Humble Indie Bundle Shows Linux Users Aren’t Cheapskates

Humble Indie Bundle Shows Linux Users Aren’t Cheapskates

Because Linux is available freely, its users often get unfairly stigmatised as stingy. A “set your own price” charity gaming bundle totally blows away that assumption, showing that Linux users are much more generous than their Windows or Mac bretheren.

There have been plenty of examples of “name your price” entertainment options in recent years (Radiohead’s In Rainbows immediately springs to mind). Humble Indie Bundle #3 offers a group of five games (Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVV, Hammerflight and And Yet It Moves), and users can nominate how much they want to pay for the bundle (which is promoted as being worth around $50). You can also allocate what proportion of your payment goes to selected charities, to the original game developers, and to the Humble Bundle team.

Live stats on the site show how much has been paid so far in total, and how much has been paid on each of the three platforms. This is where things get interesting. While Linux users have paid an average of $11.08 (as I write this), that figure drops to $6.42 for Mac and $3.87 for Windows. That’s not actually that surprising: the open source community is used to the idea of contributing towards a project that it deems worthwhile, so generosity is perhaps to be expected.

With that said, far more copies have been sold on Windows, so the collective contribution from that community is greater. There’s also the fact that there are fewer active Linux games developers, so enthusiasts might be more willing to spend money when an option comes along.

Nonetheless, it does rather chime with my general theory that most people will be as cheap as they think they can get away with. If you’ve got any other theories as to what’s going on here, tell us in the comments.

Humble Bundle [via Kotaku]

Lifehacker’s weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


  • I think its because us Linux users get so much for free that we tend to be very generous when we can. I myself have not purchased the bundle, but only because i have literally no money (not even $10 USD), thats right, im broke.

  • Most Linux users didn’t switch to Linux because it was free, but because it was open source. My own philosophy, and that of a lot of people I know who also use Linux, is that we’ll pay for what requires or deserves payment. Many Linux users DO make monetary contributions towards the developers, and I personally am far more willing to pay an independent game developer or a freelance programmer than a large corporation, because my money is going to the person who wrote the code and not the company who owns the copyright on it. Other Linux users’pay’ for their operating system and software by providing support to other users, seeding Linux torrents, testing betas, etc etc – and consider this kind of ‘community service’ to be a far more meaningful form of payment than the transference of a few numbers from one bank account to another. Just my ten cents 🙂

  • Or it may just be because that the top donators (yes, those who donated thousands. eg:notch) chose linux as their os option. Thereby offsetting the average by a marginal amount.

    • The top donors barely account for a 2% of the 600+K$ at the moment of this post.
      And it’s not a marginal amount, it’s two times the amount paid by mac users, three times windows.

  • I think this may reflect the fact that many Linux users have some background or experience in programming or at least a more detailed understanding of IT, and therefore a better appreciation of the difficulty and amount of time/effort that goes into much of the software. It seems plausible to suggest that this would translate into a financial appreciation.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!