[sf-lug] FOSS community attitudes

Jesse Zbikowski embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com
Fri Oct 17 12:44:31 PDT 2008

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 1:19 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Available market share and size of userbase are different and only very
> loosely coupled concepts.

Well yes, a Linux userbase doesn't do a lot of good on its own unless
they also e.g. buy hardware, which of course many do.  Let's say we
have 100 million consumers who buy PCs, and 1% run Linux.  Currently
there is no PC video card / free driver combo which offers the price /
performance of NVidia or ATI with proprietary drivers.  For you as a
hardware vendor to enter this market by making card with free quality
Linux drivers, your maximum return on investment is 1% of the market
or 1 million consumers who might potentially care (in practice it's
less because not every Linux user cares about free drivers).

Now if the Linux userbase goes up to 25 million or 25% market share,
suddenly there is a market opportunity for 25 million consumers who
may prefer your offering if you sell a card with free drivers.
Obviously this is more interesting to you as a company than 1 million.
 So although increasing the Linux userbase *per se* may not be
interesting, increasing the number of people who buy hardware,
software & services for the Linux platform certainly is!

(Not to mention, increasing the number of Linux users who contribute
to the community in other ways besides being consumers, is also

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