It doesn't matter if 99.99 percent of all Linux users will never make a single change. If there are a few million users, even the 0.01 percent that end up being developers matters a lot and, quite frankly, even the ones that aren't developers end up helping by reporting problems and giving feedback. And some of them pay for it and thus support companies that then have the incentive to hire the people who want to develop, and it's all a good feedback cycle.
En estos ultimos meses me ha preocupado un poco ver el aumento de personas con ideas un tanto fundamentalistas en el mundillo de linux, gente que insiste equiparar la Ideología del Software Libre con el Socialismo y un exceso por menospreciar o tratar de suprimir la iniciativa privada, el comercio de software sobre esta plataforma y el menosprecio por los programadores de software privado o comercial.
Absolutamente nadie puede negar los aportes al OpenSource y al Free Software hecho por empresas Privadas, tampoco nadie puede negar que el modelo de estas filosofías funcionan, y funcionaran por un buen tiempo.
Aquí pueden encontrar una entrevista de ComputerWorld hecha a Linus Torvalds y por cierto sobre estos temas voy a seguir escribiéndo en este blog
CW: How did Linux, as a product, benefit by being released as it was?
I also think that the change to the GPLv2 (from my original "no money" License) was important, because the commercial interests were actually very important from the very beginning, even if they were much smaller initially. Even in early '92, you had small (hobbyist) commercial distributions that were really just cheap floppy-disk copying services, where interested individuals that were involved decided that they might as well try to spread the word and also maybe make a small amount of money on the side. The fact that I personally wasn't interested in that part of the picture was irrelevant.
And the thing is the commercial concerns from the very beginning, even when they were small, were really very important. The commercial distributions were what drove a lot of the nice installers, and pushed people to improve usability etcetera, and I think commercial users of Linux have been very important in actually improving the product. I think all the technical people who have been involved have been hugely important, but I think that the kind of commercial use that you can get with the GPLv2 is also important -- you need a balance between pure technology, and the kinds of pressures you get from users through the market.
So I don't think marketing can drive that particular thing: if you have a purely marketing (or customer) driven approach, you end up with crap technology in the end. But I think that something that is purely driven by technical people will also end up as crap technology in the end, and you really need a balance here. So a lot of the really rabid "Free Software" people seem to often think that it's all about the developers, and that commercial interests are evil. I think that's just stupid. It's not just about the individual developers; it's about all the different kinds of interests all being able to work on things together.
liux linus torvalds comercio privado open libre