OpenBSD Journal

CD sales.

Contributed by jose on from the help! dept.

Somebody writes:

From: Artur Grabowski

Date: 16 Dec 2002 09:26:04 +0100
Subject: CD sales.


As some of you may know, some people working on the development of
OpenBSD are funded by our current 2-year DARPA grant.

While the money that we get from CD and t-shirt sales used to fund
Theo and the infrastructure he provides, at the moment that money is
funding various other areas of the project, including a few
part-time employees and one full-time employee - me.

There has been a slowdown.  And many many more of you are doing FTP
downloads only. We know that the economy isn't in great shape and that
companies don't have money and we hope to survive this, but it would
still be nice if you maybe thought about buying that CD or t-shirt. Or
if you have a company that installs OpenBSD on lots of machines buy a
few extra CDs to support the project.

The CDs and t-shirts will make great christmas gifts. :)


I know for a fact that the blowfish baby doll T looks hot on some girls, and my girlfriend looks great in my wireframe shirt. But more to the point, the project needs some help. Donations and assistance is how free software survives, it's time to give something back and ensure that the project and everything good that's come out of it can continue.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

    art does hella cool stuff, and if he is paid full time to hack openbsd, then we want him to have money. I just send $50, please, do what you can.

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I have all the T-Shirts, and I buy the CD's mainly to support OpenBSD and cause I love the stickers all over my laptop.

    I'd buy a new T-Shirt if there was one! *hint* *hint*

  3. By blueeyz () on

    I have _ALL_ of the CD's, in fact I have 8 or more of 2.6 through 3.2, each. I tell my boss I want to order 8 or 10 every 6 months, and it is a good thing. It costs less, way less than the money that gets spent on Windows, and it rocks where we use it. I got my 3.2 set and much to my dismay, I found the artwork offensive. I mean, fishy and the squid going at it under the covers....

    I was appalled, and disappointed. I like my Operating systems to be neutral when it comes to the hot buttons - sexual and political and religious issues don't add anything to the utility of the operation. I am unable to give out the CD to co workers, or others that might be interested in trying it out. I'm embarrassed to let my boss look through the fold-out instructions.

    I figure my office has spent over two grand supporting OpenBSD, and have loved every release. I have stickers everywhere. In the future, though, I can't support it if it continues to have offensive overtones.

    Now before you flame away, I don't expect you to have the same opinions on the matter as I do. That is what makes freedom, as in liberty, so great. You can do what you want, I'll do what I want. I am free to tell my boss that I want one copy, or press him for 10 or more. As long as the software is "free to do with what ever you want". You are free to put what ever artwork on the software, you just have to realize that it may affect CD sales.

    If 3.3 comes out, is hot button neutral and rocks, as I know it will, of course I'll order my load of copies. After I get one to keep the collection complete and check it for suitability. Some sexy artwork and I'll pass.

    As to Theo's post to misc@ about CD sales down 50% and ftp uploads significantly up, could be the market, could be the bitter tone of threads on misc@ over the past while.

    Any one else care to comment if they have bought more or less and why? And what they plan for the future.

  4. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Well, I have bought most cd's up until lately, i'm just too damn lazy to wait for it to get here. Since i live in the US it takes forever...but I do intend on buying 3.2 and a tshirt. ;D

  5. By RC () on

    Try not to take this as a flame... I'd say the extensive downloads have a good deal to do with the fact that ISOs aren't available.

    What does the OpenBSD team have to say about it? They say: No problem, just do an FTP install. I'm not surprised that people are doing just that... Which means people often download the entire distro multiple times, rather than an ISO just once.

    I, of course, download it once, then make a CD of it for myself, but I don't expect most people do the same.

    BTW, I hate credit cards...

  6. By Anomalous Blowhard () on

    As someone who made big bux last year, and has been pulling in unemployment checks for much of this year I can say that that is a big factor in my choice not to buy the CD/t-shirts/etc.

    I suggested a sort of "low end" donation of like $10 for stickers or splitting the CD to i386 only. I don't think padding it and pricing it at $40 is the only way to get people to cough up bux. If MS new "licensing" concept is making them billions in this tough market then maybe the OpenBSD project needs to try some more sophisticated pricing strategies.

  7. By Anders Arnholm () on

    Yes, I wan't to by more T-Shirts. Where is the 3.1 t-shirt, the 3.2 t-shirt. Well actually I got almost all and the few that I don't have either is to old and didn't have any ones in my size left.

    Now with my last order I got a realy small baby-t one, I just barly fited my girlfriend. So long as the sizes and desings are not appering I have to wait to order more. To bad I can't get OK to put up any posters at home. I wan't a 3.2 t-shirt soon...

  8. By Noryungi () n o r y u n g i @ y a h o o . c o m on mailto:n o r y u n g i @ y a h o o . c o m

    Come on, people, just buy the frigging CDs!

    I mean, even if I was unemployed (which I am not -- but unemployed people have all my sympathy), I would probably spend more than US$ 40 on things such as phone/DSL bill, food and such.

    You *can* afford to spend 40 bucks, twice a year, on the latest and greatest OpenBSD distro. Yes, even if you are a student.

    I mean, even if you are flat broke, you can probably save 6 or 7 dollars a month, for 6 months, and there you are: 40 bucks for the newest OpenBSD. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Skip that extra cheeseburger at lunch, and put the money in a cookie jar or something. Stop drinking soda -- it's bad for your health anyway -- and spend it on OpenBSD instead.

    Like some other people have said: order the CDs religiously, especially if you are in charge of a network. That's what I do, and I have a pile of old OpenBSD distributions CDs on my desk. And yes, I'll order 3.3 when it comes out. And yes, I also do this for a bunch of other Open Source software and OS as well (FreeBSD, Slackware Linux).

    Just don't tell me you can't afford the latest OpenBSD CDs. Please. I mean, it sounds sooooo ridiculous: you can't afford to spend 40 dollars twice a year? Get a new job!


  9. By pixel fairy () on

    send a donation with your order if you want to give them more money.

    youll want to make a patched release anyway if you install all the time.

  10. By Fredde K. () on

    Let's see: OpenBSD CD layout is copyrighted. Your average Linux distribution is not. They are obviously understaffed. Their mailing lists are full of Theoisms and flames.

    Please, I don't want to troll here, but you should consider what makes OpenBSD different than Free/NetBSD or Linux. That its minimalistic? (Read: Less features. Less hardware support. No SMP.)

    There's been more known holes in OpenSSH this year than in Sendmail! Maintaining such installations has been a pain. And you are rewarded with flames on their lists. I am changing my OpenBSD boxes to FreeBSD or Linux, depending on what suits the particular customer. My firewalls will be just as secure with Linux/Netfilter than with Open...

  11. By moss () moss at acmeunix dot org on mailto:moss at acmeunix dot org

    I'd probably be willing to buy more in the future, if the OpenBSD 3.2 CD I ordered on Dec. 3rd ever gets here. I emailed as suggested after placing the order, and I was sent back a large preformated explanation of why it takes time. Anyone else experience lengthy waits for receiving OpenBSD cds when shipped standard ground delivery to the US?

  12. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I believe that it is a great thing to donate and buy CD's as much as possiable. For all of the FTP downloaders, how about maybe pitching in and contributing to the project? I personally love the CD's, they have real cool stickers and lots of nice art! Don't forget the sweet t-shirts! I agree that we all need to donate or buy a CD for the OpenBSD team to help them with their needs if that person believes that OpenBSD has helped them in any part of there networking or computing ways. Thanks OpenBSD for creating a great UNIX-OS!

  13. By Mr Somebody () on

    OpenBSD Team should delay (about one month) uploading RELEASE on the server.

  14. By Jason () on

    I used the floppy/ftp install because I wanted to install OBSD on an old machine with no working CD-ROM drive. Please don't take away the ftp install option!

    I have the poster and t-shirt(s) on my xmas wish list!

  15. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Without real information on the financial slowdown, one is left to their imagination as to the OpenBSD production/sales process.

    "Theorize Data - tell me how it's going for Theo"

    Suppose there are 7000 users, like mr "bsd is dying" says.

    Suppose half of those users buy CDs ( look at the poll on OpenBSD Jounal - purchases are equal to ftp downloads)

    Suppose Theo gets $10 from each CD sale, that would equal $35,000 every 6 months. Less than $6,000 per month. Out of that, pay for everything, and also pay for trips to Usenix, Defcon, CanSec or whatever. Also buy new hardware, pay for the artwork, and have a sum set aside to cover the production costs of the next CD run.

    Now imagine the economy has a dip and sales drop to half. Unlike companies that have tons in the bank and can weather the lean period, it gets real scary.

    So, in the absence of real information, here is something to consider. You may not make as much as the above scenario, but what if the percentages are off, yada, yada.

    I guess I'll do my part and buy another CD.

  16. By lx () on

    Now, last time t-shirt sales came up on misc@, Theo was whining that
    T-shirts/posters were money-losers, because he couldn't keep himself
    from giving them away at conferences and such. So which is it - does
    buying t-shirts support the project or not? I've bought loads of shirts
    in the past, (and of course, the girly tee for the girly) but not many
    lately, since there haven't really been any new ones in a while. I
    really don't have much of an interest in CDs, since I usually install
    -current snaps. I don't think I'm unusual in that respect. I see the
    project insisting on people buying things they don't want, while being
    "offended" when people ask for more things they *do* want, e.g. new
    t-shirts, little plush things, etc.

    My thoughts would be - make new gear, and don't give crap away at
    conferences, make people buy it. You'll save money, and you'll
    still have plenty of takers.

  17. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I suggest the OpenBSD developers take a look at the comments of the buy-more-CDs camp in response to criticism. While it has been said on other threads, being abusive to users, both current and potential, puts people off. Sales will drop with attitudes like those shown on this forum.

    Of all of the 'open' platforms, OpenBSD is the most negative. The attitude extends well beyond elitist and is actively abusive. I think that many of the special ones delight in watching abuse hurled at someone for their particular comments or suggestions. I personally expect to be vilified for even making these comments. But no matter...

    You can try to deny it all you like. The product can be technically best in the world but if the support is abusive (worse than non-existent, BTW), you'll go broke. And deservedly so. A good product killed by its own developers due to lack of users.

  18. By Jacek Artymiak () on

    I proposed a low cost 'OpenBSD tax' in my recent column . How about making it a habit?


  19. By ACP () on

    I'll agree it takes forever to get a CD, but they'v chosen to ship crypto, if they want to ship crypto they'll ship it from countries that don't have crypto export laws.. or less restrictive crypto laws... and 10-1 the countries with little to no export crypto laws, have less than sparkling shipping services.. that accounts for the slow to arrive cd's, i don't mind supporting an OS i feel is far and above the rest, i think that Linux is becoming more bloated by the day, DVD releases, and $170 boxed redhat dist... OS X only costs close to that if i remember right... just a price comparison... it's a shame, to see so many operating systems have the same features as the next, having nothing really that sets them apart.. i feel more comfortable in OBSD, than i ever did in FreeBSD, NetBSD, Linux, Windows.... but i'll tell you this if everyone started thinking outside the box like the people that created BeOS did then OS's would attract more attention with the right marketing schema..
    think on that

  20. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I personally know of multiple people that will not contribute $ to the project until Theo leaves .misc and/or the 'RTFM newb' attitude changes.

    I personally had a problem not documented anywhere and was told over and over again to RTFM. This has inspired me not to donate a penny to this project.

    I do use it and recommend it, but until the support structure 'wakes the f*ck up' there are going to be people that will not donate.

  21. By RC () on

    I've got an idea! Instead of saying "Please donate so that things will continue as usual", you could say "Once $10,000 has been donated, we will begin work on SMP!", (or Mozilla, OpenOffice, firewire, whichever).

    I think that would give users a goal, a direct benefit to them that would encourage donations. Corporate users could get behind it too.

    I did purchase a CD, but I know I would be willing to give a lot more if it was directly going to something I want.

    It would also be a good place to direct the complaints... next time someone says they want SMP, point them to the donations page and you woudn't hear them again! It would be a cause people could really get around.

  22. By Josh () on

    i personally think the src changes so rapidly, that I have all but given up on buying cd's for right now. T-Shirts are great...posters are even better...thats stuff I can hold onto for years to come. But with a release every 6 months, and sometimes a major security hole being discovered days/weeks/months after a CD release set is made, maybe obsd project should look into some alternative methods for producing income...or keep selling the CDs, but dont place so much emphasis on emphasis on other area's if you will (i.e. GET PEOPLE TO DONATE CASH!!!).

    I personally think one of the best things in the world about openbsd, is the fact that it has great network installation support. So why should I buy a CD for 40 bucks to support the project...?? It seems more sensible to just buy a t-shirt, or just flat out donate the money that I would spend buying a CD set to the project...which will help them out MORE because they have NO costs to cover for producing the CD set.

    My point is, don't just buy a CD because you think your "supporting the openbsd project", when (like me) you will never use the CD because its more convenient to just do a network install, etc. Look into other methods (i.e. DONATE CASH!!!) to the project.

    On a side note, does anyone know the exact cost's of the openbsd producing a CD Set/tshirt/poster/etc. and how much there actually per item sold? Is this public knowledge (IMO it should be)??

  23. By David () on

    I've tried before to purchase CDs through the computer store in Calgary but it wasn't pretty.

    My experience was likely atypical, but it certainly turned me off. It took over a month of emailing back and forth to eventually determine that they couldn't sell the CDs to me. They were not able to properly collect the New Brunswick HST (combined PST and GST).

    I had a friend in Alberta make the purchase and ship it to me that time , but will not ask that of him again. I've downloaded the last couple of releases.




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