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panickedthumb
November 24th, 2004, 06:25 AM
No, I didn't just get punched in the stomach, that's the name of a new "product." If you can call it that. I want to get people's input on this...

Linspire has done some good things with open source. They started the Nvu project, which is a very robust web design application. They now have a new Internet suite based off of Mozilla that looks very promising (and they're kicking the code back to Mozilla), though it's only available if you're running Linspire. But now, they have a new project called OOoFf-- http://www.oooff.org/

If you break it down you may notice that it looks like OpenOffice.org Firefox. And you'd be right. It's a cd containing OpenOffice and Firefox. That's it. Only it costs $49.95. Yes, close to 50 bucks. Now, however, they're charging 29.95, but it's a limited time offer. Let's break this down.

Firefox 1.0 CD & Guidebook: $14.95
OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 Combo CD: $13.95 (from Amazon, with reference literature)
That makes the total come to just under 29 bucks. So the "introductory price" for OOoFf isn't that much of a markup, but the "retail" price rips customers a new one.

But that isn't even the issue is it? Linspire is basically making money off of other people's work. I'm sure they include documentation, but can it be that much better than the official documentation?

I just wanted to get everyone's opinion on this. Is it acceptable to you?

IoN_PuLse
November 24th, 2004, 06:47 AM
Yep, I don't agree with this. The name sounds like what they are doing to customers (if they fall for their site) *OOoFf*, kicked in the gut.

khad
November 24th, 2004, 06:48 AM
I think Linspire is doing the Open Source community a disservice. They are selling products that are freely available to people who don't know any better. (At least, that is their aim. Whether or not they can find the suckers born every minute remains to be seen.)

The whole thing smells like spam. Spam and infomercials. The cheesy graphics, the attention-getting questions:

"Why spend hundreds of dollars on Microsoft Office when OOoFf! can meet your home and office productivity needs?"

I can just picture Ma and Pa glued to the television screen. "Gawsh, Ma! Why are we payin' that much?"

Television voiceover continues: "Act now! This brand new Web browser (that others have been using for years) is only available for a limited time at this price (except if you download it for free from the Mozilla site to which we conveniently do not have a link)!"

It just looks like a scam page. Like a completely fake site setup to just take money from poor old ladies... Oh wait...

poptones
November 24th, 2004, 07:07 AM
I hate to sound like a grumpy gus here, but the whole point of linux and the GPL is to allow ALL OF US to "make money off other people's work." I realize that's not politically correct in some circles, but the whole point of this is to build an intellectual commons - to allow us all to own our culture and to preserve its freedom. But if we all continue to have a knee jerk reaction to people actually making money off gpl software "the community" is never going to overcome its image as a bunch of renegade pinko commies trying to overthrow capitalism.

I could never have made a distribution like ubuntu on my own. Heck, I couldn't even tweak mandrake to be this nice. Now, I'm not defending Michael at all - actually he's kinda been "on my list" since he sold out mp3.com by trying to co-opt mainstream label's artists. But he has proven himself good at generating publicity (although not so much lately as before they gave up the Lindows moniker) and making linux more mainstream is a good thing.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really
sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

Thanksgivin's-a-comin, and it seemed appropriate to the conversation...

khad
November 24th, 2004, 07:30 AM
I hate to sound like a grumpy gus here, but the whole point of linux and the GPL is to allow ALL OF US to "make money off other people's work." I realize that's not politically correct in some circles, but the whole point of this is to build an intellectual commons - to allow us all to own our culture and to preserve its freedom. But if we all continue to have a knee jerk reaction to people actually making money off gpl software "the community" is never going to overcome its image as a bunch of renegade pinko commies trying to overthrow capitalism.

I could never have made a distribution like ubuntu on my own. Heck, I couldn't even tweak mandrake to be this nice. Now, I'm not defending Michael at all - actually he's kinda been "on my list" since he sold out mp3.com by trying to co-opt mainstream label's artists. But he has proven himself good at generating publicity (although not so much lately as before they gave up the Lindows moniker) and making linux more mainstream is a good thing.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really
sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

Thanksgivin's-a-comin, and it seemed appropriate to the conversation...
I suppose my problem isn't people making money. My problem is people making money for doing nothing. Oh, and lying. I have a problem with lying.

Is free software really a limited time offer? Really? I'd better hurry and stockpile some Ubuntu CDs before it's too late.

As an aspiring minister, I often think about televangelists. I think to myself, wouldn't it be great if they would use their powers for good instead of evil? But then they would not be where they are today. The only reason they have an influence as large as they do is because they are deceitful. "Send in your money and God will bless you!" they scream. And the money rolls in enabling them to buy more airtime enabling them to scam more innocent people.

On the other hand, I may only end up influencing a relatively small number of people in my life because I adhere to my morals and refuse to stoop to the level of others who try glamorize Christian life. I am not trying to sell anything, I am trying to share it. I see huge parallels between the theological and technological worlds in this respect. For these reasons I admire the Ubuntu philosophy (that of both the South African ideology and the Linux distribution).

poptones
November 24th, 2004, 08:25 AM
Ever had linspire? I ran it for a while and had a six month community membership. I didn't like it enough to keep it, but at the time it WAS a nicer distribution than most of the stuff out there.

What's lying? They're offering media and some limited (installation and introductory) support. From the earliest days one of the key selling points of oss was that people were supposed to be able to make money off support in addition to offering the media (at a very ephemeral "reasonable price." Their community, both volunteers at the website and paid, offered pretty fantastic support when I was a member. The site is well laid out and they have a very enthusiastic bunch running the place (or at least they did as of last April).

I don't want this to turn into a sales pitch, but I don't see anything dishonest by making a "limited time offer" of a supported bundle of software. Their Linspire support is at least an order of magnitude better than that offered by the more expensive Mandrake, the ancillary community MUCH friendlier (and from what I have seen in the related newsgroups, more knowledgable on the whole).

Lindows is already in some retail outlets and the stated goal is to get these products onto retailer's shelves. But no retailer is going to give shelf space to a giveaway. And they're not going to give much shelf space to something that's not profitable. This offer sets a price on a package that can then be exploited by retailers in the form of local specials, giveaway offers with systems, etc.

A price that "rips customers a new one" does nothing of the sort. Anyone with the savvy to use google would quickly find the free versions - unlike windows, there's no coercion here. But some folks (many folks, in fact, and I know a few) want nothing to do with open source BECAUSE there's no payment structure - they don't trust something that's "free." They have their Dell or Gateway computer and their Microsoft Windows and they learned what little they know about computers by calling corporate support lines - where the techs, by and large, never miss an opportunity to blame the customer's every problem (especially the ones the techs don't figure out how to fix in their allotted 12 minute call time) on "hackers running linux and stuff." If this sort of effort is successful it moves these ignorant folks one step closer to pulling back the curtain, and it provides a bit more food throughout the entire chain. That ain't nothing but good for the entire community.

castrojo
November 24th, 2004, 09:09 AM
If I were on a dialup or metered ISP someplace 30 bucks isn't bad for OOo and Firefox. Plenty of other (http://www.flexiety.com/) people (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=1083595&sku=P190-1328) sell Openoffice, and you don't get Firefox with that. Compusa sells OOo for fifty dollars also.

The licenses of OOo and mozilla let them bundle and sell it. I don't like Linspire either, but they're not doing anything wrong with this.

jdodson
November 24th, 2004, 04:07 PM
it is completley within the realms of the GPL to sell GPL software. remember, free as in speech, not free as in beer. there is nothing wrong with a company attempting to sell FLOSS. the whole point of the GPL is software freedom, not a $0 price tag.

jdong
November 24th, 2004, 05:15 PM
I think their price is despicable. They didn't do anything to OOo or FF; they burned both onto a CD-R and want 50 bucks for it...

panickedthumb
November 24th, 2004, 05:20 PM
Yeah I'll revise my point. It doesn't bother me that they are making money off of other people's work, it just bothers me that they're making money off of other people's work without doing anything or providing any kind of changes/optimizations to the code. It also wouldn't bother me if they kept it at the "introductory" price, since that's about as much as you'd pay for both separately, and packaging them together is a good idea for some, as they don't have to have two separate installations. I know that the GPL lets them do that, I just don't think this was what the authors of the GPL had in mind (granted, that's all speculation, as I've never talked to anyone who had a part in writing it). I think they made the GPL to allow people to use other people's code to build on it and contribute different, and maybe better, software to a different demographic. It's not that they're breaking the GPL-- obviously they aren't. It's that it seems that they're cheapening the point of the GPL.

khad
November 24th, 2004, 05:56 PM
I agree with panickedthumb. What they are doing is legal. I would just say unethical. They are adding no value yet themselves, merely charging money for others' hard work.

poptones
November 24th, 2004, 06:48 PM
I'll try one last time to get an answer to this:

Since when is support not a service worth paying for? If I sell a bundle of software to my friend - who knows little about computers, or has a special need - and I then support that software but do not "give back to the community" in the form of code (which I may have absolutely zero skill in creating) how is it I do not deserve payment for the services I provide to my friend?

"Giving back" doesn't have to be code. I try to "give back" what I can - documentation, scripts, support in forums - whatever. But am I obligated to do so? No I am not... that's the whole point of GPL. Everyone can use it, not everyone has to (or is capable of) "giving back."

Not that this isn't a case of "giving back." Setting a value point (and many folks do not realize value in things until someone else makes it easy for them by setting a price - look at the popularity of "Antiques Roadshow" for example) for an OSS bundle and then marketing that bundle to retail outlets helps to legitimize OSS with those ignorant masses who think "free software" just means proprietary crap loaded with advertising and spyware. If anyone at all is harmed by selling an OSS product at an inflated price it will be the company making the offer. So "the community" has every opportunity to benefit from Michael's company making this offer, but it is that company alone that will suffer any potential consequences when (if) the customer ends up feeling they've been had.

So how is this free advocacy not "giving back?" If moves like this are successful it just makes it that much easier for me, you, and everyone else providing support for linux to find a profitable mainstream market for our skills.

zenwhen
November 24th, 2004, 06:52 PM
If they plan to offer some form of support for these products as well, then this is a good thing.

I see it as a way to get more open source software in the hands of small business owners who require support.

panickedthumb
November 24th, 2004, 07:09 PM
It doesn't say anywhere on the site that they do, in fact, plan on offering any support for it. If they do, then sure, that's fine, but I don't see that on there as part of the price. If they do offer support, and you have to pay per minute or per call, then it's more of a rip off. If they don't offer it at all, it's a rip off. But if they provide a support package of a year or whatever included in that, then yes, this is totally fine. It just doesn't say that anywhere on the site, and you'd think that if they were offering it, they'd say that to get even more customers.

az
November 24th, 2004, 07:45 PM
Just consider the basics. Is it ethical to make money?

The goal of business is to make moeny. There is nothing wrong with that. Just as Doctors and researchers save lives, business owners grow the economy and feed their employees' children. They have as much responsability on their shoulders as a surger or an airplane pilot carrying passengers.

If you dissagree with the above, that's fine. Just make sure you have enough perspective on the topic.

If a business owner get a super deal on some apples (lets say the weather was really great and the agriculture had such a good year that they are practically giving away their apples.) Are you saying that it would be unethical to sell them and make a profit?

In the case of free software, it is always a bumper crop, you can grow your own, and the more that people eat apples, the more apples they will eat. This becomes good for the apple industry and it's derivatives (apple pie, apple juice...)

jdong
November 24th, 2004, 11:23 PM
Just consider the basics. Is it ethical to make money?

The goal of business is to make moeny. There is nothing wrong with that. Just as Doctors and researchers save lives, business owners grow the economy and feed their employees' children. They have as much responsability on their shoulders as a surger or an airplane pilot carrying passengers.

If you dissagree with the above, that's fine. Just make sure you have enough perspective on the topic.

If a business owner get a super deal on some apples (lets say the weather was really great and the agriculture had such a good year that they are practically giving away their apples.) Are you saying that it would be unethical to sell them and make a profit?

In the case of free software, it is always a bumper crop, you can grow your own, and the more that people eat apples, the more apples they will eat. This becomes good for the apple industry and it's derivatives (apple pie, apple juice...)
I agree that businesses make profit.

I agree that businesses should make profit.

I agree that it's ethical for businesses to make profit.


I do not condone businesses deceiving consumers and ripping them off. Nowhere did OOoFf's site mention that the two products are free software -- they advertised the two products as their own! I feel that's deceptive and unjust -- virtually a notch below Microsoft on my scale.


On the contrary, I respect Linspire/Lindows the OS. I've used it briefly, and found it very user friendly and well-polished. Not to mention that Lindows funded the reiser4 development. I just feel they went one step too far this time!

hndrcks
November 24th, 2004, 11:53 PM
For our windows based friends, one can get The Open CD ISO, which has Mozilla, Open Office, and some other nice things all complete with a nifty installer:

www.theopencd.org

For those of us not in the Gates hegemony, there is always APT.

az
November 24th, 2004, 11:55 PM
I dunno. Maybe some office somewhere wants to switch to those products and will wind this boxed set just what they need....

No deception there.

plasmo
November 25th, 2004, 12:12 AM
you should go to linspire website
they are also selling linux virus scanners lol

http://www.linspire.com/products_virussafe_whatis.php

The number of Linux viruses is currently low, but that number is on the rise as the number of Desktop Linux systems continues to grow. LOL! :shock:

markw
November 25th, 2004, 01:31 AM
I think what they are doing is very good. For example, say I walk into a store and want to buy a word processor. MS Office, and maybe Word Perfect, will be my only options. Therefore I will buy one of those to products. But say, for instance, there is OOoFf there to. I will highly consider it, as it is very much cheaper than the other to products. So we can see that offering Open Office in stores is good. It spreads the word about those products, as well as getting them to people that probably wouldn't get the products. The developers of Firefox and Open Office want as many people to use there product as possible, and this only helps them to do that. It is not bad to sell these things, it is not unethical, and the developers like it.

To go on, I know about open office, and Firefox, and am probably not going to spend money for them. However, itís perfectly legitimate and good for Linspire to sell this. I hope many people will switch to Open Office and Ffirefox because of this. Maybe in the long those people will even switch to Linux. Hopefully they will use Ubuntu :)

jdodson
November 25th, 2004, 03:09 AM
hmm after looking over the site more i did not see anything about "support" or that the software was free. well actually if you look at the fine print at the bottom they have some text saying openoffice.org, but then again that is because that is the name of the project. from first glance it does not look like they are giving anything back to the community, then again they dont really have to i guess. its just a lame attempt at making money, i bet it will most likely fail. i mean comon, the box art completley sucks! :mrgreen:

markw
November 25th, 2004, 06:55 AM
I agree, they could do a little better on the box art and name. But I still hope people will switch to open Office, and eventually Linux.

I can't wait till the day I get an Open Office document emailed to me from a "non-techie"; instead of the Word docs I noramlly get.