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The Linux Desktop and ISVs/OEMs 195

Posted by Soulskill
from the mixing-freedom-and-business dept.
olau writes "Michael Meeks, who's worked on GNOME and LibreOffice integration for many years, now for SuSE, has some really interesting thoughts on the recent Linux desktop debate and suggestions for possible strategies. He points out that regarding independent software vendors (ISVs), the real issue isn't actually the quality of the tools but the size and attractiveness of the market, and perhaps that a solution could be lower barriers for paying or donating. Regarding OEMs selling hardware with software preinstalled, he points out that while a free OS + software sounds good for consumers, it's actually a problem for OEMs on razor-thin margins, since they lose the cut they get from the preinstallations. A possible countermove could be nailing robustness and hardware diagnostics for good, lowering OEM support costs."
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The Linux Desktop and ISVs/OEMs

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  • Fall in line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pellik (193063) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:04PM (#41304681)
    At the end of the day, it's a lot easier if Grandma has an OS that other family members can help her with.

    No matter how much I like my Linux Desktop, I don't want to be responsible for bringing non-tech-savvy people along. The rest of the family is fully capable of troubleshooting basic windows problems, more or less.
    • Re:Fall in line (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vurian (645456) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:05PM (#41304695) Homepage
      It was one, good, reason for moving to Linux. The perfect excuse to decline helping people with their Windows problems.
      • Amen to that! That has been exactly my experience. After 1999 I was a Linux guy. Before that, a Mac guy. I've never had to help people with Windows problems. I don't run Windows, and I don't know how to "fix" Windows -- other than in a similar sense to getting a pet "fixed". My best honest advice to switch to something else is all I could offer, and they knew it.

        Lately Windows problems seem to be getting a lot worse and a lot faster. I've had several friends have severe problems suddenly within re
        • by GNious (953874)

          I supposedly am educated in the ways of computers: I have a degree in the field, I work in the field, I have computers.

          Bought a Win7 PC for home use - it has baffled me repeatedly, being the most *explicative* piece of *explicative* I have ever had the misfortune to use*. If anyone asks me for help with their Win7 system, I'll simply have to tell them to buy a mac.

          *: basically, nothing works, and it is impossible to fix.

      • Re:Fall in line (Score:5, Interesting)

        by houghi (78078) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:58PM (#41305383)

        I have been doing this for years. People come to me with Windows problems and I just say they must go to the person who sold them their software.

        Blank stares as they do not understand. They are confused because they did not pay for their version of Windows. Even blanker stares if they DID pay for their version and can't get support for it.

        And then they tell me that they found somebody who did it for them who explained that it is normal that PCs go slower over time and that they must buy a new one. When I ask them if their TV is slower, they look at me if _I_ am stoopid.

        Obviously they have no interest in free (beer AND speech) alternatives.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Raenex (947668)

          When I ask them if their TV is slower, they look at me if _I_ am stoopid.

          Because they know a TV is a dumb appliance that just sits there without getting software installed on a regular basis, so your analogy is stupid. Give them a little credit. Operating systems with all the assorted application software are complex, and any number of things can go wrong.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Operating systems with all the assorted application software are complex, and any number of things can go wrong.

            Only if your OS is poorly designed and written. The problem with Windows slowing down is its registry, which grows over time and consumes more and more memory. Other OSes don't have that problem. Since moving to Linux, I've never had a machine slow down with time, whereas XP and 98 needed reinstalls every year or so. W7 is an improvement, I've had my notebook for a year and it's only slowing sligh

      • Re:Fall in line (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Urza9814 (883915) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:06PM (#41305475)

        On the other hand...

        My mother has a Linux netbook. Other than getting her email set up with Thunderbird when she got it (she couldn't do that herself in Outlook Express either,) I haven't ever touched the thing. It's just never had an issue.

        Her Windows desktop, on the other hand, seems to need some kind of repair every time I visit.....

        • Re:Fall in line (Score:5, Interesting)

          by greenbird (859670) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @08:44PM (#41307525)

          Her Windows desktop, on the other hand, seems to need some kind of repair every time I visit.....

          Amen to that, brother. I use to have to book special trips to fix my mothers Windows systems, printers not working, email broke, browser won't work on web site, system real slow, weird crashes, viruses like you wouldn't beleive, and on and on... Finally her laptop broke and she took it Geek Squad (mind you against my repeated admonitions not to). They charged her $70 to tell her their Windows diagnostic CD wouldn't even start and she had serious hardware problems and it would cost at LEAST $200 more just to diagnose the problems. I told her to send it to me. I installed Ubuntu. Went up there and showed her where the menus were, how to find all the nice free software for doing whatever she needed to do and set up her email in Thunderbird. Haven't had to touch it since and that was more than 3 years ago. Mind you she is about as computer illiterate as they come. I could tell several more stories of conversion. Linux is better on the desktop than Windows for everyone, not just "computer geeks". The ONLY reason it's not more wide spread is it doesn't come pre-installed. Mind you it's a lot easier to install than Windows also.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Linux is better on the desktop than Windows for everyone, not just "computer geeks".

            Disagree. Linux works great for those who are computer illiterate, at least as long as you don't tell them it's Linux until they are already using it (otherwise they'll probably balk at it being too hard to use before even turning the system on). And it works great for those of us who know our way around a computer.

            But in between, you have the hardcore Windows geeks. The ones who know exactly which malware removal tool that

          • I gave my mother in law a Linux netbook 3 years ago. She lives in a different country, so initially I fretted about remote support with SSH, but I have never needed to do anything. So, when it eventually breaks, I'll just send her a new one.
          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            The ONLY reason it's not more wide spread is it doesn't come pre-installed. Mind you it's a lot easier to install than Windows also.

            Well, that's a big reason but hardly the only reason. Other reasons are that nobody but us nerds have even heard about it, let alone have any clue how many features Windows lacks, how it's more tolerant of hardware faults, how it doesn't have a growing registry to slow it down, how it doesn't need AV, etc. If they have herd of it, they've heard the FUD, like you have to use the

        • by Raenex (947668)

          My mother has a Linux netbook. Other than getting her email set up with Thunderbird when she got it (she couldn't do that herself in Outlook Express either,) I haven't ever touched the thing. It's just never had an issue.

          So I take it then that she never updates or installs software? That's where all the trouble starts. I wonder what version of Thunderbird she's running and how many security bugs it has.

          • by Urza9814 (883915)

            What? I run a full system update on a monthly basis (I run Arch), and have been for years, and have NEVER had an update break anything. Let me guess -- your experience is with Ubuntu? Don't blame Linux; blame the crap distro.

            Of course, I can't count the number of times I've had crap break because of Windows updates. Remember XP SP2?

            As for whether or not her system is actually updating -- well, I hope so, there _is_ an automatic updater on the it, but having never had to touch the thing I can't say for certa

            • by Raenex (947668)

              What? I run a full system update on a monthly basis (I run Arch), and have been for years, and have NEVER had an update break anything. Let me guess -- your experience is with Ubuntu? Don't blame Linux; blame the crap distro.

              I run Debian, which Ubuntu is based on. I wouldn't call it a "crap" distro, and I wonder how Arch can prevent things from breaking given all the 3rd party software that tends to break from time to time. Maybe you've just had good luck, a selective memory, or somehow Arch is amazingly good at preventing the occasional breaks.

              Of course, I can't count the number of times I've had crap break because of Windows updates. Remember XP SP2?

              I've had very good results with updating XP, so no, I don't share your experience.

              I _can_ tell you that her previous XP desktop never got a single update in its life -- she doesn't know how to do it, and I had to turn them off after they kept breaking shit.

              Better to put up with things breaking than leaving XP unsecured.

              And I'd trust an unpatched old Linux system over an unpatched Windows XP ANY day...

              I'd agree with this, but only because Li

      • by Z34107 (925136)

        Or, you could not be passive-aggressive and decline politely.

    • Re:Fall in line (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:08PM (#41304729)

      I view that the other way round - One way or another I will be tech support for my mother. It would be easier for me, as someone that doesn't use windows any more, to support her using linux.

      But frankly at this point I don't want the hassle of moving her from one OS that she knows how to use badly to another she doesn't know at all.

      • Re:Fall in line (Score:4, Informative)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:30PM (#41304999)

        Run windows in a vm on her machine, automate snapshots and that way you can roll it back for her.

        Old folks don't play video games or need tons of storage.

        • Make sure they understand that the data they store in the VM is not permanent, and they need to keep backups of everything as often as possible. You dont want them to lose their holiday picture, right?

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            No, you keep the backups. You run another VM that they do not have access to, that you write these backups too. Better yet copy them back your home, but the option I propose works too.

            Anyone were you would be doing this too is not going to be able to/want to run backups.

        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          How do you get her to use the VM rather than the host OS?

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Why bother with all that and have the extra load of running a VM on top of the system when you can just slap Comodo Time Machine [softpedia.com] set to take snapshots at startup and just call it a day?

          Its the perfect cure for the clueless users that break their machines, just have them hit the home key on boot, or pick the little clock icon if its running, send it back to a snapshot before they borked it and voila! Hell you can even lock a clean and loaded snapshot so its like having your own factory restore for any mach

        • If they don't play video games, they don't need windows.
        • Give yourself a remote account. Give grandma her own account that can only write in her own directory. Do remote maintenance at will. Back up her shit to something at your house because grandma is gonna break or lose that shit to her own activities someday. Do stealth maintenance.

          In short, nuke that family shit from FOSS Orbit _before_ it can fester.

      • Let her experiment with several live CDs: Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Kubuntu. Find out if she likes any of them enough to want to migrate and if so, help her do what's needed. Make sure that she knows that she won't have to worry about malware, defragging or restarting her computer several times a day and that you'll still do her tech support whatever she decides.
    • by Lashat (1041424)

      I agree. That is a tough nut to crack, lowering support costs for the *average* consumer. The best case scenario I can imagine (and I admit I'm not trying to imagine too hard) is being able to remote in to the system and fix the box remotely. I can't imagine how many support calls are generated because the user installed software that is imcompatible with the latest kernel update.

    • +1 funny (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "family is fully capable of troubleshooting basic windows problems"

      tee hee

    • by sbditto85 (879153)

      The rest of the family is fully capable of troubleshooting basic windows problems, more or less.

      you mean restart?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228)

      Watch me get hate for saying this, but fuck it I got karma...its the updates!

      I can take a copy of XP RTM with NO service packs, slap it on any old bog standard P4 or other PC I have laying around, make sure all the drivers are working and then patch it to current. That is THREE service packs and probably a couple of thousand updates on top of that, what do I get at the end? It is ALL still working. The WiFi is working, the video is working, the sound, the NIC, its ALL still working.

      Now compare to Linux: I c

      • Re:Fall in line (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:56PM (#41306065)

        Watch me get hate for saying this, but fuck it I got karma...its the updates!

        Well, is it hate because people disagree with you or is it hate because you're wrong and being deliberately inflammatory?

        can take a copy of XP RTM with NO service packs, slap it on any old bog standard P4 or other PC I have laying around, make sure all the drivers are working and then patch it to current. That is THREE service packs and probably a couple of thousand updates on top of that, what do I get at the end? It is ALL still working. The WiFi is working, the video is working, the sound, the NIC, its ALL still working.

        Lucky you! I've seen one or more driver packs and updates in sequence for Windows XP cause it to be left in a shitty state that works (maybe) but is broken in some manner.

        Now compare to Linux: I can take any distro that was released the same quarter as Vista, which is supposed to be the shittiest MSFT OS since WinME which I agree with, place it and Vista RTM side by side, patch them both to current...what do I get? All the hardware on the Vista machine still works, the hardware on the Linux box is fucked.

        Really? How so? Oh wait, you won't give an example. Just a "Linux leaves systems fucked after updates! Linux sucks!" and we're supposed to believe you blindly. Got it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          You want an example? Would over 200 examples of broken guts [narod.ru], nearly all of which can be tied directly or indirectly to devs futzing with the internals be good enough? Would you like to compare it to the page from 3 years ago [narod.ru] so you can see how much of it hasn't been fixed in three God damned years?

          But of course you won't respond to this, nor the fact that the ONLY way Dell, one of the largest OEMs on the God damned planet BTW, can get Linux to fucking run even when dealing with a severely limited subselecti

      • That all depends on the hardware you buy. For instance, put a SATA drive in the system and try to install any version of Windows XP - it won't as the disk doesn't contain the drivers and you have to use a floppy drive to load the drivers (or modify the install disk to include them). Dell/HP/etc modify the disk and set it up for you; but if you bought it with an IDE drive (a long time ago) and upgraded to a SATA, then you're screwed. Vista/Win7 are better as they do include the SATA drivers. (And yes, SATA
        • by unixisc (2429386)

          Putting together a PC - or even a laptop - where all the chipsets and everything are known to work w/ Linux by itself is not a big deal. With some verification of the AVL, one can put that together, and it should work fine, which is what he seems to be describing.

          But as humanrev mentioned, w/ Linux, it's either an all-or-nothing - it either works beautifully, or it simply doesn't work @ all. The worst problem in the past has been NIC and Wi-Fi, and if that doesn't work, one can't even go on forum hunts.

          • But as humanrev mentioned, w/ Linux, it's either an all-or-nothing - it either works beautifully, or it simply doesn't work @ all. The worst problem in the past has been NIC and Wi-Fi, and if that doesn't work, one can't even go on forum hunts. Note that it's not just the PC - there is a question of which other hardware supports it OOTB. Printers, All-in-ones, webcams, and so on. With Windows, whenever you buy any hardware, you can be sure that it works w/ it (they are very specific about whether they work

      • I need a new system. My 5 year old Dell (preloaded with Ubuntu 7.04, now upgraded to Ubuntu 12.04) is starting to really show its age. I am posting this from it with my original wireless card. While all of my favorite Windows games (RCT2, Battle Zone, Fallout, Death Rally) work perfecty under WINE and the rest, (ROTT, DOOMxxx, Cold War, DEFCON 1) have been natively ported to Linux, I can't run the lastest games like "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" with the best performance. It is playable but slow.

        I got tire

      • by greenbird (859670) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @09:01PM (#41307631)

        Now compare to Linux: I can take any distro that was released the same quarter as Vista, which is supposed to be the shittiest MSFT OS since WinME which I agree with, place it and Vista RTM side by side, patch them both to current...what do I get? All the hardware on the Vista machine still works, the hardware on the Linux box is fucked.

        This is just plain a blatant lie. In the past 10 years I've installed OSes on at least 40 systems ranging from old clunky desktop hardware to netbooks. With Linux I've almost never had problems other than wireless and even that hasn't usually been an issue for years. Every time I've installed Windows it's been a battle with drivers. With XP you couldn't even install to SATA drives until Service Pack 2 years after SATA came out. Then you had to load network drivers to a CD just to get them to the system so you could even get the rest of the drivers. Then you have to figure out what video and sound drivers you needed while operating at 640×480. Now Windows 7 is greatly improved in this respect. At least the basics like networking seem to work so you can just pull video drivers from the web (mind you still, running at 640x480).

        • by humanrev (2606607)

          Every time I've installed Windows it's been a battle with drivers.

          Big fucking deal. At least with Windows you know you'll HAVE drivers that work to support 100% of the functionality of whatever hardware you connect to your computer. Might need some searching, but they'll be out there. If I was only running Linux I'd be concerned about buying any new printer, scanner, webcam, specialized peripheral or whatever, because I know from experience that even after research is performed on the hardware's Linux compa

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            And isn't it funny how every single post other than yours is simply a "works for me!" followed by "U must be a shill!" Wow, really?

            Linux drivers sucking balls is God damned legendary, even long time Linux admins admit the wireless is deep fried ass and didn't De Icaza have an article here not even a damned week ago talking about how he had fucking gave up on sound because of Pulse? Is the community THAT filled with religious zealotry that even pointing out the damned obvious is impossible?

            Do all those that

            • by Ash-Fox (726320)

              Quit taking crap sandwiches from the devs, bring some real stability and at least 7 years of ACTUAL support, not that crap like Ubuntu LTS which stands for "don't backport shit"

              Unless you activate the backport repos...

          • Re:Fall in line (Score:4, Informative)

            by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday September 12, 2012 @06:26AM (#41310581)
            Just today somebody gave me a TV tuner and video capture card because it doesn't work on Win7. In my workplace we have expensive machines with weird backplanes that were purchased this year and are running win98 due to some digital signal processing hardware that won't run on anything newer. Some HP printers were abandoned when win7 came out, never mind the stuff from far smaller companies that don't have the resources to rewrite drivers.
            The 100% bullshit really just shows a lack of experience in your pet subject. With closed drivers you have to hope that they people producing them give a shit or otherwise you run the risk of having to get new hardware when the software is upgraded. That's not a big deal for one person, but when there are large collections of hardware or niches where you depend on one bit of odd gear to do a task you end up with the legacy gear in the corner for a specific task and far more machines than you have users.
    • I got my mom to use linux, and she's a Grandma. I got sick of having to re-install windows so I left for linux*, then told her that I wasn't really doing windows anymore because I no longer learned anything when i fixed problems on it. So she switched, loves it, when it has issues...at least I learn something.

      *not having internet explorer is a feature!

      • Same here. And that was ten years ago, because I was tired of dealing with IE exploding, Outlook mail viruses, on and on. She can log on, run Firefox to get to Google, run Thunderbird for email, print, play the various free games (mostly the card games), and shut down. I also showed her how to run the regular Ubuntu LTS updates. My service and support calls (for the computer at least) dropped over 90%. I know a couple of her elderly friends who have given up on computers in the interim because they 'caught'

    • At the end of the day, it's a lot easier if Grandma has an OS that other family members can help her with.

      Exactly why Granddad is on linux! But it never actually breaks, so that's a bonus too.

      Grandma wants nothing to do with computers, she says she's gotten along just fine without them for nearly a hundred years and sees no need for them in her life.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      No matter how much I like my Linux Desktop, I don't want to be responsible for bringing non-tech-savvy people along. The rest of the family is fully capable of troubleshooting basic windows problems, more or less.

      But after the machine is set up, what problems are going to crop up in Linux? Most Windows problems I fix for friends involve nothing more than uninstalling crap like toolbars and removing one of two or more AV programs that are fighting amongst themselves, and flaky hardware (Windows is NOT forgiv

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:10PM (#41304753)

    You have a sales team, you are trying to sell your product. That is hard enough. Now you need to push Linux too on their existing Windows infrastructure too...

    Companies like consistency. Linux is a perfectly good OS. However we are a windows shop here, and don't want to support two platforms.

    Companies will pay more money to keep a consistent environment. Those Linux servers will need to cost $500 less then their windows counterparts. You need to be less then the OS cost and less then the Its different cost, then you will need to deal with people who will just get the lesser cost system and put their own OS on it (legal/illegal/let the courts decide if they find out)

  • by Tim Ward (514198) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:28PM (#41304979) Homepage

    ... when you have children to feed and a mortgage to pay ... ... and the users expect all their software to be free?

    Better off spending one's time addressing a market where people expect to have to pay for stuff, no?

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:33PM (#41305033)

      What linux users expect all software to be free?

      I guess I did not pay for all these steam games.

      Where did you get that idea?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by raymorris (2726007)
        In fifteen years, I've purchased ONE application. It wasn't very good and since it wasn't open source I couldn't fix it. So I guess I'm one who expects all my software to be "free". (I contribute code, bug reports, etc., not cash) Funny thing is, I make a living mainly by SELLING software for Linux, but I never BUY software.
    • Lead the way with software people expect to pay for. Get solid tax software on linux, and they will come? If TurboTax won't migrate to Linux, then a competitor must arise...
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Isn't TurboTax all on the website now?

        I know I paid to use it last year.

        More software a linux user paid for!!! SHOCKING NEWS!!!

        • Isn't TurboTax all on the website now?

          I know I paid to use it last year.

          More software a linux user paid for!!! SHOCKING NEWS!!!

          I'm a die-hard Linuxer and I also pay to use TurboTax online. I doubt if I'd buy the Windoze edition to run at home but running in my browser is just fine and there is the presumed added advantage that the on-line edition is up to date.

          The quoted poster's implication is correct. Linuxers don't want everything for free; I pay for lots of value-added services, such as the aforementioned TurboTax, membership on a chess site, etc. I'm even going to BUY--- that's right, I said BUY--- the Linux edition of Scriv

    • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @04:47PM (#41305255)

      Ah, Slashdot. You've entered a new age when anti-FOSS/anti-Linux trolling is marked as "Insightful."

    • I can think of 5 reason why (in no particular order):
      1) Your company pays you to write software for linux
      2) You have fun writing application for linux and do it part time (everyone needs a hobby, right?)
      3) The software is good enough, that people donate money to help you work full time on it.
      4) You sell support (or special edition cds or whatever) for your software, but your software is free.
      5) You sell a commercial version of your software, that has additional components that are not included in your free

      • by Tim Ward (514198)

        (1) Well, people have certainly paid me to write software that runs on Linux, but it's always been proprietary stuff that runs on servers in turnkey systems and suchlike (in fact I'm doing one such project right now), never shrink-wrap desktop stuff for sale to end users.

        (2) Erm ... I'm afraid that my hobby is flying little aeroplanes ... and my other hobby, being an elected politician, is even more expensive.

        (3) Don't have sufficient marketing skills and expertise, in that I can make more money by writing

        • 1) It depends on the company. Many companies understand the open source community and do fund stuff that help them market some of their other products.

          2) After the initial ground work by one developer (or a small set of developers), the hobby developers can and do make an impact. By hobby I mean something like one hour a month, by hundreds (in some projects thousands) of developers (some of them would have worked on similar problems before and are really experts in them). You can contribute if you want to t

        • I forgot to add, the 3rd option, donations, is becoming more and more popular with kickstarter (remember how dispora got $200,000). If you have an real idea that people would find useful. Linux, free-as-in-beer, and donation depend is not a bad model at all. You can find a number of such tools getting funded on kickstarter.

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        1) Your company pays you to write software for linux

        Yeah, but will the company want to pay him to write the same thing once and port it to different revisions of Linux, or different combinations of Linux/X/glibc/Qt/GTK+? Most ISVs would want to write a software version once that would run on Linux version n, n++ and so on. Subsequent versions of the software would be enhanced features, not merely more ports

        2) You have fun writing application for linux and do it part time (everyone needs a hobby, right?)

        Yeah, but how much fun is it writing the same application once, and struggling to port it to a myriad #platforms and software combinations?

        3) The software is good enough, that people donate money to help you work full time on it.

        Why not just

        • 1) Your company pays you to write software for linux

          Yeah, but will the company want to pay him to write the same thing once and port it to different revisions of Linux, or different combinations of Linux/X/glibc/Qt/GTK+? Most ISVs would want to write a software version once that would run on Linux version n, n++ and so on. Subsequent versions of the software would be enhanced features, not merely more ports

          Er, why would you want to port a Qt application to GTK+, when it will run just fine? But I understand you point, companies do not pay for porting to varying platforms, but this is where the community (of hobby devs) usually takes over.

          2) You have fun writing application for linux and do it part time (everyone needs a hobby, right?)

          Yeah, but how much fun is it writing the same application once, and struggling to port it to a myriad #platforms and software combinations?

          Not fun, but you always find volunteers doing this on many many open source projects.

          3) The software is good enough, that people donate money to help you work full time on it.

          Why not just straight-forward sell it for a reasonable price, say $20-50?

          Why not just straight-forward accept donations and then build your project (aka kickstarter)

          4) You sell support (or special edition cds or whatever) for your software, but your software is free.

          I agree w/ the GP's response on this one

          I have responded to GP.

          5) You sell a commercial version of your software, that has additional components that are not included in your free version.

          I am surprised you been on slashdot for so long, and still did not understand this.

          Again, like he said, it's hard to draw a balance b/w making it so good that add-ons won't be needed, vs making it so bad that the user won't want to trust him w/ his money.

          Again responded to GP, but many projects have successfully used it. I guess

          • by unixisc (2429386)

            1) Your company pays you to write software for linux

            Yeah, but will the company want to pay him to write the same thing once and port it to different revisions of Linux, or different combinations of Linux/X/glibc/Qt/GTK+? Most ISVs would want to write a software version once that would run on Linux version n, n++ and so on. Subsequent versions of the software would be enhanced features, not merely more ports

            Er, why would you want to port a Qt application to GTK+, when it will run just fine? But I understand you point, companies do not pay for porting to varying platforms, but this is where the community (of hobby devs) usually takes over.

            Problem is that once a company has ported an app to, lets say, Mint 12, it would expect it to work seamlessly in Mint 13, 14, and so on. Let's say it makes something called Acmeworks 1.0, which was developed on/for Mint 12. Now, later, it might choose to develop Acmeworks 2.0 and make Mint 15 its target platform - that is standard practice.

            However, if the company has ported Acmeworks 1.0 to Mint 12, and finds that 1.0 doesn't work on Mint 13, that's a major bummer. B'cos it would like to leverage its

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alef (605149)

      and the users expect all their software to be free?

      Interesting contradictory fact. [humblebundle.com] Scroll down and look at the payment statistics. Linux users evidently pay about twice as much as Windows users when given the choice. I have bought two bundles before, and both times the pattern was the same as with the latest bundle.

    • ... when you have children to feed and a mortgage to pay ... ... and the users expect all their software to be free?

      Better off spending one's time addressing a market where people expect to have to pay for stuff, no?

      I bought the Linux Edition of Corel WordPerfect 8 a while back. No, I don't expect everything to be free. But companies also have to make the effort to support Linux. Soon it will be required if they want to keep certain market segments as Microsoft is destroying itself.

    • by IBitOBear (410965) on Wednesday September 12, 2012 @04:58AM (#41310231) Homepage Journal

      I get paid major bank to work on software for Linux. That some of it goes out to be free is no skin off my teeth.

      See free software isn't "I'm gonna write some POS and hope someone buys it" development model. Those days are dead mostly anyway. Its "Some guy wants these features put on that 'free' bit because he actually has a use case, and he's gonna pay me to meet his needs then give it away so neither of us get stuck paying upkeep and he can have me do something newer and better".

      Who want's to spend 40 years doing maintenance on a some accounting or word processing software anyway. There are people who are writing better gear because they need to process words and account for money. And since they really make their money counting money and processing words, giving the bycatch code out as the "whole cost" of getting the whole pre-mod app is a huge win.

      It just won't lead to "another microsoft"

      That closed source model was a fluke anyway, the preceding 40 years were open source. The next twenty five or so was a grand experiment that largely failed except for a few really unexpected cutthroat operators, and now its back to the more natural state of only paying for what you need.

      In a current version of word I don't use 90% of it, and I'm a technical writer and novelist, but I paid for it all back when I was that foolish. Same can be said for any person or company that has ever bought that slag. So now there is this free stuff that was made by someone who actually needed it, so it's not so much slag, and given away to others who _might_ need it, and then gotten back greatly improved by the supporters and the adders on.

      That's lots of money feeding lots of people, and nobody is wasting their time or money playing the "trade secret" and "big P.R." games.

      What's not to love?

  • by Yfrwlf (998822) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:37PM (#41305817)
    Artificial scarcity. It is the backbone of the American economy as well as many other corporatist nations. Since you can't make money off free stuff, stores won't carry it. Even when selling hardware, if they can make more money selling restricted software along with it, they will. Before if you got a discount from buying a pre-built computer with crapware on it, at least you could wipe it all and install whatever you wanted. Now with “secure boot”, they can push control onto the software level and control the entire software stack if the wanted to. Don't like that Windows 8 Crapware Edition on there? Too bad, you're stuck with it, and the Crapware Edition won't allow you to remove the crapware on it either, plus it comes with adware and spyware (when you purchased this computer, you automatically opted-in to provide us with “information for marketing purposes”) pre-loaded which you also can't remove. I can also see this entire system pushing out build-it-yourself computers since the pre-built one offers more money. Even if some semblance of DIY hardware is still available, at the very least the pre-built systems will ultimately cost less because the hardware vendors will get a cut of the marketing and data mining profits.

    I just figured I would share the future in advance with everyone so that the reality would set in sooner: Start supporting vendors which sell pre-built computers that aren't locked down as well as standardized DIY hardware. Also, start supporting home fabrication projects which will soon be able to create primitive computers, because ultimately unregulated capitalism will always find some way to fuck you otherwise. DIY hardware is already horribly unstandardized and consumer-raping. If you live in a country which is regulated so you feel you don't have to worry - just wait, you will. There is meaning behind the saying with the roots and the evil. No, not the recipe for making evil root beer.
    • ...orary software-for-money model.

      See, thing is. Software was originally written by people who had to actually do things other than write software. It was all open soruce anyway. Not just Unix whith its original sharing stuff, but all the software that came before. In the seventies when IBM delivered you a copy of DOS and TSO and CICS for your big-iron mainframe it came on two sets of tapes. One was the ready to run binaries, and the other was the "you bet your ass you are going to find something you are go

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday September 11, 2012 @05:38PM (#41305841)

    Linux desktop, with browser, backed by web applications.

    Five OEM systems and counting.

  • Srsly. That would invalidate the cost/margin argument.
    If you don't want crapware, download an ISO and reinstall, just like you can with Win7.

  • ABI

    Another Microsoft marketing guy.

    Michael Meeks (michael.meeks@novell.com)

    Figures...

  • Given that both have been around since at least 2004, would either of these be described as a success on the Desktop, if described a failure then why would that be also? It's also inexplicable that in that whole piece [gnome.org], there's no mention of the litigation issues promulgated by a convicted monopolist against Open Source. Given it took me about two hour to install and fine-tune Linux on this cobbled-together-desktop, it puzzles me how you could describe the "transaction costs" as too high. Just how high can t
  • Suggestion for Michael Meeks: work more on LibreOffice and less on Gnome.

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