It was around 1999. I attended my first Linux convention, at Red Hat headquarters. I was very enthusiastic. Not only was I going to have a good time with other Linux users, but I was doing it under the guise of journalism.
When I walked into the convention, I saw the army of freelancers, many of them sitting in the hallways, with sticker-covered laptops. Most of them were sitting alone, but some were trying to socialize.
I met suppliers, companies, development teams. I met Miguel de Icaza, the man who created GNOME. I also interviewed Scott Draeker, the CEO of Loki Entertainment. If you’ve never heard of Loki Entertainment, its goal was to port Windows games to Linux.
Why you don’t play Linux
Unfortunately, one of the things Draeker told me then was that his fear for the future of his company was not technical. Porting Windows games to Linux was not a problem. his development teams were perfect.Draeker’s great fear was that the Linux community would refuse to pay for the software.
He was right, and that fear eventually led Loki Entertainment to shut down. And that was accompanied by a blow to games on Linux. In the end, it was only with the arrival of Steam that games on Linux began to progress. However, even gaming on Linux with Steam hardly takes off. According to Gaming On Linux, only 1.27% of users use Steam on Linux.
How is it possible ? If we could play on Linux, Linux would dominate the world. And above all, we have games on Linux that work very well. And yet, only a fraction of Linux users bother to use Linux to play games with Steam.
Linux users don’t want to pay for software
I have a theory, and the Linux community might not want to hear it.
Here it is: Linux users don’t want to pay for software.
It’s logic. After all, the ethos of the Linux community has always been freedom. I would say freedom should be centered on source code freedom, not software cost.
Continue its activity
Why do you think this topic is important? Because there are a lot of companies trying to do good things with free software. They create new and fantastic products and do the right thing by releasing their code under the community-friendly GPL (or similar license). These same companies often release community versions of their software with limited functionality. They then sell professional, pro or enterprise licenses to ensure the survival of the business.
Unfortunately, people don’t buy these licenses. For what ? It’s certainly not because the product they create is mediocre. In fact, in a number of cases, these products are far superior to anything on the market.
And yet, these companies are in trouble because free software users refuse to open their wallets. Of course, this does not only apply to free software users. The problem also arises at the corporate level. Why pay for a software license when you can download the source and use it for free?
What’s wrong with a developer who creates something cool for the Linux desktop making money from their creation?
Because companies are trying to create meaningful products that make a difference and the only way for them to stay afloat is for consumers and B2B partners to understand the value of keeping these companies in business.
But it’s not just companies trying to sell software. There are also independent developers who try to sell their products in app stores, such as GNOME Software, KDE’s Discover, and elementary OS’s AppCenter. The problem is that many Linux users don’t want to see paid software in their app stores.
But why ? What’s wrong with a developer who creates something cool for the Linux desktop making money from their creation? Shouldn’t people be paid for their hard work? And wouldn’t more software purchases lead to more and better software?
If there really was a market for paid Linux software, wouldn’t it make sense that more and more companies would see the value in releasing their products on the Linux platform?
I know this is all very complicated, but this particular question is not. It’s time for free software users to open their wallets and agree to buy software. Using the Linux operating system has been and always will be free. So why not be prepared to pay for the software you depend on?
Pay for this password manager, pro version of your favorite browser, buy Steam games on Linux. Do what you can to support the cause you care about. Not only are you thanking a developer for their hard work, but you are showing companies that there is indeed a market for Linux software.