Linux Journal: Musings on Linux Profiteering

Dogs are the most reasonable, friendly, affectionate
creatures; compassionate, empathic, loyal, and supportive… until
food enters the picture. Then they become whimpering idiots,
begging, whining, contorting, groveling, prostrating themselves,
acting as fools. Food, you see, makes them periodic imbeciles.

The problem, of course, is that money has a magnified effect on
people. Out go all the morals, all the ethics, every commitment,
every belief, the moment the slightest bit of cash enters the
picture. How many hackers/crackers/phreakers/warezmeisters fight
against the system until they get a high-paying job at Microsoft,
only to turn around and declare that all true hackers work at
Microsoft and that “piracy” is immoral, and free software is

“As you may have heard, more than a few people have become quite
wealthy by selling free Linux software (or more specifically,
selling Linux stock), and more than a few people caught on. And
money is having its strange effect, hence the recent explosion of
Linux distributions. (Although it’s questionable what’s worse: what
money does to people when they have the opportunity to sell out and
make a bundle, or what it forces them to do on a daily basis.) Oh,
by the way, our recommendation that “everyone should have his or
her own version of Linux” was a joke, but if you’ve gone ahead and
done it, maybe you can grab some IPO cash, but don’t count on the
community to support you….”

“Some people who aren’t waiting for the most appropriate time
are crawling out of the woodwork. I keep receiving distributions
I’ve never heard of, and reading about planned IPOs from the same
(e.g., LinuxOne, though I have yet to see a product from this one).
These people are rushing in, trying to cash in on the Linux craze
before the wells dry up. What are the dangers of this? Suppose that
these fly-by-night operations aren’t of the same caliber as the
SuSEs, Calderas, Turbos, Storms and Mandrakes of this world. Will
investors lose faith in the Linux phenomenon, thinking it has been
sucked dry? Will the legitimate, committed firms be able to get the
capital they can use for delivering top-quality, supported Linux to
the masses (and billions of dollars to themselves), ensuring that
future generations won’t have to suffer through proprietary, buggy
operating systems?…”