The paradoxical unknown future of Elive


Elive: cost-free or paying OS ?

Simply said, by making Elive cost-free means that will have a total lack of resources that will lead to its end. Making elive a paying OS will create complains over the internet (bad publicity) and also a lack of interest which leads to nobody using it.

Optional donations?

With my 14 years experience on this topic and having tried every possible way, and every type of different message requesting donations optionally, only very very few people donated, the always result is that optionally doesn’t works, and the only way to get a minimally considerable donation result is when it is forced or making the cost-free option more hard than the donating option.

Unfortunately, people only donate when it is forced, I mean, the different is too many significant.


Elive 3.0 has been released, in less than 24 hours 4500 downloads happened, while I have been over billed in the hosting, only 3 people donated in a total of 25$. With these numbers are absolutely impossible to cover any cost, not even the server ones.

Is optional donations a possibility?

Just take these numbers as an example:

  • Jimmy Wales: Wikipedia founder, the largest source of knowledge in the world: 1 million $ net worth
  • Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO, the largest social platform in the world: 61400 million $ net worth

This is a good example of 2 different projects, both known and used worldwide, one of them is “entirely cost-free” and is maintained from the good will of their users, and even if is much more important and valuable for this world, the second person has a net worth 61.4 thousand times bigger, is this not a little big difference?

I receive from time to time emails by Wikipedia / Jimmy asking for donations, their importance and that there’s not enough donations to maintain the Wikipedia, I personally prefer to see one day the wikipedia asking for donations more aggressively or any difficulty, than not seeing wikipedia appearing on its url anymore in the future.

And this is in fact one of the biggest reasons of why I continue making Elive, when I read comments like the one by @adamvan2000 where he says that was happy to donate in the past and will do it again, people that prefer to do a small sacrifice than stopping to see Elive in a future. That’s also the reason of why I decided to start asking for donations in 2007 to continue the project when I had the option to stop spending my time on it.

How many donations are required?

Speaking about numbers, Elive should grow at least like 20x times just to continue surviving minimally as a project.

There was a time in the past where donations was enough to live, and I even was able to pay somebody a small amount of money for a dedicated time of continuous work too. This is not the case anymore, technically speaking, it is not even enough to live, hardly for eat, don’t even think about the price of living. The situation is in fact in danger to maintain the servers up, which I will try to keep them online in a way or other.

So basically to have optional donations are not an option, but then we have the paradoxical issue:

The Paradox

  • If donations are optional: the number are so low that the project will simply die
  • If donations are somewhat forced: by being harder to use Elive cost-free (which has always been) than by donating, will make harder for new users to try Elive, losing their interest, creating a bad reputation in internet about the wrongly concept of charge for free software, and slowly lose the users over the time


  • There’s 4x times less downloads when the delayed-download option is used, instead of direct downloads


There’s only 2 solutions:

  • To live in a world where money is not a need, both for survival and for creating something
  • To have the Elive project financed (funding) in some external way, even if Elive won’t generate any income

The second solution is of course more easy to reach than the first one, the only problem is that I don’t know how it can be this way… maybe by a laptops enterprise that wants to have their own OS in their computers? maybe a government or similar entity that wants to make the project sustain covering all the economical costs?

It won’t be an amazing that Elive can afford to have a team of developers and designers among others? It would be like 100x times more amazing than what actually is !

Not good solutions:

  • Publicity / ads: Seriously? if there’s is an Elive with ads, you will lose all the good that Elive has and it will be just like any other commercial crap. But being more objective about that, there’s so far not enough users to be a considerable option.
  • Sell support: users don’t pay for it, only enterprises, and in any case Elive has not enough users* to be a considerable option

Note: Donations are NOT a solution, nor a real option, it is not enough to cover a minimum of development or need, and Elive would have been already dead long time ago if the interest was to make money and not making a good system. Donations are simply the only way that was possible to make Elive continue exist, even with all their difficulties.

Please: this is an important topic for the project so try to stick at the topic, if you want to debate a different thing open a different thread

URGENT switch to donation-based downloads
Unwanted users & bad comments on internet (idea)
URGENT switch to donation-based downloads

I like what I read.

Very complex problem to solve.

Just hope 3.0 get more users / fan of Elive and that we can reach a minimum that allow to keep it alive until Elive can thrive…



This is really difficult. I do not have the ability to really help. But this is how I see things.

Elive is a distribution that has always excelled at bringing low resource computers to life. It is special because it can make old, otherwise useless hardware useful again, and look good doing it. And it means you do not have to be wealthy to do what you need to do with a computer. This is fantastic, but the kind of people that need Elive are exactly not the kind of people with lots of money to donate to a project…

I call Elive “Debian for the Enlightened” because it marries the stability and power of Debian with the beauty and efficiency of Enligtenment, and the integration skills of Thanatermesis - and together it leads to an epiphany: enlightenment.

But these days as many have said, you can not provide the latest application choices without 64 Bit. Linux users - many of them - want access to the bleeding edge applications because Linux is always catching up to Windows and Mac applications in terms of functionality, and the bleeding edge apps are the only way to get close. I am not talking about me personally here, but about what I sense a large number of users want.

So its almost like we need 2 Elives. Version 3 needs to live on to support legacy computers and environments…but a new Elive, version 4 needs to move to 64 Bit and join the modern world.

But how to achieve this?

I started putting together a survey monkey: I thought: if we can survey the Elive community - perhaps we can find the skill set available to market, develop, communicate, sell Elive. Then I realized: Thanatermesis has probably already done this through his “contribute” web page.

We can all as individuals try to spread the word in social media about Elive. But, in the short to medium term, if version 4 is going to happen, it seems to me there is no way but to find a willing group of core users who are willing to donate just enough to keep the project going. Perhaps in return for some influence on how the project develops and for what hardware…

I really like the idea of one day seeing a laptop optimized with Elive…perhaps finally a Linux Laptop to rival a Mac for battery life, for instance…that would sell! But in the meantime, we have to keep Samuel alive…


I agree with you, elive needs desperately to move to 64 bit and newer (possibly testing) Debian release. I’m fine at the moment running on wheezy 32 bits, but for example moving my sister to elive from windows drove me crazy because most of the programs or commodities she was used to are missing/outdated (I had to write a few script too :/). This won’t help to get new users and patreons. Someone like the guy of “switched on Linux” channel would probably appreciate and make a great video about elive once these lacks will be fixed, but probably if I’d ask him “please make and elive 3.0 review!”, Despite it is the best version of elive ever, he wouldn’t surely give a positive review.
I know that what makes elive great are all the optimized packages, all the personalized features etcetera, but they are also (tell me if I’m mistaken) what slows down the developing. Releasing a 64 bit with newer Debian version with bare bones elive features would be probably the easiest way to go at the moment!
Moving to modern Debian would also give the possibility to choose elive over almost any other Debian based distro when comes to workstations: you’d get a powerful, fast, user-friendly and beautiful os without needing to waste any computing power, so that you can focus all the computer resources on any heavy task you need to accomplish. You’d probably be able to really live with paid support for businesses like q4os do!

Elive 3.0 Announcement

I’m more than willing to donate to this worthy cause. Let me go on the record here that I’m willing to pledge AU$ 20/month for a full year to get to 64-bit. My m6700 laptop will appreciate it.

I joined this forum back in 2010 when I was using Elive but have not been an active participant as my situation changed when I changed jobs and started using Ubuntu. But I’m back on the scene and I really, really like what I see. I can’t believe that this beautiful work is the work of just 1 person out of >7 billion - just awesome!


OK - I have put my money where my loud mouth was - I’m now a Patreon.


Hooooo I will be forced to say " I’m in" too… Young people would say " I’m down…"
Was giving money sporadically but I’ll make it official too, 20$ / Month !!
Will have to cut on wine… (joke)


Yes I’m aware of that, and this makes the donations to be less probable, and was also the reason of why I never wanted to restrict Elive to be to be used for anyone, donations has been always optional even if you needed to wait 24 hours to download or other similar things

Yes of course, and the plans for the next Elive will be:

  • having a 64 bit vesion, UEFI-featured that can boot in any recent computer, and being blazing fast and light in resources like all the other vesions of Elive

Wouldn’t be amazing? :boogie:

Problem is the lack of resources to make it real

For example, long time ago I created a crowdfunding for the 3.0 release: Fundraiser by Samuel Flores Baggen : Make Elive 3.0 Real and Cost-Free! , the original goal was higher than the one that you see, details of how will be used these funds was included too, I did a massive notification about this crowdfunding and less than 1,5k has been reached in more than one year long, this is insufficient for even a single month of work (maybe only one for a single worker), so I needed to finish 3.0 myself because I wanted to, during the next 2 years with multiple difficulties and with an income not even enough to eat every day

In other words: it’s not possible actually to start the next development phase as explained too in Elive - Beta Download

Well this is a very hard topic, actually we have the “get involved” categories here for this purpose, by other side, manage these things are very hard, i mean, time-consuming, and from my experience when i already tried that in the past (multiple times), I always found that is not worth, more exactly these are the issues:

  • worth: In the end, I lose less time by simply doing it myself, than explaining every detail, what, how, and later “fix” or modify the things because are not the exact way… this specially happens when somebody is “new” to a specific knowledge, but then we have other multiplied issues:
  • time: the collaboration is not payed, sometimes there’s rare passionate people that can invest a good amount of time, but since it is not payed you cannot demand a full-time (or half) investing, also, most of times the volunteering people is as a temporal thing, maybe a few days, weeks, or even a few amount of months, so in the end, is not worth to spend 2 months explaining things for a help work of one week, this inversion of time (which i lose in the other things) is only worth if the person is payed (how i did in the past with PrinceAMD and worked very good)
  • professionalism: when you hire somebody you require some knowledge and expertise, you read and study the CV of that person to know if is qualified for the task, when there’s volunteer work you cannot be so strict, and is not fun to say “we don’t want to accept your help”

To deal with collaborative work is not an impossible thing, but requires organization and time (which i dont have)

This is something that anybody can do and doesn’t require any of the “collaboration bad sides” listed before, but unless they are passionate they will not share much (this worked very well in the past when the installation of Elive required a donation or to write an article about Elive, it accidentally leaded to a very good publicity / knowing of Elive, mention: @jfbourdeau ), I was thinking in something like sharing the first versions of 64-bit to the people that writes something about Elive in internet lol (jokes out: it can work)

sadly in every sense, a small group is not enough, i said every sense because i have see sometimes people giving like 50$ in a single donation and this is amazing, but it happens so few times (small group) that the final result is pretty low (these 50$ donations happens like 2-3 times per year), by other side, like @jfbourdeau said, “if everybody that is downloading 3.0 will give 5 or 10 $…”, well, Elive will be funded right now (11k downloads) with 55000$-11000$, enough to have the version 4.0 in a few months in only 5 days, unfortunately it is not the case, and this is why to “force a bit” donations are required, only giving optional donations leads to nobody donates (20$ reached from 4000 downloads), forcing: few donates, most of the people waits 24h., and only 1 per every 4 visitors from the total still wants to try elive

Around 2006, like 2-3 hardware manfuacturers contacted Elive to put Elive as a replacement of windows to sell their white-labeled laptops, but these projects never reached the first step of development

Note: this can be a working alternative to the donations requirements ^


Absolutely not, please don’t ask him for another review

I’m serious, I have seen an old review from him about an old Elive Beta and talked to him on the comments, fixing all the things that he was complaining (in his emotionally-alarmed way, of course) because I considered that like him, other users can have the same feeling… Then with this version 3.0 he did another review, complaining again about everything in a very destructive way and even saying things like he don’t recommends Elive to anybody, then I realized that he is just a Troll, and I hope he don’t do any more review about Elive ever, he cannot do any good for Elive for sure!

If you speak spanish, just compare him with how different can be a review from a positive and happy user (in every comment!):

Yes but Elive stills not enough known to the world, so the world cannot pick it as a possible choice because for them, it doesn’t exist

Would be needed a gigantic massive spread of Elive first, and for that, would be needed a good sharing strategy, like:

  • Improving the wikipedia article of Elive, which is one of the biggest sources of refferals to the site
  • reference Elive in any other linux-related wikipedia article (there’s many)
  • strategy of big social sharing
  • magazines
  • SEO big improvements
  • etc

I don’t know it, can you describe how it works?


Very good video


I didn’t of course

I may do something about it

Already told u about the thing for Instagram

Basically, it’s completely free, but they have a business service:
Whether you need direct support, system fixes, professional tools or os personalizations (and personalized installation) you can contact them, pay them, and get whatever you want (more or less)


So he would be like some freelance / IT consultant for the ELive OS and charge ( per hour, project or whatever)


Yes, kinda. It may be a possibility. But once again, we need Debian upgrade before thinking about such professional service


Thank you! that would be very helpful :slight_smile: btw @grottem is the original author of the (rewrited) wikipedia article :slight_smile:

The easiest way to collaborate is “doing it yourself” (without waiting for other’s answers), but maybe could be a good idea to organize / structure a strategy of social media / internet / seo impact with the people that want to collaborate (we will need some volunteers too, first)


good job @stoppy98 !!


And much more users, actually I don’t think anyone would pay for it (and of course, we are talking about “worth amounts”), maybe like our friend “hands” :slight_smile:

But not sure if this can be really a way to sustain Elive, i mean, this will make me “lose” time in a “working service” (which means: time invested in working for survival, not for develop Elive), and is not needed to create an entire distro for work as a service consultant, anybody (with the correct expertise) can do consulting services for Debian itself or for Ubuntu since they are opensource, oh wait… not for ubuntu, its a registered trademark that you cannot use it “freely”, not even the name or logo (the people who complains the more about cost-free are the ones that uses the more restricted system? welcome to the ironical world ruled by the capitalism)


i fixed the already existing wikipedia page. I will later add some other paragraphs. It’s pretty much easy to edit, so i guess anybody may add something to it.
give it a look and tell me if it’s fine @Thanatermesis @yoda


If it’s this page Elive - Wikipedia I think is good… But will give it 2 or 3 more reading later. Tks!
JF/Yoda :wink:

I am not that familiar with Wikipedia as dor the editor/contributor part of it… Anyone can write whatever they want ?



_ Elive 3.0 is based on Debian 8.x Jessy branch. It is very late for a distribution to announce its first release based on Jessy. Most of the packages shipped in this release are quite outdated now. Mr. Samuel has justified the delay with the lack of contributors. Despite the outdated packages, he promises a rock solid, useful and beautiful system out of Elive 3.0._ ??


elive 3.0 is based upon debian 7.11 wheezy, if it was jessie based it woudldn’t be so outdated!