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Linux - if you really have to have it...

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Linux - if you really have to have it...

One of the arguments Linux users use in the ‘my OS is better than yours’ debate is that it is free. I was just wondering how important you find that? Would you be prepared to pay anything for an OS and if so how much do you think is reasonable? Would you pay fifty or sixty quid for one? If it was no longer free would you move to another OS? If so which one?
10 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

I have bought software in the past IF it is does what I want it to do, and there are no suitable alternatives. The thing to remember that Linux is "Free as in Freedom not free as in Beer".
Companies DO sell Linux, BUT only the support of it, if you want to use it without support then it is free. If I wanted to buy a copy of a Linux distro, a few years ago Red Hat was for sale with a manual, along with Suse and Mandrivia still offer a bought version, but the difference between the downloaded version and the bought version was the support and the Printed Manual I have bought several manuals over the years from a complete Windows MCSE 2000 to several on Linux, from basic to firewall design, but the thing with these was always bought from a discount seller, i.e. older books.
What would happen if M$ decided a year after W7 is released to make XP free? Would people flock to download it or would they say that is now very dated and I want something better. I can't see it but ?Huh
I have used Linux over the years (about 8 ) but only recently changed permanently to it, It was VIsta that made me change, I had the Beta version that M$ made available with a puccker license, but its AUC and the fact that a lot of my HARDWARE was unsupported made me switch. Even then I was using the same web browser (Firefox) and mail client (Thunderbird) that I am now, just updated versions now, and still free. Cheesy
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

If Linux distro's were sold for £1 (or even less!) then the retailers would put effort into stopping "pirates" from copying their software.
Many of those people who give their time effort free of charge would withdraw from supporting open source if someone was profiteering from their efforts.
If you pay your £1 - would you get free updates for evermore (as at present)?
Would the retailer want to spy on your PC to make sure you had a "registered" copy?
Would I have to read boring EULA's?
BTW I bought a cheapo Canon printer for about £15 - only to discover that Canon are really bad at driver support for non-windoze OS's.
Luckily(?), a company had gone to the trouble of writing driver software for unusual printers.
I paid about 30 euros for this application - which has worked well through several OS upgrades.

Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

To me the most important thing about GNU/Linux and other 'Free as in Freedom' software is the ability to modify the source. Sure, not having to pay is a great encouragement, however it's even better to be able to see how things work and be able to change them if they don't do exactly what you want.
This gives a huge level of choice and allows me to use my computer exactly how I want to and to make it look how I want to.
A side effect of 'Free as in Freedom' is free software - if anyone can get the source for free they can use and in GPL/BSD cases distribute the software freely. Also as anyone can see the code, it has to be of a high standard and is constantly under review by many many people, which results in better quality software, so it's a win all round really.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

There are other reasons why many people prefer Linux, but of course price is important. I mean, who goes shopping and never looks at the price tags?
It is a rather rhetorical question, really. Linux can never be chargeable, as it, and most of its projects, are created under an open source licence. No person or organisation has the right to claim ownership. There are some commercial applications for Linux, but with those you make the decision as to whether you need them and they offer good value, as you would with any product.
David_W
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Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

With Linux price of the software isn't the issue.  On my laptop I have Windows Server 2008 which I got free from Microsoft (Dreamspark), but if I really wanted to use it as a Server, I could get hold of the software easier for Linux (out of the box) than I could for windows, everything from Apache (although to be fair, IIS can use PHP) to mail to goodness knows what else.
One of the main draws is that Linux is more for the technical minded.  With Windows you're stuck with what you get, with Linux you can delve into the Kernel and modify it to your needs, you can even build your own distro from scratch (LFS) which means you control all the software that goes on to it, as well as optomising the software for your specific needs.
One of the downsides to Linux is driver support for various devices.  My laptop has some weird SiS card in it or something, which means the resolution is never right which means I get horrible lines drawn across the screen.  A major upside is, the Mac vs PC adverts would reverse if the PC were Linux based Cheesy
Ben_Brown
Grafter
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Registered: 13-06-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

Quote from: dgwebb
with Linux you can delve into the Kernel and modify it to your needs

There's also a hell of  a lot of customisation you can do without having to go to extremes like the kernel - for example changing the window manager.
N/A

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

Possibly cost would put many people off as you do have to be pretty keen to get over all the little obstacles that Linux throws up so add this to actually forking money out might be a bit too much for many.
To me, as a very basic computer user, the issue of a free operating system is irrelevant.
The only reasons that I wanted to get to grips with Linux are security and simplicity. If I had to pay for Linux then I would if by doing so it would achieve these goals.
The general belief is that Linux is for the techies but I really don't think that this is the case when using it for ordinary things like Internet, documents, simple photograph editing etc.  It's about what you have learned/been taught and alas virtually all of us start with Windows, thus making Linux appear more complex than it is.
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,651
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

I struggle when I have to use Windows to configure something.
I have to find the right driver to use and install it whilst simultaneously try to stop these wizards from loading
many megabytes of link:censored.
adie:blue avoidance of swear filter mod:end

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

It was interesting to see how long a thread about Linux flavours (with a similar named thread running in the windows section) might last before a windows user  came along and slagged Linux off in the same way that (for some unknown reason) Linux users always do in windows threads.
Of course that didn't happen as we don't feel the need to do that, so in the end a Linux user had to slag off windows in a Linux thread, the mind boggles!
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Linux - if you really have to have it...

Well, I wasn't slagging off Windows on principle - I've it used for a number of years. Cheesy
However, I'm in the unfortunate position of owning one Windows XP laptop and 3 Linux desktops.
I don't normally use the laptop as it takes ages to boot (Windows hasn't been re-installed since the day it was bought),
the kids have installed and uninstalled many demo games (again something which Windows doesn't cope with well).
Sorry if that counts as a second slagging off. Smiley
My unfamiliarity makes Windows a difficult product for me.