Roy Schestowitz came up with this when s/he headbutted the keyboard a moment
ago in comp.os.linux.advocacy:
> The Twisted Definition of Open Source
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Just Because its Free Does Not Mean it Can't be Sold. One
> | of the problems that I have come across within the open
> | source community is that a sizable group of users seem to
> | believe that open source has to be completely free to the
> | end user. Folks, this is simply not true. And I think that
> | rereading the licensing agreement for open source software
> | titles may be just what the doctor orders to remedy the problem.
> | [...]
> | As I wrap up this piece, I would like to point out that
> | I'm not at all saying that we ought to be selling software
> | in an effort to get rich. Rather, by selling open source
> | software in attractive packaging, we can begin to appeal
> | to the big box store fan base. To some, this may seem like
> | an unneeded turn to take. But if we would like to see a
> | wider adoption rate, we need to make some concessions just
> | so long as we are not working against the efforts of the
> | open source developers.
> | First up, open source software applications. Next up,
> | Linux distributions...
The same is true of Microsoft retail vs OEM software - it's exactly the same
components, the only differences are minor and pretty much add up to the
license key. You pay a premium for a box and a slightly thicker manual.
Plus the fact that you can only get the OEM version if you buy hardware
(note they don't stipulate /what/ hardware - you can save a bundle by
buying a mouse or a power cord if you don't particularly want the pretty
As for OSS and retail: many companies do, and have been for a while now,
sell boxed versions. I still see Corel Linux in various places. Redhat,
SuSE, and others. The main difference here is that what you're paying for
other than the box is support, not from the vendor (as is the case with XP
OEM), but from the company who wrote the software (read: XP retail [though
I think that you have to pay on top for extended support, and the phone
calls charge at like five Dollars a nanosecond or something], SLED/SLES,
RHEL). The great thing about OSS is that you can go the free route and get
support from the community - a lot of that advice is actually pretty
The Little Guy can sell Linux quite legally, as stipulated in the GPL. The
only caveat is that he has to make sure that /all/ the software
applications etc bundled with the distribution are covered by the same
license, for example Ubuntu, Dyne:Bolic to name but two, are both wholly
covered by the GPL, hence quite legal to sell the software, without making
a cover that the end user is buying a blank disc which just happens to have
random stuff written to it (my excuse for flogging SuSE on its own on
occasion is that I'm selling secondhand CDR discs - can't grumble at a
tenner each, to say that I spent all of ten seconds switching out discs
through a duplicator :p ) and packed in a decorated case with a picture of
a penguin on it. There's absolutely nothing stopping one from rolling one's
own distribution either, in fact it's encouraged, and there's a plethora of
GPL software that can (but not necessarily /should/ ) be bundled with it.
My own SuSE-based distribution, based on 9.2, is nearing Alpha compilation
and is optimised for business use on Dell notebooks (tested on four so far,
all good). That'll be going out at around the Â15 mark and will include
support for as many wireless cards as I can find GPL/similarly licensed
On that note, does anyone have any ides on how I can get a Sierra Wireless
710750 GPRS PCMCIA modem card working in kernel 2.6.8-24.25-default? Note:
Sierra have EOL'd this card and have no support for it except XP drivers,
so life gets interesting when it comes to this card.
-*- Linux: Because restarts are for upgrades.
-*- Some people are like Slinkies; they serve no specific purpose,
but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.
-*- Linux Desktops & Clustering Solutions -*- http://dotware.co.uk
-*- Registered Linux user #426308 -*- http://counter.li.org
-*- Microsoft XP is like a box of chocolates. You never know when the steel
bolts are going to spring out and plunge straight through both cheeks...
-*- We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.
-*- Contemplating Knife -*- Which end do the bullets go in again?
-*- I can't wait to get to heaven and meet seventy virgins - I've yet to
meet *one* on *Earth*!
-*- For sale: one (1) Fender Phantom air guitar. Â500 ONO
-*- For sale: one (1) Italian WWII bolt-action rifle. .303cal, never fired,
only dropped once. Offers.
-*- Hit every key to continue.
-*- "What sort of candle is this?" "Dee-nah-meetay. Must be Italian."
-*- Smell that? You smell that? Penguins, son. Nothing in the world smells
like that. I love the smell of penguins in the morning. You know, one
time we had an early shift, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked
up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' XP license. The smell,
you know that penguin smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.
Someday this war's gonna end...
-*- Q: What's got a hundred balls and fscks rabbits?
A: A shotgun.
-*- When I awoke this morning,
So happy to be born.
A robin perched upon my sill,
to herald in the dawn.
A bright and young gay chap was he,
he whistled such a lull.
So I gently closed the window,
and crushed his tiny skull...
-*- That's it. No more coffee for *that* man!