Re: Working Within the System

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 11:19:55 MDT

Martin Ling wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 10:05:00AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > Martin Ling wrote:
> > >
> > > On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 08:28:17AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > > >
> > > > I bought SuSe on a CD that was part of a linux book, that retailed for
> > > > $49.00. I bought it on remainder at a used book store for $15. A used
> > > > dual processor server I just bought from a guy for $50 happened to have
> > > > a Red Hat cd stuck in the drive (and he just moved out to Arizona, oh
> > > > well ;) ), so you could say i got that for free. But I doubt that most
> > > > people are as cheap as I am. Both are 'previous release' issues, and
> > > > I've likewise seen Windows 3.1 and Win95 disks available for nothing or
> > > > next to nothing in similar venues...Buying the latest release of an OS
> > > > is not likely to be gotten for free or next to nothing.
> > >
> > > Yes it is. You can always download the latest version of RedHat, SuSE,
> > > Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, and all the others I could come up with, or
> > > obtain the CD for $2-3.
> >
> > The issue isn't downloads, its hardcopy, and I'd be very interested in
> > finding sources of cds for 2-3 dollars.
> is a good US source. Most of the major
> distributions can be had for $1.99
> > 100M or more, especially if your local phone usage rates are not capped,
> > is less than going out and buying the CD.
> Not if you're in the UK :(

Yes, I actually intended to say that its NOT less. A long download of a
day will play havoc with your local phone bill (even some parts of the
US, Vermont for example, and some local account types in NH, both have
metered local phone rates of between $0.01-0.04 per minute.

Assuming a download speed of 33.6 in a rural location where local access
is metered (I've never gotten as much as 33.6 with my 33.6 modem in this
area, 31.4 is the best I've seen, and 56k is not 'really' 56k in many
areas). So thats 33,600 bits per second. Lets assume a 100Megabyte
download (anyone suggest if this is inaccurate) which is actually what?
800,000,000 bits or thereabouts? 100,000 bits every three seconds
(assuming no erroneous packets) you are talking about 24,000 seconds to
download, or 400 minutes, almost 7 hours. 400 minutes is between $4.00
and 8.00 in line charges alone, at best, for a local metered call. Then
you are dealing with lost opportunity costs of having your phone tied up
for almost 7 hours, and you are assuming that the transfer doesn't get
bunged up and quitted on you. Adjust this $4-8 figure for each 100megs
of download.

> > Knowing cd production costs,
> > they are losing money distributing at that rate. Moreover, the business
> > models of companies like these are focused on making money on tech
> > support. I doubt very much that half of the linux companies will be in
> > business in a year or two.
> Probably a lot will die off, but that's the free market :). The open source
> business model is viable.
> > > Corel is a rather unusual example (it includes some commercial software,
> > > namely the personal version of WordPerfect).
> >
> > Yes, and Corel is also coming out with linux versions of all of its
> > applications. It intends to give Microsoft a run for its money through a
> > user freindly version of the linux platform and a full linux product
> > line, so long as they don't run out of money first. Michael Cowpland,
> > CEO fo Corel, seems to be afflicted with the gee-whiz virus, and even
> > though they are short onf cash, went ahead and bought Kai, at the same
> > time that they are finalizing their Borland/Inprise merger. He is doing
> > little to improve existing applications, preferring a strategy of making
> > applications pay for their own improvements. Ventura, for example, is in
> > many ways a superior DTP application to Quark, PageMaker, and
> > FrameMaker, but lacks some features that I consider to be of utmost
> > importance to be truly wonderful (though few other DTP apps offer them
> > either, and in the rare cases they do, they are expensive aftermarket
> > plug-ins from third parties.)
> Sun have produced StarOffice, which is fully compatible with MS Office
> and free for personal non-commercial use. It's distributed with several
> of the Linux distributions.

Yeah, but its not fully comparable, feature for feature. It only has
file format compatibility. And don't get me started on the differences
between WP and Word.

> With a combination of StarOffice and, say, Mandrake or SuSE, I think Linux
> is already a very viable desktop alternative to Windows for a lot more
> people than many realise.

I use SO on my SuSe implementation, and its useful, no doubt about it.

> (I would add Corel to that list, but their distribution is currently a
> little quirky - I look forward to the next version).

The 'quirky' comment I've heard elsewhere, mostly because the header
normally found in Debian is not present. It can be put back in with no
problem, but the point of the Corel implementation was to make it easily
installable by a newbie on an average desktop machine. There are issues
with SCSI drivers, which is typical with many linux installs. My
impression that the 'quirky' comment is just a rumor spread around by
die hard command line junkies who are offended that a linux install
should be so easy.

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