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Old 05-30-2005, 02:05 AM   #1
Hosiah
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a home-based linux distro business?


I'm thinking it would be at least fun to distribute Linux myself in my local area. I was wondering if anybody else does this, or has a link or two on getting started?

My situation: I'm semi-early-retired from the corporate job world with a fixed budget. A member of the household is also disabled and receives disability. I am the stereotypical "basement Linux hacker", basement and all! So I wouldn't be looking at this for a full-time level income source, just a part-time compensated hobby. I have a CD-burner and DSL internet, so I've garnered about ten distros already (including live Knoppix, which I'm absolutely wowwed with).

I live smack in the middle of Iowa, where Linux awareness is scarce to nonexistent. Local computer shops don't sell Linux, with the exception of Red Hat enterprise offered on the occasional token back-shelf. I've met all of maybe three people who've even used it since moving here. So at least part of my motivation is spreading Linux like wildfire, here!

This would of course be for people without their own CD burners, or lacking the technical know-how. Generally, I think I could just run an ad in the paper, have people stop by my home-office, I can demo a couple live distros on an extra PC we have sitting around, let them play with it and get comfortable, answer questions, and maybe sell a CD 5(?) dollars per disk, plus a boot/rescue floppy and a couple pages of printed-out beginner's level documentation.

Am I naive to think this would work? Of course, anybody could do what I do. But the average public John Q. either doesn't want to bother or doesn't know it exists!

Last edited by Hosiah; 05-30-2005 at 02:09 AM.
 
Old 05-30-2005, 03:07 AM   #2
floppywhopper
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It depends on whether you want to do it for fun and recoup costs or make a little profit.

it comes down to
sales price
minus costs
blank CD's
download costs
any insurance
power & phone
any distrobution ( delivery ) costs
any legal & compliance costs
taxes
-------------------
equals profit

Hope this doesn't rain on your parade too much, but if you want to make money, then sales will come second place to service.

Sales price will be governed by market forces such as Mail Order competition, competition from shops if they sniff a profit, people downloading their own, friends doing it for their friends.

floppy
 
Old 05-31-2005, 10:48 PM   #3
masonm
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I burn and distribute distro CDs for folks who either don't know how, have a slow connection, or lack a burner. I usually just charge a few bucks for time and blank CDs. I really don't see much of a profit in it on a local level to be honest. I just do it to help ppl out when they need it.
 
Old 06-01-2005, 07:09 PM   #4
microsoft/linux
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what about the GPL? I thought it specified that you could sell any open source software, so long as you packaged the source code as well. Would that affect your total cost?
 
Old 06-01-2005, 08:23 PM   #5
dkdundas
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Maybe We can Work Together

My name is David Dundas. I work with a company called ADVERTISING REMOVED. We sell high quality Consumer Linux Products. I may have some ideas for you. Shoot me an email at ddundas at uni-fi.com and we can chat.

Last edited by XavierP; 06-03-2005 at 02:56 PM.
 
Old 06-01-2005, 08:25 PM   #6
trickykid
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Re: Maybe We can Work Together

Quote:
Originally posted by dkdundas
My name is David Dundas. I work with a company called ADVERTISING REMOVED. We sell high quality Consumer Linux Products. I may have some ideas for you. Shoot me an email at ddundas at uni-fi.com and we can chat.
Second post, second time you've advertised your site. Did you happen to read the rules you agreed to when registering? Advertising is not allowed. Continue to do so and you will lose privileges to this site. Interested in making deals or advertising here, click the advertising link at the bottom of every single page..

The rules you agreed to when registering.... http://www.linuxquestions.org/rules.php

Last edited by XavierP; 06-03-2005 at 02:57 PM.
 
Old 06-01-2005, 09:12 PM   #7
masonm
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Quote:
what about the GPL? I thought it specified that you could sell any open source software, so long as you packaged the source code as well. Would that affect your total cost?
I don't quite understand your point. The source code is typically included with any Linux distro. Not sure how that would affect one's cost when just downloading and burning an ISO or two.
 
Old 06-04-2005, 11:18 PM   #8
Hosiah
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RE: The GPL and source code.

The GNU GPL v2 doesn't even require us to supply the source code ourselves, but merely point out where, online, you can get it. Many distros come without source code, with instructions on where to get it online. My Red Hat 9.0 came only with the binaries, and you sent away for the source (which I did).

On an off-note, I tried an experiment. We've been saving up old stuff/misguided Christmas presents for a yard sale, which we got around to this weekend. I had a table out with all my old Windows software (we got *sick* and *tired* of games, even the kids!), along with a couple Knoppix live CDs. I sold no software at all. I don't know if it's just Iowa or what, but most people here have a knee-jerk reaction to the subject: "I don't know nothing about that!" (sic).

Most households (going by my admittedly unscientific methods) seem to have one person designated the "computer person", and the rest just steer clear of it. Of those who are even trusted with the household computer maintenance, most scarcely have any idea at all what an operating system is. I got one woman who confessed blowing hundreds of dollars on getting viruses and malware/spyware off her machine, having to fight this constant battle. I even offered her free advice (like any Linux geek would!), but she wouldn't listen. Here, I'll *give* you a disk, just run it, or find it at such and such a site... No, she said, she thought she was having a hard enough time as it was and wouldn't want to risk making it worse... (looking back on it, I think next time I'll just say "Bring it to me next time, I'll charge less and fix it for good!")

The mental block people have...is it based on this mixture of insecurity and propaganda? Somehow, people who make a living writing legal drafts believe writing programs is harder. People who spend the weekend re-engineering their cars believe that computer engineering is harder. The heck with selling them anything, I need to find a way to get these people comfortable being *near* a computer, first.

Just to add, I'm not living in a rural hick community with dirt roads. Des Moines has internet-cafes, skyscrapers, and a college. Ames university is 40 min driving time from here. Neal Stephenson, author of "In The Beginning was the Command Line", was born and raised near here. And for that matter, I found similar levels of technophobia in Las Vegas (hardly a bumpkin-backwater).

I should now be asking "How to set up a volunteer computer-literacy class for your local community", but that's a new thread.
 
  


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