Obtuse? Bullshit. They make a profit on the razor, as well as the blades. It's different. That's a fact. It's only "obtuse" because it doesn't support your point like you had intended.I seem to be making you angry. Let me try again with a few different examples that should not offend you. Inkjet printers are sold at a loss or given away through manufacturer rebates. The manufacturer still makes money because they control the distribution of replacement ink cartridges. The Xbox is (or has been) sold at a loss. The manufacturer makes money through the licensing of video games that are (ostensibly) required to make use of that box.
I definte noteworthy as profitable. Your examples of RedHat and SuSE are NOT examples.This is utter nonsense. You define success by profit, and then reject examples of profitable companies as examples of success.
The discussion is about companies which develop a piece of software, then Open Source it.Oh? I suppose you'd need to provide me with some examples where this strategy has failed, since I see nothing but success along this avenue. MySQL used to be a proprietary product and was subsequently opensourced. Sleepycat, the authors of Berkeley DB, maintain a commercial presence for their software which happens to be under a BSD license. Etc, etc, etc.
I'm not going to sit here and search for examples all day because your attitude seems to be that if I can't guarantee a profit from open source, nobody should touch it. It's a business strategy like any other, and no profit can be guaranteed in any case.
Neither RH nor SuSE did this, they're leeching off the product of someone else's work.I can't sit here all day and refute clear falsehoods, but here's a few examples from the aforementioned: RH employs kernel engineers, SuSE employs ALSA, Wine, and Openoffice guys. It is in their best interests to improve the existing products because then they have a better product (as a sum of software, support, and maintenance) to sell to their customers.
Again, as I said, this works fine and dandy for informal hobbyist style projectsExcuse me? Apache? PostgreSQL? XFree86? Perl? Linux? BIND? Debian? Mozilla? gcc and glibc? These are "hobbyist style" projects to you??? You should read the mailing lists sometime and realize just how much management and structure has to exist for these projects to survive. Products like Red Hat, with thousands of stockholders' and employees livelihood on the line, are certainly not "hobbyist style" in any sense.
Just because these things aren't marketed as pure gold and sold in bite-size chunks doesn't imply that they are cheap hacks, any more than the fact that Microsoft spends billions on marketing implies that its products are top-notch quality.
you either play the services game and leech off somebody else's work, or you keep it closed in the hopes of making a real profit.Sure, you keep it closed and hope for a profit. Just like you open your code and hope for a profit. See the similarity? There's no guarantee either way.
Nobody ever got rich giving shit away, OSS included.Two problems with this statement. 1) Not everyone's goal is to "get rich". Some people have a goal of building a better society. Others have a goal of building good software. In both cases, frequently people form corporations to pursue those goals.
Your argument that "nobody got rich from giving things away" is a tautology, because the richest people tend to be the ones that keep the tightest control over the production and distribution of their goods. If your goal is simply to be rich, then by all means your best option is to keep your code closed and hope people believe your marketing. However, being rich doesn't mean that you are influential or successful beyond pure financial benefit for yourself.
Many of the rich are hated because they place pursuit of money above building quality products and improving the state of society, and because they influence government in ways which financially benefit them by taking something away from everyone else.
The second problem with your argument is that the open source development model is completely separate from the free software ideal. Open Source means that anyone can look at the code, modify it, redistribute it, etc. Free Software means that the source code must be available at the cost of distribution when the software is redistributed. Frequently these two ideas collide, since Open Source tends to be a superior model for developing Free Software. But Free Software does not have to be open source; you can develop it completely in house, distribute the source only to your customers, and it still meets the qualification of being free software. Just because something is Free Software doesn't mean that it is a available to anyone, only that anyone who receives a copy of the software also receives a copy of the source code.
You don't have to "give shit away" for your users to have the freedom to modify and redistribute it.