Parted Magic has become quite a popular way for Linux users who need a small CD/USB/PXE ISO for modifying hard drive partitions either using the GParted GUI or the Parted command-line interface.
A Phoronix reader wrote in today being concerned that when now visiting the Parted Magic web-site, to download the ISO they are attempting to charge $4.99 USD. The site shows that the latest Parted Magic release costs "$4.99 for instant digital download." Open-source software can still be paid software and Parted Magic still does claim to be free software. There are no other links to other free downloads from their web-site.
Of course, if you do rely upon Parted Magic in your organization and it's of help, you should certainly consider contributing to the cause and paying the sum. Just as if you rely upon Phoronix for our immense amount of Linux content and benchmarking software efforts, please consider making a PayPal tip or subscribing to Phoronix Premium. However, sadly many open-source fans do have issues with funding open-source causes for whatever reason, so if you do, you can still find the Parted Magic ISOs that are no cost for download via the project's SourceForge.
As a long time user of Parted Magic, I too have been donating to the project because it's a very invaluable tool to me in my IT work. While some users are concerned and upset over the paywall, the reality *and* truth of the situation are a bit different.
I talk to Patrick Verner once in a while and for years Parted Magic has been something he did in his spare time. A little over a year ago, he lost his job and stated on the Parted Magic site that he would like to dedicate his full time to Parted Magic as a "job" if users could donate collectively at least $1,200 a month to the project for him to put food on the table and pay bills. A "salary" if you will.
Fast forward to July 2013, his wife has now lost her job. Donations to the project and goal of a monthly $1,200 were occasionally not being met. It was discouraging Patrick to the point that he wanted to stop the project because he couldn't get enough donations to live on for himself and his wife. Tens of thousands of people were downloading Parted Magic for free and, while not required, he *kindly* asked for even a dollar or anything people could spare to help him out. People were downloading it and not helping him out so he decided to make it a paywall so that he could encourage some revenue to come his way to now support his out-of-work wife and himself. It's perfectly fair of him to ask this considering his situation and his complete devotion to the parted magic project from a self-employment perspective. $4.99 is *not* going to break anyone's bank. He was going to ask for more but I actually told him $5 seemed like a fair donation/price. It seems he took my advice to heart.
The reality is people on eBay have already been selling CDs and bootable USBs of Parted Magic. Where is the outrage in that? Patrick hasn't seen a dime of that revenue so I don't understand why people are getting upset over the paywall. He's not asking for any more or less than what others on eBay are asking for Parted Magic who have not lifted a finger to create Parted Magic. He's perfectly within his rights to earn a self-employed living if there is no work to be found and his only means of supporting his family is to ask people to help him achieve that monetarily. Patrick has donated some of his donations to various projects/apps that are contained within Parted Magic and that, to me, shows he's not greedy but has the integrity and honesty to give back to the projects that help him earn a living.
Many have tried and failed to earn a living with Linux and I know many IT techs that do use Parted Magic and would truly be up a creek if Patrick were to cease the project. It's hard to make a living off of free. It's especially true when it's your only means of providing for your family. This hostile and derisive mentality towards Patrick's decision to put Parted Magic behind a paywall just so that he can pay bills and feed his family is just stupid and reflects very negatively on people who can't seem to have an iota of empathy towards a person in his situation. As I said to Patrick, if any zealous Linux evangelist doesn't like it or the direction he's taken the project, they can build their own Parted Magic and give it away for free. It will not even come close to the quality of Patrick's Parted Magic If people are complaining about a $4.99 donation to a project as good as Parted Magic, there is something seriously wrong with them.