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.
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:
- 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