OS4 Linux distro tries a new revenue model - DonationCoder.com
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Author Topic: OS4 Linux distro tries a new revenue model  (Read 1764 times)
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« on: July 11, 2012, 06:49:09 AM »

We've had discussions about revenue models for software products previously.

Right now, PC/OpenSystems LLC (makers of customized Linux distros and sellers of pre-configured Linux systems) is trying a variation of the classic "ransom" formula. As long as they receive a minimum of $2,000 recurring contributions per month, they will continue to offer their distro (OS4) for free.

Ok...maybe it's not so much a ransom as it is a "protection money" formula since it's recurring. tongue (It worked for PBS, right?)

Be interesting to see how this plays out. I intend to check back monthly and see when (not if) they switch over to charging for it.

Here's the announcement on their website.

Saturday, June 9, 2012
Keeping OS4 Free

Ok,  So now that we are at 12.5 people have asked me about the free version of OS4.  So what happens now.  Well I had said that at 12.5 I will be charging for OS4 and I would cancel the free version.  Well, I have gotten feedback on this and the concensus is not everyone is happy about that.  So I have been brain storming on how I could satisfy my users and keep you guys happy.  First, PC/OpenSystems LLC is a company.  Any company wants to make money whether its through the consulting side or through OS4 and other software that we do.  So, here is my compromise.  If contributions build up and we make at least $2,000 dollars a month in recurring contributions I will keep OS4 free as a download.  First, you will say that thats a lot of money but lets break it down I get 143 visitors on average a day.  So lets say everyone contributes $5.00 so lets say $5.00 x 143 thats 715 dollars a week, now times that by 4 weeks that equals $2,860 a month.  We will even do this, ALL contributions for OS4 will not fund any other part of PC/OpenSystems LLC.  It will all be contributions for OS4 and http://www.os4online.com.  So here is how this will work out,  If we reach our goal by July 20, 2012 in RECURRING donations.  OS4 will remain as a free download.  If we dont, I will start charging for OS4 downloads.

I nice idea. But I think it's mostly wishful thinking on their part. There's so much "free and equally good" in Linux-land that it would require something truly unique to sway potential buyers to pay for a distro. I'll have to download a copy (and make a contribution since they've asked so politely) to see if there's anything about this distro that makes it special.

Where I think their idea is going to fall down is on the issue of support. They are only offering 90 days of email support if you purchase their distro. Not a compelling offer IMO since support is really what most newbie Linux users need more than anything. And it's also the one thing most end-users are extremely reluctant to see a need to pay for.

Time will tell...

I wish them luck. Cool

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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 11:12:05 PM »

Well, I can see them wanting to make money. But I think you're right about needing to offer something unique. I don't have the time to experiment, but I do wish them well.

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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2012, 03:52:10 AM »

In their 20-minute intro video, no mention of using Gnome the whole time, something users *might* want to know. Hilarious. I love the links to preloaded systems ready for purchase, but it's DOA the minute they started asking people to pay $20. Now if they were including some awesome hardware drivers, then we'd talk.

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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 05:34:24 AM »

Since it's primarily intended to be a "pay for" product, I think they'd be better off bundling Codeweaver's Crossover into the distro and include newbie-level instructions for installing MS Office, Quicken/Quickbooks (*choke*), and whatever else is in the Top 10 list for Windows.

They could possibly make even more money if they offered the Windows apps either through direct sales or via an affiliate deal with somebody like Amazon or CDW. Or just bundle them in as part of a package deal.

What they really need to do is think outside the box a little more. They're still pitching to the choir and fellow mutants like me. We believe in the importance of Linux and what it represents. But most normal people (and many businesses) don't care what OS they're running. They just want to be sure all their apps will work.


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