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Give it away give it away now!

For those watching Salon slowly disintegrate (or barely cling to existence, depending on your point of view), why not pick on MandrakeSoft for wacky business moves? They have gotten to the point of begging their customers to please buy a membership and to not just freely download their free product any more.

Brings to mind the entire Dot-Com concept:
  1. Build something cool.
  2. Give it away to gain "marketshare"
  3. something
  4. Profit!
The dot-commers never figured out that third step, and Mandrakesoft is following their footsteps to the quicksand, it seems. How does someone make money selling an operating system which is, by definition, free? Red Hat eked out a tiny profit this quarter, so there may be hope for the Services Model of software development, but how much money has RH actually lost over the years to get to this point? At the rate they "earned" money last quarter, will they ever pay off their old debt before the next century? Will Mandrake ever make money?

Tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel!