Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Mark R. Linds » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 11:40:24



Recently, a friend of mine who was in the process of making plans to
computerize his correspondence school; for the last fif* years, their
operation has been handled entirely by hand by staff with long file boxes
full of alphabetically-sorted 3x5 cards with student info on each card.
Everything was hand written. And they're now taking on about 2500 new
students per week.

Having asked for my advice (knowing that I've done similar jobs before),
I immediately suggested a Unix system with a cache of terminals, connected
to one or two main servers on which all the information would
be stored and available via dialin, network or terminal. Perfect, eh?
Linux would do the job well, I mused.

I knew what he was thinking, though: 486's for each desk, complete with
"Windows for Workgroups" and some database package advertised in PC World.

"Well, we've always seen Unix as being the high-end of data processing, and
I'm not sure we can commit to such an investment."

Ooh, I thought -- here's my chance.

"Well," I prepared my speech. "I use a free version of Unix, called Linux.
It's been developed by hundreds of computer scientists all over the world,
and is fully capable to do your job, quite inexpensively." By this point,
I could see what he was about to say in his expression.

"Your purpose for computers isn't really ours, though; if something fails
for us, we'd have a very hard time catching up. No, I don't think we're
going to skimp on this system."

He'd yet to decide exactly what he wanted to do, or how he was going to do it,
and, though regarding Unix as a high-end, powerful, capable operating system,
he was unwilling to accept that a `free' system would be capable of their
task.

That, and experiences like it have lead me to one conclusion.

Linux must cost money, or, at least, be available for a very high cost, and
thus gain instand respect. Very few people would actually pay that price for
it, but having such a price tag would give it a certain prestige heretofore
unavailable.

--
Mark R. Lindsey    [][] Information Technology; S.Ga.Digital Research Institute

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Scott Fiel » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 12:33:14



Quote:>Recently, a friend of mine who was in the process of making plans to
>computerize his correspondence school; for the last fif* years, their
>operation has been handled entirely by hand by staff with long file boxes
>full of alphabetically-sorted 3x5 cards with student info on each card.
>Everything was hand written. And they're now taking on about 2500 new
>students per week.
>Having asked for my advice (knowing that I've done similar jobs before),
>I immediately suggested a Unix system with a cache of terminals, connected
>to one or two main servers on which all the information would
>be stored and available via dialin, network or terminal. Perfect, eh?
>Linux would do the job well, I mused.
>I knew what he was thinking, though: 486's for each desk, complete with
>"Windows for Workgroups" and some database package advertised in PC World.
>"Well, we've always seen Unix as being the high-end of data processing, and
>I'm not sure we can commit to such an investment."
>Ooh, I thought -- here's my chance.
>"Well," I prepared my speech. "I use a free version of Unix, called Linux.
>It's been developed by hundreds of computer scientists all over the world,
>and is fully capable to do your job, quite inexpensively." By this point,
>I could see what he was about to say in his expression.
>"Your purpose for computers isn't really ours, though; if something fails
>for us, we'd have a very hard time catching up. No, I don't think we're
>going to skimp on this system."
>He'd yet to decide exactly what he wanted to do, or how he was going to do it,
>and, though regarding Unix as a high-end, powerful, capable operating system,
>he was unwilling to accept that a `free' system would be capable of their
>task.
>That, and experiences like it have lead me to one conclusion.
>Linux must cost money, or, at least, be available for a very high cost, and
>thus gain instand respect. Very few people would actually pay that price for
>it, but having such a price tag would give it a certain prestige heretofore
>unavailable.

To be truthful, I don't that that is the main reason. Linux would
probably be taken more seriously if a company actually provided SUPPORT
for it.

Basically, my concept is, the OS is free. Need help or support?
That cost by the hour, or get a contract.

The problem with that is that the company REALLY needs control over
the source code, since you can't have customer's modify the source
and say "Something's wrong! FIX IT!"

Oh, well.

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Raul Deluth Mill » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 13:08:13


Scott Fields:
   To be truthful, I don't that that is the main reason. Linux would
   probably be taken more seriously if a company actually provided SUPPORT
   for it.

Last time I checked (which was quite some time ago) there were some
adverti*ts on tsx-11 which mentioned Linux support.

--


                        1=t|e*d    NB. (,-:<:)pq is four large primes, e medium

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Zac » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 14:14:15



   "Your purpose for computers isn't really ours, though; if something fails
   for us, we'd have a very hard time catching up. No, I don't think we're
   going to skimp on this system."

The thing is this is very true. I have heard several people say
"If its free there must be something wrong with it"
and
"If its from the net it will have a virus" Note will not could.

I think someone should do this. Wish I could prob. could make a
bundle. Package it just like all other software with the GPL on the
Envelope. etc etc etc.

Zach

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Zac » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 14:15:58


   Basically, my concept is, the OS is free. Need help or support?
   That cost by the hour, or get a contract.

   The problem with that is that the company REALLY needs control over
   the source code, since you can't have customer's modify the source
   and say "Something's wrong! FIX IT!"

Can a contractor say ok I'll do suport, but you dont get to mess with
the kernel source? (Maybe just not give it to them till they ask for
it explicitly)

Zach

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Tim D. Gilm » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 14:15:41


Well, if you want to pay a lot of money then you can always get SCO
Unix.  What on earth would the consumer gain by having to pay for Linux?

--

                http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~tdgilman
      .fvwmrc archive: ftp.netcom.com:/pub/td/tdgilman/Fvwmrcs

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Martin von Low » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 15:17:05




>I think someone should do this. Wish I could prob. could make a
>bundle. Package it just like all other software with the GPL on the
>Envelope. etc etc etc.

People are doing. You can buy Linux from Yggdrasil and Slackware on CD.
It's much more convenient if you cannot hook up your machine to the Internet.
You cannot charge a lot, though. GPL allows you only to charge for the
cost of physically creating the copy and distributing it.
You can, however, offer a service contract.

--Martin

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by rodrigo vaneg » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 16:28:56



> That, and experiences like it have lead me to one conclusion.

> Linux must cost money, or, at least, be available for a very high cost, and
> thus gain instand respect. Very few people would actually pay that price for
> it, but having such a price tag would give it a certain prestige heretofore
> unavailable.

> --
> Mark R. Lindsey    [][] Information Technology; S.Ga.Digital Research Institute


Tell your friend to give me a call.  I'll sell him a site-license to
use Linux for only $1000 per year.   ;-)

--
rodrigo vanegas

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Joe Do » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 14:14:10



[...]

Quote:>He'd yet to decide exactly what he wanted to do, or how he was going to do it,
>and, though regarding Unix as a high-end, powerful, capable operating system,
>he was unwilling to accept that a `free' system would be capable of their
>task.
>That, and experiences like it have lead me to one conclusion.
>Linux must cost money, or, at least, be available for a very high cost, and
>thus gain instand respect. Very few people would actually pay that price for
>it, but having such a price tag would give it a certain prestige heretofore
>unavailable.

OK! OK! How many would you like and at how high a price?   I'll copy some
up for you! :-)
 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by David Jans » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 18:31:57


So, he wants to pay for it ?
Well, let him buy one of the distribution CD-ROMS. And if it isn't expensive
enough, let him buy a separate CD-ROM for each machine.

But I also like the idea of a commercial support firm...

David Jansen
--

    _/  _/      _/   Leiden Observatory  (room 707)
   _/  _/      _/    P.O.Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
_/_/_/_/  _/_/_/     Phone : (31) 71 275878   Fax : (31) 71 275819
                       WWW : http://www.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~jansen/

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Dave Cartwrig » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 20:15:07




> "Your purpose for computers isn't really ours, though; if something fails
> for us, we'd have a very hard time catching up. No, I don't think we're
> going to skimp on this system."

A common problem; I don't, however, think your colleague(s) would be
swayed if Linux was to cost money. Now if it was to remain free but there
was some company from whom you could buy maintenance and support, THEN I
think they'd go for it.

I believe this kind of thing was done for PP by JaNeT, the UK academic
network people. We use the PP mail system, which I believe is freely
available, but buy support from a company who specialises in that kind of
thing. Therefore you're getting the best value for money.

D.

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Lewis Tanz » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 22:04:51



Quote:>>I think someone should do this. Wish I could prob. could make a
>>bundle. Package it just like all other software with the GPL on the
>>Envelope. etc etc etc.
>People are doing. You can buy Linux from Yggdrasil and Slackware on CD.
>It's much more convenient if you cannot hook up your machine to the
>Internet.
>You cannot charge a lot, though. GPL allows you only to charge for
>the cost of physically creating the copy and distributing it.
>You can, however, offer a service contract.

You haven't read the GPL closely, have you?

All it says is that "you may charge a fee for the physical act of
transferring a copy, and you may, at your option, offer warranty
protection in exchange for a fee."  (quoting from version 2, 1991)

It doesn't say _anything_ about how much money you can charge.
--

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Raul Deluth Mill » Wed, 21 Dec 1994 22:34:20


Rodrigo Vanegas:

   Tell your friend to give me a call.  I'll sell him a site-license to
   use Linux for only $1000 per year.   ;-)

I'll go one better, and sell him a site-license to use Linux for only
$1000 per month.  >-)

--


                        1=t|e*d    NB. (,-:<:)pq is four large primes, e medium

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Doug Dejul » Thu, 22 Dec 1994 01:00:37




>Can a contractor say ok I'll do suport, but you dont get to mess with
>the kernel source? (Maybe just not give it to them till they ask for
>it explicitly)

A contractor can easily say something along the lines of "I'll do
support, but *if* you modify a single byte of the kernel yourselves,
I'm absolved of all responsibilities I had to you, even if your system
crashes and kills countless innocents and causes worldwide economic
ruin.  So don't.".

Ideally, a "supported" Linux would include a full distribution, which
you wouldn't be "permitted" to dink around with (so your shared
libraries are fixed, your compiler version is fixed, the version of
"ls" you use is fixed, etc).

I'd never use a system like that at home.  I probably wouldn't use
anything else in a production environment.

--
Doug DeJulio

 
 
 

Linux should cost money! (Lots!)

Post by Piers Cawley -- System Adm » Thu, 22 Dec 1994 02:46:35



   Well, if you want to pay a lot of money then you can always get SCO
   Unix.  What on earth would the consumer gain by having to pay for Linux?

I think the point is that a consultant would be able to actually sell Linux as
a product if it actually had a price. There is a very strong feeling abroad
that 'you get what you pay for' and if Linux costs nothing then you obviously
aren't getting much.

Speaking as someone whose business would not exist if it weren't for Linux's
remarkable stability and the fact that its free (you try getting a decent
solution for providing a dialup IP service to the public without spending
somewhere in the region of 2000UKP per box solely on s/w -- assuming you're
going with commercial software that is) I'm rather glad that the competition
has this attitude.

Speaking as a consultant who'd like to supply his customers with an operating
system that works efficiently `out of the box' but who doesn't want to have to
cut his margins 'cos the OS costs so much I find this attitude somewhat
infuriating.
--
Piers Cawley -- Systems Sheriff on the Frontier Internet Service
Frontier Internet -- Sellers of Web Space and Internet Connectivity

 
 
 

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