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Old 04-20-2005, 07:07 PM   #1
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What do you get when you pay for a Linux distro?

This is a very newbie question and probably convered many times already, but here goes. There are commercial Linux distros around. Usually all of them have commercial versions. At least the most popular ones do. What is there that isn't in the downloadable versions? I know it must vary a lot, but perhaps there's something more general to the issue. For example, I'm using downloaded Mandrake 10.0. What would I get if I had gone in to a store and bought it?
Old 04-20-2005, 07:10 PM   #2
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Im not sure but you'd probably get phone/tech support and a book that comes with the OS. When I bought FreeBSD back in like 2001 it came with a big book and like 8 CD's. All for $49 much more than you get with WIndows
Old 04-20-2005, 07:19 PM   #3
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Well, I have Mandrake 10.2 Official and I know there is the Mandrake Club you can join and get some additional software (such as Disk #4 with KDE 3.3 and some additional stuff?) and technical support as well. Other then that I don't really see any benefit accept, of course, supporting the project itself, allowing them to further develope it.

I don't know if the store bought version would be the same as if you joined the club though. You'll maybe have look at the fine print on that one.

Old 04-20-2005, 08:07 PM   #4
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Didn't Mandrake almost go broke recently?

That is one reason to buy distros, because it supports the project. Also, buying distros allow for the free versions to be downloaded, since servers, etc, cost money.

Old 04-20-2005, 09:25 PM   #5
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Acutally Mandrake aquired Conectiva

Old 04-21-2005, 03:15 AM   #6
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You normally get:
The full set of cds and/or dvds - including programs that for licensing/legal reasons can't be on the download version
A manual - usually very handy and 75% of it isn't distro specific
A warm fuzzy feeling because you are helping the community and future development in a tangible way
Old 04-21-2005, 10:14 AM   #7
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I have question that relates to this. If I buy a distro do all the people who have made apps such as xmms and so on get a slice of my dollar or does it all go to the distro company eg. Mandrake/mandriva, Redhat etc.? I would like to hope they do as I see this would be a great reward for there hard work and may go towards covering there own cost.
Old 04-21-2005, 10:35 AM   #8
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Most likely it goes only to the Distro company unless they specifically mention that a part of their proceeds go to the individual developers.

My understanding of the GPL (and most Linux apps are GPLed) is that does not require anybody who packages or redistributes an application to have to pay the original developer, but the packager can charge a reasonable fee from the end-customer for the packaging and distribution costs.
Old 04-21-2005, 10:59 AM   #9
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You get a really great Operating System!
Old 04-21-2005, 11:03 AM   #10
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The program writers get supported indirectly - if you buy, say Mandrake, you are using all the programs that Mandrake installs. Therefore, that programmer of, say XMMS, gets a wider audience for the program. If Mandrake decide that XMMS is integral to their distro they will sponsor the further development and also put some of their people on the project. Linspire, for example, back Skype, KDE and other programs. So your money is spread around.
Old 04-21-2005, 02:50 PM   #11
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your basicly paying for the support and the free software
Old 04-23-2005, 08:14 PM   #12
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Seeing as how mandrake has been used as an example, the difference is mainly the proprietary (but free) type stuff. Plus limited support and some mandrake (probably mandriva) club membership as well.

I installed 8.2 from a download version. Sure it wasn't bad at all, but I still had to get nvidia drivers, alcatel/Thomson Speedtouch driver, Adobe Acrobat (sorry, thats what I was familiar with) and a few other bits and pieces.

When "they" released version 9.0, I got the standard CD set from mandrake and just installed it over the top and bingo all of the above plus other stuff was just "there".

From the point of view of a frustrated newbie (both then, and now! ), it was a godsend. It saved me considerable time in not having to go digging around the web to get or learn the stuff that I wanted just to work!

Oh! and I just did the same until after 10.0, which because I wanted to get away from the 6/9 month release cycle, when I installed Gentoo - now my distro of choice - which I still got from the gentoo organisation, because like all projects, they can also do with the money - which, lets face it, isn't, in most cases, a lot!

I'd imagine that at the moment, it may seem more, but thats only due to the relevant currency exchange levels.




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