More or less. My point is with most [non-Redhat] Linux distros, you can buy cds but you don't need to. Buy your own at a local store, much cheaper, download and burn it yourself. With shipping costs skyrocketing over the last seven years, it's a hell of a lot cheaper that way.
From what I've seen, 99% of Linux distros are put together by people with passion. Possible, but doubtful that Clem has gotten rich off Mint. I assume he does it, because he still enjoys it. I notice almost all distro sites have advertising which helps pay for services and maybe pay the programmers/maintainers a little something at the end of the year, call it a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa bonus.
I also doubt it looks bad on a resume to be able to say, 'Founder/etc./Chief Security Programmer... for Linux Mint'. Anyone hiring for IT positions, I would hope, know what Linux Mint is.
To restate my question - Since most 'open source' is free, how do people who work on Linux systems support themselves?
HP Pavilion DV6 17.2" 1366x768pix 6GB RAM
560GB DD Mint 17 (Cinnamon) Intel i5 quad 2.4mhz