Linux Software, One More Step To Mainstream


So, whats wrong with Linux software?  Well, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong, there just needs to be a way that vendors can sell there software.  There is a caveat with this point, the sale of software results in issues with theft.  This means the creation of Digital Rights Management and it's ilk, which is no solution.  I don't think that the outright sale of software is the way of the future.

I look at MMORPG's like "World Of Warcraft" and wonder, do they make money on there subscriptions, and if they do, why charge for the software.  I mean of course charge for the materials cd's, dvd's, etc... but not for the software.  A quick search shows over 11 million subscriptions in 2008, at $14.95/month that's allot of cheddar (~$164million/month).  I have no idea what it costs to run but it would seem that they must at least be breaking even.  Now most people probably think a subscription is evil, and in some instances I would agree, but in allot of cases it makes sense.  So, as an alternative, you could require an Internet connection for the application to run, verifying the applications ownership online, at regular intervals, just a thought.

Now what if your software doesn't fall into the subscription category, how do you protect it?  You could close the source.  Now I know that most open source diehards will scream at that last statement, but without the ability to protect the products they sell they are not going to sell them.  There needs to be a way to include closed source software without "Corrupting the Kernel".

Now how do you stop people from giving the software to someone else?  There isn't a magic bullet that will make people honest, so there is no way to ensure that people wont steal.  There may be another way though.  How about the way TV used to be free, and the way Google makes money, advertising.  Nope not perfect, but in online gaming software, advertisements could be very effective and could even add to the games as a whole.  If 11 million people worldwide play World Of Warcraft that's 11 million people seeing your advertisement, sounds pretty dam good to me.

There is still another road for people wishing to make money in the open source realm.  Charging for premium content, upgrades etc...  Huh?  Many software companies have had success only charging for the extras.  You get the basic application & subscription, including basic updates, to use for as long as you like.  But, if you would like that Uber flying mount, or the API for that custom piece of hardware, then you pay.  Sounds allot like a drug dealers business model doesn't it?  The beauty is that there is no cost involved in trying the product.  If you hate it, so what it cost you nothing.  If you love it, EXTEND IT, and they will keep making more.  Now the question most people ask, if the product is open source what is to stop people from extending it themselves?  Well, nothing, and that's beautiful.  Most people couldn't be bothered, they want there [Insert widget here] and they want it now.  For people that take the time, great, In most cases that will improve the overall experience for everyone.  Take a look at Joomla, everybody seems to make this and that for it, and some people charge.  If there product is good they make money, and improve the overall experience for everyone.

Where does this leave us?  Really that is for you to decide...