Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elementary OS Pulling an Elive - Charging for Linux?

So I caught a comment here about Elementary OS being released today so I headed over to their website to see if the disc had been released yet and I was greeted by a count down timer listing twelve hours left till release. Okie-doke count down timers are cool and all - then one of the buttons caught my attention -


Huh - pre-orders are usually needed only by software that requires a cost to download... Upon clicking on the link was I redirected to paypal with the item "elementary: Jupiter" in my order summary. I've read a few things around the internet about Elementary OS and I was keen to give it a try, but after having paid for Elive I don't think I'll ever be using a Linux based OS again that requires me to pony up some green for it.

Now I am not saying distro developers don't deserve contributions from their users (being one myself I know how much donations are appreciated), but a monetary contribution I feel should not be required for installing an FOS operating system. I also think that requiring a payment such as this is going to cause a good deal of people to look else where for the Linux distribution of choice (I mean - its not like Gnome+Ubuntu is hard to find). Do you think - will Elementary OS still take off if they are going down the Elive route and charging for their distribution?

Update: It appears Elementary is going to be free and the cost is for having a physical disc shipped out to you. Still odd though that this information is not posted on their website! Thanks to Jai Ho for the tip i.n the comments

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. As far as I remember, pre-ordering Elementary is for having a cd shipped. I may be wrong.

  2. I think davidc3 is right. The preorder is just one method of supporting them, and you get it on CD for your money. I think the download will be free.

    I can't source this assertion but I remember it being mentioned somewhere.

  3. Would be nice if their website had some actual info instead of just a giant counter. Still that is costly for a CD even... Most OS discs are sub 5$

  4. Yes, only for shipping the cd they are taking the preorders..

    "Like the Ubuntu model it is based on, downloads of the OS will be available for users to download for free."

    You can read about it in OMGUbuntu (

  5. Yes, only for shipping the cd they are taking the preorders..

    "Like the Ubuntu model it is based on, downloads of the OS will be available for users to download for free."

    You can read about it in OMGUbuntu


  6. Yeah, I don't know why they just replaced the whole website with a giant counter. It would have been nice if they retained some links, like that of the wiki, forum, etc. Still, they aren't requiring payment; in about 12 hours, it'll be downloadable for free.
    a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

  7. Well I have been following the Elementary Project for a while now and the CD cost comes from worldwide shipping and as far as I can tell the counter is pretty recent. Plus you can copy the CD (I think) I am 99% sure the the Download is free. There was a torrent of the developer's preview beta (something like that) on (I think) and it was free. I agree with PV.

  8. *sigh* This is why the economics of FOSS are so... sickly. It's all about expectations and attitudes and far too many FOSS supporters expect everything for free as in beer.

    I think you're wrong about paying for foss. Paying for FOSS is exactly what we should be encouraging, paying for FOSS from reputable organisations and basing purchasing decisions on the respect and trust we have for the developers.

    Of course if you think that one developer of "Linux" is the same person as another developer of "Linux", then sure, you can tar everyone with the same bad experience you once had. I'd be surprised though if you lost more than $100 in that bad decision though.

    Besides, "donations" set all the wrong kinds of expectations. People should pay for their software, but get software that respects their freedoms.

  9. What's you problem paying for Linux, there's nothing the GPL, or as far as I'm aware, any other Free Software License, that precludes charge a fee.

    The very first Linux I ever used I paid for, not the disk, the Distribution, and I was very happy to, I've also paid for Mandriva when I was using it, and was very glad to do so.

    There is, sad to say very much a freeloader mentality among many Free Software users. That Free is as in Freedom not Freeloader.

  10. I want the freedom to donate to the project I think are producing a good product.

  11. Well, the counter's gone the torrent seems to be there but there's no more info other than some screen shots and a few words about a couple of programs. No info on minimum system requirements, forum, community.

    Not clear on if you have to pay before the torrent is available (haven't had chance to try it yet).

    A bit too sparse a site to be very encouraging. Who knows what the torrent could disgorge!

    Think I might be waiting for someone else to post a review first.


  12. Not everything in this world can be free. Having a cd burnt and sent costs money and it has to be paid somehow. Even a free download costs money. Maybe he writer should make a charitable donation to the elementary project after slandering their name in order to make up for it. To help pay for all of the free downloads.

  13. Pff maybe Elementary OS should have information on their website - not to mention they don't even host a direct download (Source forge is free!) they only use a torrent - which I am currently seeding.

  14. I was going to reccomend Bodhi OS which uses the E17 DE.

    Then I thought that maybe you knew that. That Jeff guy built it....