DesktopLinux.com reader John Murray contributes this call to action to support Linux companies and open source projects. Murray offers a simple user plan to help contribute to the efforts of developers – put your money where your mouth is…
Linux Users – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!
2002-08-21 Linux 18 Comments
I remember this saying very well – it was every other sentence over is ye ole benews forums… I wonder what will happen…
This is an old argument, and one which brings a lot of baggage with it.
Basically, it’s the old argument of “The developers don’t care what the users want as they’re only developing for themselves, so why should I pay them for their work?”.
This is basically true also. I understand how these programmers feel: They’re not getting paid for their work, thus what they focus on is generally something that they themselves see value in. This isn’t always what the user wants to see happen next however.
So then the consumers perspective is “Why should I pay money for this? It’s free, it does many of the things I need, and why should I pay when I know that the developers going to ignore my feature requests?”
So what comes first? The chicken or the egg?
Does the programmer start trying to please the consumer in the hopes that they might reward them with a paycheck, or should they wait until they see some money coming in from their users, and then begin to pay attention to what they want?
Being a developer myself, I’ve put my eggs into the “Build what they want, and they will come” basket. Will it work? Dunno… But I can fully understand the kind of attitude that many OSS developers show.
We’ve all seen interviews, discussions and forums that are bulging with complaints and feature suggestions from users… How many of these have we seen wherein a user’s saying “I’ll pay $xxx for this feature”? Not many… It’s always a case of “more, more, more” from the users, and a case of “I have a family that I’d like to see on occassion, and besides, the software does everything that I want it to” from the developers.
Personally, I have put money into the open source movements when I’ve felt it’s worth it (Crossover Office deserves everyone’s money!). But often the developers attitudes, and/or lack of response make me turn my back on OSS projects and look towards more “serious” ventures wherein the developers are eying a paycheck, and are therefore a little more receptive to user input/feedback.
It’s an old arguement though. Linux users really do just as much harm to the Linux movement as they do good. They tend to be cheap with their $$, and loud with their diatribe and complaints.
But that’s another discussion really…
I think that there is an atmosphere in the GNU/Linux camp that will make it hard for commercial software to thrive. You also have a militant fraction of GNU/Linux users who are against any paying for anything.
That said, I believe that you can suceed if you offer something really unique or hard to program, such as VMWare.
VMWare under Linux is mostly sold to corporations and professionals. If VMWare was mostly lean on sales on simple users, they would have also be out of business for years now. Read our review of VMWare on May. They do _not_ target simple users.
TheKompany, Ximian, Transgaming, Codeweavers, Borland, Intel compiler, Covant etc and all the linux distros are companies that _do_ need money, and there where the money should go. If these companies make some money, then other companies will follow to port apps for linux.
Wel, looks like I can either pay for commercial software, or pay developers to write free software, so WTF is the difference?
Ok, I’ve heard this one too many times.
‘Free’ means ‘free as in freedom’ not no charge.
I for one have no problem with paying developers for their work. Companies like Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSe put a lot of effort into their distros and deserve to be paid. They support a lot of free software projects and help put a lot of quality code into the community. This is excellent for a person who wants to get involved and work on stuff.
I don’t see very many commercial software companies doing that.
Pagestream is an excellent DTP program. AFAIK there is no true DTP
program for Linux.
There is currently a poll on the Pagestream web site
asking which platform the program should be ported to next. The
question is, would Linux users pay $300 for a DTP program?
My feling is that a port to Mac OS X would be more worth while (the
program already runs on OS 9).
There is also organizations like http://linuxiso.org that could use some cash. He is currently paying for the site out of his own pocket. I donated $20
True. And I forgot (I’m sorry!) the hundreds of people who’ve worked on stuff in their spare time. If they ask for donations – we should help them out!
I’ve been on a personal mission to migrate my wife from her Windows platform to a unified Linux system that we can use together in bliss. Unfortunately, there’s still one application that’s left me searching in the darkest reaches of the internet for a solution. I haven’t been able to find an application capable of photo layout and printing; in particular, something that would compare to HP’s PhotoSmart imaging software. This is an excellent program that allows the user to drag-n-drop pictures to various template/layout designs (a mixed page of 4×6 and 3×5 photos, for example).
The closest thing I’ve found to this might be KDE Office’s Kontour. Kontour allows you to insert images easily, but it still has a few bugs (prints photos at full size, rather than the resized). It also lacks the “templating” feature, although I expect this could be replicated without too much trouble, thanks to KDE’s template and filter framework.
Has anyone found anything like this that they would feel comfortable handing off to their non-technical spouse or family member? With the amount of digital pics we go through, this is a major necessity in our household. I can easily see myself forking over $100 for a product like this.
All other OSes suck because you have to pay for them, but to just give them money is ok?
1) They don’t suck because you have to pay them, just another moron who has no clue what Free Software really is, right?
2) Yes, I’m much more willing to pay someone because I want to and like his work, not because I have to. I’m also much more willing to pay for free software, just because it is of a lot more value to me than proprietory software. Proprietory software has the problem, that you might change plattform or the developer goes out of business and suddenly you can’t use it anymore or there are no more bug fixes for it! That truely sucks. Can’t happen with free software.
For example I recently buyed some software for Windows (the nice mailclient “The Bat” and the awesome Boxer Text Editor), now I’m using GNU/Linux fulltime and the software is lost to me (most probably) forever. Crap.
I remember paying good money for software. I had no problem
putting down money for a product that would help me get a job
done. But at some point, software companies decided that all of
their customers are potential criminals(maybe they are right). So once
software companies had decided that their customers were criminals
these companies decided that they needed to protect themselves with
all kinds of anti-pirating methods.
I remember bringing home software that I had spent a couple
hundred bucks on, and in my excitement I threw the box away and
just so happened that I took out the garbage right then and
there. HA what a moron. I threw out the secret stupid damn code to
activate the software. Well screw me. screw you. What a crock.
-I had to call the company and explain why I am not a pirate. Screw that.
So now I pay for Open source software and I get to take it
home and make as many copies as I want and I get to install it
without using stupid codes, and I am not made to feel like a
criminal. True freedom and I thank all OS developers out there.
Thats why paying for ‘free software’ is very different than
paying for proprietary software. So in the future SuSE and
OpenBSD can expect to see me putting down my hard earned cash
for their future releases.
The implications of .Net (esp. Hailstorm), and projects like Palladium remain to be seen.
Microsoft pulled Hailstorm. The Framework is the same as Java – almost-standard :-p. As for Palladium, I don’t see how this would hurt Linux that much. I can be switch off, but applications depending on it wouldn’t work. But software that doesn’t use it, like Linux, would still work.
Are you comfortable with a computing world dominated by a single company that continues to behave badly despite years of legal action, and who continually make changes for no other reason than to extract more money from their customers?
Sure Microsoft wants to get more money (who doesn’t?). As for behaving badly, people only notice Microsoft behaving “badly” because they are the top. Plus, with a press mostly dominated by Time Warner…. what do you know?
This is the same company that wants to control the Internet…
And they stole the chance from Netscape, which was sold to AOL, which also wants to control the Internet in the same manner as Microsoft. If Netscape still dominates the web market, I would bet all my processions that they wouldn’t care about standards…
Do you have a favourite distro? Helping them out would be a good start.
I used to like Mandrake, but I’m growing more and more dissatisfied with them. If they have no plans whatsoever to improve their product (other that taking the latest release and compiling them into packages), I wouldn’t part with my money. I haven’t found a distro to replace Mandrake though, because all the good ones are still betas.
Is there a website or other non-software project that is important to you?
(Doesn’t have to be Linux/OSS related, right?)
(though I’ve read that some potential corporate customers can be unnerved to see vendors asking for donations).
They are unnerved by free (as in beer) software in the first place. So, to get them, charge money. And once you have done that, you don’t have to ask donations from them. Clever heh?
I’ll probably donate to OBOS so that could have their own server, get a university to lend them bandwidth and not use SourceForge anymore….
I’m a newbie to linux, thank MS’s scary EULA, and I use Gentoo. Current version is 1.2, and 1.4, with gcc 3.2 is due soon. It is not beta, it works perfectly.
I still have problems with Linux because I cant find replacement for a few applications (ultraedit or editplus under win32 are just perfect for me), and I dont know exactly where to search. And there is also a total lack of cohesion between apps, and copy/paste is a PITA.
I will contribute to Gentoo as soon as I find another job, and I’ll be very happy to buy Lycoris too, because I need to compare both distros. I wont forget to buy a few goodies on thinkgeek.com and maybe I’ll take a suscribption to /. even if thx to Mozilla I never see ads
//For example I recently buyed some software for Windows (the nice mailclient “The Bat” and the awesome Boxer Text Editor), now I’m using GNU/Linux fulltime and the software is lost to me (most probably) forever. Crap.//
So whose fault is that? You switched platforms, and now you’re mad that the parts aren’t interchangeable?
That’s like buying a Yard Machines lawnmower for $140, then later purchasing a Honda lawnmower for $500, and being pissed that the grass-catching bag from the YM mower won’t fit on your new Honda.
Uh, right. I feel for you.
One of the whole reasons behind Open Source existing is so that companies can make modifications to customise software to their own desire. However, there is no real way of putting the companies that want the mods in touch with the programmers who can do them. How about a kind of “EBay for Open Source” where companies can bid for changes/fixes???!!! Any OS developer can code up the required feature and gets the bounty when it’s done.
You’d think companies would be much happier to pay for support (bug fixes and features) when they can pay for specific changes/fixes. Can someone explain to me why it _doesn’t_ work like this??