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Author Topic: Request for information about DonationCoder  (Read 2183 times)
db90h
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« on: March 07, 2012, 02:57:32 AM »

What third-party components and code are used in Screenshot Captor and other utilities here? I know SSC has several, for image manipulation and such. Are these properly licensed? Many allow licensing for 'freeware', but is donationware freeware? I would hope everything is licensed ;o. Ah, I'm sure they are! After all, this is a business - not a traditionally run business, but it is a business since it has incoming revenue. Just looking out for DC, making sure everything is run as a business MUST be run by law (whether we like it or not).

DonationCoder supposedly has hosting costs of $450+ a month, which is ABSURD .. you can set up a cheaper dedicated server in no time at 1/4 the cost. Why pay so much? I estimate DC revenues to EXCEED $60k a year (at least) , with the fund raising and donations, which is NOT BAD AT ALL. Quite good actually, very good. Nice job mouser!

I would, however, request that since this site is 'open' and relies on 'donations', that we see the books and make sure these donations are not being misappropriated, and just how many donations there are. Then, when you beg for donations, we'll all know how bad you need, or don't need them.

Heck, at that level of success, maybe I'll open my own donation based site Wink. Nice work. Great scheme, though I hate schemes ;p. I prefer the old fashioned way of doing business. You know, you pay for a good or service a reasonable price, and everyone is happy. Yea, I think I'll stick with my own traditional business. Still, it is amazing this site generates that kind of revenue.

Just looking out for DC, as I don't think the owner gets that it is a business sometimes. You are also liable for taxes, which I hope you know!!! Else you'll find out and be in real bad shape.

As many know, I've given all the advice and help I can to the site, so I hope this doesn't sound accusatory or anything, just making sure all bases are covered. Finally got him signing his apps, instead of complaining about warnings. I probably saved him and the site from numerous false positives right there (seriously).

Best of luck to Donation Coder's continued thriving business!
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 04:28:57 AM by db90h » Logged
Jibz
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 04:10:02 AM »

I can't imagine mouser not making sure any components he is using are properly licensed, or misappropriating any donations .. he knows I would frown upon that! Grin
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db90h
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 04:18:14 AM »

I can't imagine mouser not making sure any components he is using are properly licensed, or misappropriating any donations .. he knows I would frown upon that! Grin

Likewise, I'm sure he hasn't, it is just the world is so complex these days, an 'audit' is probably in order given the freeware/donationware complication, and the fact that so much freeware isn't freeware anymore, it's bundleware (something mouser does endorse, though not use YET afaik). For him, I guess it is another way to avoid actually charging for software. What is so wrong with charging for software? Beats me. Seems better than begging, BUT with his kind of income, maybe I've got it backwards ;p.

HOWEVER, if he is really paying that much for a server, he needs to take a day or two and switch, for God's sake ;p.

I do assume he is paying his taxes, I know he isn't that bold as to try to cheat the IRS. I couldn't sleep at night if I tried that, even if the odds were in my favor. This isn't a charity, it is a business, and taxes must be paid. I've never heard him complain about them, but EVERY OTHER software developer I know has --- because we, as self-employeed people, are taxed out the arse here in the USA.

We ALL want to make sure mouser has a livable income. However, at the same time, if he were generating more revenue than anyone imagined, I can't help but wonder .... Hmm... If he needs MORE, then we should be able to look at the books and give him more. If he does NOT need more, then we should likewise be notified. That's the compromise in running a pretend-charity, which is what I consider DonationCoder to be. It's like a charity, but not. It's a business.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 04:29:53 AM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 04:31:28 AM »

PREDICTION: I may be banned for posting this, lol. It is not my INTENTION to hurt my friend mouser's revenue stream, or what he has built. Just like I'm sure he has no intentions to hurt me. He wouldn't, for instance, start copying my software with third-party components and code on the web, then giving a cheap hack away, that wouldn't be friendly. I'm just hoping to help him avoid troubles down the road.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 04:53:28 AM »

I try to use 3rd party components whenever possible(!)  The main one for Screenshot Captor is ImageEn which of course I licensed (I've had many discussions with the author of it; I recommend all small developers reach out to other coders when using their components, often they will give you a very good deal if you ask and explain how you wish to use it).

db I know you are mad and frustrated for what you have decided dc has done, or could do to hurt your business.. I'm sorry you feel that way.

I don't think I owe you this information but..

For the record, DC server hosting costs are $415 a month -- a dedicated server hosted at Softlayer on a virtual machine, which hosts both our main site and the member site where some members have an account.  It serves up 35gb a day.  When we moved to the new server we were hoping it would be a bit overkill, large enough for both DC and the member server stuff and big enough we could use it to host experimental sites, but we still haven't gotten it working fast enough to feel comfortable doing that.  The next time we move servers, which we do every couple of years, we may go back to non-virtual server setup.  If we had time to devote to optimizing it more, we could probably do more with it.  We could surely get by with a less powerful server but I still remember the old days of a forum that would regularly slow down, and I remember how wonderful it was when we upgraded our server and everything loaded fast -- it was a joyous feeling that has made me always want to make sure we have a fast server.  And we've always leaned towards spending more to go with a more reliable host since I don't have the skills to take care of tricky server problems.

As for taxes, DC is files as an LLC and I've always paid full taxes and reported full money coming into the site as income, and money going out via donationcredits as expenses.  That's just the simple risk averse way of doing it.  As for your theory of us making $60,000 a year - ha! that would be wonderful but sadly it's not anywhere near that high.  I'm not going to post the exact amount of money that comes into DC, saying nothing about how much goes out via donationcredits, but the average daily donation to DC last year was somewhere around $30 I think.

I understand you are angry at sites like DC taking away money from software companies that sell software -- I sympathize -- that's not our intention.  I think you'll see the history of this site was always that it was created as an experiment to see if people would voluntarily pay for software if they didn't have to.  I firmly believe the world would be a better place if people could choose how much to pay for digital content, and were more willing to do so.  The dream was that this approach could bring in enough money to let me and coders like me, do what they enjoy doing, coding, and survive on it.  The ironic and somewhat tragic part of the experiment is the need to spend so much time asking for money from people.. It's a weird situation and in some ways it seems so much simpler to just charge a fee for a product.  I certainly have come to appreciate the straightforwardness of just selling an honest product for an honest price -- and I've lamented quite a bit in the recent years against the ad-supported "free" nature of web services, in favor of a more straightforward fee-for-service approach.  So my views are evolving on this stuff too.  But I am proud that DC has managed to stay true to it's vision of letting people pay what they want for our software, and I don't want that to change.  I'm sorry if you feel it hurts your business by taking away business.  That's not my intention.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 05:20:10 AM by mouser » Logged
IainB
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 04:56:05 AM »

Is it my imagination, or is @db90h making all kinds of insinuations here?
What brought this on?

Enquiring minds need to know.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 05:04:17 AM »

Cheaper dedicated server with better uptime? I'm all eyes to read more ......
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JoTo
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 05:06:01 AM »

Hi db90h,

sorry i don't get your point.

A donation is at your free will, with no obligation at all. Neither for you, nor for the recipient of the donation. It's not a contract like in a business where you order, pay in advance and get what you ordered. So i don't see a right to have a look in the books or command what the donations have to be used for. EXCEPT if there is a special donation event (like the one we did in the past for collecting donations to give it to the AHK author and such - THAT donations are entrusted for a specific purpose and should only be used for the announced purpose of course).

Also, i see it more, that donations are for the PAST. For the hint i got from a member, for the work a member did, for an app i got from a member, for the work a member did. Notice past tense here! Of course a donation is an invest in the future too (motivation to go into a certain direction or whatnot), but there is still no way to force something by donations.

I agree of course, that if there are certain points where a good hint can help to save money (e.g. the server costs - suggesting a cheaper solution) is always welcome and should be followed if appropriate. But i think mouser would be the last person that refuses to follow a good advice, if all aspects fit our needs. But keep in mind: Price is not the whole picture. I just want to throw in speed, bandwidth, reliability, space and features, that are a few facts that matter too for a server; beside the price. A good tradeoff must be found here. And last but not least...a switch means work, and maybe a lot of work...so that should be counted in too. Mouser works voluntarily for DC and so he have to make the work in his free time. Nobody should and can't force him to do anything. He is our buddy and not our staff or servant!

Also, have you already noticed, that all donations made to DC are added to the members account as Credits (minus the money transfer fees of course)? And that the donating member can distribute that credits at his own will among other members, which, on the other side, are allowed to get the money paid out again? I don't know how often this happens and, to be honest, i'm not interested to know it either, but you have to subtract these sums from the assumed "income" of DC too.

Of course you could always decide to not donate anymore. That is the only way you can influence the way the money is spent and where the site will go. If the majority of the members agree with you, the mass will "force" mouser either to follow or fold DC. But that's again HIS decision, not ours.

Nevertheless, i'm very satisfied how DC is and what mouser do. I trust in him and i'm confident that he is a honest guy that stands behind the "donation" idea that is the tenor of DonationCoder site. And if i look back in the past, i still got more out of DC than i donated. Not all countable in money, but also in good ideas, time savings and last but not least in a whole bunch of hours of fun in good company. How would you account the fun factor in money? I can't!

And to prevent any sceptical repiles in advance:
Of course i get now $1000 from mouser out of the precious donations pot for saying and writing this post. I hope all members find this usage of the money very appropriate. smiley

(And i hope too all readers have noticed that this last paragraph was pure joking and deep cynism!)

Just my 2ct. DC forever! WOOHOO!
Greetings
JoTo
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db90h
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 06:05:15 AM »

Cheaper dedicated server with better uptime? I'm all eyes to read more ......

Mine is cheaper with industry leading uptime ;o. I mean, come on, ANY quote you get from any major hosting provider is cheaper than DC's cost. Check SingleHop's prices for dedicated servers. Most smaller hosting providers (e.g. JustHost or HostMonster) are backed by dedicated providers like SingleHop, and the trick is to stay away from small hosting providers and go straight to the source. Yes, those I mentioned are shared hosting providers, but they ALSO resell dedicated servers, just charge you more than they pay, lol.

Check SingleHop's prices for yourself. See if you can figure a way that DC could possibly cost that much. Surely he is getting ripped off. Take action, the savings would be tremendous! Further, if set up years ago, surely the dedicated hardware has gotten old, and the price is now far higher than it should be. Is this not helpful? During a recent server switch, it took me less than a day to set up the server. It wouldn't take him long either, as it's so easy. I know he's competent enough to do it, and the PHP is cross-platform.. so he's not bound to Windows or linux.

I use SingleHop as a reference because I think everyone would agree they are one of maybe 3 of the largest dedicated hosting providers that back a large majority of servers not hosted in-house.

@JoTo: I am aware there is no obligation of mouser's to disclose his donations. However, given the community nature of the site, it might be helpful to increase trust in the site. If you get my drift. And perhaps I have no point, lol. It wouldn't be the first time.

I am also satisfied with mouser and his efforts. It was just a thought ....

As for animosity. I hold NO animosity towards mouser. I am sure he does not have any nefarious or bad intentions. That is not sarcasm, I am serious. Unlike him, I sadly sometimes do 'go apeshit', but this isn't one of those times. This was a simple request for more transparency. It just seems natural and would increase user trust, IMHO. When they see he is poor, they'll donate more.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:16:21 AM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 06:13:27 AM »

Repeating this again, as I post-edited (as usual):

As for animosity. I hold NO animosity towards mouser. I am sure he does not have any nefarious or bad intentions. That is not sarcasm, I am serious. Unlike him, I sadly sometimes do 'go apeshit', but this isn't one of those times. This was a simple request for more transparency. It just seems natural and would increase user trust, IMHO. When they see he is poor, they'll donate more. They'll trust that the donations are going to good causes, and he's no millionaire.

I wanted this point to be clear. Mouser is a great guy, with strong morals. I could only hope to be as 'stable' as he appears to be, to be honest, lol. I get emotionally disturbed by things, let my passion influence my judgement, etc.. He doesn't have those faults, though I'm sure, like any human, he does have faults.

Mouser is a man of integrity though, and that is something I would never question, so do not take this as questioning his integrity. There, stated there different ways, so hopefully clear Wink
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:19:21 AM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 06:23:39 AM »

Mouser, you are saying you might prefer a non-virtual machine based server. May I suggest instead going to the Cloud? Things have changed. The Cloud is now very robust and SECURE. It *is* a virtual machine, but not like the old days. It is so cool. You can create images of your server, clone them for load balancing, upgrade or downgrade your RAM and storage space as needed, on demand, pay for what you use, etc.. It is not only cheaper, but more reliable. You NEVER run the risk of not being able to handle traffic because in 5 minutes you can have your server upgraded to WHATEVER level you need. I am on the Cloud these days, and have found it EXTREMELY effective. I'm at RackSpace myself, which has industry leading up-time for sure.

It is A LOT better than older VPS's or virtual machines. Many of those were sitting on overloaded servers. A Cloud backed by Xen or other modern technology does a much better job.

HOWEVER, in your case, I'd use SingleHop's cloud, as they give you terabytes of free bandwidth, where-as Rackspace charges for bandwidth (though the cost is very small).
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:30:24 AM by db90h » Logged
db90h
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 06:28:40 AM »

OT: Another suggestion for future software... Many people are going to hate the removal of the Windows 8 Start Menu. Maybe FARR is the ultimate solution .. just something to look into. Others have already begun work on replacing it: http://www.avitricks.info...s-8-consumer-preview.html ... but you have the 'free' advantage.
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 08:02:55 AM »

Right now I think emotions are running rather high and are not setting the stage for a constructive dialog here. Since none of us are fully up on what's going on, or party to whatever lead up to original and subsequent posts,  I'd like to respectfully suggest restraint and good manners on the part of everybody when responding to this particular thread. :-)




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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2012, 08:37:10 AM »

Thanks 40hz.  Yeah i think the best thing might be to close this topic on a high note and not drag it out.. Rather than that let me just ask that people not post on this thread unless they feel absolutely compelled to do so for some really good reason.
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