FON: Linus, Bill, Alien?
Milk Your Wifi - Introduction
In the page announcing and explaining how you can make some money with FON, they introduce the concept of three different FON users: Linus, Bill, and Aliens. This is a pretty neat concept and it's what sets FON apart from the purely "sharing" based networks of WiFi hotspots (which never really took off).
What kind of Fonero: Linus, Bill, or Alien?
When you first interact with FON you decide: Linus, Bill, or Alien?
If you stumble upon a FON hotspot and you want to use it - you will initially be an Alien. Someone "alien" to the system, from outside the network who is just using the network and paying to do so.
Linus is simple - you share your wifi for free and you get to share in the use of other FON hotspots for free. The name comes form Linus Torvalds, the developer of the Linux kernel.
Bills rely on Aliens. Bills have decided that they want half of the revenue generated from their router. If they roam to another Fonero's hotspot they would have to pay to use it.
This simple system is all about enabling people to get involved regardless of their motivation. Do you travel a lot or just like the ideals of socialism or maybe just sharing: be a Linus. Are you trying to make some extra cash and live near a lot of other transient people (e.g. an apartment building, hotel, or public area) then be a Bill. In this way FON has enabled people to follow their own motivations as they get involved in the project. It's a great strategic move - but it has a wrinkle or two...