Supporting Free Software?

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

PJ@groklaw on SuSE 10.0:

You can download for the cost of your blank CDs, or you can purchase it for $59.95 if you are in the US, and you can buy online. I will probably do both, after reading the two reviews. I can’t wait, so I’ll download it, and then I will buy also, so that I can support wonderful FOSS software and because you get extras, like documentation in a book, which is good if you ever can’t get online.

I’ve seen this argument before “Buy distribution of GNU/Linux and support free software programmers”. The only problem I have with it is that it is incorrect.

Buying GNU/Linux distributions helps the vendors who created it, certainly, and may indirectly help pay for some free software in the sense that the vendors might ship free software they wrote (e.g. SuSE’s Yast{2]).

However plonking down real cash-money for a boxed set of SuSE gives no money to the people who created MySQL, no money to the people who created Firefox, no money to the people who created Emacs, Vim, Bash, and Catan/Pioneers, etc.

So supporting free software distributors? Great! But to reward actual free software programmers? Go buy them a wishlist item, give them some cash, throw them a postcard, send them an email…

Or not. As the case may be.

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