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RE: Why Would Fedora be Free ? Can it be Trusted?

Very interesting response.

Thank you...

-----Original Message-----
From: fedora-list-bounces redhat com
[mailto:fedora-list-bounces redhat com] On Behalf Of Henry Hartley
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 10:27 AM
To: 'For users of Fedora Core releases'
Subject: RE: Why Would Fedora be Free ? Can it be Trusted?

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Benjamin J. Weiss [mailto:benjamin weiss name]
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 8:58 AM
>> > 6. Ostensibly Redhat offered free versions of Redhat Linux
>> > because they could make a profit on support.  Now Redhat
>> > has built a market and Redhat is no longer free.  What is 
>> > the profit motivation of the Fedora group and persons/orgs
>> > who make software contributions to it?  (By the way, there
>> > is nothing wrong with profit.)
>> Well, the profit motive for RedHat sponsoring the project is
>> that they get a test bed and an enthusiastic test community 
>> for software that will make it into RHEL.  For the rest of 
>> the Fedora community, there simply *isn't* a profit motive. 

While many folks work on Fedora simply because they like to, there are
those who *do* have a profit motive, although not exactly in the way you
might expect.  In business, there are myriad ways to increase profit.
Anyone in business knows that the "cost of doing business" is a big part
of the profit equation.  While making and 
selling more widgets is one way to make more money and charging more for
the same number of widgets is another, cutting production costs is a
third.  For most businesses, computers and technology have become a
significant part of the cost of doing business.

While most companies are not in the technology business per se, there
are few companies now (in the developed world, anyway) that are not
affected by the costs of technology.  Hardware is cheaper now than ever
before, internet connectivity is constantly coming down in price
(although residential broadband in the USA still costs more than I think
it should but that's another rant).  But software costs seem to be
rising.  Does that make sense?  Not to me.

I don't know what your company does or how big it is or how much you
spend on technology each year.  It might be interesting to get a
breakdown of those costs for your company, including the time it takes
to manage the technology (installing patches, backing up data, restoring
data, cleaning virus infected computers, supporting users with hardware
and software problems, 
etc.) as well as initial hardware and software licensing costs, costs of
software upgrades and service contracts, etc.  Then, ask yourself if it
would save your company money if you could reduce your initial software
costs significantly, your software upgrade costs to near zero, your
hardware costs (because you can probably get more mileage out of your
hardware), and significantly reduce the cost of maintaining your entire
technology infrastructure (in the long run - it may take a bit up front
to get people who can deal with non-MS technology).  

Finally, suppose you are one of the tech folks at your company and
you've "made the switch" and you are supporting an enterprise full of
open source systems.  A big part of your support team is going to be
this community, and various other communities gathered around the
various pieces you happen to be using.  Now suppose you're a capable
programmer and you see a way that a piece of the puzzle we call
technology could be made better. You're going to get involved.  You
might just suggest a change, or perhaps you have the skills to actually
suggest a way to do it, or you even become one of the programmers
working on the code.  In any case, you aren't doing it for money.  You
are doing it because it makes the system you use better.  And of course,
it saves your company money which means more profit and who doesn't want
to work for a more profitable business? Perhaps, just perhaps, you'll
even get a bit of that profit.

Henry Hartley

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