Totally hypothetial question....what if Linux wasn't free?

I was just thinking about my adventures with Linux and how much I’ve learned in the past year or so since finding Linux. I can’t believe I ever put up with windows, or the uber-restrictive OSX for that matter. At this point I can’t imagine running anything other than Linux. Well, maybe I could do with BSD or openSOLARIS, but I digress.

Anyway, I was thinking how great Linux is and how I would gladly pay for it. I try to give a few bucks here and there to various projects that I want to see materialize and I donate to distros that I use for more than a few weeks, but I haven’t really thought about how much Linux is worth to me.

So I thought this would be an interesting question to pose to other Linux users, how much is Linux worth to you?

If Linux was still Linux just as it is now, free to modify and try out, but at some point you had to pay for it, what would you pay?

If it cost more than Windows would you still use Linux?

Okay, enough from me…

Let’s hear your opinion.

If Linux were not free, something else would take its place in the software ecosystem.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I knew I’d get an answer like this.

What I am asking is what Linux as a desktop operating system is worth to you, or any individual, assuming there was no free operating system out there.

What is the freedom of Linux worth?

Your question must be unasked. The answer is mu!

Freedom is not measured only in dollars, euros, yuan, yen, and what have you. People put time and effort into the FOSS ecosystem because they value having something open. And to have fun.

If we were to calculate the worth of the time we have put into FOSS, that would be larger than the monetary figures you had in mind.

MDArchos wrote:

>
> ken_yap;2144498 Wrote:
>> If Linux were not free, something else would take its place in the
>> software ecosystem.
>
> Yeah, yeah, yeah. I knew I’d get an answer like this.
>
> What I am asking is what Linux as a desktop operating system is worth
> to you, or any individual, assuming there was no free operating system
> out there.
>
>
> What is the freedom of Linux worth?
>
>
If this is a serious question then it is very difficult to answer. I bought
from time to time a opensuse (before it was opensuse a suse) box.
Do you mean what if it costs money or do you mean what if it was no free (as
in speech) software.
If it were not free (as in speech) I would use something else (most likely
freebsd).
But I think linux shall also be free as in free beer.
Why?
There are many people around the world who have no or not much money and
there should not be a barrier which makes them unable to join the digital
world.

because i don’t have to purchase a license today doesn’t mean Linux
has no cost…at the very least it requires me to pay attention and
administer my system, OR find a lessor system to purchase…

there are already commercial versions of Linux that while they don’t
require the purchase of a license, they are rather time consuming to
self maintain at high security/patch level without a maintenance or
support contract… (Red Hat and SLEx both spring to mind)…

i’m pretty sure the huge corporations and organizations using Linux
today to enhance their IT security don’t view Linux as cost
free…(but, certainly less cost than alternatives like Redmond, SUN,
IBM’s AIX and etc)

corporations and orgs like, for example, the USA’s Department of
Defense, Google and Amazon to name a very few
cite: >http://tinyurl.com/y8hzvgx>

so, the question is not very hypothetical…

lots and lots of folks use open source software and Linux because it
is better, even if not “free”…


palladium

I use a “non-free” operating system to write this so at the end of the day it would mean little whether Linux would be free-as-beer or not, I would still use it on servers because of the flexibility it offers.

No if it cost more than Windows and I was compelled to pay if I wanted it, then I would not pay, … and the logic is if one had to pay to use Linux, then it would not be Linux. FULL STOP.

Let me explain …

Linux follows an openSource Free software philosophy, where Free software is defined by the offering of 4 basic freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

ergo because of those freedoms, Linux IS free.

Now I contribute money to various open source free software projects every year, I contribute money in support of the maintenance of Packman repositories, and I purchase every boxed set of openSUSE that comes out.

But I use Linux because it is FREE.

If one were compelled to buy Linux then it would NOT be FREE and hence I would not want to use it if it cost more than another Operating system. Its the FREEDOM that makes me want to use Linux.

Clear as mud?

I simply would not have done a lot of the things I have done in the last ten years because:
(a) I wouldn’t have known it was possible because some of the things I have discovered in Linux are not in journals etc. and others I only learned because I had the opportunity to explore a wider range of software
(b) even if I had, I wouldn’t have had enough money to do them all.

The knock-on effect is that my customers would not have got as good a service/product as I am now able to offer.

I have also met a lot of interesting people whom I would never otherwise have met.

So the main benefits I have gained are greater satisfaction in my work, greater satisfaction, I hope, with the quality of my work and a number of new friends. Placing a monetary value on those is very difficult.

Linux is free but there are distributions that you can choose to pay for, like Mandriva Powerpack, which I have paid for in the past. You soon realize that whatever these paid for versions have you can add to a free version yourself. Mandriva Powerpack is basically Mandriva Free plus proprietary software, drivers and codecs, etc.

I suspect that most Mandriva users use Mandriva One or Mandriva Free. If Linux had to be paid for most people would just choose the cheapest and if there were a cheaper version of Windows most would just use that.

Ooooh, questions like these make me think where I shouldn’t:


to_pay_for_linux = 0;
start_thinking = 0;
if (to_pay_for_linux > 0) {
        start_thinking = 1
        }

:wink:

The point is: linux is free, to the bone. It’s so free, it lets you run and create non-free software.
A different question is: Would I pay for codecs ? Rather not.

This question makes about as much sense as

“What if carnivores were vegetarians?”

Additionally, before “Linux”, there was GNU, I am certainly not a fanboy of the FSF, but one thing is for sure, even without Linux, GNU would still exist (maybe with another free kernel, and NO, I am not really talking about hurd).

“Linux” (read “the KERNEL”) was the right thing at the exact right time, but if Linux hadn’t happened, something else would have.

What if carnivores were vegetarians?

It’s more like, “if carnivores were vegetarian, would you still run from them?”. :wink:

I think it’s a valid question. Yes, being forced to pay for linux is a crazy proposition, but just for argument’s sake, if it were the case, is the freedom, or even the quality, of the software, worth (any) cost?

On my part, it’s a tough call. My first inclination is to say yes; but on a pragmatic thought, it would depend on other factors - if it were Linux (the kernel) and Linux only, yes; if all “Free” software required purchase, then probably not.

On Mon, 2010-03-29 at 09:06 +0000, MDArchos wrote:
…snip…
> If Linux was still Linux just as it is now, free to modify and try out,
> but at some point you had to pay for it, what would you pay?
>
> If it cost more than Windows would you still use Linux?

Perhaps, but only up to a point.

Unix was available for x86 before Linux in the form of UnixWare
and arguably BSD (though it was really a complicated mess at
the time).

UnixWare cost about $1500 base and probably upward of $2K+ for
something reasonable per host.

IMHO, that was WAY too expensive.

Of course, back then, just purchasing a machine with 8M or more
of memory would cost more than $3000USD… Which also made it
tough.

In practicality, Windows has NO cost associated with it. Why? Because
it is deemed to be a intrinsic part of the “system” purchased, thus,
even a low cost system doesn’t really show any Windows “tax” (though
many would love for it to show up… but it doesn’t).

But, if the option is to have Linux or not have Linux and the cost
were <$200, I’d probably be ok. But Linux would not necessarily have
the momentum that it currently enjoys.

GNU/Linux is more than just an OS and applications… it’s a
revolutionary way of presenting software, and FREE is a big
part of that.

A non-free GNU/Linux would make BSD much more attractive (huge
momentum, developer shift).

**
Yes, you would if you where a veggie! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!**


Let’s see, if Linux wasn’t free…you would have to pay for it.

But may I ask you what you where referring to? Please tic the following in the list:
a) kernel
b) kernel plus command line programs
c) kernel plus command line programs and desktop environment
d) kernel plus desktop environment without command line programs
e) kernel plus command line programs and desktop environment and free 3rd party applications (but do these then count in the formers or not?)

I think you wanted to say: if a Linux distribution wasn’t free, would you buy it?
My answer would be: if it would not try to “bind your hands” in personalizing the product, if it would be stable and bug free with a long term support and offering services the free version does not offer (a well done concept of disk encryption, a security based setup handling well the trade off between security and convenience, open source to be controllable (forget about security through obscurity) and with an eye-candy desktop I am free to choose between several open alternatives…then I could pay (and the amount I will pay will be the same as the price of the next worse/best product giving me the same or better utility. So since I consider Windows note-worthily inferior in quality, it is not even a direct substitute. I would therefore probably willing to pay less or at maximum the same as for Windows (because I consider the pricing of Windows still out of market for what it offers).
And no, if codecs where to pay, I would go for open codecs and just snob consumption.

But it is such a nice question…you should post it on Fridays no? Knife!

stakanov wrote:
> But may I ask you what you where referring to? Please tic the following
> in the list:
> a) kernel
> b) kernel plus command line programs
> c) kernel plus command line programs and desktop environment
> d) kernel plus desktop environment without command line programs
> e) kernel plus command line programs and desktop environment and free
> 3rd party applications (but do these then count in the formers or not?)

you are, of course, correct: not everyone who comes here knows enough
about Linux to know how to ask an intelligent question about it…

but, if they have enough patience (and gray matter) and they stick
around long enough they may someday be able to both ask AND answer
intelligent questions…


palladium

Let’s see … we already have a Winblows that is expensive, closed, upgrade for profit on a 3 year cycle, basic OS with little to no real apps included, but with a huge after-market base of apps in both the paid for and freeware realms. Oh! and lots of viruses, bad code and exploits to rain on your parade.

If Linux (distro’s) were to suddenly take on the same formula, a set price per copy would be due to Linus Torvalds whether or not you get a distro or just the kernel and cli tools. Distro’s would of course want their fair share for their packaging efforts. Contributors also would want some of the action.

What I percieve we would have:
. A less expensive kernel+cli than windose. Possibly open source with some closed parts. Upgrade for profit on a 8 month cycle. Choice of basic OS with CLI or Distro with OS + CLI + Distro specific stuff + Desktops + 3rd party Contribs. Clean stable and still free from viruses and exploits.
. Now in order for it to work, people would have to see an end to hardware problems such as old hardware support disappearing, current hardware support featuring bugs, cutting edge hardware support activity. Hand in hand with this, there would need to be a stronger showing of real apps that can keep pace with the fast upgrade cycle.

. People aren’t going to pay for something at this late date other than windose unless it really offers a whole advantage on everything they need to do.