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Fairware: an interesting experiment in getting paid for Open Source

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Paul Keith:
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.

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).

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.

..merged.. keep updating ;). 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.

... 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.


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