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LinuxWorld: Profiting on Linux

Feb 22, 2001, 06:46 (47 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)

"Open source coders can happily hack away in isolation, but if the Linux and open source community is to grow -- and finally reap some desktop apps -- somebody has to succeed on the business end...."

"Another paradox lies in the land of Linux: even though the OS has basked in the press spotlight for two years, failed companies in the Linux market far outnumber successful ones. Many Linux companies have failed, retrenched, or simply struggled to keep their heads above water at the same time that Linux usage among individuals and organizations has grown like crazy. Not everyone has pockets as deep as Big Blue's."

"But whether or not Linux companies make money may have a lot to do with whether the community can sustain itself in the long term. Like Linus, many kernel hackers hack just because it's fun. The fun is there whether commercial firms make a buck or not. But commercial success for Linux companies has everything to do with how big the community will become. The problem is that actually making money with Linux in particular and free software in general has proven to be as elusive a goal as Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth."

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