I made a quite interesting experiment with free software,
that I want to share.
EtLinux is a
quite well known embedded Linux distribution. Our ftp
site is overloaded by people downloading 180Mb of
sources and packages. So I decided to offer the possibility
of getting a freshly burnt CD with
EtLinux directly via snail-mail for free, in order to reduce
load on our ftp server.
The offer was put half-hidden
in a sub HTML page of
the EtLinux web
site. After only few hours I got 10 requests
for the CD from China, India, Germany, etc.
So I spent the day after burning CDs, packaging and sending
them around the world.
I needed to reduce requests quickly, because I don't
want to spend my time (or my employee's) burning CDs, packaging
and sending them: I have other things to do.
So I set up a paypal account, and ask 10$ for
burning the CDs and sending it (and maybe saving
some money to fund future development).
I'm now surprised: among the people who requested
the CD when it was "gratis", there were big corporations,
companies and institutions, that can easily spend
10$, but since the new offer is up (10 days)
no one has requested the CD.
Now, there are two options: 1) I made
something wrong in paypal setup (I'm new
to it) 2) people will ask for everything
which is gratis, no matter if they really
need it or not, and will not spend 10$ no matter
if they really need it or not.
I will try to learn from this experience :-)