Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Viable business idea involving Linux ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Viable business idea involving Linux
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: ravan46-ga
List Price: $65.00
Posted: 01 Oct 2005 18:55 PDT
Expires: 31 Oct 2005 17:55 PST
Question ID: 575188
When I was learning linux in school, I looked for a way to practice
linux stuff at home,mainly command line, vi, editing users, scripting,
and so on. One thing that came to my mind is a Linux server I could
login into remotely and practice these skills. I thought for sure I
could find a company online that I could do this with for a small fee.
But I could find none. Since then I've been researching the idea, but
have come up with very little info on whether there is a market for
this or not. So far here is what I have that the business would

-A user being able to connect remotely, via SSH, to my server, for the
sole purpose of gaining experience on the linux command line.
-It would cost a monthly subscription fee, probalby less that $10
-Each user would have access to all the basic things they would have
on a regualr linux comman line, vi, multiple shells, and so on.
-Root access will probably be included with a higher subscription fee,
where you will possibly have control over your own virtual server as

All the technical details involving this I have covered, advertising
would probably be done through google and possibly other channels. All
I would like to know is if there is a market for this? Would people
subscribe to this even though there are other cheap alternitaves (like
live distros, ssh access with their school, or even setting up their
own linux box)?
Subject: Re: Viable business idea involving Linux
Answered By: leapinglizard-ga on 11 Oct 2005 01:20 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear ravan46,

The concept of selling subscriptions to Linux shell access for
instructional purposes is an interesting one, but I believe you should
refine the details of your plan before executing it. The market you wish
to target certainly exists. There is a growing number of people who are
new to Linux and who seek ways to enhance the learning experience. To
reach some proportion of these people, however, you should consider:
(a) the alternatives to shell access; (b) the cost and functionality of
existing shell-access subscription plans.

On the first point, bear in mind that people who launch into the task of
learning Linux tend to be ambitious computer users. Those who are learning
on their own, without the support of an institutional setting, will often
be eager to try out Linux for themselves by downloading and installing
a Linux distribution on a spare partition or by booting from one of the
increasingly popular Live-CDs. The question you have to ask yourself is
the following: what can you offer to Linux newbies with your shell access
that they can't obtain for free with a typical Linux distro or a Live-CD?

The answers that come to mind are convenience -- no need to repartition
or even reboot one's home computer when one can simply log in to a
remote machine; data safety -- no way to destroy precious files on the
home machine; and some measure of support -- a service designed for
instructional purposes will surely offer some assistance in the form
of plain-English help files, step-by-step tutorials, and user forums
frequented by other novices as well as Linux experts. The extent to which
you provide technical support for these features and advertise them as
strong suits of the service will determine the shape of your business.

Now consider the second of my principal points, which is that Linux 
shell access is already available at low cost from myriad webhosts. Most
webhosting services, it is true, offer a graphical control panel rather
than full terminal access, but it is not very difficult to find a shell
account for $10 or less. My own webhosting package, which costs $7.95 a
month on a two-year subscription, offers terminal access to multiple user
accounts on a full-featured Debian implementation. If your business is to
succeed, I believe you must undercut this price point, and at the same
time emphasize in your advertising the differences between the typical
Unix/Linux webhosting account and the shell access that you provide.

To see what you are up against, consider that the following firms each
provide shell accounts for less than $5 a month.

RootShell [free account]

DarkStar Hosting [basic account for $2.50 a month]

TNG Shells [basic account for $3 a month]

EuShells [basic account for 3 euros a month]

FrenzyBiz [basic account for $4 a month]

The market is evidently there, in terms of both supply and demand,
but the competition is stiff.

I wish you all the best in your venture.


ravan46-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thanks, exactly what I needed to know with a few points I had not thought of.

Subject: Re: Viable business idea involving Linux
From: kingeorge-ga on 08 Oct 2005 16:16 PDT
There are already free service providing shells, you can find more
information by following the link.
The idea is good, but doing a business means that it should have a
market, should generate revenue. Since linux is free and easy to set
up, would people who would want to try linux use it over the net ?.
Besides, would they know how to connect to one over the net, if you
are targetting people who are new to Linux?
Subject: Re: Viable business idea involving Linux
From: leapinglizard-ga on 11 Oct 2005 08:25 PDT
Thank you for the rating and the kind tip.

Subject: Re: Viable business idea involving Linux
From: rtsideas-ga on 22 Mar 2006 03:09 PST
Hi Ravan46-ga,

    I liked your concept and I am aware of and agree to
leapinglizard's opinion. I would suggest, you can take you idea
further for so many popular RTOS, that are costly and sometimes not in
the reach of students. For e.g. VxWorks, QNX, Embedix and the like.
    This will reduce the competions and will be more
attractive/needful to students, and hence u can expect a good revenue
out of it!. Ofcourse, for this you need to analyse the licensing
issues with the vendors of respective RTOS and OS used in embedded

 Good Luck,

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy