This really seems like the 21st century equivalent of Bill Gates' infamous "Open Letter To Hobbyists
". It's in the same, moaning spirit but has little of the legitimacy in its complaint. Much as I dislike Mr. Gates and his ilk his point was, at the very least, logically consistent as far as the business model for DOS went. People were sharing the OS and copying the disks which was not how the software was sold, whatever you think about the proprietary model that was the deal and people broke it. These Elementary folks seem to be bemoaning the open model that has allowed them to take the work of others, repackage it and add some of their own work to it for not being a sustainable model for recouping their investment, be it time, effort or monetary. There's a very simple solution to this, if you think that your addition truly consists of sufficient value that something free demands a charge then don't release it for free. You don't have
to make the ISO or your repositories freely available, all the GPL requires is that you share the source code, perhaps as part of a paywalled download area or physical media you sell? No, that won't work though. They want to do what SkyOS failed at (except, again, with much less of their original work included) and sell something that only a minority of OS enthusiasts will take on as if it had the power and visibility of a Windows or OS X and now that it's not working they're getting bitter. Elementary OS may be a great product for the Linux newbie but with this kind of thinking in its community it's going nowhere.