Open Source

Open source software users voluntarily pay more

Who are the biggest cheapskates of the consumer software market? Hint: They are not the users of the least expensive operating systems.

If you search the Web for flame wars between open source and proprietary software advocates, you will surely find more examples than you can use. Even just searching TechRepublic for such fights is likely to provide a glut of examples. Among such flame wars, it is dismayingly common to find a case of someone on the pro-Microsoft side of the divide blaming draconian licensing on people "stealing" software (never mind that theft and copyright infringement are not just distinct areas of law, but distinct concepts), and blaming the piracy on open source software advocates. This unfairly characterizes anyone who uses Linux -- the most visible target amongst open source software advocates -- as someone who just wants something for nothing, regardless of the consequences.

All open source software users and advocates, then, must be cheapskates who just want free software, and do not care about supporting the software developer. Right? Never mind the fact that a far greater percentage of open source software users are also software developers themselves than the percentage of MS Windows users who are software developers.

The truth of the matter is not so simple as such accusatory statements from some of those who hold Microsoft in the highest esteem would have us believe, of course. Open source software users are, in fact, often quite generous, and many do their best to support the developers whose efforts they appreciate. Consider the massive sums of donations received every year by the FreeBSD Foundation, for instance. It is true that Microsoft gets more money each year, but it not only enjoys a larger installed base from which to get that money -- it also gets a lot of its revenue indirectly, from the point of view of the end user.

Every time you buy a computer from a major vendor such as Dell or HP with MS Windows already installed, some of your money is going to Microsoft, even if you are only really trying to pay for the hardware and plan to install some other OS on the system once you get the machine home. Many call this somewhat hidden expense the "Microsoft tax".

Open source software users are generally quite aware of these facts. They are probably no surprise to readers of this article, even if people who claim all open source software users are freeloaders, cheapskates, and thieves at heart refuse to believe these statements when presented to them. There is other evidence, more difficult to refute or ignore, that open source software users are generally the most generous, least freeloading software users on average. A recent example is presented in Aaron Hastings' discussion of the subject of Humble Frozenbyte Bundle purchase patterns, "Linux users pay more for software."

When someone pays for the software, that person gets to name a price -- a "pay what you want" scheme. After the transaction, some statistics are presented showing overall buying patterns for all customers so far. As Aaron Hastings reports, the pattern looks something like this:

  • Slightly more than 50% of customers are MS Windows users, and they pay an average of $6.38 each.
  • Mac users make up slightly less than 25% of customers, and they pay an average of $8.51 each.
  • Linux users also make up slightly less than 25% of customers, and they pay an average of $13.72 each.

The end result is that MS Windows users are apparently the real cheapskates, while open source software users are easily the most generous, paying more than 200% what MS Windows users are willing to pay on average.

There are two very interesting conclusions that are easy to draw from these statistics, apart from the obvious fact that MS Windows users appear more numerous than open source software and Mac users:

  1. Any corporation that refuses to serve open source software markets because there's no money in it, when there is a measurable desire for that company's software on open source platforms, is probably run by morons.
  2. Microsoft's business model may well encourage people to behave like thieving, freeloading, antisocial cheapskates.

Before objecting to that second point, consider a few simple notions that may change your mind:

  • Microsoft treats its customers like criminals. There is no "innocent until proven guilty" with Microsoft and other corporations that use similar business tactics; we are all guilty until we prove ourselves innocent by allowing spyware such as Windows Genuine Advantage to report back on our license compliance. Compliance enforcement often misidentifies a user as violating license terms just by replacing a failed component in a computer.
  • Microsoft charges incredible amounts of money for software whose only benefit over software the user already owns is, all too often, the simple fact that Microsoft is still supporting the new stuff. Many users who had no interest in MS Windows Vista were essentially "forced" to upgrade simply to get a newer version of DirectX required for certain games, for instance.
  • Relative to many other operating systems, MS Windows' security support from the vendor leaves something to be desired -- to put it mildly. After spending hundreds of dollars for a new MS Windows license, users can look forward to spending hundreds more on security software that consumes system resources, does not work nearly as often as we would like, and at times even behaves like malware itself. Even when using free versions of security applications, the hours spent maintaining it properly to minimize the likelihood of a security compromise are not trivial. Insult is added to injury, because much of this software is of a class not even needed on many other operating systems.
  • Even as Microsoft claims its software is getting more secure, it backs its claims with such user-hostile features as User Account Control, which is so annoying that finding articles about how to turn it off to get back some lost convenience provides examples orders of magnitude more numerous than the articles one might find about how UAC protects the user. Such features tend to try to duplicate security capabilities that have existed in open source operating systems for decades, but do so in a much more intrusive, less convenient manner. In the end they still fall short as security measures because the new features are just that; features, rather than architectural laws of the operating system.
  • All too often, getting a new version of MS Windows requires buying new hardware, adding to the cost burden of an MS Windows upgrade.
  • Following an "upgrade", it is often the case that a lot of applications the customer wants to use will no longer work.
  • Even when getting an expensive, brand new computer to run the new MS Windows version, it is often the case that everything still runs more slowly than it did before. At the very least, using the older version would generally mean much better performance on the new hardware. Many other operating systems do not suffer that problem.
  • The changes in the user interface and capabilities for a new version of MS Windows imposes a learning curve very similar to that of switching to a user-friendly version of other OSes such as Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, and PC-BSD -- two out of three of which are available for free.
  • If someone gets a free copy of FreeBSD or Debian, uses it for a while, and decides he or she likes it, he or she can then send money to support those organizations with monetary contributions. If the same person gets a free copy of MS Windows, it was almost certainly acquired illegally, and there is no way to choose to support the developer by paying for it after the fact without admitting criminal activity and being punished -- by the complexity of the process of getting on the "right side" of the law, at minimum, if not by actual litigation or criminal prosecution.
  • The usage restrictions imposed by the MS Windows End User License Agreement seem tailor-made to trick people into violating its terms. In many cases, in fact, the EULA actually prohibits the user from reinstalling the OS that came with a computer on a different computer, even if the original computer gets wiped clean and sold second-hand.
  • The possibility that Microsoft's business model encourages people to behave that way does not in any respect mean that users of Microsoft's software are all cheapskates. Those of us with integrity are fully capable of resisting the temptation to behave badly, even when Microsoft sweetens the deal for pirates by making non-pirates feel like criminals.

Considering these conditions of use imposed on users by strictly enforced, draconian software licensing, it should be no surprise at all that many people who use MS Windows feel encouraged to infringe copyright by pirating the operating system. The software corporation often abuses its customers, making them feel persecuted when they try to abide by the rules imposed on them. Piracy, it seems, might feel like a very liberating experience by comparison; the simple act of giving up on adherence to arbitrary and unpleasant rules might provide a rush of relief to the harried customer.

Microsoft and other corporations using such business models effectively encourage people to behave like cheapskates, thieves, and freeloaders. It should really come as no surprise that open source software users, on average, pay more than twice as much for software when given the option to pay whatever they feel like paying, given that their software choices treat them as equal partners; mi casa es su casa.

In fact, if the people offering the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle had access to such information, I would bet you $50 right now that the lowest-paying Linux users were -- on average -- the people who had most recently made the switch from MS Windows to open source operating systems. Given time to get acclimated to their new software choices, their generosity would grow.

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

85 comments
karendavis
karendavis

Development is the way of the future, everyday developers are making more and more cash while the rest of us fall behind. Just think soon everyone will be moving online and away from physical stores.

insuranceman1
insuranceman1

I think it makes complete sense that MS is both the most popular and the cheapest option, but these supposed "cheapskates" represent the bulk of the population who don't know much about computers and who surely don't regularly check in on techrepublic. MS made an accessible program for all skill levels, but allowed for deep layers of programming for the more advanced users. I don't think this statistic is at all relevant in an argument about open sourcing because I guarantee 75% or more of computer users have no idea what that even means.

versitalbear
versitalbear

I have been following this subject and others like it for a few years now and the real bottom line is this, an operating system should, no, must be open source. Microsoft Windows, included along with all other OS's, but most of all they all need to be a pay if you like it, and pay how much you want, when your ready to. It is criminal to allow Microsoft do what they do to their customers. Microsoft is nothing more than baiting customers with promises and features that they hardly ever supply. Frankly if you buy a car for example, when you compare it to Microsoft, is like this, the car comes with a motor, however it must be paid for to another supplier, and you don't have a choice of getting a Chevy or a Ford motor, only the one that is in the car. Then the supplier of the motor, releases a new model the next year, that is promised to be faster, easier to use, more user friendly, but when you get it, you find you have to also buy a lot of extra parts to get it to work in your car, then when all that is done you find that it no longer will use the same fuel, so you end up having to use a different fuel and having to dump all the extra fuel you had saved up on from the first motor because it will no longer work with the new motor. The same happens every time Microsoft releases a new OS, you have to spend a fortune just to get it to work with what you have, or you are forced to buy all new, then the programs you have spent thousands on threw the past in keeping them up to date, even if the program still did exactly what you needed, you still ha ve to buy a new upgrade just to be able to use it. Microsoft tries to make people believe they are the best and the upgrading is necessary because it is impossible to keep Windows backward compatible, when it is all nothing more than marketing and a way to get the most of our money they can. For example I bought a program years ago that cost me just over a thousand dollars, it is a very specific and complex program that functioned perfectly for it's intended purpose, then cam a new Windows, and to my disgust, the expensive program would not even load on the new Windows, so I had to buy a upgrade that was nearly the original cost of the program just to stay productive, this happened three more times before I found a system that allowed me to use a virtual machine within windows that allowed the program to run flawlessly without spending a lot for an upgrade that does nothing but get's the program to work on the newer Windows. Now if this virtual machine software can make old programs (it even allowed me to use a program from DOS 6 to run flawlessly on WinXP) work in the new Windows then why can't Microsoft make Windows able to run all the original programs we had without constant upgrades? Again it is noting more than marketing. The best thing I laugh at is the way Microsoft has convinced us we must upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, when it really means, give them money, money, money! It never was an issue about compatibility, only money. This is only because of one thing, Microsoft is a corporation and their sole target is making more and more money. When Microsoft added the OS locking on Windows making it necessary to register the copy we each have or the OS stops working after a length of time, scared me to death, because that is nothing more than holding us hostage and is nothing more than a monopoly. When you look at the likely world disaster that will happen when all the Windows based computers stop working because of this, because after all Microsoft is a corporation and corporations fail every day, and the day when Microsoft fails, withing a few short weeks all the computers, companies and personal computers that must run Windows start to stop working because Microsoft no longer is around, our economy will be in ruin, it would be not much less than a ELE (Extinction Level Event) all simply because we have allowed Microsoft the ability to keep their OS off the open source world, when if it was required, the economy would take a dive but the open source would allow others to fix problems and get the world back working again. Pray Microsoft does not fold or fails, because we could not survive the devastation it would cause. In the basic bottom line, law makers must force all operating systems into being open source to prevent the total collapse of our economy simply because Microsoft is allowed to stay off the open source market . Just imagine what tomorrow would be like if Microsoft were to disappear today, we would not be able to run any computers that uses Windows in a very short time, our personal information, money, our very lives would screech to a halt, we could not access our money, or information, and even the stock market could not open because it is Windows based, just think what our lives would be like without windows, how can we allow Microsoft to get away with all they do today.

jsaubert
jsaubert

... well Mark Twain's said just about everything you need to know about statistics. The article does not specify what kind of "average" used nor the use of any standard deviation. Without that its really hard to decipher or validate what the data means. Simply taking the dollar amount given by a group and dividing by the number of people in that group is fine for straight up math but very faulty for use in statistical analysis. Unfortunately from the raw figures in the article I can't really gain any direct insight. But based on those numbers, assuming that all payments are assigned to a group, the percentages can not be near 50% Windows and 25% for Mac and Linux. It's nearer to 73% for Windows, 15% for Mac and 12% for Linux. But again that's taking for granted that there are only those three groups represented and their average payments are determined by straight division. Myself, I'm interested in the folks that gave 1 or 2 cents and their group along with the groups of those top contributors; $1000 one way or the other can make a difference in the right group.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

I have read through this a few times and thought about it and, while users of open source programs vs people who predominantly use closed shows that foss users will donate more it might be because the closed source users have already paid once for their software and paying again while a good thing has to reflect that they already paid for other programs that probably do much of the things this open source software does so they may only be paying what the think the difference is worth. There are a lot of variables in play and unless we adjust our findings to remove these differences and their effect the results are skewed. And one of those may also be that foss users also contribute in other ways that may counter this already paid for that functionality. It's complicated and for this to be even hinting at some type of scientifically validity we have to define and account for all of the variables other than the one we are trying to study. I hope this helps, LLAP \\//_

blakelyjf
blakelyjf

Chad, The data you use only supports the claim that Microsoft users who purchased this game package paid less than open-source users paid, that's it. For whatever reasons, the Windows users chose to pay less for this game package. I do not see how the presented data supports your broad conclusions. It is more like a single piece of evidence. Excusing people's behavior because of the actions of a software company assumes people should take no responsibility for their choices. You sum up the article using the very specific data related to one developer's game software sales to make a broad claim that all "name your price" software will be purchased for a higher amount by open-source users. I'm not arguing that this is false, but I don't see how such broad conclusions can be made from one piece of evidence.

cwarner7_11
cwarner7_11

I enjoy these discussion about which operating system is "best", especially since it is totally irrelevant. What matters is the applications. Once upon a time, I was a devout supporter of HP-UX, because that was the operating system that came with my first PC, and I learned how to use it. Somewhere around Windows 3.1, I was forced to migrate due to the need for a particular application that would not run on my HP-UX system. I really liked Windows 98SE, but Microsoft turned me off by requiring re-learning the operating system every time they "upgraded"- plus the security issues. My first experiments with Linux left me cold, and BSD just wasn't quite there back then. Finally, I wound up switching to Ubuntu (somewhere around 7.04) since a particular application I needed was packaged with that particular distribution. I now run Ubuntu 10.04 (again, because a particular application that I needed came bundled with the operating system, making it a whole lot easier to be up and running, without having to sort through all sorts of dependencies, drivers, etc. This is likely to be my last Ubuntu distro, since Canonical seems to be taking business lessons from Redmond). I also happen to run a number of Windows applications through Wine, VirtualBox, or dual boot, depending on what the particular application wants. Some of my applications want Windows 98SE, some want Windows XP, some want Ubuntu (in a couple of cases, older versions of Ubuntu). I could have exactly the same functionality if I chose Windows as my primary operating system (although I have read of certain practices since Vista, allowing applications to write to the boot sector to prevent piracy, for example, that can corrupt a dual boot configuration, such as GRUB) Although I have been rather negative towards Apple since the 1980's, I have to admit that some reviews of their latest offerings suggest to me that they have the right approach- apparently, one can run four or more operating systems simultaneously, without the requirement to reboot to switch tasks. THAT is the future. It's the applications that matter, not the operating system...

skippe93
skippe93

Along with the many negative points aimed at Microsoft in this article, it would be well to point out the fact that most popular software like Adobe CS and Microsoft Office do not run on Linux. This article seems to be a slam on Windows and Microsoft, and sounds like it was written by a Linux geek. Also, "Any corporation that refuses to serve open source software markets because there???s no money in it, when there is a measurable desire for that company???s software on open source platforms, is probably run by morons." If this statement is true, then probably all proprietary software companies are run by morons. We can't make such drastic generalizations.

DAW1
DAW1

I've been using Linux for years. I bought a copy of Windows for my daughter to play games. Windows has the most games available.

dryflies
dryflies

Nobody is perfect. not Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds, Edsker Dykstra, or me. I have issues with Patches on My Linux machines as well as on my Windows machines. And truthfully, issues arise at about the same rate for both. So all of theis Linux windows debate is a matter of preference, just like the ford chevy debate, or the debates about Dell HP and Lenovo. Anyone that asserts that anyone of the solutions is better overall is naive at best. there will be better solutions for specific situations make the evaluation and then the purchase or download and donation. but all the drivel about which is better is just that.

The Management consultant
The Management consultant

This article is too emotional to make a good economic argument. First understand that the software market globally is imperfect. Users cannot buy what they want at the price they want through the market system of arbitrage to determine price.So all users in the market will buy at the market price determined by their choices.Commercially engineered Monopolies in the software market are theft from the consumer.This forms a substitute market which is unofficially sponsored by MS to maintain penetration and industry standards software status.....so you were not aware of this?

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

The author basing his arguments on the frozenbyte study is doing a disservice to Microsoft because the author then takes the time to point out all Microsoft's failing as per his tainted view. From looking at was being offered, the offer of 3.71 was generous, from the microsoft users, games of that caliber can be obtained for free from the zune store, live games or xbox live websites. Maybe the Apple and Linux crowd were willing to pay more in proportion to the amount of games available for their OS's. Another thing a lot of the arguments are based on Win 98 and NT and are as old as Microsoft, his claims that the UAC is intrusive just tells me that the author is trying to install a lot of software that either doesn't identify a manufacturer or has taken the trouble to be certified by Microsoft. When Microsoft had poor security everyone complained and now that Microsoft has taken steps to make its OS more secure the linux crowd is complaining again. Linux has its own version of the UAC, when installing software it wants the user to confirm that there is root permission to install the software and requires the password. The Humble Frozenbyte experiment was interesting in that it raised $900,000 to the people running the study, was that money redistributed to the developers, or was it just another scam to get your credit card information. Tell me the answer to where the money went and how real are those statistics.

masonm
masonm

I have had similar conversations with people in the past. One of the things that strikes me as odd is the fact that you didn't bring up the possibility that Windows users pay less (when given the option of how much to pay) in part because they have to pay SO MUCH for Windows. Also, you also mentioned that a much higher percentage of Linux users were developers than Windows users, but you failed to explore that as a factor on how much they chose to pay. I can very easily see a developer placing more value in applications written by someone else since they "know" how much work goes into it. Especially given that the software bundle you referenced was all "Entertainment" software, I can see the average "non- developer" not placing as much value on that. A lot of people don't understand that games are often much more complex than "business apps". A developer would know that. Which brings me full circle... In the past I worked as an IT consultant for small businesses, and one of the things that struck me as odd was that they didn't have a problem paying a lot for Quick books, which was a core part of their business, but it really burned them up that Small Business Server cost so much... Don't take that the wrong way, SBS DID cost too much, in fact it was ridiculously over priced, BUT Quick Books was also ridiculously over priced. A lot of this comes down to perception. A small business owner can see a tangible value in Quick Books because they have to have it to run their business. They also HAVE to have SBS. To do the things they wanted, it wasn't an option. But since THEY didn't see that connection clearly, (even after I explained it to them) it was over priced in their mind. I think the results of "Pay what you want" experiment you referenced have a lot more to do with the sub-conscious knowledge all Linux users have that tells them "I got my OS for free, so I can afford to be 'generous' with other software." than some sort of inherent generosity. I am a Linux user myself, and I have used this exact logic more than once. I paid for VMware workstation, which is over priced, but I justified it in my mind because I was "saving" money on the OS. This allowed me to do the "Microsoft" stuff I HAD to, without running Windows as my primary OS. (And yes, I had a legal license for the XP VM I was running... I won a TechNet subscription at a Microsoft event :) All in all, I think it is an interesting discussion, but I think the ONE source of statistical data you referenced is too narrow to make any sort of broad conclusions. I do agree that Open Source advocates should not be labeled as "cheapskates" or "thieves". In fact, lets remember that MOST piracy occurs on the Windows platform. I realize that is in large part due to the fact that most software you would WANT to pirate runs in Windows, but it is true none the less.

jck
jck

GM telling customers that you can use their car, so long as you don't replace the engine or the fuel control computer or the battery. And that if you want to change them out, you have to call them and let them approve of it. I, for one, bought about 15 or so XP Pro x64 CDs w/keys. Those will last me until about 2015. In the meantime, I am content with running an "out-of-date" OS, or implementing a Linux distro and on occasion sending a donation. I still can't justify having spent money on Windows XP, and them wanting me to pay over $100 per computer to upgrade to Windows 7 to get the graphics enhancements and a few internal tools/services improvements (half of which I don't care to have or use). One of the reasons I like Linux. I can choose what the OS offers/does for me, and leave the fluff out.

apotheon
apotheon

What does that even mean? It doesn't seem to mean much in relation to the article.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

http://www.humblebundle.com/ On the project page, they provide a little bit more than the average but I don't see an obvious link towards raw data. That would actually be very intersting if they could anonymise and release it. From what is there though (much, if not all, also in the article here): avg $04.97 from total 183,219 units sold earning $910,237.69 avg $03.91 from Win users who made up 55% ~ 60% units sold (est) avg $06.42 from osX users who made up about 25% of units sold avg $11.82 from Linux based OS users who made up 20%~15% (est) Top 10 volunteered price points: 1 $2,222.22 2 $2,000.04 3 $2,000.03 4 $2,000.02 5 $2,000.01 6 $2,000.00 7 $1,500.00 8 $1,024.00 9 $650.00 10 $600.00 Wow, those are some huge amounts. yeah, the anonymised full list of units sold at what price would be interesting to play with.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

[q] the closed source users have already paid once for their software and paying again while a good thing has to reflect that they already paid for other programs that probably do much of the things this open source software does [/q] It's not about purchasing a program which does the same thing as an already purchased program. This was not paying less for a different image editing program because one has already paid for Adobe Photoshop. This was the purchase of a disk of video games. If one had already purchased those video games, they would not likely be buying the disk a second time. (maybe some do for donation purposes but then, they could just make a donation) It's also not about the video games purchased being developed under an open or closed source license. The games purchased where all under the same license regardless of what OS the consumer intended to run them on. In this case, it's simply about consumers intending to run the games on one OS volunteering a lower average than consumers intending to run the games on a second and third family of OS and why that may be. It's also about that the highest average price point actually came from consumers regularily derided as free-loaders, cheapscates and "pirates" due to the OS they happen to use. The reality is that users of the "free-loader's" OS are more likely to pay reasonable prices for software licenses and respect copyrights. ("pirates" in brackets because in actuality, the criminal offense meant would be copyright infringement. Actual piracy is what is going on around the coast of Simalia.)

apotheon
apotheon

> For whatever reasons, the Windows users chose to pay less for this game package. I do not see how the presented data supports your broad conclusions. It is more like a single piece of evidence. It supports the conclusions because that's what evidence does -- support conclusions. No, it's not definitive proof, but then, this isn't an exhaustively researched academic study, so . . . find something longer than an article at TR is likely to be if you want something . . . longer. > Excusing people's behavior because of the actions of a software company assumes people should take no responsibility for their choices. Who excused people's behavior because of the actions of a software company? > a broad claim that all "name your price" software will be purchased for a higher amount by open-source users. No. The article is full of equivocations, exceptions, and so on. It speaks of tendencies and appearances -- not ironclad predictions. The fact of the matter is that you read into the article, apparently to manufacture something with which you can disagree. This is what we call a "straw man fallacy"; you invented the argument, attributed it to the article, then argued against that. Let's re-examine something you said: > The data you use only supports the claim that Microsoft users who purchased this game package paid less than open-source users paid No, actually, it doesn't. See, "support" implies that one thing offers evidence consistent with another. In this case, that's not what happened. In this case, the data I used *is* the fact that Microsoft users paid less. That's tautology -- not support. When you try to limit "support" to tautological statements, you completely destroy the foundation of reasoned discussion. At that point, all you would allow us to say is stuff like "Red is red. MS Windows users use MS Windows. Cheapskates are cheap." In short, your fallacious argument is fallacious.

apotheon
apotheon

> I enjoy these discussion about which operating system is "best", especially since it is totally irrelevant. What matters is the applications. I encourage you to install GNU Hurd or CP/M on your next computer, then. The fact of the matter is that the OS does matter, and that's why I would choose FreeBSD over MS Windows Server 2008 for a Webserver, even though both of them will run Apache, PostgreSQL, and Ruby. > I have read of certain practices since Vista, allowing applications to write to the boot sector to prevent piracy, for example, that can corrupt a dual boot configuration, such as GRUB This is a great example of how the OS matters, and you said it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Nvidia serves the open source software market though it's by providing a closed source graphics driver. The driver works pretty well actually and installs easily across many major distributions. A number of Nvidia's own developers also put time into the open source nvidia driver; Nouveau. From what I know, AMD has also continued to provide driver development resources for the ATI graphics cards. LinDVD, from the makers of WinDVD, is also proprietary yet provided for the open source market. Actually, if I pop over to the Mandriva Powerpack website: Flash Fluendo DVD Reader Fluendo Codecs (without aac) Acrobat Reader Skype Opera VMWare player Should we also look at the list of applications from proprietary vendors which support use on Red Hat based servers? Being Red Hat, one could expect this list ot function just as wel on CentOS based systems. "This article seems to be a slam on Windows and Microsoft, and sounds like it was written by a Linux geek." BSD and infosec geek actually as he'll probably tell you himself. You can read some pretty harsh words about how some of the popular Linux based distributions are going in an article from last week or the week before if you like.

apotheon
apotheon

1. What you're saying is completely irrelevant to the article's subject matter. 2. Nothing in the article suggests anyone is perfect. Oh, wait, that's already covered by point 1 -- but I guess it deserves more explicit statement.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

offhand, what distro are you running into update issues with?

apotheon
apotheon

I'm not sure I see how anything you said in any way addresses what the article said.

jck
jck

[i]Users cannot buy what they want at the price they want through the market system of arbitrage to determine price.So all users in the market will buy at the market price determined by their choices.[/i] You need to add: ..., if they have the money...otherwise, they pirate it if they really need it. ;)

apotheon
apotheon

> Another thing a lot of the arguments are based on Win 98 and NT and are as old as Microsoft What arguments are those? I don't recall anything about Win98 or NT4.0 (since I suspect you don't mean more recent NT kernel OSes like XP and later). > his claims that the UAC is intrusive just tells me that the author is trying to install a lot of software that either doesn't identify a manufacturer or has taken the trouble to be certified by Microsoft. This tells me that you are evidently the only person in the world that doesn't appreciate good UI design. > When Microsoft had poor security It still does. > now that Microsoft has taken steps to make its OS more secure Unfortunately, those steps are mostly superficial and address only symptoms rather than underlying, fundamental, architectural issues in the design of the OS. There wouldn't be as many complaints about UAC if it worked as well as Microsoft wants us to think it does -- but the very fact that software can automatically deactivate UAC behind the scenes is a pretty clear indicator of how superficial a security measure Microsoft has created. > Linux has its own version of the UAC, when installing software it wants the user to confirm that there is root permission to install the software and requires the password. Uh . . . what? I have never seen a Linux "version of UAC". I can only assume you are talking about sudo, including the GUI front-ends for sudo. I have discussed the utter stupidity of using a "sudo for everything" security model in the past, as well as addressing the craptastic implementation of UAC, but sudo is still a better design than UAC because it is basically just syntactic sugar over an integral, architectural privilege separation system, where UAC is an attempt to retrofit an application level privilege separation "feature" onto a system whose architecture does not properly support privilege separation. > was that money redistributed to the developers, or was it just another scam to get your credit card information. Uh . . . what? Have you ever bought anything on the Internet, or are you completely new to this "e-commerce" thing?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Customers were given the option at the time of purchase to donate all or part of their contribution to the (Childs Play charity or the EFF. I suspect that which didn't go to either of those nonprofits went to the developers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There is probably some affect from the vested interests of alternative OS folks. These days games are published for the Windows/DirectX combination. Many folks would happily buy games for alternative OS if they where available. I'd personally love to have Dragon Age native under Debian. It would save me stopping everything I'm doing including background VMs just to reboot to Windows; which only really exists against hardware on my machine for running video games. I'm sure some of the affect your seeing is from gamers saying "hey, we have wallets and play video games too even if we don't us Windows primarily. Stop forcing the OS choice on us and we'll happily buy your games." Us non-MS gamers have money too. And usually more of it when not extorted for the Windows license fee. Nvidia, good job so far but polish up those drivers and deliver dual-header support like you do in the Windows driver. Game companies, ship *nix native games and put a little help into OpenGL and related frameworks to replace DirectX (on Windows as well as off) with something you can all benefit from; a truly cross-platform game framework.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

(couldn't resist. just finished the Battlestar Galactica remake)

kevlar700
kevlar700

At a computer expo (COMDEX) Bill gates compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000mi/gallon" GM addressed this by by releasing this statement. "Yes but would you want your car to crash twice a day" 2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car. 3. Occasionally, executing a manoeuver such as a left-turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, and you would have to reinstall the engine. 4. When your car died on the freeway for no reason, you would just accept this, restart and drive on. 5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought 'Car95' or 'CarNT', and then added more seats. 6. Apple would make a car powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five per cent of the roads. 7. Oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single 'general car default' warning light. 8. New seats would force every-one to have the same size butt. 9. The airbag would say 'Are you sure?' before going off. 10. Occasionally, for no reason, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed the radio antenna. 11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of road maps from Rand-McNally (a subsidiary of GM), even though they neither need them nor want them. Trying to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 per cent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department. 12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. 13. You would press the 'start' button to shut off the engine. 14. The Macintosh and Linux car owners would get expensive Microsoft upgrades to their cars, which would make their cars run much slower. p.s. I've never bought a windows license though my parents have who's company was also given! a copy by Microsoft, but I've donated to OpenBSD. Needing Windows actually makes me far less likely to buy Games and other software. I now prefer Gimp to Photoshop unless the odd plugin can't be ported, in which case I use photoshop for a couple of minutes. Forcing me to pay Microsoft when buying hardware, is in my book, theft.

blakelyjf
blakelyjf

Your article claims: "The end result is that MS Windows users are apparently the real cheapskates, while open source software users are easily the most generous, paying more than 200% what MS Windows users are willing to pay on average." That is a broad claim and is not stated in a way the was specific to the evidence. In regards to excusing people's behavior: "Microsoft???s business model may well encourage people to behave like thieving, freeloading, antisocial cheapskates." "Considering these conditions of use imposed on users by strictly enforced, draconian software licensing, it should be no surprise at all that many people who use MS Windows feel encouraged to infringe copyright by pirating the operating system. The software corporation often abuses its customers, making them feel persecuted when they try to abide by the rules imposed on them. Piracy, it seems, might feel like a very liberating experience by comparison; the simple act of giving up on adherence to arbitrary and unpleasant rules might provide a rush of relief to the harried customer." "Microsoft and other corporations using such business models effectively encourage people to behave like cheapskates, thieves, and freeloaders." Your last bullet point does temper these statements. You are correct when you say: "In this case, the data I used *is* the fact that Microsoft users paid less." My mistake. I agree with you that I should not expect in depth research in a TR article, I just had higher expectations from your other articles, which I enjoy. I do not care to disagree with you, and I did not challenge the claims of your article. I just *thought* you took liberties with the evidence provided.

skippe93
skippe93

I was referring in particular to large commercial software projects, e.g. AutoCad, Adobe CS, Microsoft Office, etc. Many of these products are not available on Linux. You are correct - many smaller utility-like programs are available on Linux. The flip side is that they are not all open-source (Acrobat Reader). What was the point of your comment about the writer being a BSD geek? I realize that Linux and BSD are different OS's, but the underlying concepts of both are similar, and they share striking similarities like shell commands for example. Your point does not change the anti-Microsoft slant of the article. Please understand that I am not endorsing Microsoft myself - I am merely pointing out that this article focused on bad aspects of Microsoft without providing the good aspects.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Many read but very few comprehend. ;) It's the curse of the current education system most are taught to read but very few ever comprehend what it is that they where reading. Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Copyright infringing product would be the secondary market unofficially supported to maintain market penetration. If MS actually did something effective to reduce infringement, they'd loose either profit margins or market share.

mpukey
mpukey

That's interesting. I didn't know that from the article (and did not go to their site.) I doubt that would have an effect on the relative generosity numbers, but I wonder if the charity element had an effect on the donations. I'd love to see if anyone has numbers from other donation-based-software sales.

James-SantaBarbara
James-SantaBarbara

Obviously if enough alternative OSers were willing to pay for the games for their OS they would be ported to their respective OS. And by the way where are all those supposed superior developers...oh maybe they are doing real work and don't have time for the fluff.

jck
jck

Yeah, I think that's kind of a rip too...hence, why I build my own computers. And it's been years now since I've had an issue with Linux not detecting a PC peripheral. And, I used to look at the side of a box to see if it said explicitly that it was Linux-compatible. That way, I could make sure it'd work either way. I've not bought a no-OS laptop yet. But, I have a feeling in the future I will be doing that since I never get high-end laptops that need state-of-the-art drivers for top-end hardware. (i.e.- i always buy cheap laptops lol) But, I'll end up probably using some of my Win XP x64 Pro CDs on laptops down the road, since I will have them and don't want them to just rot.

apotheon
apotheon

> My apologies for misinterpreting what you wrote. We all make mistakes. I made one once (I think). Usually, what matters most is what we do about them. Thanks for the measured response.

blakelyjf
blakelyjf

You seem much more certain in this claim, without the use of "apparently": "It should really come as no surprise that open source software users, on average, pay more than twice as much for software when given the option to pay whatever they feel like paying, given that their software choices treat them as equal partners" Reading your other statements more closely, I see your point. You never explicitly stated you were excusing any pirating behaviors. My apologies for misinterpreting what you wrote.

apotheon
apotheon

> "The end result is that MS Windows users are apparently the real cheapskates, while open source software users are easily the most generous, paying more than 200% what MS Windows users are willing to pay on average." > > That is a broad claim and is not stated in a way the was specific to the evidence. Actually, it is specific to the evidence, and uses the term "apparently" to equivocate -- in other words, to reinforce the fact that this is a localized conclusion prone to variance under other circumstances. This is a matter of reading comprehension that has apparently escaped you. > In regards to excusing people's behavior: If Microsoft's business model encourages people to do something, that doesn't mean they're excused for doing it. Once again, by claiming that the statement of how one person's behavior encourages another person's behavior also serves as an excuse for the other person's behavior, you are failing at reading comprehension. Your argument on the matter of whether anyone's behavior is excused is equivalent to this: "When you said that Bob insulted Jane, you were just excusing Jane's behavior when you said that it angered her. You shouldn't do that; Jane should not be excused for murdering Bob, his whole family, and his dog, then burning down Bob's house and urinating on the ashes." Nowhere in the statement that Bob insulted Jane, making her angry, would I be excusing Jane's behavior. > I agree with you that I should not expect in depth research in a TR article, I just had higher expectations from your other articles, which I enjoy. I do not care to disagree with you, and I did not challenge the claims of your article. I just *thought* you took liberties with the evidence provided. I'm glad you have enjoyed other articles of mine. I am not sure how you did so, though, when your manner of reading my articles is evidently prone to misinterpreting what I say so thoroughly, though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Virtualbox; it's not just for pentargets. Though, when you start doing entire virtualized networks the need for RAM becomes more apparent. (If anyone needs a rack slab in the HP DL360 or IBM x3650 range taken off there hands.. I know a guy who's looking. :D )

apotheon
apotheon

> AutoCad Yeah -- that company is run by morons. Autodesk actually used to offer AutoCAD on Unix-like systems, then dropped it just as the demand for it on such platforms was about to hit a significant upswing. > Adobe CS While Adobe itself doesn't produce a Linux-targeted version of its image editing software, Wine has been extended to provide support. > Microsoft Office MS Office has been supported by Wine (on BSD Unix, Linux-based systems, et cetera) for a really long time. > I realize that Linux and BSD are different OS's, but the underlying concepts of both are similar, and they share striking similarities like shell commands for example. This is an interesting statement -- one that I would not have made in this context. For one thing, development efforts for BSD Unix and Linux-based systems actually tend to operate on wildly divergent agendas, and many of the design principles are focused in very different directions. For instance: * The licensing policies of BSD Unix and Linux-based systems are distinctly incompatible, philosophically, and this influences distinctly different approaches to system design. * Cross-platform compatibility efforts in the Linux community are almost universally one-way, the same as compatibility efforts in the Microsoft offices at Redmond. They work to ensure things designed for other systems will work with Linux-based systems, but make absolutely no efforts at all in most cases to ensure what they produce will be compatible with non-Linux systems. There are exceptions (see Enlightenment, a GUI environment designed by a Linux-centric community that still manages to keep its development fairly independent of specific platform concerns), but they are not the rule (see XFCE, which is broken for anything that doesn't use the Linux kernel and certain subsystems that are popular on Linux systems and broken everywhere else). This seems to have something to do with the fact that many of the people in the Linux communities think of Linux as the center of the world -- or at least a co-center of the world, along with MS Windows. * Design stability is horribly lacking in the Linux world. See the migration from OSS to ALSA to OSS to . . . something else now, I think. By contrast, design stability is very important to the major BSD Unix communities. This results in *very* different OSes. * Close coupling between various pieces of popular software are becoming the norm. This is more of the same sort of BS as goes on with the GNU problem (see below). * The largely inextricable wedding of the Linux kernel with GNU core utilities, combined with the growing popularity and dominance of distributions following many of the same configuration decisions as the Ubuntu project, add up to a majority of the Linux community effectively abandoning the "small tools that do one thing well" Unix philosophy. While there are superficial similarities between Linux-based systems and BSD Unix systems, many of them are accidents of history rather than an intrinsic quality of them. The underlying concepts, contrary to your point, are very much not the same in most respects. For another thing, "they share striking similarities like shell commands" doesn't mean much to me. What exactly is a striking similarity here? Let's examine the shell situation: * The default shell for root on FreeBSD is sh. The default shell for the user on FreeBSD is tcsh. * The default shell on Linux-based systems in general is bash. * The default shell on MS Windows is cmd. Are you saying that there are "striking similarities" between the shells on BSD Unix and Linux-based systems because, unlike the default shell on MS Windows, they're generally useful whereas MS Windows' is generally useless? If so, it looks like you are actually taking the approach of a pretty strong anti-Microsoft slant, yourself. > I am merely pointing out that this article focused on bad aspects of Microsoft without providing the good aspects. Why should it? The focus of the article is on some statistics that show that Microsoft Windows users behave in a particular way, and on some business policies of Microsoft itself that contribute to that behavior -- which happen to be pretty bad aspects of Microsoft's way of doing things. Where in this is there any need to start singing Microsoft's praises? When I have something to say about a subject that casts Microsoft in a positive light, I'll say something positive about Microsoft. When I have something negative to say about a subject that casts Microsoft in a negative light, I'll say something negative about Microsoft. I don't feel a need to apologize for commenting on the facts as they are by offering counterbalancing statements about facts that are utterly irrelevant to the subject at hand. Do you?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

then, as you suggested originally. There are some big brand software products that dictate what OS you'll probably be running them on. When given no other choice, one does have to use the OS that the required tool runs on. however, your comment suggested "all proprietary" not some big title software applications. The previous string of comments also suggested proprietary companies providing products for use by the open source market; they didn't claim that the proprietary products provided had to also be under an open source license. "What was the point of your comment about the writer being a BSD geek?" You suggested that the writer was a Linux geek. I simply clarified that the writer is actually a BSD geek and tends to be pretty critical of Linux based distributions. Similarities between Unix like OS are really not relevant to my comment. My comment also wasn't meant to justify the criticisms leveled against how Microsoft does business (though I do notice that no one has shown them to be factually inaccurate). "Please understand that I am not endorsing Microsoft myself - I am merely pointing out that this article focused on bad aspects of Microsoft without providing the good aspects." No arguments here. The article topic was a comparison of the "pay what you want" results and what affects may have lead to those results. I'm not really sure what positive Microsoft attributes would support the results that Windows users paid the least on average when given the choice. I know from my own experience that after paying the cost of a Microsoft license, I'll not be in a position to purchase hardware or games until budgets recover. I mean, an OS that costs twice as much as the game which requires it to run. Twice the price of the program I want to interact with just to get a "rent" the hardware abstraction layer (OS) that sits between the two. For my part, I'm having a lot of fun playing with a lab network of MS systems too thanks to some professional benefits. I may actually have to start planning a hardware upgrade just to support the resource demands of multiple Win servers and clients as I'm finally maxing out my current hardware. (I hear that normal people grow flowers or tend hobby gardens. :D )

apotheon
apotheon

It seems, subjectively speaking, to be a problem that worsens over time. I think Twitter is a symptom.

apotheon
apotheon

> Obviously if enough alternative OSers were willing to pay for the games for their OS they would be ported to their respective OS. When you keep telling millions of potential users "We don't want your business," you're going to have a very difficult time getting them to give you any money. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. > And by the way where are all those supposed superior developers...oh maybe they are doing real work and don't have time for the fluff. They're designing operating systems, distributed version control systems, browsers, clustering systems, spam filters, and Web applications, among other things -- so yeah, all those superior developers in the open source community are busy doing real work.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Obviously if enough alternative OSers were willing to pay for the games for their OS they would be ported to their respective OS." That could have led to an actual productive discussion of the chicken and egg problem. How do alternative OS gamers demonstrate through purchases that there is a market in absense of a product for purchase? How might the market show game manufacturers that it's worth producing games when the only metrics game development houses look at are retail supply chain figures which do not provide a remotely accurate account of alternative OS use? "And by the way where are all those supposed superior developers...oh maybe they are doing real work and don't have time for the fluff. " But then, you had to go and ruin it with this close minded BS that clearly displays your own lack of knowledge about the subject matter and, probably being your actual intent, shuts down the possability of productive discussion. Well done sir. You have a good day now.

apotheon
apotheon

The closest I've gotten to installing an open source OS on a touchscreen is a Wacom tablet laptop -- a ThinkPad T60, to be precise. It was one of the stylus tablets, though, and not a touchscreen.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll let you know how it goes on this side. I did spot someone doing a large screen tablet with a Debian or Ubuntu OS on it a while back on linuxdevices. If I could track down those and confirm that they worked with Debian it'd fit my needs. A tablet mounted into a kiosk could be a nice alternative to a monitor and seporate chassi mounted into a kiosk. The touch interface is really the only outstanding function.

jck
jck

In touch screen, I'll be looking into the next-gen Android stuff...AsusTek is supposed to be coming out with a tablet/phone hybrid. The 7" Tablets are a bit too large, and the 3.2-4.3" smartphones are a bit small. If I do go to buy a laptop in the future and it has touchscreen, I'll let you know and try to do a dual-boot...or if I read any info, I'll get you a link. :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm on the hunt for a good touchscreen that's supported well under Xorg. I've looked at two desktop monitors with touch surfaces so far with little luck. One being the Asus EeePC under two seporate howto (screen vendor's drivers under Debian and Ubuntu 10.04 and a generic driver in Xorg) with no luck. grr.. a touchscreen shouldn't be this complicated. Why don't they just deliver a screen that represents itself to the harware as a mouse instead of having to ship these one-off crap implementations. Anyhow, if you've mucked with desktop sized touchscreens or see something optimistic in passing I'd love to hear about it.