Guitars, Paramedics, Linux, and Me

October 31, 2008

Linux as “The Business”. We could do better if we needed to do better.

Filed under: Linux — S. Kindley @ 12:27 am
Tags: , ,

Cnet News offered up an article about how Ubuntu distributor/sponsor/providor Canonical is not profitable. I found a couple of quotes in the article from Mark Shuttleworth to be very interesting.

“I have no objection to funding the business for another three to five years,” he said in a conference call Monday. “I certainly have the patience to see us through any downturn. I think this downturn is going to be very good for Canonical…Canonical is not cash-flow positive, but our offering is very effective for those who want to pinch their pennies.”

and this one in particular:

“If we needed to, we probably could be profitable in two years,” by focusing on the core operations such as the server version, he said.

With the recent downturn of the US and global economy I have read where Linux distributions could enjoy some positive growth due to it’s low-to-no cost of aquisition. Remarks such as the two previously quoted and this one:

“I don’t think it will possible to make a lot of money, or maybe any money, selling the desktop,” Shuttleworth said. “We’re not going to try to make money selling the desktop. We force ourselves to look to services-oriented business models. I remain confident this is the right business model for the industry. Linux is the forcing function that (means) the broader software industry will shift in business models away from licensing the bits and to services.”

The last quote seems to explain that Linux on the desktop will not be a profitable product by itself. Shuttleworth goes on to seemingly endorse “subscription or support” business models such as touted by Red hat as the only means of supporting a Linux software distribution company. Perhaps the most interesting and most disturbing to me is the second quote. It just seems to me that his, “If we need to …”, comment about being profitable is like saying, “We could do better if we needed to do better.”

What are your thoughts?


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