on websites are more than enough, and I can’t stand those adware applications such as opera.
I think it’s fair that people get some money to live, if they spend time working on free/open software, where they could have done some other paid job instead…
One problem (for the advertiser) though, is that given that I don’t need to reboot my PC every 5 mins, and I usually don’t turn it off at night, I’ll probably not see the ads often!
Ads have two problems: they are restricted in space and target. In space: I don’t care about what’s the newest car in the US. Nobody will buy a tank-sized Chevrolet here. Nobody will buy a teeny-weeny renault or seat there. Thus car companies cannot put ads into OSs. In target: the only advertisers who pay a reasonable amount of money for internet ads are advertising either porn or gambling. I don’t consume any of either.
I like OSNews’ ad system. I get *local* ads. I’m getting ads from Spain; and NOT spanish ads (nothing from colombia, peru or argentina) but Spain-ish ads. I don’t care about ads that advertise things I _might_ buy.
Thus, sponsorship is the way to go, because Dell, Coca-Cola and Nabisco are selling products worldwide. Indeed, that is what apple is doing with darwin. They say: look, we release our *BSD to the open source community. And everybody thinks Apple is the nicest company on earth, that they support open-source, that they are not like ‘those greedy pigs over at redmond’. And they are just as greedy. They released something they didn’t care about and got people working on it for free. And still, everybody loves apple because they are so nice. Now, THAT is the way to go.
Maybe a bunch of enterprising OS/Desktop folks should sell versions of their software along with useful web/net services.
Take, for example, Gentoo. They could create a Gentoo counterpart of Apple’s iTools called “GenTools”. GenTools would offer maybe 30MB of network storage for backup (sort of like iDisk), and they would offer web hosting that could integrate in with Mozilla (it shouldn’t be too hard to do with the rendering engine + XUL) or if the target is developers (which I think Gentoo is gunning for, from what little I know about the distro) they could offer 100M of CVS storage space. And of course, they could do the whole RedHat/Ximian thing like up2date/red carpet and sell software updating services.
The worst thing about ads is not that they annoy the user but that they show such a lack of creative thinking. Be less Juno and more TiVO.
who wouldnt use a microsoft-sponsored kde-desktop… =)
never ever !!!
Anyway it would be hacked out in a matter of minutes… And if nobody hack it I would learn how to hack just to throw the damn thing far far far away…
when free isp’s were ad-supported I didn’t mind the ad bar that was always on the screen. if you visited a web page with unusually obnoxious flashing animated banners, you could always cover them with the isp’s ad bar. the problem comes with things like Opera browser that bludgeon you with one flashing ad banner while the page you visit has flashing banners of it’s own. so little of your screen is left for your own use that you wonder who’s pc it really is. If ads can be presented in such a way that they do not delay you from logging on or browsing, and if you get a good OS out of the deal, then why not. but I wish they did this with BeOS or something good. you couldn’t get me to switch to linux again without a sizeable cash bribe.
Install ads is the best way to have spyware the very next day installed on your computer. NO WAY. I much prefer to give some money and keep my OS ADs free !!!
I deliberately buy the distro CDs to contribute to Linux / Free BSD / Open BSD / Net BSD / Plan 9, etc., and would expect them not to have ads. On the other hand, I believe its a fair way to bring in funds from free distributions.
I had been negotating to do a commercial OS with ad sponsorship last year. I have had this idea for a number of years, and auctually was tempted to advise the head of BE Inc that ad sponsorship (I previously have had contact with him) was the best way to promote/save his OS. It would have allowed them to offer a free OS while keeping their development team ticking over, and increase penertration, which increases ad revenue and profit. This is also the method I would have used for an Office based package like Star Office (GEOWORKS/NewDeal Ensemble take note).
I believe this is the best way for new entries into the OS market to achieve effective continuation of market penetration (hopefully leading to real profits). But realistically, the first few companies that do this sucessfully will probably controll the market to a great extent, then it will become old hat and advertisers facination for it will wane a little. Because of many little OS’s with little user bases, advertisers and new sponsorers will be tempted to only worry about the bigger players. Yes, the Microsofts of the Linux world will probably continue to reign.
To solve the problem, of OS’s with smaller user bases (not just the top four) being overlooked, the free OS communities should look at establishing a collective not for profit (just wages, commissions, costs and expenses) advertising agency to seek out new sponsors/advertisers at the best possible rate for the end OS developers (a normal middleman add firm will probably increase their own profits to the maxium instead). If done right it will not be controlled by any subset of developers and every developer will get the same rate per user and per serve.
There is also another reason for the need for this revenue, to drive sucessful developement. The problem is that we have a tendacy to develop OS’s and interfaces in a way that best suits our understanding of things (or what we mistakenly think we understand about others’ understanding of things) or in ways we personally find easy enough to do. The fact is the majority of the population doesn’t speak to us because we are just to complicated for them, what we do and the way we do it is to complex for them, even though it is easy enough for us to relate to one another. A bit generalised and satirical, I know, but the piont is there. So in the end the stuff we design is over many ordinary peoples heads (the bottom 70%). Companies like Microsoft allready realise this (stop laughing , and retailers will prefer to sell people a widely supported and simpler to use OS, and the public will continue to buy it for the same reasons.
The soultion is:
– simpler/easier user interface standards (GUI, configuration etc)
– simpler/easier programming standards (for application writers, device drivers etc)
– cross compatability standards
– etc other standards
These standards need to be set by associations that “employ” people “full time” to design/write them by nitting out and understanding the issues (such as what interface suits and appeals to the common user). All this requires money to succesfully implement and compete for the bigger market against Windows like competitiors, and ad money can be the source.
Thanks, my appologies if this has ruffled a few feathers as I don’t normally participate in forums here, but thought this too important an opportunity to miss for the OS community.
As long as we are talking about free software:
– There is no such thing as spyware. You can look at the code, you can see exactly what it’s sending and what not.
– It can’t force you to do anything, if it would, someone would remove it. You have the code, so “hacking” it out would be a piece of cake. Free software is about _your_ needs and this can’t be changed. So the only way it could possibly work would be on a “please don’t disable this to support us” basis.
It would definitely annoy the hell out of me. Besides, the quality of oss gui software would need to improve drastically to earn the right to display ads. All the gui projects that are quality stuff already get a lot of funding (mozilla, openoffice/staroffice, xfree has some paid developers). And KDE and GNOME need some more work before I consider them good enough to shove ads in my face.
What would work better are simple donations. And before anyone says that you can donate money now, I’d like to point out the simple fact that most projects really try their darndest to not get any money donated to them. Often it’s not really obvious from the main project website where to go to give money. Every OSS project should have a big fat purple DONATE button at the top-right of the website (or at least in the same location). Step one in getting donations is telling people you want donations. And a message on the mailing list doesn’t cut it.
And for those who don’t want to donate, you could implement this ad system, but on a voluntary basis. Provide an option in the prefs to turn it on, so it replaces the splash screen with an ad. That way if someone wants to do something back, but doesn’t have the money to spend, then he or she can still turn on the ads. I don’t know if this would be good though. People might be less inclined to do something immaterial for the project (like triaging bugs or writing documentation), since they’re already watching the ads.
It has few sense.
I prefer to pay/donate something or contributing but not support Ad-enforced stuff.
btw blender needs us
Windows is already a friggin advertisement once you install anything that requires that little GATOR plugin. Bastards.
For anyone who wants to block the Cydoor ad banners in Opera, put these domains in your hosts file or Junkbuster blockfile.
Perhaps if instead of saying “should OSS be funded by advertising”, maybe it would be more acceptable to say “should OSS software be sponsored or patronised”?
I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but one is certainly more acceptable than the other to a lot of people.
If it’s really only ONCE get X11 start, that goes OK to me. Means as long the OS devteam (FreeBSD in my case) gets the money and not some ad company.
One of the many benefits of choosing an alternative OS is greater personal privacy/control and less targeting by ad ware, spy ware and viruses. The question is: does the overt Internet advertisement with its popups and popunders really work? Sure, companies are willing to pay the dough for spam and spy ware ads.. but, in truth, has a forced advertisement ever gotten us to open our wallets? It’s not a far leap from banners to involuntary data collection.. and ultimately complete loss of control (DRM anyone?). We shouldn’t be looking for funding from improper forms of commercialism.
as long as it will helps free/open source developers, i’ve no problem.
anyway, user should be able to choose ads category,
and no any politic/religion propaganda!
privacy should be really concerns.
In regard to advertising, I think that it would be difficult at best. The approach being discussed might work in a closed-source environment but not in an operating system where the source code is available.
I would also like to point out to some of the posters in this topic that OSS is not automatically free software.
It could be a great way to make open source company alive for a while.
I’m ok for it…. But no pop up !
Has anyone thought of the implications on the culture of free (both speech and beer) software?
Once a free software programmer starts thinking of remuneration for work done, then the programmer is no longer a free software programmer but one that is looking at the effort as an investment from which to derive monetary profit. The period when the software was entirely free could be considered a loss leader. This is something that Microsoft does when handing out free or heavily discounted versions of windows and office to schools or the public for the purpose of building and maintaining market and mind share.
My opinion is that free software should be written by free software programmers who never intend to make a monetary profit from their efforts. If the programmer lacks time or gets bored of the project, they can quit and someone else can take over. This is the benefit of free software rather than the fact that it is free as in beer. No warrantees, no fears, just community involvement.
Lastly, what happens when Ad revenue is not enough?
I’m not sure if i’d use it. I’d rather just pay a $100 for it. I’m also not sure if the ads would do any good for the company. How many people actually pay attenetion to ads?
until I get paid to have a screen embedded in my forehead showing ads to everyone I meet.
Seriously, to those that think it’s a bad idea and are saying that they will pay for the OS or donate money–I don’t think you are the target audience. Go ahead and buy/donate and skip the ad junk.
The funny thing is — why would you want to show ads to those people who don’t want to pay for their OS to begin with?
Euginia said: Naturally, if you are a bit capable with C/C++, you could freely recompile the OSS project and remove the ad splash screen – but how ethical that would be?
Hmmm.. Lets see, how ethical would that be? How about completely ethical since it is perfectly in compliance with the GPL.
I have no problems with an optional ad sponsored version of OS. It would be the easiest way for someone who doesn’t want to or doesn’t have the ability to contribute to the project in other ways to show their support. It should not be required however. And you should not have to recompile to have it removed.
Just my 2c.
Waaaa! It look like after I post this title, the situation change. I’m now on my Linux box and I’ve no problem viewing the result without voting. The browser still the same as previous Opera for Linux (Previously i’ve had problem on both Window$ and Linux platform)
Thanks for anyone that fix this problem for me since I just did nothing on my browser setting. Advise by the the nice guy about setting cookie preferences is actually therea already since long ago (however thanks).
there was somehting on /. a while ago, maybe a couple years, about having ads in your bios. award or some such company was planning on doing it. my $0.02? i HATE people selling to me, if i want some crummy product, i’ll go out and buy it, i don’t need some ad on my startup screen. it disgusts me, the direction that computing is going. all this talk of drm, x10 ads poping up ever two minutes. it’s enough to make me want to pick up a book :>
Small projects being free are fine
but in my opinion the big projects need some full time dedicated paid people in order to produce good software.
I think the best forms of revenue would are
I don’t really think the roating ad from an advertising company is a good idea, i would have far less of a problem with a static commerial sponsorship message in the start up screen or simerlar
E.g. “my funky free oss software, kindly sponsored by this cool company”
I think the argument that OSS programmers being paid for their work is a massive fallacy. Closed source software is genrally high quality, because it needs to sell, it has high quality developers who are paid for what they do. OSS sopftware is quality because there are many different developers contributing and fixing others mistakes etc.
Paying OSS devs gives the best of both worlds.
I also think this is unlikey to go down well with the majority of advertisers because of the way it can easily be removed, it is also worth noting that it is only really going to work on big projects as minor projects won’t have enough users for advertisers to bother with
I don’t think that ad space is going to do anything except polute the waters of “Open Source” since disabling the ads would be available by commenting some lines in the source-code anyway. I’m sure advertisers would not stand for that and strong arm open-source vendors into closing at least the advertising portion of the source-code.
As Linux adoption grows, normal market forces will ensure the continuation of important projects like KDE, X11, Gnome etc. Producers of desktop software for the growing market would not benefit from the departure of these projects. They would support the projects that make their applications marketable and inter-operable. We, as users would support these projects by purchasing the commerial applications that use them.
Ads in your OS; whatever next. I have some ideas:
Product placement ads whenever u use the eraser or paintbrush in PhotoShop. Context-sensitive ads placed strategically whenever you use a tool remotely resembling a saleable product or service. Anti-crash ads whenever Loonyx/Win2k crashes. Battery ads when your wireless kb/mouse are running low on batteries. Mental well-being and relaxation ads whenever you are about to smash the computer into little pieces…etc.
First off let me say that I HATE the intrusiveness of advertisements (thank God for mozilla and no-popups).
The ONLY way I would conceed to have adverts on my system would be to allow me to control WHO advertises and HOW it is done. The point is I REFUSE to conceed control of my system to anyone else (why I run *nix in the first place).
If I were able to select who can advertise (e.g. I learn that Acme Widgets funds a lot of GPL projects, so they’d be on the permitted list). And if the advertisements are appropriate (e.g. Amce Widgets has a really sweet looking background that also doubles as an advertisement), well then that would be fine. Anything that gets in your face is out. Something benign and even classy, like wallpaper, would be ok.
Can you imagine, popup ads in your os!?! Next someone will develop ad blocking software for your desktop…
I would prefer Sponsorship as opposed to Ads.
For Example while your document is printing the printer driver pops up a small window in the corner that shows the number of pages completed and a text line with ‘Driver documentation provided by Hewlett Packard’ . http://hpinkjet.sourceforge.net/
Another example would be when you open your CPU monitor application on a computer with multiple CPU’s it includes the line ‘Some SMP code contributed by IBM’ . http://oss.software.ibm.com/developer/opensource/linux/news/?projec…
This would also give companies proper recognition for supporting OSS. And would encourage them to contribute and there by receive recognition for it. These statements would remain with that code until the code is determined to be obsolete and removed. This would eliminate the issue of sending monitoring data to a remote server and would be unobtrusive enough that most people wouldn’t mind the extra screen space given to these companies. It would be ok to use logo’s but they shouldn’t exceed the default font size used by more than 25%. These same lines could be added to About Boxes. Especially in the Linux world each project should be able to show what company contributed to their project not just the distributor’s contributor.
First, ads are always intrusive. By design they have to be. If they weren’t intrusive, they wouldn’t work. As they work less and less, they get more and more intrusive.
Second, something like this will need to be possible to be disabled, by the user, without recompiling, because of the simple fact that their system may just not be on the internet. Hard to fathom, but a lot of machines behind firewalls, or simply in the home, aren’t online all the time. And woe befall the ad system that does not fail well, and quickly, if the network is down.
Third, as someone mentioned, many machines stay up for very long periods of time, even my Win2K box at the office. Easily up for a 4-6 weeks at a time. That makes the ad exposures really low.
Fourth, I also agree with the above poster that said it was totally proper to recompile the ad system out of the software. Even more telling, it’s ethical to REDISTRIBUTE this system, or at least to redistribute the patch. That’s one of the founding tenets OSS in general.
Finally, I would like to think that the FreeBSD project, for example, would get a heck of a lot more revenue per person if users would simply buy the distributions on CD. For crying out loud, they come out, what, twice a year? $25 by subscription??
Now, I’m not familiar with the revenue structures of the assorted FreeBSD vendors, if one is “Official” while the others simply distributors or what. Maybe I’m simply mistaken in thinking that some of the dollars received for the CDs actually go into the project.
Imagine if FreeBSD was able to cajole the webhosters for a $1 for every user they sign up. Just a simple one time fee. Silently figured into the “set up” charges for the user, and kicked back to the project.
Another idea is something that is done by and for the National Rifle Association. It’s a thing that some of the vendors participate in called the NRA Round Up. What happens is that when a customer makes a purchase, they’re invited to participate in the “Round Up”, which simply bumps the total order price, after shipping and taxes and what not, up to the next dollar, and the difference is made as a donation to the NRA.
Doesn’t cost the vendor anything save a little overhead, no profits as it comes straight from the consumers. It’s a remote method of those little change cans next to the cash register at your local mini-mart. It’s totally voluntary. As long as the vendors are ethical about their intentions and properly follow through, then it can be a great income stream.
Is it a lot of money? Depends on volume. Properly managed, every penny counts.
That “properly managed” bit is the nut. Things always get ugly when money is involved…
Is there really no other way for small projects to make money? How come no-one’s come up w/ an umbrella foundation to fund all of these open source projects? Can’t there be a United Way for small development teams or companies whereby they stay afloat? It would be nice if I could be a member of this foundation by making a yearly tax deductible donation of some reasonable amount ($40?) and know that my money went to Apache.org and the FSF as well as some groups that I’ve never heard of.
Please allow me some ranting. Skip this if you’re not in the mood.
I just saw an ad from Ad Council saying Math is important. Is this wrong?
Also an ad from RedHat inviting for their courses on Linux. Now, I don’t use RedHat, I use Conectiva and I’m considering Mandrake for the 586 thing. Both started based on RH. Is this a reason to be grateful? Is it a bad ad?
Those who advocate donations, premiums for added features, purchasing OSS software etc. How I’m supposed to know where to send my money (when I get some, that is)?
Heck, if someone decides, say, “I’ll give some 100 T-shirts with no ads, just Linux written” — how am I supposed to know about it, without ads?
Free software rocks and it must exist lest the world would become a sad place where those people which haven’t enough money (like me) would be left without *any* alternative (unless “pirating” is considered an option).
Sure, there are scams and pyramids and “work-from-home-sell-nothing” schemes. Sure there is spyware. Such things should be object of legal action.
But for free software to remain free, we must provide it with funds, however paradoxal this may look.
To the guy who talked about junkbuster. I’m not only ignoring what you said: I won’t ever talk to anybody about this and guess what? Maybe I get the $39 dollars to send Opera, get the registration and still leave the ads running in my copy! Eat this.
When you got your copy, you automatically said you would live with the ads. Don’t like them? No prob, use Mozilla, Galleon, Skipstone, Links, Dillo, Lynx, W3m, Arena, or IE if you’re into MS.
I don’t get this: you’re implying these guys in Norway are way cool for such a well-done browser and you use their software. Ok, some like it, some not. You and I just agree.
Basically you say, they’re great, therefore I won’t be grateful. WTF?
They don’t want to put the ads! They want the money! The ads are a way they found to survive Microsoft strategic decision of putting them out-of-business. Don’t help MS, at least in this regard!
I’d be up for something like a small ad or 10 second spot while I’m logging into Enlightenment.
I would not like to see an ad-sponsored OS running, ive seen it before with may applications one minuite they have one small advert then there packed with commercial products adverts and spyware, its just waiting to get carried away!
We’re making software that we want to use. Do you appreciate every corporate “free beer” application’s ads? Do you wonder when it calls home to update itself with new ads? Or what statistics it gathers about your interests? I for one find free software to be haven of relief from all these tiresome marketing gimmicks. We’re doing this to create an alternative, not to recreate all the garbage that’s already out there.
That’s the question you should be asking yourself, by tainting your favorite free software project and users with an AOLish experience.
Take a look at the sponsorship comments that some have made.
You are making a very harsh assumption (and you know what they say: assumption is the mother of all fuckups), that I agree with this ad-sponsored idea.
I merely created the poll for discussion, and in fact, briefly mentioned the pros and cons of such an idea to the article.
Don’t shoot the postman. Or I will shoot your IP.
I would definitely go for it. If this will bring money to people who develop the software I like to use – I give the idea two thumbs up.
I don’t care if there is an ad showing up for a couple of moments at the boot – as long as my boot times don’t suffer from this. This should be brought up for a more general discussion among the Open Source community and if a way is found to implement this ad-based functionality without affecting any performance – then HELL, YEAH!!! JUST DO IT!!!
1993: Whats the harm in a few people running banner ads? It won’t become a problem.
1995: Whats the problem with a few companies sending soliciting emails? It won’t become a problem.
1998: Whats the problem with advertisers tracking us? It won’t become a problem.
2000: Whats the problem with ads and tracking in commercial software? It won’t become a problem.
2002: Whats the problem with ads in OSS software? . . .
It is not a good idea to force users to support a certain distribution/desktop project.
Instead, it should be an option to do so.
If I want to support for example Gnome by looking at adverisement once in a while, this should be possible.
A screen saver is a good idea.
Let’s say that there was only one ad-application for all projects. When installing the ad-application, you could choose from a number of projects that you wanted to support.
Something like this.
Click the projects you want to support:
The choices is then sent to a server, that distributes the money accordingly.
It is important that installing this software is not forced uppon anyone. If you choose not to installing it, there should mean no limitations in any program.
Of course more rules are needed for this kind of advertisment.
Drive to CompUSA and buy a copy. See, wasn’t that easy?
Of course since most folks would rather not pay for anything, regardless of the consequences (lack of future development, etc.) I guess that doesn’t work either.
What really needs to happen is that people need to be convinced that paying a reasonable amount to support something they believe in is worth it. As it is now it seems that the OSS community is made up of a small group of people who are willing to support things and a large group of greedy bastards.
In a nutshell: people are the problem.
Drive to CompUSA and buy a copy. See, wasn’t that easy?
I personally don’t concider driving 14,000km accross sea easy…
Catch 22, with all due respect. Linux, GNU Linux, whatever you may call it and which has been referenced here, is just not good enough for people to condone adds, even the naive eventually wake up.
Money = organisation, leadership, productivity, Quality.
No money = Linux, nobel concept…poor reality application (no social skills).
People may deal with Opera’s adds, but that’s because Opera has something to offer. IT WORKS.
If the opensource community wants to make money, give the projects “Social Skills” then, I like many will be more than happy to open our wallets.
P.s No I don’t favor X over X OS. I use what works.
I find the idea very interesting because development always costs money anyway. I wouldn’t mind having a newspaper kinda background with ads on it as long as it only refreshes while booting. Gets rid of my eternal search for cool backgrounds right away.
And it may under no circumstances slow down my system.
…then things change. And the change is never in the best intersts of the end user.
There is no reason why some group couldn’t do this, but it is going to have to be substantially better than anything else out there before large amounts of people use it. It’s like Opera: some people will put up with paying or looking at ads if they think it is better than the alternatives, but who would bother if they think the alternatives are better or equal anyway?
There are also a lot of problems with the implementation. Who is going to pay for the ads if anyone can just compile them out anyway? It could be based on views or clicks, but that would probably mean being connected to the Internet on start up (when the ads are supposed to occur, according to the article), which is definitely a problem for dial up users. People would find a way to get around that kind of system in any case.
The implication is that the income from the ads would go to support bandwidth for the groups web page, FTP, CVS, etc. Giving it to the programmers would (for entirely open source projects) raise all the standard issues to do with who ends up getting paid. So if the ads are just supporting the Internet services, wouldn’t it be better to simply add or expand Internet advertising? This would be annoying, but I think most people would consider it much less annoying than having the ads right on their computer.
For commercial projects using open source software (along the lines of Lindows) maybe people would put up with ads if they were convinced the product was better than the alternatives. But again, why not try other ways? Many commercial Linux companies have extensive web services which could have ads. Since a company does not have to worry about being independent, maybe they could just get direct sponsors.
I think that this kind of thing might work for some desktop concepts, especially ones that are oriented towards users coming from Windows, but only if the incentives are big enough. In any case, I really can’t see the majority of the open source community using it. On the other hand, one of the great things about open source is the choices it can give. Someone could try out ad based OSes or desktops, but someone else will be sure to keep providing an ad free equivalent. The only question will be which turns out to a better, more usable, product.
WHy not use WIndows XP? It’s nearly free and does everything really well – and its secure!
Several years ago I bought an E-machines because it was cheap. It had adware in the form of a desktop panel that displayed banner ads and could not be easily removed. And all manner of icons on the desktop. Oh, and did I mention the Pheonix spyware in the BIOS. It took me about three weeks to install Linux. If my first Linux distros (Caldera and Redhat) had anything remotely resembling that ad-infested piece of trash OS I would probably be using FreeBSD or DOS for heaven’s sake. This will be the death of any OS that chooses this route. It may fulfill short-term financial needs, but it will never be popular.
And I thought advertisements on the BSoD was bad enough. Booting your preferred operating system should only advertise the operating system. Using a banner based browser should only advertise the browser. I’m not too fond of the idea of banner adverting. The biggest annoyance I have with most programs now days is the damn splash screen that pops up… I just want the program, not some splash screen to tell me about a program I already know about.
It pisses me off when people try intrusive ads before trying donations.
If donations work, then everybody (both the developer and the users) is happy and everybody wins. This is obviously the way to go, IF you can make it work.
If donations don’t work, then maybe your users are scum, or maybe they just don’t value your project as much as advertisers do. At this point (donations failed) it’s ok to screw the users a little. You come out ok (the users don’t like you anymore, but they’ve no right to complain) and the users lose. Yes, it’s an option, but it shouldn’t be the first one you try.
God no.. we have enough ads as it is.. the internet is more ad then content now.
‘sides this was tried once before, remeber FreePC? had the screen locked to 800×600 with a ‘ad border’. failed miserably.
Advertisers won’t go for it. It’s just too easy to release a patch or something that would disable the whole ad generator or whatever you wanna call it.