Return to

A question about "free" (0$) linux to current linux users

Just out of curiosity…

Would you be willing to pay a fee of some sorts to use linux?

If Ubuntu/Fedora/Arch/etc charged $ for you to download the OS, would you be willing to pay for it?

Another way of rephrasing the question: Would you have tried/installed linux if it wasn’t free (0 $) in the first place?

The point in free linux is not free as $0, bu free as in one is free to extend, rework, etc it.

Elementary OS is an example of linux distro that let’s users to pay what they want. I think that’s a good way to do this.


There’s two questions here

1, Would I have tried Linux if it wasn’t free?
I honestly don’t know. Like many others I have first tried Linux back in high school, i.e. a point in life when money is scarce and you don’t want to spend money just to “try something new”.

2, Am I willing to pay for Linux now that I have already tried it and know what I get?
Many Linux users obviously work in IT, a well paying industry. I don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to use an operating system he/she doesn’t like to save a few bucks. People use Linux because they like it. Because it makes many things easier and less painful. Because it allows you to control it, rather than the other way around.


We all know that.

What I’m asking is that if Linux was not initially set at 0$, would you have paid an obligatory fee to buy it? Would you have thought of switching from Windows or Mac if you had to pay for linux?

Fuck no. Just like my love for mac OS but still finding a way to not go in an apple store as much as possible, even 5 bucks, no. Stuffs BS as it is. Besides they would probably want to shovel in a bunch of retarded rules.

That doesn’t mean I don’t donate either. I contribute bug reports all the time and I think I have donated near 1200 USD by now to the linux foundation.

At the time I was torrenting all sorts of shit and found ubuntu 9.06 because of it. If it had been a paid for OS it wouldn’t have mattered anyways.


I have been using it full time for 2 years now. It works, but my demands out of software and functionality are not that “high level”. Or perhaps I restricted my use to the bare minimum. So Linux does work for me 24/7. Also considering that I kind of stopped gaming on PC.

However, as I was looking at the price tags of non-free Os/devices, it made me think about the $ when it comes to Linux. I don’t know why, but I have a hard time believing that I would have paid $ to use Fedora, even if it was a small fee. I’m not saying it makes perfect sense, especially when Fedora works really well now (well at least on my 8 year old rig). However, this could simply be explained by the fact that linux still lacks that something to convince me that it is worth the money. Again, maybe someone shares the same feeling and would point out the “why” of that. I don’t think it is marketing, as I prefer function over form.

1 Like

Quite visceral response. I like it. More details on why “No”?

1 Like

This is true for any product though. If you were a happy Linux user would you pay to try out Windows? Of course you wouldn’t. Whenever any organization wants you to try their product you want them to give you something. Maybe their OS makes your life easier. Maybe it runs a program you need. Nobody wants to pay for something they don’t even know.

The advantages of Linux are subtle. There is no single feature one can point to and say “look how great this system is”. To truly understand Linux one has to use it - get used to it - and then boot into Windows again. And stop the time it takes for one to stop complaining

This makes Linux hard to market though. The advantages of Windows can be put into words easily: “Everything runs (Even though this is not true)”; “It’s got a large userbase to help you out”.

For software that is second to the ultimate hackable software (the first being either BSD or Unix Pure), I’m not paying money for it. Especially since theres a high chance its 75% broken. Which it normally is.

If the distro had great software and hardware support I could justify paying for it.

The nice thing is It would have to be amazing in order to survive amongst the other distributions out there.

Right now and my experience leading up to, I would not pay for any distribution currently out. There’s always some quirk or missing element that makes me reminisce in the nostalgia of the XP era.

If you were a happy Linux user would you pay to try out Windows?

Well, I mean If I buy a GTX 1070, yeah I would buy Windows to use the hardware…If I wanted to be serious about anything demanding or specific with software… Really, the only issue to me with windows is the spying. But after you consider the fact that you are only secure when you are not connected to the net… using Linux doesn’t make you THAT far from having your data recorded/stolen.

So the question that ends up being asked is… If (some) users of linux are not even willing to pay for it, why are we/the community so vocal about Linux being so great? Is there a Linux forcefield around linux users the same way we joke about the Apple ecosystem?

That fits in nicely with what I’ve said. Hardware support is a concrete reason to use an OS. But you wouldn’t pay for Windows just to toy with it.
Not really relevant, but nvidia’s Linux driver is good :stuck_out_tongue:

I disagree. Sure in theory somebody could hack your PC and steal your data when connected to the internet. Only, they’d have to target you. With Windows’ spying you know your data is going to be stolen.
What you are saying is like not having a house door because a determined attacker could always break a hole in your wall.

1 Like

I can’t find either of these questions as reasonable.

1: The Linux distributions I grew up with, and the environments that were available, wouldn’t have been the same if they were pay to use OS’
Not saying they would be better or worse, but they wouldn’t be the same. Same goes for FreeBSD.
Solaris was more or less a Pay to use OS, and it wasn’t pitched as a desktop operating, even though they had workstation models. It was a fancy piece of software, but it wasn’t being marketed or sold to your average consumer.

2: If you suddenly switched to a pay model for desktop usage, the OS would have to come bundled with vendor machines, would have to work as well as Windows or MacOS, and would have to have support available like “Geek Squad//Genius Bar.”


This question is comparing apples to oranges.

You are making a correlation between a $ value on a software, and the vocal community saying how great something is.

The value of a thing is not always equated to it’s $$ value.

Part of what makes Linux distributions so appealing isn’t how much it costs, it’s that you can pull any distribution apart, take out what you don’t like, and put it back together the way you want. I don’t mean swapping KDE for Gnome or Cinnamon. I mean you can swap out Kernels, package managers, init functions, interfaces, GNU. You can write your own software to manage everything. You don’t like something you can learn to change it.

OR, you can treat it like a car, and just make some cosmetic and performance mods. Nobody is stopping you.

Will people pay for that? some will, some won’t. There is a lot of commercial software that you can get for Linux that does a lot of the same stuff FOS software does. Some do it better, others not so much. But the money isn’t always buying you quality.



Todays linux would not exist if it wasn’t free (as in free beer).


Linux is modular, we get it. Like I said, I don’t have any windows/apple devices at home, I am familiar enough with linux to have it run and do my work on it for the last 2 years (some gimp, libreoffice, pdfs, scanning, printing). I even played with PCI passthrough, etc…

The modularity of Linux is fun, but modularity doesn’t automatically make it better, the same way you propose that paying more $ doesn’t necessarily equate better products.

Most everyday linux users that have time and ability to play with those stuff end up just customizing the desktop environment and posting screenshots on reddit. What % of that community exploits linux to play around with interfaces and write new software for the masses?

Who is actually customizing linux desktop for a living, outside of the key employees in Canonical/Redhat/Suse? We clearly don’t have alot of people getting paid to develop stuff for the platform.

How does the modularity of linux provide any real-life benefit to the user who just uses the computer as a tool, and not as a past-time? How modular is it when I compare it to windows? And by modular I mean with actual interfaces and multi-thousand dollar machines used in research you can plug and have it work on the machine with no major issue. I can plug any device I buy and 99% of the time it will work out of the box with windows. You need to search for info in forums to see if a particular printer has issues with linux, in 2017. That’s not modularity, and we can blame drivers as much as we want, but employees still need to print documents.

It seems to me that the world of the average joe works totally fine with linux staying in the background. Do we want it to become the dominating platform? Even with all the great improvements happening on the linux side, it seems like a losing game. Or do we actually want to win (whatever winning means here)?

Again, I’m not here to downplay the benefits of Linux and foss.

Eh, w/e the analogy is, if someone wants to spy on you, and they have the money, they can and will spy on you. I’m not saying forfeit your privacy and forget about it, all I’m saying is that there’s alot to think about… I’m wondering, what do the experts say about the whole “hiding in plain sight” with irrelevant data?

Could it technically be better for your personal security than using linux/obscuring your browsing patterns? Create all social media account with cat pictures and non-identifying info, you’re basically participating in the matrix yet go unnoticed because you are actually participating…

I dunno, rambling


I have donated to various projects, but the simple truth of the matter is that I can’t reliably get my work done on linux.

I wouldn’t pay for a product that I couldn’t use in my 9 to 5 job.

I wouldn’t pay for an ISO because the code is freely available.

Would be willing to pay $20 or so for a yearly support fee. Sometimes I have some kernel questions or conf files questions that I would rather ask the devs than dig through a wiki or man pages for.

Already donate once a year to whatever distro I have installed. An also donate to Debian because of the importance of the project.

Its a good point. But when you think about the competency of the average user or how many people are familiar with file systems doesn’t it seem futile to explain why something is better? So while a distribution may be good enough for someone who browses the web or checks email, to a power user the investment may seem wasted because…

To add to another very good point you’ve brought up, without employed personnel devoted to improving the project how does a project keep a schedule for advancement and functionality? There would have to be a business established with a model and capital to sustain the employees and overhead until profits offset the expenses. Well there are organizations devoted to improving linux but the intent has a different scope than what a windows user would expect.

I used to think so, but I’m not sure anymore. Once you introduce money into the mix everything changes, and not for the better. Just like video games, now they are a monstrosity of early access hardly functional micro-transaction filled piles of garbage.

Beer 5 coming up.

1 Like