"Which caused me to wonder if maybe I'm turning more profit from
Linux than is, say, Red Hat Software, which, when it posts earnings
next month, is expected to lose 2 cents per share, according to the
analysts. So I did some research. Other publicly traded Linux
companies, VA Linux and Caldera, are not listed among earnings
estimates (they're relatively new to the scene), and Corel counts
Linux as but a small part of its business and suffers afflictions
that would skew the figure anyway."
"I ended up with no evidence that any of the Linux companies
that are publicly traded is turning a nickel's profit. The
non-public companies I've talked with are facing hard times as
well. One or two are just about out of money, with not much coming
in. There may be some others -- companies that resell books and
T-shirts and distributions at discount -- who are doing okay."
"When I've interviewed people with companies that propose to
make money from free software, I've always asked them how they plan
to bring this about. Some, such as the highly motivated
theKompany.com, say up front that they're selling the box and the
book. Some say that they plan to offer value-added services -- for
instance, Helixcode hopes to become what amounts to a content
provider, though they plan to do it seamlessly."
"The Linux distributors, who sell the CDs plus the box and the
book, themselves have hit a wall because you can purchase the
distribution on CD for a couple of bucks, or download it, and buy a
better book about it somewhere else. So they're trying other things
as well. Caldera is, for instance, aiming for the enterprise and
has done a great deal of work to make its distribution attractive
to the business (which isn't all that likely to shop around for a
$2 copy of a distribution and no technical support). Red Hat is
banking -- or, rather, hoping to bank -- on the Red Hat
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