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Recently new update 0.3.2 is released, more than 5 million downloads. The elementary OS is becoming one of the major distro ( I believe, at present it is, but it will increase in future). We (=EU) are happy with the free distribution. On the other hand, it costs very much to the elementary team for development, marketing, and maintenance etc.,

Who pays for elementary. Is there any contribution from canonical?

I know its ask for contribution before downloading .iso, but since that is optional many may skip

Also, how elementary make money? Are there any dedicated (permanent) employees (devs)?

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elementary's primary source of income is from pay-what-you-want downloads. That accounts for something like 70% of monthly income. One-time PayPal payments and Patreon account for most other income and we make a small amount on retail sales (shirts and stickers).

Bountysource is its own thing. When people contribute to our account on Bountysource, it stays in Bountysource. We never withdraw money from that account into our regular account. It is only used for bounties.

You're right that many people choose not to pay anything. The last time I checked, over 99% of downloaders don't pay.

elementary doesn't have any investors or outside corporate influence. We don't make advertising deals and we don't have any software products that aren't available at no cost. We only make money when our users give it voluntarily.

At the moment elementary employs just two people full-time.

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