[en] FireFox, сам по себе являющийся "бесплатным" продуктом, оказывается, спонсирует "бесплатный" Линукс.
Did you ever wonder at the Linux “distros” sprouting wildly? They are countless already; nobody knows the exact number: Knoppix, CentOS, Ubuntu, Kubuntu… The most surprising part is they compete. Not with Microsoft – MS is and probably will for a looong time to come enjoy their monopoly – with each other! Every distro’s outlet boasts about its market share.
Now, which “market share”? If it’s free, where’s the market?
Well, it’s not really free, wonder it not, you – users – pay for “free” Linux. Here’s how.
Linux includes … a “killer app”, which is – you guessed right – a Web Browser. As a matter of fact a web browser is a killer application for any modern computer (running any OS), it’s just different brand of a browser for each OS: Microsoft Windows comes with Internet Explorer bundled, Linux distros (they’re all united in this regard) come with FireFox as a default browser.
FireFox is pushed by Google. Why’d Google bother? Because FireFox has Google as a default search-bar. Few would doubt FF gets money from G itself for such loyalty. This reinforces Google’s position as “the beginning of the Internet” for most users (who inject their hard-earned dollars into the whole e-commerce thing). Google operates the biggest advertising network on earth as well as probably the biggest personal data mining system. This is where G money comes from. And this is where the circle completes.
For FireFox to help Google it has to spread. The Windows way is largely blocked by IE and Live Search, so Linux is very important. As likely as not, FF has to share some of its money with the Linux distros it “parasites”. Otherwise, it’d easily loose the war to Opera.
Opera is arguably on par with FireFox on features and usability. At certain aspects, it can even be considered superior. However, it didn’t make such big friends with Google. Now they’re trying to make their own way seeking so much needed publicity with the recent untitrust filing.
Another source of income for web browsers might be Certification Authorities Root Certificates placement. Although these are paid by the corporate part of the global e-commerce scheme, the expenses are inevitable passed unto the end users who … download “free” Linux and use it to purchase stuff on the Net.