Financing Open-Source-Projects via the Ubuntu Software-Center

Financing Open-Source-Projects via the Ubuntu Software-Center

Since a few month it's relatively easy to offer commercial software through the Ubuntu Software-Center. Why shouldn't this be used to finance open-source projects like the Gimp, Ardour or Openshot and support their development efforts.

Let's Take Brian Lunduke's favorite example: The Gimp. Before I want to make an fundamental assumption: It doesn't conflict with the open-source/free software idea, to sell software, if you publish the source code at the same time.

How could this look like?

For Gimp there are certain plugins, which are not available via the standard package sources and which maintenance is bugging the typical (web-) designer.

Why not offer certain plugin packs in the Ubuntu Software-Center for a fair price? For example, I could imagine a plugin pack, that makes a preselection of special plugins for photo post-production – with features that are not available in Shotwell.

This could be an opportunity for the Gimp team; who's got more competence about Gimp than the Gimp team itself. What's true for Gimp is also true for a lot of other applications like OpenShot, Ardour, Open-Office, etc.

Where is the customer value?

Most OSS users are bugged or simply overstrained by the installation of plugins, PPAs or the compiling of source code – regardless they like to use the best plugins and the newest software. It would be arrogant to say: users should develop theses skills or wait for 6 – 24 month until the next version of Ubuntu comes out.

The concept of providing updates via the Software-Center is especially interesting for LTS-versions of Ubuntu. Users and programmers get totally new possibilities bypassing missing updates by Canonical.

Why it is important to have a vibrant commercial Ecosystem around open source software

Many times open source projects, most often small ones, have to fight obstacles like new hardware or server costs – not to mention compensation of the team members. In addition, most open-source projects are developed by solo developers and are lacking manpower to have faster development cycles.

If you are now interested in developing business ideas around open source software, check the two articles:

How do you think about it? Should open source projects try to raise money with the Software-Center?


Wine for Ubuntu Users

A few days ago I spotted a wine for Ubuntu users. Unfortunately, the shop was closed. But I think I will come back and taste the wine. € 9,99 Euro is not too bad. Cheers!


Linux Users Are Software Pirates

Why are Linux Users Software Pirates?

In one sentence: Linux users are software pirates, because they don't pay for their software. Period!

We all talk about the awesomeness of  Linux, Ubuntu and Open-Source-Software, but who of us is willing to pay for OSS? Nobody! Everything has to be free of charge. But Linux and OSS is about freedom, not free beer! We, who want everything for free, aren't any better than those who illegally leach software and games.

Why this is a fucking problem!

Software for Linux sucks!

Tell me about one high-end graphic suite, tell me about one state of the art game, tell me about one top business software!

It's hard to believe, writing awesome software is hard work; anybody who works hard has to eat and sleep, otherwise she will die. Sometimes this developer wants to take care of his family – strange thing.

What is the consequence for the average open-source developer?

Surprise: She goes to work.

What doesn't she do, when she is working? Exactly, she can not continue work on her open-source project.

Let's reference Brian Lunduke and take a look at The Gimp:

To make The Gimp competitive to Photoshop the project needs 3 developers and 1 tester. If everybody earns 75 k, what is not much for decent developers, the project needs about 300 k in funding!  There a no marketing efforts or anything else included. Just the money for the developers, that they can eat and will not die and will finish the project.

If we want killer open-source-apps, we have to pay for it – it is just this simple!

What can we do?

Donate! Donate! Donate!

Unfortunately, we all donate to infrequently and we donate to small amounts – myself included.

If we agree, that open-source users have to donate, then we should ask the following question:

How and how much should we donate?

Donating a little amount for every project doesn't make much sense, therefore I suggest a five step action plan:

  1. Forget the big distros, the Linux kernel and other company backed projects – they have enough money.
  2. Now think about it: Without which software you couldn't live anymore? Which project do you need for your job? Make a list.
  3. Write down your top 5. My list looks like this: Top5 Open-Source-Programme
  4. Now imagine: somebody takes your top 5 hostage.  How much ransom would you pay? What is your personal value for each program in your top 5? Take this amount and write it behind the corresponding program in your list.
  5. Donate! Yeah, you're right, the different amounts you have written down, this is what you donate. The great thing is, you can donate whenever you want. For example, after your next big customer project is finished and you earned a ton of money – but remember: With freedom comes responsibility!

To say it again, if you donate you are just fair. If you are don't donate you behave not much different than a software pirate, that found a legal loophole.

I know the temptation to do nothing is great, but get yourself together – do something!


The perfect vocabulary trainer

Most of us have trouble to learn vocabulary, technical terms or facts. But why is that? Because we don't repeat things we learned often.

Mnemosyne helps

At that point comes Mnemosyne to the game. Mnemosyne works like an intelligent vocabulary trainer. Who knows what to repeat when you should repeat it.

If you want to memorize something Mnemosyne is your perfect match. For example, add some vocabularys. Mnemosyne will test you on that words and you will have to grade your answer. Mnemosyne will then try to estimate the next time it test you on that words.

Tipps

I use Mnemosyne to:

  • learn Englisch words that I don't know, when I'm on the internet
  • memorize facts from a textbook.

Download

For installation on Ubuntu and other Debian-based OS klick on that button:

Installbutton Mnemosyne

For all other OS go to that page: Mnemosyne-Download


Faster with Ubuntu Part 4: Impressive

Today I want to show you a tool that will raise your presentation power and makes you faster getting what you want. Impressive shows presentations, saved as pdf , with tasty animations between slides. Impressive has a lot of additional functions. Two highlights are:

1. Overview Function:

The overview makes it easy to jump back to a certain slide after the presentation. You just hit the <Tab>-key and you see an overview of all the slides of the presentation. Now you choose the desired slide via mouse or arrow key and hit <Enter>.

2. Highlight Function:

If you want to highlight a certain part on a slide, you can paint a rectangle with your mouse and this part will be highlighted.

Impressive has a ton of other features that you can read about in the included demo presentation.

Install It

Impressive has some debencies that should be already installed on most Ubuntu systems. To proof that type in the command line:

aptitude install python python-opengl python-pygame python-imaging xpdf-reader gs pdftk xdg-utils mplayer

Ok, you can copy & paste 🙂 Now download Impressive and deflate it.

Use It

First prepare a presentation and save it as pdf. Now start you presentation with

python [path/to/Impressive] impressive.py [präsentation].pdf

What do you think of Impressive. Will you use in there upcumming talks? What about the other functions?

Discover the opportunities and rock Ubuntu today.


ghotkey – Set Hotkeys in gnome easily

This is a little Python program I wrote. It lets you set the 12 Metacity (the gnome window manager) hotkeys for any application you like. Set any command you like in the left entry field of a row and the corresponding hotkey in the right entryfield. The format for the hotkeys looks like "<Control>a" or "<Shift><Alt>F1". The parser is fairly liberal and allows lower or upper case, and also abbreviations such as "<Ctl>" and "<Ctrl>". If you set the option to the special string "disabled", then there will be no keybinding for this action.

Download ghotkey and rock Ubuntu today. Download: ghotkey-0.1.tar.gz


Faster Ubuntu Part 3: Parcellite

You all know the shortcuts <Ctrl>+c, <Ctrl>+v and <Ctrl>+x to copy and paste content from the clipboard. If not you should change that immediately. A great disadvantage of the standard clipboard is, if you want copy different text passages you have to change between the source and the target back and forth. Parcellite creates an history of the clipboard for you.

Install It

Download the package, install via the GDebi installer and add it to your autostart list.

Use It

A mouse klick on the applet or the shortcut <Ctrl>+<Alt>+h Parcellite shows you the last 25 clipboard entries and you can choose one.

You can paste this entry as usual via <Ctrl>+v. A typical use case would be, if you want to use a certain text passage several times, but want to work as usual without switching back to the original source all the time. It needs some time to use Parcellite effectively. Discover the opportunities and rock Ubuntu today.


Lastdocs Plugin For gEdit

This is a new version of my Lastdocs plugin for gEdit. I improved the performance a bit.The Lastdocs plugin exposes a simple dialog that shows you the last opened files which can be edited with gEdit. It is inspired by Scribes a very promising editor that is in an early development stage.

What is the advantage over the recent files menu entry?

The the Lastdocs plugin is better suited to my workflow. I just press <Ctrl><Shift><o>,

the Lastdocs dialog pops up and I can use the arrow keys to choose a file. There doesn't need any mouse action to be involved.

How can I download the plugin?

Download the following file:

Unpack it and put the files in

~/.gnome2/gedit/plugins/

and activate the plugin.
If you have any ideas for improvement, don't hesitate to post them.

Now download lastdocs-plugin and rock Ubuntu today. Download: lastdocs-0.1.tar.gz


Faster Ubuntu Part2: Guake

In the first installation of this series I told you, that I think that the command line is the second important tool, to get you faster with your Ubuntu usage. Actually, the command line is the most powerful toy you can use in the Linux world. Today I want to show a terminal emulator that has its root in the ego-shooter Doom. Most Ubuntu-Rockstars have always a terminal window opened, that enables them to punch in some useful and time-saving commands. The drawback of this method is that the terminal is just another application on the desktop and could be hidden behind some different app or could be minimized, that you have to activate it via the window list. An nice alternative is Guake.

Install It

To install Guake you have to download this package from their website and then install it via the Gedebi installer. As with Gnome-Do you should add Guake to your autostart list. After you installed Guake you should hit the systray icon with your right mouse button and choose preference. In the preferences dialog you should set the hotkey for the roll down. I use the Menu-key because I have no further use for it.

Use It

You can imagine Guake like a roller shutter that covers the other windows as you hit the hotkey. Now you are free to type in some commands. As soon as you hit the hotkey again Guake rolls up. In contrast to Gnome-Do Guake is not of much use unless you are familiar with the command line. If you are not using the command line already, you should change that as soon as possible. You can find a short introduction here and a useful sheat-cheat here. Discover the opportunities and rock Ubuntu today.


Why Microsoft Is A Dying Giant.

Update: Sad Day For Microsoft: 5,000 Laid Off, Earnings And Revenues Down

I said in my thoughts about Google's Chrome that I think Microsoft is a dying giant. I feel that I should justify such a bold statement.

First I want to mention that I see the above statement in the long-term. Of course Microsoft won't vanish tomorrow.

Here are my main reasons for my claim:

  • Microsoft is relying an cash-cows and so can't change

  • Microsoft is not able to be successful in new fields

  • Microsoft's competitors have adopted a robuster business model

The problem for Microsoft with their cash-cows is that they can't pursue a new application and business models that endanger their existing software like Office or Windows. The Web versions of their office suite, for example is very restricted that it does not cannibalize the original. Their competitors, like Google, don't have this handicap.

On the other hand, Microsoft is not able to launch new products that earn money. Their internet activities are very expensive, the X-Box doesn't get revenues and the Zune-Player is a flop. That will be a big issue in the future.

Last their competitors of their cash-cows are open source software. It's hard to beat free in the long run, if you need to sell your product. Linux and Open Office don't need a price tag, their makers earn money with service agreements and share the development costs. This is a completely new situation for Microsoft, normally they pushed their competitors away. Look Netscape, IBM with OS/2 or Star Office, but against OSS this is just not possible. You might say Microsoft is still making a lot of money with its OS and its office suite. That is right, but things are going to change, look for example at the EeePC. This thing is selling very well and it runs on Linux and uses Open Office. My opinion is that this trend will intensify.

I think the only chance for Microsoft to survive in the long run is that it reinvents itself. It may be unlikely that they will earn so much money again like they do today, but we will see. The first war about browsers has already started…