Originally Posted by calande
Thanks. I was reading an article that was talking about "maintenance revenue", what do you think they mean by "maintenance" regarding Linux? Do they go on site and fix Linux for you in your office?
Maintenance revenue exists also in the proprietary world. It's what you pay on enterprise software for the continued delivery of security patches and version upgrades.
Since these software are destined to be used over many years, virtually no large corporate buys them without also purchasing maintenance. SUN,IBM, SAP, Oracle make a large part of their money on maintenance when they sell software licence. Maintenance can be as high as 20% per year of the licence price. Given that some of these licenses on large sites are in million dollars, this is not unsignificant.
Redhat makes money like that. No large corporate IT manager will install Linux for production systems without one of these maintenance contracts. And Redhat doesn't sell maintenance that much cheaper than SUN and HP used to do. Cheaper but still ;-)
Microsoft, Apple and most end user oriented distros offer security patches and bug fixes for free. But Apple and Microsoft sell their OSes. What nobody has cracked yet is how to make money out of a consumer oriented linux that you give away and still maintain for free. I think they have to sell maintenance. Small fee maintenance but still. And sell compatible hardware. That's what Mandriva is trying to do. But even if it works, it's not a done deal : if ONE distro became let's say as big as Apple in market penetration, then you can expect that some hardware vendor will start offering compatibility and thus undermine the distro companies revenue source (now you are starting to understand Apple). And since it's completely opensource, there is always the danger that a competitor forks your code, and starts competing (why MacOSX will never be opensource). So with each release you have to be the best.
It's easier to understand why consumer oriented software makers are NOT interested in going opensource. The solution is non trivial, if existent at all.