What if Linux were not free? Would people still use it? Would it generate as much excitement online? What if the right…no, the privilege…to use Linux came only at a monetary cost money? And that’s a lease, not a sale mind you. What if the product was not intellectually free? How many people would jump on the bandwagon then? Would the beloved penguin mascot, Tux, make way for a more corporate-looking logo?
Obviously, this is a rhetorical question. Linux did not evolve as a commercial product and the GPL protects everyone’s freedom to use it freely. I just wonder how well Linux would fare if it had been created strictly as a commercial product. Here are some more questions to ponder:
- What price would the market demand?
- Would hardware vendors be more likely to write the needed drivers?
- Would COTS software be available in stores?
- Would DRM be such a hot issue?
- Would it survive or succumb to corporate buyout by a major competitor?
- Would Linus Torvalds be rich and use his wealth to kill babies?
Deep thoughts, eh?!
DISCLAIMER: The last question listed above is not intended to sway the religious or political views of any of our readers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Linux FUD writing staff as a whole. It was included to illustrate why having a choice is important, especially when the big issues arise. Also, the author has no idea what Linus Torvald’s actual position on abortion really is, though because he is listed on the Celebrity Atheist List, his actual position can probably be guessed with some degree of confidence.