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It was more than clear that the FOSS for all wasn't sustainable long term, hence why we are slowly getting back to the freeware days.

Google just used good marketing to convince MS-haters that they were different.




> It was more than clear that the FOSS for all wasn't sustainable long term, hence why we are slowly getting back to the freeware days.

Someone should tell RedHat. And Debian. And, y'know, Linux. I'm sure Linus will be devastated to hear that the last couple of decades have just been a fluke.


Indeed, that is why Red-Hat gave up on selling distributions for desktop GNU/Linux, and is now part of IBM, selling support contracts to enteprises.

How many business are making money selling Debian based software?

And how many business critical software stacks are still based on GPL, without any kind of dual license of some sort?


>> How many business are making money selling Debian based software?

That is to miss the point. Nobody give a shit how much money can be made selling Debian. The users care about how much they can get done by using Debian. Software has essentially zero replication cost, so those who try to make a lot of money from it are rent seekers. The challenge then is how to create software in the fist place. Those that charge for software and provide continued high quality development will be OK, while those that buy RedHat just to make money will not (long term).


The people that contribute and decide to pursue other endeveours that better serve them and their familes, do give a shit.


Red Hat always sold support for their enterprise level software. A RH representative told me that they "get community software, get it to enterprise level, and sell its support. The code is always open". They also sold their technologies as services. They've never sold code or distributions per se.

Their business model allowed them to develop KVM and OpenShift.

Debian gave birth to the biggest number of derivative distros. They're the biggest and most mature base. Even Ubuntu is a Debian derivative.

While there are no enterprise software that I know (my domain doesn't overlap with "enterprise software"), I'm aware that some of the heavy hitters in the software world have their killer features based on open source software or algorithms (Photoshop's content aware fill comes to my mind which is based on resynthesizer of GIMP).


> They've never sold code or distributions per se.

I guess those Red-Hat boxes at my parents basement are a piece of imagination.

> Debian gave birth to the biggest number of derivative distros. They're the biggest and most mature base. Even Ubuntu is a Debian derivative.

Great, and how much money do they earn from it?


> I guess those Red-Hat boxes at my parents' basement are a piece of imagination.

No, they are not, but Linux distros were never small (except Slackware & Gentoo), so many of us were unable to download them (with 56kbps modems). We bought the complete CD sets, which were essentially repositories on CDs. I had SUSE 6.0 box set.

A generation has abused university networks to download ISO files and write them to discs. That's why most universities had local repositories for a considerable amount of time. Many still have. The place I work hosts country-wide official repositories of most Linux distributions.

> Great, and how much money do they earn from it?

Why not ask to the non-profits which govern the money and assets of the Debian and other projects? The page is here [0]. Looks like Google is also a donor in SPI which hosts Debian, PostgreSQL, Arduino/ArduPilot, Arch, etc.

BTW, most Debian and open source developers don't do it for the money. They build the software for fun and use their skills in their day-job to do their work. Also, there are many developers paid to work on open source code and implement the required features. Glibc's developer is (was?) an RH employee for example. Intel pays developers to implement their open source network and graphics drivers. AMD's both open and closed source driver teams (yes there are two, isolated teams) are on AMD's payroll.

Open Source software is sustainable. You pay for knowledge and the effort, not the code.

[0]: https://www.debian.org/donations


The growth in dual-licensing adoption, FOSDEM and Linux Summit talks regarding how to keep FOSS safe from EEE seems to prove otherwise, regarding GPL long term survival.


Maybe, on a smaller scale, we shall call OpenVPN, PuTTY, FileZilla, Zip and Tar users too.

They will be upset. We need to be prepared. /s


For the desktop/UI that end users use, for reasons I don't understand, seems to work better if it's maintained by a large commercial enterprise. That's why Windows works, Android works, Ubuntu worked a bit and obviously MacOS and iOS.

I see Fuchsia as a good compromise here, it's going to have more free and open layers than MacOS on top of Darwin has. It's going to avoid a lot of the security issues Windows had and even the Debian/Ubuntu OSes and can probably be closer to MacOS/iOS in that way. It's certainly going to be a lot more open than Windows.

However, in the end, it will also allow Google, hardware and graphics library makers to have more proprietary parts that they control the vision on around the end user experience. It can certainly be the Windows alternative we need and hopefully Microsoft will realise that open sourcing Windows and allowing forks will be the best way for the OS to survive.




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