Humble Indie Bundle
I thought I would point out some DRM-free games for those who want them. The company has released some code under the GPL. 2nd link has more details.
It seems like a great deal, but unfortunately, several of these games are unlikely to work in fully free environment.
Psychonauts use some textures that are unsupported by Intel graphicscards, Super Meat Boy may not work with Intel cards as well, Amnesia might also have some issues running on Intel cards.
That is too bad.
Is this an issue that will be resolved going forward with newer Intel graphics cards? Or are they using nVidia / ATI dependent graphics features?
It seems that at least one of the games uses features uncompatible with Intel graphics cards: Psychonauts. They literally say, "Note: Psychonauts uses s3tc textures which are not supported by Intel integrated graphics".
Maybe if enough people will email the developers about it, they will release patches or at least not do such mistakes in the future.
I think that is a good idea. Maybe this is something that could be patched out. It also sounds like something that might be supported in a future Intel graphics chipset to me.
Whether they are free software or not, you do have to admit that it is rewarding to see so many GNU/Linux users spending money to buy software whether through the Indie Bundle page or Ubuntu Software Center. In some situations, they are paying more than Windows and Mac users and people get to set their price!
Whenever you have success stories like this, I opens up the eyes of the big publishers to give the ecosystem a chance and improve the commercial image of the GNU/Linux distros. To many companies, it is still viewed as a "we want everything for free and we want our GPL licenses to infect everything it touches forcing us to release software that lessons our competitive advantage" attitude.
To quote from the horse's bearded mouth about Steam: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/nonfree-drmd-games-on-gnu-linux-good-or-bad
"I suppose that availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system."
Well, GNU/Linux users may very well pay more for the same product but you have to admit that the Windows and Mac users are having far better alternatives for gaming and that the humblebundle data is irrelevant in relation to the gaming ecosystem.
However, I must admit that the fact that the GNU/Linux users are willing to pay for games is sending a good signal to game developers, be that libre or not; I believe the road from Linux to GNU/Linux(libre) is shorter than the road from Windows/Mac to GNU/Linux(libre).
I think for a lot of "power users" the only thing really holding them
back from switching to Linux is that they don't want to lose gaming, or
lose performance by running it in a VM or mess around with dual booting.
I'm sure there are a lot of apps people would be willing to either pay
for up front in Linux, or pay as they use it over time. It's the model
of "Donate to Author" or "Donate to Project" featured prominently
somewhere, and would be a welcomed addition to free software downloads.
There are certain tools I use every day that if there were a simple
"Donate" button available somewhere that's linked to a secure
transaction site, I might press it two or three times a week and send
off a dollar each time because that tool just made my life easier, did
some fantastic job for me, or whatever. Rather than paying $120 up
front, I might pay out $120 over the lifetime of me using the app.
I'm sure I'm not alone on this. RMS has mentioned something similar in
several speeches for sending an artist/group money for free downloadable
Rick C. Hodgin
> you have to admit that the Windows and Mac users are having far better
> alternatives for gaming and that the humblebundle data is irrelevant
> in relation to the gaming ecosystem.
> However, I must admit that the fact that the GNU/Linux users are
> willing to pay for games is sending a good signal to game developers,
> be that libre or not; I believe the road from Linux to
> GNU/Linux(libre) is shorter than the road from Windows/Mac to
t3g: stop taking stuff out of context to create controversy where there is none or put words in peoples mouths which discredit them.
"I suppose that availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system."
Without reading the article I can already see this is taken out of context. That makes it misleading. The last I spoke with Stallman he was saying non-free software for GNU/Linux is bad for freedom. While the above statement may be a quote from him it doesn't lead to say he supports or otherwise encourages non-free software or is in any way thinks it is good for freedom or GNU/Linux.
If non-free software were ever acceptable Trisquel, the FSF, etc would not be removing it (at least under some circumstances).
There is a licensing situation where GPL is not always the best license. Not everything should be released under the GPL. However that doesn't mean it is OK to release it under a non-free license.
The quote I gave about RMS was regarding paying a certain dollar amount
periodically to developers while using software, or to an artist / group
while listening to music. A button available on the player itself that
says "Donate $1" that can be pressed when the music is really moving
you, for example. Or a link on the help menu that allows you to click
"Donate $1" when you have just done something awesome and you want to
give a little back.
As far as non-free software goes, RMS is always exceedingly clear on
that. He believes categorically that non-free software only harms
everybody continually. And he's right.
That being said, we live in society. There are very few people who
truly realize any aspects of Stallman's arguments. The number is
growing, but I'd wager it's below 0.1% of all software users, Windows,
Mac and *nux. It's just not something people care about.
The benefits of having free software (Linux, GNU, other free software)
are today totally lost on all of those people who will not approach
GNU/Linux, FreeBSD or other similar system, simply because of the
reputation it has with no games, no "cool apps", etc. Gaming could
bring people over. They'd begin to hear the message of free software.
And, as Stallman says, some of those people will understand it and be
moved to make a change in their computing lives as well.
I believe in free software unreservedly. I see the harm non-free
software does every day. Enough that there is not a single person with
whom I'm acquainted that hasn't heard me discuss it whenever we spend
more than 2 minutes together socially. But I also need to be able to
use my tools effectively. I need things to be able to do a job. I have
to have features which work or else my hands are tied.
The same is true for 99.9% or more of computer users out there. They
won't take the time to learn Linux or other free software system because
it requires energy, their time, going through hassles and difficulties,
retraining their way of thinking, etc. It's a huge curve for most people.
Having awesome games running on Linux might take some of the edge off
that, allow them to tolerate a little of the hardship, and increase the
It's also something regular Linux users have wanted for years. There
are many, for example, which keep Windows partitions around just for
gaming. With properly ported games, that would no longer be required
The day of Linux (and I pray the HURD) is coming. The age of free
software will have its time in the limelight simply because you cannot
innovate as even a large corporation as quickly as you can with free
software efforts. Linux is sustaining nearly 7 changes per hour,
24/7/365. It's around 10K lines of code added or changed each day. No
single company (even Microsoft or Google) can maintain that rate of
change continually, 24/7. There are just too many people contributing
to the Linux kernel now to pass it by.
This is also why I pray the HURD gets some funding (not monetarily, but
capital nonetheless -- time, effort, energies, resources from people)
and is completed, because it needs to be completed on a GPLv3 kernel,
with itself being moved from GPLv2 to v3. And if not, then a GNU
replacement needs to be created, so the GNU Operating System can truly
If I could find a way to eat where I only devoted 3-4 hours per day of
doing actual, physical work for my daily job, I would devote the rest of
my workday time to finishing that kernel/OS.
In any event... some of my opinions and ramblings. Please feel free to
Rick C. Hodgin
> spoke with Stallman he was saying non-free software for GNU/Linux is
> bad for freedom. While the above statement may be a quote from him it
> doesn't lead to say he supports or otherwise encourages non-free
> software or is in any way good for freedom or GNU/Linux.
> This is different from the licensing issue. Not everything should be
> released under the GPL. However that doesn't mean it is OK to release
> it under a non-free license.
You do admit that the majority of GNU/Linux based distros like Fedora and Ubuntu are pretty much like 95% free software with the exceptions being firmware in the kernel and the option to install nonfree. I say option because the last time I installed Ubuntu, the restricted, multiverse, and Canonical parters repos were not enabled by default.
With that in mind in the day and age of hopefully switching Windows users to GNU/Linux around the time of Windows 8, can't we use the allure of some software like Steam games to help the push? I'm expecting a big consumer backlash when 8 comes out and people will either stick with 7 or look for alternatives.
Or you just don't care. Linux based distros will continue to be niche in a dying desktop and laptop market as people move to smartphones and tablets. Something has to be done to protect users from Apple and Microsoft even if Ubuntu is 95% free software.
I'd love to discuss this although it's not at all productive in any way and I really don't have the time. Check out a GNU/Linux conference I'm attending some time and I'd be more than happy to discuss it while I'm a little more free to relax.
Pretty sure restricted and universe (but not partner) are enabled by default in Ubuntu now. They also overtly push proprietary software (theirs and others') on their users. That's the main issue with Ubuntu. Debian hosts a non-free repo but doesn't really encourage its users to use it.
I'm actually kind of surprised they weren't before. In any case the old policy then I think was better. If they were going to improve upon it (make it easier) they should have fixed the bugs which existed after a fresh install or where the distro was terribly out of date (updates) and the user attempted to install a non-free program. Then they could even hide or minimise the non-free software by default without as much criticism.
I would like to know what non-free software Ubuntu is releasing (and developing). That puts a real damper on any light that shown through before. It's one more reason not to use the distribution if you care at all about freedom.
They really push their "cloud storage service" Ubuntu One. The client is GPL but the actual server code is proprietary with no signs of being liberated.
On the enterprise side, "Landscape" is their proprietary service for centralized management of Ubuntu systems.
I'm not so sure the server code being proprietary is much of an issue since they aren't distributing that to others. What matters is it complies with a free standard for compatibility and therefore supportable by others should people be so inclined to develop competing compatible services.
This isn't to say though that end-users relying on a service for which one can't move away isn't bad. It is. I wouldn't use Canonical's services as an end-user. At least not unless I could get my data off it and onto a competing service should the need arise.
That they don't release the code here doesn't matter. It isn't in violation of the four freedoms. Users aren't running the code.
And while we are running free software at ThinkPenguin.com (Drupal, Ubercart, and others) on the server there isn't any obligations for us to release changes we make back to the originating projects. Certain changes certainly are in our best interest to release back though. Why maintain code that you don't have to? It simply costs time and money to do so. What this all boils down to is we are the end user for this software. It's not our customers who are the end user.
That is the free software position as far as I understand it.
The "Landscape" software for the enterprise always seemed like a bad move to me. My understanding of Landscape is they license the software under a non-free license and don't release the source code to customers who are using that software. At the time that move did make me think "why are you going to distance yourself from your customers"? As much as we are focused on less technical users we aren't going to go out of our way to distance ourselves from the people pushing our product.
They don't release the source code because they would lose the competitive advantage because an employee of the company they service could easily get the source code and attempt to run and manage it themselves wtihout Canonical's help. Canonical makes its money off of selling service packages and not the actual OS as we all know.
That is why some say that you cannot realistically make money developing GPL licensed code. Why would you pay for something when you can get the exact same source code for free? Yes, I am aware that some people make money from custom software and donations, but a company that makes money from developing software will more often than not keep the code locked down.
Its cute to make little to no money when you are living at home or a student at a university developing code. Its when the costs of living and raising a family kick in and priorities change quickly. That is of course if you want to make a living being a software developer for which RMS has said that it is unethical and we are all better suited being factory workers in his non capitalistic viewpoints. That statement was taken from his Linux Action Show interview.
This year Red Hat makes 1.13 *billion* dollar of revenue with the model you say one "cannot realistically make money" with. Isn't that "cute"?
Seriously: can't you understand why some Trisquel users say you are a troll?
Red Hat is the exception to the rule with that type of income in that industry. I'm not saying it is right or anything, but it is nothing compared to the annual income of companies like Apple and Microsoft with their software model. I can understand Canonical's push for services as they have bills to pay themselves in their London office. Shuttleworth cannot be funding it forever.
It may be wrong... it may be unethical but hate it or not that is how some things are. Some people hate abortion and high taxes and reliance on fossil fuels. Sad thing they will still be there and people will still push for their approval or not. Its just that many things are ruled by money and lobbyists and even "standards" like Office Open XML are only standards because Microsoft put the money towards it.
Just think about it... compare 1 billion dollars for an entire company in annual income to the 28 billion or so dollars that Facebook founder got personally. I'm still baffled how that company can be worth what it is when they don't even sell anything and offer a "service" to people. I guess the selling of personal information you collect on your users is the hot thing now.
The big debate is what "freedom" is when trying to distribute software and how to make money from it. The GPL version of freedom is more of the freedom of the user and not always the creator because the definition of what freedom is is defined by the FSF's personal opinions. The creator still gets credit for his work but then restrictions on those he chooses to share it with start to arise when they want to statically or dynamically link to it.
Freedom for a company may be in a BSD or MIT/X11 license where they can make freely available code and have the choice to distribute source if they want. They can also have the option to not distribute the source code due to company secrets, a competitive advantage, or the shareholders do not want it in the open.
True freedom isn't forcing people to follow your personal rules or making software infect the others. Just put it out there for the greater good and hope that people find it useful. If they want to bundle it with their free or proprietary software and your free software library helped people on a greater scale, then more power to it. Heck, you may even get corporations contribute code back in your BSD licensed code because their lawyers were scared by GPL or LGPL code..
I'd take "freedom for a user" over "freedom for a company" any day because I am not a company, and I'd wager that most people in this community are not companies either.
Also the GPL doesn't force anyone to do anything. The distributor of GPL code willfully accepts the GPL when they distribute it. The GPL grants the user the right to distribute, which is not something the user would ordinarily have. The GPL does not take anything away, although the rights it does grant are conditional on downstream being granted the same rights. The only people (and/or companies) that have issues with the GPL are those who like to take but don't like to give. Hasn't it occurred to you that some of us actually like giving back?
Claiming that you somehow own the right to a combined work you created with others' code is somewhat like me taking a chapter out of someone's book, write a chapter myself after it, and claim that this is somehow a book I created. Copyright laws would forbid me from doing this, because part of this work is not my creation. Ballyhooing about how the GPL "tells you what to do with your work" is nonsensical because if you're using GPL code (willingly, I again add) it's not completely your work. Part of it is someone else's, and is bound by that author's license, which is GPL.
By the way, if you're trying to convince people you're not a troll, using Steve Ballmer's tired old virus analogy isn't going to help.
1. I know people are not companies. Companies are comprised of people working for them and supply paychecks for the majority of people who live in a society. They build a product that is unique and therefore people buy it from them because their product is better or one they cannot get from the competition due to having the "secret recipe."
2. You use the comparison about contributing work and one person or entity taking credit for it. When you work for a company, the output is the property of that company and when that product is out in the open, the product is something like "Megacode by Microsoft" instead of "Megacode by John Smith, coder at Microsoft". I know this kinda of mentality irks the worker with his boss and his parent company taking credit for it, but that is the reality. Have a problem with it? Start your own company or be a part of an open source community asking for donations.
3. I've never read or listened to any of Steve Ballmer's speeches or interviews, so I have no clue what you are referencing. The "viral" aspect of the GPL is well documented on how code linking to it must be GPL or how a permissive license like MIT is ok because they are essentially converting the code to GPL. Much like how Apache 2.0 code can be in GPLv3 but not the other way around due to the forced license change.
Don't get me wrong... GPL is great for the guy that wants to create community software that is non commercial and is just fine with that. Or you may be the person who wants to create a software library under the LGPL or BSD and get the greatest reach possible.
Re. #2: I wasn't referring to that. I was referring to the idea of a developer building their work on top of publicly available free codebases.
The NOTICE file in Apache 2.0 projects is nice because it is an easy way to give credit to libraries and their developers. A benefit too is that it cannot be removed if someone modifies your code and distributes it.
My only setback is that it isn't GPL v2 compatible and there is a lot of v2 code out there.
I now have to agree with other members of this forum: you are a troll.
You keep on making plain wrong statements and when we show you that they are wrong (with references), you make some more.
- Red Hat is *not* an exception: the support market for free software is the most thriving market today's IT industry. You can find many economical studies quantifying that. Most of the companies in this market are small and local, which is good in my opinion. Nevertheless, there are mega-corporations as well that make much money with free software too: take a look at the contributors of the Linux kernel; try to find support for an Apache server with a MySQL database; do you code in Java/Python/Ruby/etc.?; etc.
- The GPL license does not force anyone to redistribute anything (modified or not). The authors of the software have not been forced to distribute their code under this license either. If you value their rights, why do you complain that you cannot take their work and make it evil (i.e., proprietary)?
- The freedom definition used by the FSF is that of the dictionary:
1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
In the domain we are interested in, that means the user is in control.
- Your argumentation does not make any sense. You do not seem to see any ethical problem with developing free software but the GPL is not free enough to you?! Seriously, can you explain in what way a proprietary license grants more freedom than the GPL?
> at a university developing code. Its when the costs of living and raising a
> family kick in and priorities change quickly. That is of course if you want
> to make a living being a software developer for which RMS has said that it is
> unethical and we are all better suited being factory workers in his non
> capitalistic viewpoints. That statement was taken from his Linux Action Show
The following is my personal opinion: Costs of living are not an
argument for mantaining unethical jobs. Those jobs are an error of the
system. But here you have a more capitalistic idea: If free software is
doing most of the work, just being developed by people without needs as
you say, or at any case, it will remains always cheaper because of the
lack of need of writing everything again, why should those evil
companies be paid for making propietary software?
But this is the Trisquel forum, and no matter which is the opinion of
every of us, wrong of good. We believe in free software. I don't
understand your ideas here far from being a troll.
> since they aren't distributing that to others.
It concerns me in the areas of a BI (Business Intelligence) layer
running on top, meaning what data are they able to mine from my data by
running software designed to mine data from my data?
I don't trust Google or Microsoft or Amazon to host my unencrypted cloud
data. Why would I trust Ubuntu? How are they any different?
In all honesty, seeing their source code in this case wouldn't make me
trust them any more than not seeing their source code because there's no
guarantee that's the ONLY code they're running on THEIR servers. Any
additional BI layer on top is dangerous and is reason enough for me to
never host data there, unless it's totally encrypted and inaccessible to
them (or me) without a very, very lengthy key.
Hosting cloud services for anybody outside of a condition where the
hosting service/company literally has no possible way to access the data
(because they have never seen, nor maintain, nor do anything with the
encryption keys in use) is a threat. People, at least, need to be aware
of what they're signing up for.
And it's this very condition that totally and completely scares me about
Microsoft's Windows Azure operating system. And nobody seems to pick up
on or care about this reality. But it goes like this:
I/My company/my employees, spend however many dollars developing
software to handle my customer's business needs. I write the code, debug
the apps, produce the reports, design user interfaces, coordinate
communication, setup services, etc., and then I put everything I've
developed on a machine hosted by Microsoft, running my software, to
house all my customer's data as well (to be stored by Microsoft, on
their hard drives, inside their networks)...
...and nobody sees a problem with this!? You do realize Microsoft now
owns my software (and likely my source code, but if not most if not all
of it can be re-engineered because it's running on a Microsoft-owned set
of compilers running on a Microsoft-owned virtual machine) AND data...?
This means Microsoft can not only see how my program is constructed and
how I've possibly developed some new way of doing business, but they now
also have all of my customer's data as well. What companies are they
doing business with? What are they engaging in? What's being bought /
sold? In real-time. How can this information be used?
In 2009, Microsoft referred to Windows Azure as THE operating system for
the next 50 years. Which Microsoft operating system have you seen be
any kind of OS that's lasted more than a few years? Things are
constantly evolving. And now Azure is to be this product for 50 years?
The only reason such a thing is possible is because there's a different
reason (than simply selling operating systems and related services) at
work driving them in some direction. And it is this:
Nothing will ever be forgotten any longer. No packet of data will ever
be lost. The age of forgetting anything is over. As such, Microsoft
can, from an invisible location well behind the outward boundaries
presented to Azure users as a service and data, one which is in no way
disruptive to the services paying customers expect to see from Azure,
repeatedly scan everything, analyze everything, run queries and data
mining algorithms on everything, on my application, my customer data,
again and again until they get it right and find something useful.
If it can't be understood this week, it might be next week. It can be
analyzed again. And when those new algorithms are discovered and they
can go back in and examine what they couldn't understand before, they
obtain new data providing additional information to be used for only one
purpose: to categorize, flag or identifying me, my customers, my
abilities, my interests, my friends, my affiliations, to put a label on
me in some way.
Why would I want that? Especially when it can be done from a tireless
machine that generates numbers continually on everybody everywhere.
And, right, wrong or indifferent in their set of conclusions, how is it
a good thing?
It's scary. It's not just about me in this case, about me losing source
code, but now it's affecting not only the company's I work for, but
affords the ability to examine things across business boundaries in ways
that simply aren't possible unless you house all of the program code,
and data, on a set of servers centrally accessible by Azure.
And I don't trust to be different Amazon, Ubuntu, or any other entity
not offering completely hands-off services (where they literally cannot
access and don't know the encryption/decryption keys, but simply store
the encrypted data I send them, for me to retrieve it on demand).
Not having free software is the most dangerous thing to humanity ever.
It affords opportunities like Azure to exist, even Ubuntu to exist. And
people will not take the time required to step back and philosophically
analyze the ramifications of some of the choices they make, but instead
will (to them) simply be grabbing a tool to use, and the entities in
place to wield their power (power of hardware and software in these
"tool" areas) will do so without having proper motives in mind. They
will do so to garner information, gather data, connect the dots, not to
provide a service.
People need to wake up to what's happening.
I don't believe it can be stopped because this very scenario is
described in the Bible regarding the end times and one-world financial
system, the mark of the beast where nobody on Earth can buy or sell
anything unless they receive the mark. So it's inevitable, it has been
foretold, such a system IS coming, and it's going to be everywhere, in
everybody's home, in everybody's car, on everybody's person, at
everybody's cubicle / workspace. It cannot be stopped.
But for those who will be saved from this evil, they need to know about it.
> therefore supportable by others should they be so inclined to develop
> there own compatible services. It's not your hardware. It's
> Canonicals. It would be like us publishing the code to our web site.
> While it may be of little value to others it's only where that code is
> exists. This isn't to say though that relying on a service for which
> you can't move away from isn't bad. It is. I wouldn't use Canonical's
> services as a user unless I could move away form it should I ever need
> to. That they don't release the code here though doesn't seem unusual
> or in violation of the four freedoms since the users aren't running
> that code. And while we are running free software
> (ThinkPenguin.com)there aren't any obligations for us to release any
> changes we make to it unless we distribute it. We aren't. We are the
> end user not our customers.
> That is the free software position as far as I understand it.
> The "Landscape" software for the enterprise always seemed like a bad
> move to me. At the time that move did make me think "why are you going
> to distance yourself from your customers"? As much as we are focused
> on less technical users we aren't going to go out of our way to
> distance ourselves from the people pushing our product.
I urge everybody to watch these videos by Eben Moglen. They will/may
open your eyes to what's going on here with non-free software and
re:publica 2012 - Why freedom of thought requires free media, and why
free media requires free technology:
Innovation Under Austerity:
Also this shorter interview by yasssu taken in Berlin:
Rick C. Hodgin
There are certainly reasons not to use a third party to host your data. I think if you are going to use a third party the software should be free and encrypting and the software should be encrypting it prior to placement on the host in a transparent manor. And not just SSL. Transport isn't the issue. It should be protected from scrutiny from all who have "access" to it (other than you).
As far as making money from free software I can say that you can make money from free software. A really really really rough estimate of its potential with current desktop GNU/Linux users today is 24 million dollars. That is based on a zero increase in new users.
This is based on selling computers, accessories, and other similar services to desktop end-users. That doesn't take into consideration catering to businesses users and other companies. This is based on supporting the top 10 largest distributions.
You can argue this number is tiny and I wouldn't disagree. The thing is there is not a single company (besides) us which is really taking advantage of this market opportunity and the growth potential beyond that 24 million is huge. You have to consider that once you get to a certain point you can actually take advantage of the economics to scale and compete with the monopolies.
There is no reason desktop GNU/Linux can't compete with Microsoft, Apple, and Google's offerings.
A billion dollars isn't much when you are comparing to Microsoft, Apple, and Google. I can see what t3g is implying although don't agree with his assessment that Redhat is the exception. Redhat is simply one of the few companies making money exclusively off (even though they are distributing a limited amount of non-free third party software) development of free software. However everybody starts somewhere and Rehdat isn't the only company profiting from the development they do in relation to free software.
Anothing thing to consider is Redhat is a very young company. Apple, Microsoft, and at least IBM are much much older. Even Google is a recent entity into the major league. The company was only founded in 1998. Redhat was founded a bit earlier in 1993 although has entrenched competition in some of its potential markets. Comparatively though here are the dates of each:
Rehat made the right business decision around 1998. It wasn't so much the potential wasn't there for desktop GNU/Linux. The issue was the resources available and the return on the potential speed of the return on the investment. As much as I disliked it the money was much better spent elsewhere. The return on the investment in the future though is huge. Currently they still develop a huge amount of desktop software too.
Ubuntu may not succeed and I'd argue 10.04 was it's height of success. It will be downhill from here. What we need to do is focus on a grass roots not for profit development approach. We need Trisquel to become the Debian of GNU/Linux on the desktop.
It is amazing that we have seen so many companies put so much into the development of desktop GNU/Linux for so long. Company after company has failed. Why would anyone start another company and attempt to compete with Microsoft on the desktop? I sadly see each company repeat (and each distribution) the same mistakes again and again. I think there was one company that had a successful business model for the desktop. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately- they weren't well loved by GNU/Linux users and especially not by free software users). They don't exist now and other factors led to its downfall.
If all goes well I'm hoping to see ThinkPenguin up in that list :) in the near future. It's more than doable. It's happening. Slowly. But it's happening. At some point things will just "take off".
If I released the revenues from quarter 3 and 4 of 2011 and you knew what factors pushed up the revenue and by how much you'd be shocked. Continuing down the road we are travelling the future is looking awesome! We will be in a position to make a huge difference before you know it and I'd argue we already have made a huge difference. We aren't to that tipping point yet although we are getting there. Every sale still makes a difference. You will probably have to wait a few more years to really see the results show although it's whats happening right now that is pushing us to that tipping point :). Redhat is big now, ThinkPenguin's going to be bigger!
Sorry to revive an old thread, but since the Humble Indie Bundle was a success on Linux, it has shown other big companies that people are willing to pay for software. As a result, we may see a Unity 3D plugin come out which I have talked about earlier being a thorn in my side with kids websites:
"Linux is something we’ve had a lot of questions about from the indie community, and the Humble Indie Bundle has showed that there’s a business on Linux. So we’re trying to commercialise on something we’ve been working on for a long time internally – we actually had some of our engineers kind of doing it in their spare time and on weekends.
We’ll be the first mass market engine to support Linux, and it’s not the biggest user-base, but it’s a very passionate group of people that are willing to pay, they’re smart, and they really love the platform."