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Response To Responses Of The News That Mandrakesoft Will Sell Ads In 9.2

By Eric Vaughan (aka - TweakHound)

Spetember 12, 2003

   Mandrakesoft has decided to sell ads in the free version of their upcoming 9.2 release. Viewing several responses to this news in various places on the web, I've a few things to get off my chest...

   Before I go further, I know that Linux is supposed to be available for "free". Before some of you misguide individuals seek to chastise me, please look at Selling Free Software from I'll give you a few direct quotes although I encourage you to read the whole thing:

"Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can."
"When we speak of "free software'", we're talking about freedom, not price. (Think of ``free speech'', not ``free beer''.)"
"Redistributing free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you might as well make a profit from it."

 Now the rant...

  I've just about had it with the attitude of some people these days. A growing number of people seem to think that they are entitled to everything on the planet for free. From the attitude that file swapping (read: stealing music) is O.K., to the attitude that software piracy is O.K. In the Linux community this attitude has reached the point of ridiculousness amongst some. I'm not sure if this is from zealotry, or ignorance, or both.

"Ads, oh noooooo." Ads equal revenue.

   If you would bother to pay attention you'd see you are being bombarded with ads every second you're awake. Every place you turn there is an ad, whether it "looks" like an ad or not. Every TV show, every paper, every major website, every sporting event, everything even remotely involving an actor/athlete/celebrity contains ads. Many times you don't even know you are being advertised to. It's not like half the software on the planet doesn't have some sort of ad in it.

   Unfortunately, I think it's the revenue part that bothers the complainers. Uncountable scores of people both at Mandrakesoft and around the world have put their imagination, passion, knowledge, and untold hours of work to bring Mandrake Linux to you. Just who the hell do you think you are thinking you are entitled to all that for nothing? Whiney, freeloading, cheapskates I say. Cripes, you can even still get it for free, you'll just have to see some ads.

   The response to this whole thing has me fearing for the future of Linux. The only way that Linux is going to become the success that we so desperately want it to be is if companies can make a profit from it. Could you imagine how great Linux could be if even a single company with a Linux distribution had 1/10th the amount of cash that Microsoft has? Could you imagine 3 or 4? Could you imagine the best and brightest programmers from around the globe being employed full-time to work on nothing but Linux and the many applications for it? The possibilities leave me in awe. I fear that with the attitude I've seen today, this may never come to be.

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