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I've seen tons of commercial distributions of Linux. Is it worth buying a copy of Linux as opposed to downloading it? I figure obviously by buying it you get extra stuff and support, but is it worth it?
Well, there are, in my mind, a few reasons to buy it.
1) Documenatation. Nice to have-- all the online help in the world won't do you much good if you can't get online.
2) Support. Personally, I've never used tech support from any computer software/hardware producer so this isn't such a biggie with me but your mileage may vary (i always turn to online communities like this one).
3) Supporting the Linux community. These companies do need money to do what they do, and buying the software helps.
if you have some money to spare, buying a boxed set may support vendor development. they cant really survive if we all just downloaded the stuff. if you already downloaded and install linux some distros like mandrake offer a club membership or redhat offers registered users some benefits. if not you can always donate any amount you can spare to any stuff like kde, gnome or fsf
I haven't paid anything for my current Linux set-up (and my dad paid for the previous ones and let me use them). However, I'm a spotty teenager with little income (pocket money and occasional work for my dad's company) and currently in debt.
I purchased Xandros 1.0 once cause they had discount coupons for my LUG - $40 for the Deluxe version.
I tried it out. Liked it - It was the only distro that could detect my laptop's hardware properly without complaining (Debian obviously does the same, but its not as tight-knit and easy-to-use). Plus it came with Crossover Office and Plugin.
Anyway, I stopped using it cause I was getting tired of KDE 2.2.
But yea, I download them and try them out. And if I like them (Red Hat is a good example) I buy their boxed set to support them.
I kind of feel like the distro makers don't really do the lion's share of the work invloved in gnu/linux. when you buy a redhat distro no money goes to help make gcc better or kde. sure readhat helps a bit with stuff like that but i think your money would be better served going to one or more of the people who make the actual software you use as opposed to just bundling and distributing it.