My feeling is that it isn't that simple (giving it away and then charging for support) and it isn't the "free" nature of the software. Yeah, you have lowered the cost, but without one of two things you'd still be SOL: 1. You need a great value add or 2. You need a supportive community that enjoys the participatory environment. If you get both you will survive, even thrive.

Linux works not because it is free (IMHO), it is because you have lots of geeks who love to get their hands dirty in the code and love to hang with other geeks (reason #2 above). It is counter-culture, anti-big business (Microsoft) and can be cool if your contribution is accepted and used. Yes, there is a small minority of folks who use it JUST because it IS free, but that isn't the reason for faster Linux adoption.

Reason #1 above is gaining ground in the Linux world and will be a threat as Linux becomes easier to use and has broader driver and application support ( and easier installation for those drivers and applications). That will improve the value add to the customer. But there are plenty of folks who won't install Linux even if it IS free because it adds no value to the desktop (or that value doesn't exceed the "cost"). Crappy free software isn't better because it is free or open source. It is still crappy. There are plenty of open source projects that go nowhere because they either don't have much value add or don't have a supportive user community.

CGIDEV isn't popular just because it is free. It is because it has a great value add and a developer community who embraced it. I would think you could build some revenue from CGIDEV consulting or deliver an application that uses it and charge for maintenance and support in that application. You could also write CrappyCGI and have no takers. That is my point. It isn't just free software, it's the whole "package" that makes the Open Source / services model work.


Don wrote:


This kinda seems to be what ALOT of the linux community is doing. Basically giving their distro away or at a low fee, then making their money on support and services...

What am I not seeing here?? Other than linux is growing a helluva lot faster than OS/400...

Don in DC

On Wed, 20 Jul 2005, Pete Helgren wrote:

Anyone who thinks that just giving away the software to generate services revenue will be a viable business model will be disappointed.

This thread ...


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