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Author Topic: Fairware: an interesting experiment in getting paid for Open Source  (Read 22516 times)
40hz
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« Reply #100 on: October 12, 2011, 10:22:44 PM »

. Lastly, I am saddened to see that the concept behind this site, which both WORKED, and has GENERATED GREAT REVENUE, is now being relegated to the 'gray areas' as boundaries are pushed back and ethical tolerances lowered.

?????

I'm afraid you've lost me there. Could you maybe elaborate a bit more on that point? Because I'm confused about exactky what's being said.  smiley
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db90h
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« Reply #101 on: October 13, 2011, 01:44:45 AM »

. Lastly, I am saddened to see that the concept behind this site, which both WORKED, and has GENERATED GREAT REVENUE, is now being relegated to the 'gray areas' as boundaries are pushed back and ethical tolerances lowered.
?????
I'm afraid you've lost me there. Could you maybe elaborate a bit more on that point? Because I'm confused about exactly what's being said.  smiley

Reference previous discussions in this thread, where mouser speaks of shades of gray, and his perception that there is some sort of failure here (despite how much income it is generating). It is a natural tendency to lose one's ideological beliefs, see the world in shades of gray. Here is what *I* see, and I know I'll be crucified for saying this:

  • DonationCoder itself brings in *decent* revenue, at least from what I've seen in its Annual Fundraising Drives (or whatever). This site pulls in more revenue than MORE THAN 95% of shareware authors I guarantee you.. Yes, that's a wild guess, but only rarely do Shareware authors make much money.
  • The DonationCoder authors bring in *decent* revenue with respect to the time they put into their software. If they are unhappy with the rewards here, then they can always sell it elsewhere. However, I can imagine no scenario where authors here make MORE money elsewhere than they do here for the tools they write.
  • The allowance of bundling into this site is what I most object to for reasons listed here: https://plus.google.com/1...2408057/posts/D2ma1kV4D6L . Yes, yes, they pay the bills so ppl can make freeware.. but so would drug trafficking. If you want to make more money from your software, you should straight up charge for it. I consider bundling an inherently deceitful abomination. If it is NOT, then untick that bundle install checkbox by default. Do that and you have no problem with me. It should have NO place anywhere on this site, in my opinion.
  • Years ago mouser would never see these shades of gray, or be hinting and fundamental shifts in everything, at a time when revenue is good enough to say the concept *does* work.. it just needs to *expand*.

It is very hard to profit from most software as a lone developer. Some do, some don't. Those that profit at all should consider themselves lucky.

This concept, DonationWare, works. Don't mess with it.

Fairware -- Noble intent, BUT -- Look, I AM a F/OSS author myself, but if I want to sell something, I'm not making it F/OSS, it would just get stolen and someone else would be selling a fork of my own project (licensed to do so or not).

Do you see what I'm trying to say? DonationCoder *IS* all working, yet all I hear is concession, defeat, and: "We want more money, we gotta change it all up" ... Yea, I know, not to "get rich". Yes, we all have bills, I understand. If you want more money then you may have to get a job, that's just life. Maybe author MORE tools here... maybe code MORE... maybe advertise HERE (better than bundling if you ask me, if done nicely).

I am baffled that advertising is disallowed here, but bundling is allowed. Totally baffled by that. The community's size and site traffic are a huge benefit, and EACH author could advertise on their own micro sites.

Everyone always wants more money ... that is just the way our world works. But you can only squeeze a lemon so much before there is no more juice. Quit squeezing and get back to work coding snacks and such. NO NEW 'METHOD' IS GOING TO WORK MUCH BETTER THAN ANY PREVIOUS 'METHOD'. People who will for software will (via donations or purchases), and people who won't, won't.

My two cents, which normally people don't like to hear because it has too much truth. You can not tell me with the amount of money pulled into this site that it is somehow 'failing'. If you are ENVIOUS of traditional businesses, then that is another issue.. but I would NOT be. You have a GREAT concept at DC, and I do not want to see it decay.

----

UNRELATED CAUTION ON PAYING YOUR TAXES ON TIME: Since I've been (poorly) self-employed for a decade, most of it doing contract work, I know that it is *easy* to get behind on your taxes. You don't want to be there. I've always reported my income honestly, even when I couldn't pay the bill. That's why you must pay quarterly estimated taxes, unless you have really good discipline. Now, if the IRS were to catch you with unreported income from a few years ago.. do you know how high the bill (or jail sentence) would be? My God... Just a warning, some I've talked to haven't reported their 'hobby' income at all. Trust me, the IRS does not care where the income came from (speaking here in the USA). The fact that taxes are DUE on your DonationCoder earnings should be stated somewhere here.. just to remind people, before they go spend it all, and/or forget to report it to start with (thinking of it as some sort of untaxed hobby).
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 02:17:10 AM by db90h » Logged
40hz
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« Reply #102 on: October 13, 2011, 03:56:40 AM »

@db90h - Umm...I'm still not 100% sure what it is you're saying since I've reread the entire thread and I don't see any indication of the philosophical disconnect or abandonment of ideals (i.e. sellout) you seem to be seeing. So I'm a bit confused.  But part of that most likely comes from what seems to be your individual preference to deal with issues as dichotomies (black and white) rather than as a continuum (shades of gray). Whereas I'm a much less sure about my own ability to discern absolute truth - assuming such a thing exists to begin with.

So be it.  thumbs up  Differences in personal perceptions and beliefs are a good part of what makes for an interesting discussion around here. At least as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for getting back. smiley

« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:09:43 AM by 40hz » Logged

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mouser
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« Reply #103 on: October 13, 2011, 04:21:08 AM »

Quote
I am baffled that advertising is disallowed here, but bundling is allowed.

I have huge respect for db90h, but I'm also confused about the bundling comments..

As i understand it, when you say bundling you mean when the installer for one program tries to get you to install other programs right?

We have never done that or even discussed doing that with the DonationCoder software.  In fact we just finished screaming our lungs out because of CNet trying to do that with our software.

As for advertising.. It's something we've tried on the site way back in 2006 i think.. We even had a system where donors could choose not to see ads.  Eventually I decided that for the money it was bringing in ($4 a day at the time i think) that it would be nicer to put our own adverts on our pages, and that's why you see those "Cody Quote" boxes on our software pages now instead.  Occasionally it's been discussed whether we should try ads again, and it's something we should probably experiment with every once in a while just to see what it feels like and how much money comes in from it.  Personally I found the ads jarring and like the feel of the site without them, and hate the way the whole web is advert filled, but showing them only to non-donors is something worth trying again perhaps. I do think it might discourage donations and participation in the community though because people will say to themselves, well this is a site where they dont need my money they make their money on adverts, rather than from donations, so that has to be factored in.



I think perhaps there may be some confusion about when I/we talk about issues with regard to programmers who hang out at the site vs the more-or-less "official" software hosted on the site.

I/we have always tried to keep an open mind about the programmers who hang out here, who are a very diverse lot.  There are commercial software developers and open source advocates.  Some of the indie programmers here have used and discussed "bundling" of their apps, some use adverts.  For the DC member website pages we provide I often encourage the coders to experiment with putting advertisements on them.  Most choose not to.  We try not to be dogmatic in telling other programmers what they should do, though that doesn't mean we endorse everything we discuss..

There are lots of things this site (DC) could do "better".  I mean one thing the site does not do nearly as good a job of as it should is helping the other coders who hang out here to get more attention for their software.  We try, but we could do a lot better.  The site needs to move to a proper CMS which we've talked about at length, so that we can more easily feature other coders and help them get an audience.

Almost all of what we talk about when we talk about improving the site has to do with making it less confusing.

DC *is* working.  It's a wonderful surprising exception in the software world I think.  When i sometimes talk pessimistically about donationware, I'm just trying to convey to people considering it as a way of making a living, how much of an uphill difficult struggle it is to make work even in the most minimal way.  Some people think that if they have a popular freeware program they can just slap a "Donate" button on their site and it will all take care of itself.  It's just not realistic.  But I should probably make clearer that I love the concept of donationware and don't want to or have any plans of changing that.  And I should do a better job of conveying just how nice it feels to get voluntary support and encouragement from your users.

But I also understand the huge cultural alienness of it to most people, and the huge uphill struggle that an author will be up against if they choose this path and try to make a living from it, which is almost certainly unrealistic in the current culture.  I'd like to see a day when donationware authors can survive on the money from their donationware software instead of it being a side hobby for someone with a "real" job. When i discuss the general concept of donationware -- and if i am searching for ways to improve the model -- it's through this lens.

This thread was about a new twist on donationware approach and I think it's always worth exploring those ideas.  As for changes to DC.. For me the thing that always gnaws at the back of my mind, and that we have discussed regularly every year, is the complexity of trying to explain the stuff about the 6 month renewable license key stuff, and the way the whole thing may discourage large numbers of people.  So i'm always interested in thinking about and talking about ways to improve that.  The main lesson that I think i've learned over the years is that complexity kills and so i'm always interested in discussing on threads like this different ways to make donationware "work" and improve the process and simplify it.  And by work i mean what i always mean when i talk about "success", which is to be fulfilling as the center of one's life, and which makes enough money so that you don't wake up in the middle of the night worrying if you will be able to pay your bills.  Any discussion about ways that the donationware model can get closer to that is a good one.



Edit: A few more thoughts on the nature of DonationCoder and its goals.

I've always considered DonationCoder an experiment.. An experiment to see if the concept of donationware could work and how and why and when.  The goal of DonationCoder never was and never will be to "maximize profit".. The best thing about the site is we live well within our means.. As we can afford it, our hosting has grown from a $20/month shared server account to a $400/month dedicated server with multiple virtual machines.  If and when donations start to dwindle to the point where we can't afford such luxurious hosting, we can always scale down our hosting.  But at the same time -- if we ever reach a day when there is enough money coming in from donations that I and a few other coders could work on DC as a "full time job" then I would pop the champagne and celebrate and do so -- but if the opposite happens and donations stop, i'll still be here coding and doing stuff in my off hours.

I think the strange and unexpected thing (at least unexpected to me when the site started) is that at this point a main goal of DonationCoder is.. to remain true to the forum community, which is the most interesting and rewarding part of the site for many of us.  This is a bit of a balancing act of course, since the hardcore forum members represent a very very tiny fraction of the users of the software on the site.  But i think we do a pretty good job of balancing the two.  I still want us to explore and experiment with different ways to do things, while still keeping true to our ideals and the spirit of Cody -- otherwise life gets boring.  And there are some things we don't do well that i think we have an obligation and incentive to improve.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 07:12:30 AM by mouser » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #104 on: October 13, 2011, 04:24:28 AM »

@db90h - Umm...I'm still not 100% sure what it is you're saying since I've reread the entire thread and I don't see any indication of the philosophical disconnect or abandonment of ideals (i.e.

Perhaps part was taken from other discussions... it is just the general feel that, "things aren't working, we must make more money".. when, in MY opinion, given the tools created, you have profited from them more so than anyone could have hoped (in all cases). Yes, I realize now the debate has changed to "we want things to work better".. come on, we were talking about increasing revenue..

All this is way OT from the OP. Best wishes to DC, as always.

As for the bundling - mouser expressed his neutrality at Open Candy (or whatever) - the mouser I used to know wouldn't have done that. Just keeping the peace I guess he was. I know some of the authors here use bundles (maybe at their own sites), but did not mean to claim he does. So, there are no bundles on this site, anywhere? On any of the micro-sites?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:36:20 AM by db90h » Logged
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« Reply #105 on: October 13, 2011, 04:36:02 AM »

I'm afraid I've always been one of those wishy washy people who sees the world in shades of gray.  My father used to say "all things in moderation", and I guess that has stuck with me..

I often admire those with the conviction to fight for a pure vision of how something should be, without compromise.  And there are certainly times when it's needed, no doubt about that.  But for many issues i think they are mostly solved with a few general principles: Don't be greedy; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; try to be a good person and help others while you are helping yourself, etc.  Nothing special that we haven't heard before.



[as an aside, and not to get us off track, but the bundling stuff just doesn't seem to bother me much, as long as it's transparent to user and  not trying to trick the user into installing something that they don't want, doesn't do anything harmful to the user, and is controlled by and benefiting the author who is choosing to put it in.  It's not something i have any interest in using, but i don't see it as inherently evil. the cnet stuff violated some of those conditions which is why it threw me into a rage.  however, the one thing about both bundling and advertising that greatly concerns me (and maybe more so with advertising) is the shift we are seeing in our culture to expecting everything to be free to users and paid for by marketers who want to manipulate the users.. but that's something we've been discussing on other threads and should continue there so this thread can focus on fairware related discussion..]
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db90h
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« Reply #106 on: October 13, 2011, 04:38:02 AM »

TOPIC OF BUNDLES

It's not something i have any interest in using, but i don't see it as inherently evil.

If it is NOT inherently deceitful, then why is that checkbox to install the bundled software not UNCHECKED by default? By not unchecking it by default, the intent is to 'get' those users who 'miss' it during their rapid click through the install dialogs.

Further, you don't see it as inherently evil for the reasons described here: https://plus.google.com/1...2408057/posts/D2ma1kV4D6L  ??????

Let me post so ppl don't have to jump:

1. Inherently deceitful. They rely on hoping the user doesn't notice and untick the bundled option during the install process. If they really wanted to be honest about it, they would make it unchecked by default.. simple as that.
2. Unwanted. If a user ever wanted the bundled software, they'd go get it.
3. Violate user intent. If a user goes to download program X, they intended to get program X, not program X and Y.
4. Can cause system troubles. With so many bundles of different types, even if every one was bug free, the combination of them may have catastrophic or problematic effects.
5. Give rise to the 'fake' download site plague. These sites do nothing but wrap legit software downloads in with their own bundles, then pump out ads.
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db90h
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« Reply #107 on: October 13, 2011, 04:40:50 AM »

post-edit note, added why it seems obvious to me that all bundling is evil, unless the checkbox is OFF by default .. but even then, I'm going to say it is only borderline. That is MY PERSONAL OPINION, to which I hope I am entitled.
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mouser
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« Reply #108 on: October 13, 2011, 04:42:41 AM »

Quote
If it is NOT inherently deceitful, then why is that checkbox to install the bundled software not UNCHECKED by default? By not unchecking it by default, the intent is to 'get' those users who 'miss' it during their rapid click through the install dialogs.

Well I agree with you 100% there.

Having a bundled application checked by default is wrong and harmful; users do not expect to be getting such offers, and distracted or unsophisticated users will think they are installing a necessary component of the software.  that is not nice.  It should be a very clear big message saying that this is an optional piece of software and not be checked by default.

But I would argue that that's not an inherent problem with bundling. With a clear message explaining that the additional product is an optional thing not related to functioning of the main program, having a checkbox that isn't checked by default, and a link for the user to click to learn more, i don't think i have a problem with it -- in that form it just seems like another kind of advertising to me.

[note: we should remember for posterity that what cnet was/is doing is worse than this by far -- because they were/are bundling things against the author's will; at least if an author bundles another tool with their installer in an evil way, they are going to pay the price for that eventually in terms of their reputation; cnet was/is trying to profit off of bundling things against the author's will at the same time as harming the author's reputation].
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 04:48:33 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #109 on: October 13, 2011, 06:12:31 AM »

Back to fairware stuff and dual licensing.. Dual licensing has always fascinated me and i hope we can talk more about it.

The term "dual licensing" is somewhat undetermined and doesn't tell you too much though does it -- because we are really talking about a very wide range of possibilities where software is provided under different costs/terms to different people.

It does seem to offer a philosophical approach to my own gut-level feeling about the ethics of software and other digital content -- namely that people who can't afford it should have access to it, while those that use it for business purposes to make money should be willing to pay to fund it, and that those who benefit from it should contribute to its development to an extent of their choosing.

While it seems like an excellent legal solution, the one thing that dual licensing is silent on is the cultural resistance to donating when you don't have to -- and in fact I have argued that the open source movement has done harm by advancing the notion that software is either commercial fixed price, or 1000% free and should never be paid for.

And I can see in myself the tendency to view software offered as dual-license as in the category of things that i don't think about donating for -- because just like when i see ads on a site -- my gut reaction is to say "oh they are making their money from other sources -- they don't need me".

I've talked at length about why i think this indirect relationship (where the money comes from adverts not from users) leaves much to be desired.  A similar problem and distortion occurs if all the funding money is coming from commercial licensees and none from normal home users.  I think one thing people (including myself) have been so slow to recognize is the richer experience one can have as an author when you are being directly funded and interactings with the individuals who use your software.

So i'm particularly interested in exploring ways to do a kind of dual licensing where this idea of direct individual home user donations is not lost..
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40hz
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« Reply #110 on: October 13, 2011, 10:19:00 AM »

in fact I have argued that the open source movement has done harm by advancing the notion that software is either commercial fixed price, or 1000% free and should never be paid for.

In fairness, I don't think that ever was the official position of the FOSS movement. Or the FOSS developers. I think it was more sloppy reporting and misquoting by both the press and the latecomers and carpetbaggers who latched onto the "free" designation and rode it for all it was worth.

It would be nice if this public perception could be changed. But no matter how often open software and GNU advocates try to clarify "free" it continues to largely fall on deaf ears. "Free" is just too compelling a thing for most people to willingly let it go.

One thing is true  however. Free products will drive out paid-for products unless the things developers are offering are genuinely needed and clearly superior to their free counterparts. Product superiority is the main reason why the expensive Adobe Photoshop continues to cream Gimp. Same goes for professional media authoring software despite recent advances from things like Blender and Ardour.

But for garden variety office and productivity apps, there's a lot to fear from the likes of things like LibreOffice and Thunderbird or Evolution mail.  Ditto for operating systems. Who cares as long as they work? Technical excellence is not called for. Because with these products "good enough" becomes acceptable if price rears it's head too prominently. Besides, about 80% of Office's capabilities and feature set goes unused by the average user. It's only inertia coupled with a healthy dose of FUD that keeps Office in the running. And possibly Windows and OSX on the desktop.

As long as independent developers continue to create "me too" and "so what" applications, they are at a distinct disadvantage whenever a free alternative is available. Unfortunately, coming up with something that's truly useful and unique and needed has become harder and harder. Largely because all the obvious and easy stuff has already been written. And at least a dozen times too! A visit to the iPhone app store demonstrates this clearly. There's tons of cheap, largely useless, copycat apps. (How many freaking personal notetaking and to-do list apps do we really need?) In situations like this, you can bet the freebies kill a paid app's chances of making money more often than not.  

Not to diss developers as a whole. But when you look, some of the biggest complainers and hand wringers out there are the ones bemoaning how nobody wants to buy their boring text editor, or chat client, or dual-pane notetaking/outliner app.

Well... why would anybody unless their product were amazingly superior to any of the alternatives? And I mean 'superior' in a quantifiable and obvious (to the point of being self-evident) way.

Because if it isn't, there's something like a hundred other much-the-sames and Yet Anothers you can pick from instead.

I think in the end it boils down to one thing. People will pay for genuine quality. Software that is useful, needed, sufficiently differentiated from the alternatives - and can actually do what it says it will do. Everything else can forget about it.

And I think that remains true whether the payment comes in the form of a donation or in settlement of an invoice.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2011, 10:50:42 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #111 on: October 13, 2011, 10:52:49 AM »

Insightful.
We need computers, so we need hardware, so we need OS's, so we need software.  But after we buy the computer hardware, we start hesitating to buy the OS or the software.  It feels like we don't NEED the OS and software the same way we need the hardware.

Which makes me wonder...do we even need the hardware?  Or the computer?  And I'm serious.
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« Reply #112 on: October 15, 2011, 04:12:54 PM »

@db9oh

My take on this is that donationware is inherently bundled.

If a user goes to download program X, they intended to get program X, not program X and Y.

What if a user wants BOTH program X and Y?

It's the same with hardware. At a certain level, mass payment of an item exists because people buy and demand in "bundles".

If you get the right sounding "word" and bundle it with the heart warming word, you get the concept of "donation" and if you bundle donation with ware, you get donationware.

It's not exactly the bundle that's being talked about here but fundamentally that's what bundles are. They're all links. To create demand and convince a richer user to switch out their cash from their wants to another concept links i.e. bundles are necessary. And sometimes some bad (and good) people fall prey to that and misuse the power of bundles.

The above is important to remember whenever any kind of bundle is perceived as inherently deceitful. As with most things, the baby does not have to be thrown with the bathwater.

Most people don't think of paying for hardware. They think in bundles where the merging of the hardware and software bundled with whatever they want drives their desire to act upon an object. For many of those people, paying for the rental of the glass while paying for the Lemonade inside of it doesn't even enter their "on avg." periphery & they will overvalue one thing while undervaluing another object less they encounter an urgent need for said undervalued object.

Is it inherently deceitful? Not anymore deceitful than people never paying for that poor little kid working in a sweatshop as they pay for an item while bundling it with supporting a brand, the shop, their vanities as they happily hand out paper that they have legitimately bundled with the concept of currency.

That's why discussions occur. If mouser ever radically transforms the site then he would have jumped unto the slippery slope but can you honestly say mouser is not just trying to open up discussions to find ways to improve the concept of donationware currently? What it all comes down to falls upon one word in the title of the thread. "Experiment".
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« Reply #113 on: October 15, 2011, 04:32:25 PM »

If i ever fall on my head and try to do something evil with this site -- I request -- nay, I demand -- that all of you hardcore DC members rise up in rebellion and attack it until it dies.  That should be some protection against that ever happening smiley

We may experiment with ads again one day, we may experiment with different systems for the free license keys, commercial licenses, etc. who knows (I'm keen to try the idea i suggested on this thread, of making two user-chooseable paths, one for those commercial types who want to buy, and one for donators or freeware users) -- but the core of the site will always be an embrace and advocacy of the donationware concept -- of users deciding how much they want to pay.  The domain name demands it.

We're all of us free to start new projects, new websites, new organizations, etc., but DonationCoder has carved out a space and i'm happy with where it is.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 05:42:12 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #114 on: October 15, 2011, 05:36:51 PM »

What if a user wants BOTH program X and Y?

That's a stretch, to me. Also, let us confine the discussion to the types of bundles we are talking about -- not all types of bundles (e.g. burlap sacks). Well, from my take: Bundles are legit if and only if the bundled item is unchecked by default, UNLESS the user has somehow expressed an *explicit* desire to have the bundled software. That doesn't mean an implied or assumed desire, because the bundle is so great that they must surely want it ;o. That's my take.

Then again, maybe I could solve all my financial problems if I just stooped to bundles.. maybe I'm the idiot here. You see, the grass seems greener on the other side, and that's what I've been trying to influence here. Don't think that you are missing out, your concept here at DC is working as well as any shareware I've seen.

@mouser: I am sure you are fine, don't worry with me. I am just trying to make you understand that what you are doing is actually working quite well, all things considered.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 05:46:10 PM by db90h » Logged
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« Reply #115 on: October 16, 2011, 12:51:33 PM »

I'm very confused by the direction this thread has taken. What does bundling unwanted software - I assume you're talking about toolbars or spyware and such - have to do with "Fairware" (or DC for that matter)?
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« Reply #116 on: October 16, 2011, 01:16:24 PM »

I'm very confused by the direction this thread has taken. What does bundling unwanted software - I assume you're talking about toolbars or spyware and such - have to do with "Fairware" (or DC for that matter)?

Thank you for asking that. I was beginning to wonder myself.  smiley

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mouser
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« Reply #117 on: October 16, 2011, 01:20:29 PM »

I think the discussion just accidentally veered off course with regard to bundling, let's get back on topic..
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #118 on: October 17, 2011, 08:01:43 AM »

I'm very confused by the direction this thread has taken. What does bundling unwanted software - I assume you're talking about toolbars or spyware and such - have to do with "Fairware" (or DC for that matter)?

I'm only speaking from my own interpretation but one possible perspective lies in the discourse of what db9oh calls as "falling into gray areas".

In this gray area, both bundling and fairware have some common black and white pattern in that instead of veering towards the kind hearted gifts that are donations, both models seek to nag the user due to a make shift desire to increase the profits of what morally should be an option and purely an option on the user side.

This especially applies to successful concepts on which db9oh associates DC as having been one of those with a successful working model that the attempt to inject talks of raising incentives for donations would thus then lead DC towards a slippery slope in which instead of donations, people are conned to give away money in the illusion that they are donating.

In this context, the discussion never really veered away much. It is still about fairware and it is still about fairware's difference and similarity to shareware that is being addressed.
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« Reply #119 on: October 17, 2011, 11:04:48 AM »

In this gray area, both bundling and fairware have some common black and white pattern in that instead of veering towards the kind hearted gifts that are donations, both models seek to nag the user due to a make shift desire to increase the profits of what morally should be an option and purely an option on the user side.

I strongly disagree with your use of the words "profit" and "morally" there. Profit is what you get when revenues exceed expenses. Since what fairware tries to do is to break even with invested development hours, I don't think we can say that it's trying to increase profits. Increase revenues, yes. Increase profits, no.

As for morally, so you're suggesting that anything short of pure freeware is morally wrong? Shareware and all, morally wrong? That's quite a strong word to use. If we take your reasoning further, an artist asking for anything else than voluntary contributions for his concerts would also be morally wrong.
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« Reply #120 on: October 18, 2011, 12:28:04 AM »

Oh it's not my usage. I'm just speaking from my interpretation of db9oh's words.

I don't think he was specifically referring to fairware though but just in the general concept of donationware, profits and revenues are almost synonymous. There is no breaking even in donationware as far as revenues go.

As far as morality goes, it's not my morality so you'll have to verify this with him. Personally I don't really care for the morality issue. Right or wrong, we live in a world where most of us have been raised in a culture where currency = cash and that route...well I'm not someone who has a product yet so as far as my philosophy goes, I'd rather philosophyware connect to more people who want to get involved in specific philosophyware with less roadblocks preventing them from doing so rather than what contributions flow towards which person. Not that it isn't important but as the video 40hz shared implied, I'd rather the subset that can't build nor teach nor understand worry about the conceptual support for a paradigm shift in culture with regards to product supporting as that's the thing that can be easily lost once the ball is in your court and you start working on an actual product whose rate of profits are tangibly important to your well being.
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db90h
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« Reply #121 on: October 30, 2011, 06:22:58 PM »

Here is my point, since so many missed it, from the perspective of one who saw that not *everything* can be given away freely. At some point you have to put food on the table.

Freeware authors create freeware ... THEN:
  • Criticize all other business models
  • Run people out of business, destroy families, - you know, those who dared charge ANY price for their software, no matter how liberally licensed, no matter how inexpensive
  • Then you see *some* (not all) complain when they have not enough donations
  • Then you see *some* (not all) jump into the bundle segment. There is apparently good money there, but the collateral damage is high, as all this 'crap' gets installed on people's machines. Sure, in *some* cases you can uncheck said bundle and it won't install, but the idea is to miss that checkbox - else why would it be checked by default, and why would it be there? And don't tell me people want that stuff. Nobody buys that, and you surely don't buy it yourself.
  • Then you see *some* (not all) just go straight up time limited shareware or nagware with timers (e.g. mirc)
  • Those who don't do the above just eventually lose interest, and are forever the freeware alternative to any new business (update to this post)

Is Freeware with a Bundle still Freeware? Is that ethically superior to Shareware? Is charging for something 'wrong' in some way? You know, charging for the fruits of thousands of hours of labor and other expenses related to the production of said goods.

I have a right to say this since I author F/OSS, freeware, and shareware (all in the purest sense of the word with no bundles). It bothers me to see the GREED that takes hold when a freeware author realizes they can make money off something. Then their ethics fly out the window, in many cases (not all). These are generalizations, which I've made clear, so please don't cite exceptions.

It just goes to show you, freeware will be freeware until they think they can make money off it - then you see a rapid transformation. So, quit kidding yourselves, and consider what you are doing to those who realized before you that a purely donation driven model was not going to put sufficient food on the table.

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's how it is. If you want paid, charge for your work. Don't bundle. Don't play word-games (back on topic). And don't whine.

... Lastly, many freeware projects, those that don't think they can turn a profit, after running competitors out of business, then lose interest... After all, they aren't paying the bills. Or at least they didn't, before bundles became the norm for 'freeware'. Then the market dies. Anyway, they sit stagnant and cause harm to any competitor that might emerge and dare charge anything. They are forever cited as that 'free' alternative. Consumers learn the lesson they need not pay for anything, and find any non-freeware model offensive, but then act surprised when this bait and switch is pulled on them by freeware vendor after freeware vendor... or offended when they find 100 crap toolbars and other apps on their PC (or have to cleanup a PC in that state).
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 08:13:20 PM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #122 on: October 30, 2011, 06:28:52 PM »

And, of course, consumers are all going to be 100% for anything free... of course. BUT, software costs money and productive time to MAKE, MAINTAIN, and SUPPORT. We pay for socks, cheeseburgers, stupid trinkets. This refusal, by some, to pay for software is just because they've gotten spoiled by all the pseudo-freeware out there. Maybe you can uncheck that 'bundle' box, but your grandma might not, and maybe you're the one cleaning up her PC.

And, please, spare me the 'good bundle' argument. 100 good bundles = 1 bad machine.

Any moral highground freeware authors once had is being lost by many (not all).. generalizations are so dangerous.

Do you see where I'm coming from though? How would an honest Shareware vendor make money when all software is supposed to be 100% free? Bundle? That is definitely not ethical because it harms society at large, the definition of morality. The direction we are moving is unethical.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 08:04:56 PM by db90h » Logged
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« Reply #123 on: October 30, 2011, 07:02:43 PM »

..merged.. keep updating Wink. Gone now. I am sure it all read terrible, but I am trying to convey an important point. Don't take it offensive, please. I'm sure some will, because their concern will be purely selfish or ideologic. The simple refusal to pay $1 for software. I know, I've tried lowering my prices, those willing to pay will pay a reasonable price. Those not willing to pay, won't.

The utility of this site, as I tried to say, was in creating small software applications that are too specialized or easy to charge anyone for. Not to say all are like that, because mouser's apps are definitely large, but that is what I had hoped the site would become.

Oh, and if you want to go on the quality argument, well -- then you'll get into capital investment. It will become impossible for a new shareware author to get off the ground without sufficient capital investment, and then we'll have ruined it all. The guy in the basement can't make something to sell because he has to make it super-good to compete with super-good corporate backed freeware tricks. Their growth will be stagnated by the expectation of freeware, unless they bundle, which is - if you read - by definition, unethical, in my opinion. At least by the best definition of ethical we have, again in my opinion.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 08:09:40 PM by db90h » Logged
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« Reply #124 on: October 30, 2011, 07:31:28 PM »

... probably nobody will ever bother to read (or maybe re-read, lol) these statements, but if you ever do understand my argument.. well, lol, you just might 'get it'. If so, hats off to you, as I have a real trouble communicating sometimes.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2011, 08:12:47 PM by db90h » Logged
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