Would You Pay to Play Linux?

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 23, 2013

Some colleagues of mine are asking users if they would pay for Linux. Given that folks pay for Windows and Mac, why wouldn't they pay for Linux? Some of the answers so far are quite interesting. Perhaps they're not as you'd expect.

Linux users are known, among other things, as being cheapskates. That was the excuse many larger gaming houses cited as why they quit porting to Linux. Some distribution leaders find the exact opposite. Besides all the business sponsors, Linux Mint rakes in over $5,000 a month in user donations. Many others have donation buttons and some raise respectable numbers. Certain software makers have raised some decent funds from Linux users, like the Humble Indie Bundles. But as a general rule of thumb, Linux users ain't paying for shift.

Case in point: Alastair commented at TuxRadar to the Open Ballot question, "Would you pay for Linux?" He said, "There is absolutely no way I would pay for something that is open source." He did add, "That's not to say I wouldn't pay for a rebuilt binary or for support though." However, his thesis is clear, No Way, Jose. Darktux said he doesn't think having a sticker price on each distribution is the answer and theorizes it might hamper free development. Another said he would be glad to pay if it came pre-installed, but heiowge said, "I don't pay. Ever."

Of course any Internet question brings out the philosophizers. There were quite a number that put qualifications on their willingness to pay while some others stoked their beards over the corruption of money. Mr Penguin said he doesn't think paying for it is the question. He wonders how the money would be distributed and says he would like a portion to go to developers and certain upstream project. However, Trevor thinks perhaps we should be paying for packages as well as the distributions.

Most everyone else either said yes, of course, pay for distributions if possible and many others said they buy software and donate to Linux and software projects often. But what about you? Would you pay cold hard cash for your favorite Linux flavor? Go join the conversation and perhaps your answer will be featured in the next TuxRadar Podcast.