This is a product for businesses. The dynamics are different: businesses can easily be convinced to pay for software, since they do so already. If it solves a business need, this is an easy sell.
The way to make money with Linux software has always been to focus on the business market, because you're just not going to get any significant number of home Linux users or enthusiasts to pay for your software. And then, ignore the home/enthusiast users. No, I wouldn't pay for an email client either, but I don't need to connect to a Microsoft Exchange server at home. If my workplace were trying to switch to Linux, however, I'd readily recommend such a product to management.
We were very enterprise focused, but it just didn't work. We were trying to displace MS Outlook. And unfortunately, most people want to stick with Outlook. Not because it's better, but because it's what they know. We found that even if we convinced 8 out of 10 people in a company to buy Hiri, it wasn't enough. IT departments don't want to support more than one email client. 100% adoption is simply not an option.
So we pivoted to the current model. A bottom up strategy that has made the company viable. I would say about 50% of our customers are paying with the department credit card, and the other 50% buy it using their personal card.
Another interesting find - the growth stage of any given company has a role to play too. Younger companies (both the age of the company and the age of the staff) seem to be more open to trying new software. I guess they don't bring any legacy issues to the table. The problem is that a lot of these young companies choose Gmail. This is why we have chosen to support Gmail.
The people buying your product are not integrating it into their business case because your product can't compete, it can only fill a niche. In this sense you should definitely find niches, such as users willing to pay money to have a working client on Linux. But this can be a dangerous game. If, for example, Evolution suddenly stopped sucking balls at Exchange compatibility and became a half-decent mail client, you could lose your niche, and your cash flow.
If I were you, I would make your product be as different as it can be while still being compatible. One way would be tightly integrating with an OS or product. Another way would be providing custom integration that competitors don't even come close to. Another would be to provide utility functions that nobody else has. Getting to the point where people use your product not because they like it, but because they have to have it. Kind of like the iPhone. Nobody ever needed a giant glass touch screen, but once people started using it, they couldn't give it up.
Once you have that kind of core functionality, you could give away a stripped down product and ask for payment for premium features. This would net you additional users that would otherwise go to a free competitor, and be a potential entry to sales once they feel they need the extra features.
(apologies if you're already doing any/all of this)
How was that focus manifested? What is your focus now?
I ask because I would love to pay for an email client that has the single feature I most need. But the Hiri website only lets me know that the software:
* Helps me conquer my inbox. How? I have no idea.
* Removes unnecessary clutter from my inbox. I actually don't want anything removed from my inbox.
* Accesses Office 365 and Exchange calendars, and a bunch of other Active Directory integration features. I already have that with Lightning.
I'm currently using Thunderbird with an extension that provides the feature that I need, and I've donated to both the Mozilla foundation and the developer of said extension. What unique features does Hiri provide that Thunderbird does not? What can I do with Hiri that I cannot do with Thunderbird and Lightning?
Lastly, why is it $120? I'll pay $10 without a second thought. I'll pay $20-$40 if it really scratches an itch. But I won't even consider $50 for an email client at all. $120 is absolutely ridiculous. I won't consider the one-year plan, nor is it even clear what is a one-year plan that includes indefinite access to updates and new features. What happens after one year?
Pick your monthly salary, then imagine how many units of work you would need to sell to achieve the same value at what given price.
Naturally $120 means one sale equals several at $20-$40, thus easier to achieve sustainability, given the ratio of marketing and sales team efforts to effective sales.
We're talking about a mail client here. A $120 mail client whose website mentions not a single advantage over the leading open source solution in its market.
Compared to that, I'd have difficulty believing there are many email clients out there that are actually worse. Even emacs as an email client was better (and it still wasn't great as you can imagine).
I guess sendmail and p̵i̵n̵e̵̵ mutt are good enough™.
It is easier to ask for a random price, without taking the time to understand that there are a set of variables associated with production cost and keeping it sustainable.
All the best to your business.
Is this your way to determine if it is for business or personal use? Often in small companies and startups people use their personal credit cards for business purchases. Even in some bigger companies they do that, they just invoice it later separately.
Those are effectively Exchange accounts (MS finished migrating them to Exchange last year). So Hiri works with those too.
What's the advantage vs IPMI or POP?
Assuming web based won’t cut it for those users, then it would seem Hiri is a good fit for that business?
I can’t see in what way you are competing or displacing Outlook if you are makinhg a product for Linux. The reason it’s a viable product would be 1) because there is no Linux outlook, and 2) because a business has users that have to run Linux while others run Outlook on windows, against the same Exchange infrastructure?
Our USP is increased productivity. Check out the Skills Center: https://www.hiri.com/skills/
Also, we're not really trying to compete with Outlook per se. We will never match it feature for feature - not necessary or desirable.
With the GH aquisition I'll be shocked if we don't see most of MS's desktop stuff, including Office, move to Electron/WebAssembly in the next few years.
What about linking to that instead?
2) I notice you've chosen 7 days as the length of the free trial. Why that rather than the 21ish days it takes to form a habit?
3) For your annual subscription plan, how do you avoid the user's credit card being expired by the 4th time you try to charge it?
Your website and this discussion suggests Hiri does not support gmail.
Which is it?
When working on Linux, I find myself pining for Visual Studio at times, and for art Krita does have a hard time beating Clip Studio, but they've both earned their spot rightly.
I do think many people are like this though: they will use your software if they truly believe it's the best at what it does.
Outlook is one of the best mail clients out there, not many can disagree about that.
The Office 365 web client is nearly identical these days and it runs in the browser.
You aren’t going to out Office Microsoft that is just a fools errand.
You can maybe focus on better mail clients for the desktop but there are quite a few good ones already yes they don’t work with Exchange out of the box but with IMAP and exchange connectors many of them do.
Also by essentially building a client for Exchange you are putting your product at the mercy of Microsoft that can change their APIs and protocol on a whim and even block 3rd party clients with their EULA all together.
Outlook may be a fine program for some types of office work but its MUA is one of the absolute worst mail programs in existence, surpassed only by certain webmailers and a collection of weird mobile apps handset manufacturers are probably paid serious money for shipping pre-installed on their (low-end) devices.
I have never seen a mailer being so actively destructive to email. The only times I receive mail that is more garbled and/or broken than that from Outlook users are the creepy web and mobile apps described above.
I have no idea whether all of this is the result of configuration errors on the user side. Maybe it's actually possible to configure the Exchange/Outlook combination to behave in a sane way. If so, this knowledge appears to be awfully rare among the Outlook- and Exchange-using population.
> You aren’t going to out Office Microsoft that is just a fools errand.
Having used Outlook for a while, even on Windows, I'm shocked that people describe Outlook as good.
It may be the least worst, but Outlook is, being generous, a very mediocre piece of software. That's Microsoft's strategy in a nutshell: be Good Enough for a very large audience.
> Also by essentially building a client for Exchange you are putting your product at the mercy of Microsoft that can change their APIs and protocol on a whim and even block 3rd party clients with their EULA all together.
That used to be true, but they're far more constrained by their installed base these days.
Are we talking about the client that sent the plaintext for encrypted emails along for half a year?
This is incredibly rude. You may not like it, but GNU/Linux was built by people for user freedom, not for proprietary email clients.
Instead of using words like “fundamentalist” please instead consider that you are doing something that is not welcomed by the creators of the operating system and a large number of the long-term users.
A little understanding would go a long way.
What proprietary software is being used on servers? I believe most Android users don’t know about user freedom, and those that do would greatly prefer a more generic, “pure” Android experience vs the poor quality applications installed by default on most non-Google phones.
You’re confusing the initial ideas that were attributed to open source — seperating the software from the campaign for user freedom — with the free software community. Open source and free software are different movements with common results. The GNU/Linux operating system was built long before open source was a thing, and those founding principles of user freedom are attacked by proprietary software.
Please find someone that worked in the field during the 70s. They hopefully will kindly re-educate you on this BS.
Also if you’re talking about the OSI of the late 90s I’d argue that gnu/Linux was not long before that. Those initiatives pretty much grew together.
I’m talking about the creation of the Open Source Initiative in 1998 and their initial distancing of software freedom from any practical benefits of the software created by the free software movement.
I don't have anything against that kind of attitude, it's great and I approve those guys though I myself also like to buy software. "Fundamentalism" IMO describes it pretty well and I don't see the negative connotation.
From https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fundamentalism :
> The tendency to reduce a religion to its most fundamental tenets, based on strict interpretation of core texts.
Using such a strong word to define your adversary's position is a way to discredit them.
I can understand thinking it's a "fundamentalist" mindset if you're used to Windows or Mac and software being proprietary by default but if you're a un*x poweruser who doesn't hesitate to hack the source code of the software to customize it it's a very pragmatical approach I think.
How about no adjective?
> not welcomed by the creators of the operating system
No, it wasn't. Linux was created because Linus Torvalds was in love with the OS running on the VAX at his university and wanted something just like it that he can run on his desktop at home.
> you are doing something that is not welcomed by the creators of the operating system
The DFSG and the OSD both prohibit discriminating against fields of endeavor, so the ability to run proprietary software on open-source operating systems is essential to the OS actually being open-source.
The DFSG and OSD are criteria for evaluating free and open source software and more specifically their licensing terms. The discrimination against fields of endeavor means you can’t make a license that says “the government can’t use my software” or “no military use” and call it free software or open source software. It has absolutely nothing to do with being able to run non-free software.
It's just impractical to have high quality software for every niche be built by the FOSS community. Even non-niche products (like, let's say email) leave a lot to be desired
If I could pay companies for these products I would. But I don't because they don't make products for Linux because they think we only want FOSS programs
Also, yes the creators probably don't condone proprietary software but who cares. They're not the market. The users of the OS are the market. And I want high quality software, free or not, source be dammed!
Linus Torvalds was pretty widely quoted as saying If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won. I'm pretty sure he was being sincere. The guy has praised PowerPoint, of all things.
The GNU fundamentalists are a noisy minority. That's not intended as a commentary on their usefulness or the correctness of their position, it's just a statement of fact.
I agree that not every type of software will be built by community efforts alone, which is why many companies are contributing to free software.
Out of interest, what free software would you like to see?
So I can't confidently say I've tried it all but when I booted up Ubuntu within the last year it was hard to find...
- simple email client with good html template support and conversation threading (thunderbird was meh)
- simple pdf viewer
- pdf editor
- an oscilliscope app that works with those usb oscilliscopes
- image editor (gimp is a slow nightmare to use)
- Microsoft Office suite replacement (Open/Libre Office is also a UI nightmare)
- A diagram app ala draw.io (Admittedly I haven't looked too hard for this one)
- Music library organizer (Also didn't look too hard)
- Desktops shells (Gnome/KDE/Xfce)
- Package managers
- Music players (generally bearable)
> relating to or advocating the strict, literal interpretation of scripture.
I think it's fair to say that the gospel of saint ignucius is interpreted strictly in some circles.
It's a real problem and one of the main reason osx was able to eclipse desktop software usage on linux in such a short amount of time.
Responses like yours are the real problem.
If you want linux desktop software to grow, there needs to be room for proprietary software.
Support doesn't work for many small companies, because you just don't have the manpower, so proprietary software is necessary.
Hah, what am I saying, ignoring incentives like that is easy and commonplace, I'm sure they pay it no mind at all.
You can probably make money by selling Windows binaries of OSS software. See ntopng, where compiling on Windows is not that straight forward as compared to Linux.
A major hassle is that sometimes the GUI is showing something different then what is configured. Especially in networking. I configure an IP address, I want it to show in the GUI. I don't care if it's configured via the shell.
So "having an aversion" means that you're a fundamentalism? That's a bit extreme, no?
>If you want linux desktop software to grow, there needs to be room for proprietary software.
Judging by how I feel more miserable and less in control every year with the dumbification of the Linux desktop I genuinely don't want that. People keep adding abstraction layers in order to lure the mythical "average joe" to Linux, except that he doesn't care anyway so I'm the one who ends up having to deal with that bloat that doesn't offer anything to me. I'd use FreeBSD instead of Linux if I could because I prefer the way it works but I can't because of... proprietary drivers that are not available on the BSDs.
If people like to eat crap that's their problem, I don't see why I should force my self to get a taste for it just so that we can eat at the same table.
The problem with thinking of GNU/Linux in the same way as Windows and Mac OS X is that it assumes a world where proprietary software is the norm, or is okay. I believe that is isn’t okay, and that it is harmful.
It is plain impossible to live from selling desktop software with source code available, without having others in the first week come around and re-bundle it, Sourceforge style.
A lot of desktop software is commodity stuff — mail clients, office suites, browsers, photo editing and the like. But there are some areas where we need to be better, such as video editing.
I love FOSS, but people like you (yes, "fundamentalists") can't deal with the idea that some forms of software are probably better as paid transactions between well-informed parties. The laughable state of open source office suites and any serious competitor to most of Adobe's products suggests that this model has its limits.
The thing I zero in on here is that I have literally zero problems paying for software. But I am wary of purchasing software that I don't get the rights to build, modify, and contribute to.
My worry with software like this is that vendors come and go, and people get their workflows destroyed because the software can't be "saved" when the business is gone (yes, when, not if! always plan for that "exit" that ruins people because the products are gone).
Would I prefer the software to be FOSS? Absolutely. I am also absolutely willing to pay for FOSS, and a good number of Linux users are too.
I'm even willing to take open-core style models if it means there's some FOSS code release, as much as I don't like the model.
I use a mixture of FOSS and proprietary software all the time, not because I want to, but because I _must_.
And in my workplace, FOSS solutions (even ones we pay for) are infinitely preferred over proprietary ones. Desktop Linux support is a must, as well.
I do think that vendors should have to put things into some form of shared-source or open-source escrow (possibly shared as they might not have IP rights to open source everything they've done) with a kind of 'dead mans switch' arrangement (i.e. you walk away without updating or responding to bug fix requests, you trigger escrow).
I'm perennially concerned that the fundamentalist attitude to proprietary software is suppressing innovation in some areas: especially complex desktop software where there is (a) a heavy requirement for the kind of tedious UI work that FOSS projects clearly don't bother to do and (b) where most or all of the product is "right there in the code" (i.e. once you have Photoshop, you can go to town and edit stuff, and you're not really all that dependent on having access to some other product or service which can be monetized).
The attitude reaches its most extreme in software tools. Best expressed by Andy Gocke with his great tweet: https://twitter.com/andygocke/status/1017509689695715328
'Developer tools seemed like a good industry to be in, "sell shovels in the gold rush" and all, but it turns out developers prefer to dig for gold with their teeth.'
Whatever I wrote about the limits of "FOSS" software can be multiplied by a solid order of magnitude for "free only".
The most popular OSes are proprietary:
* Android (almost useless without the Google stuff, plus 99% of Android apps are unfortunately proprietary)
* MacOS (I know about Darwin, everyone uses MacOS for the proprietary integration bits)
An open source GMS implementation exists, and might gain traction with the recent Android/Google antitrust lawsuit in EU. Have you tried LOS + microG recently? Have you seen the utter garbage frolicking around on Play Store? Quality, not quantity. At least with F-Droid, you know what you're getting. Same with Aurora, as it has Exodus support.
For the core things the basic, inter-operable, standard should be fully open and free. This includes protocols, data formats, reference applications/servers/clients and anything similar.
A user should not need to pay to communicate. This is a natural right and one of the cornerstones of a free society.
However I don't mind proprietary products as OPTIONS that allow someone to do the above better or more effectively (while still following open standards for external APIs!), or for 'toy' tasks like games or fun. That's a premium feature or recreational extra.
For the logical retort about who should be funding the development and maintenance of the core items? In some cases (hardware APIs) manufacturers might want to form standards bodies (E.G. Khronos maintains OpenGL and Vulkan) and provide open standards. In other (most) cases governments maintaining civil infrastructure should contribute. I would love if every university had a course where existing code repos were examined by students for completeness and safety and the students actually signed off on their reviews and maybe even submitted patches (or at least bugs if the answer isn't obvious/requires architectural changes) for flaws.
Why should software development be any different than any other profession where people get paid for their work?
After reading the article that was my first thought when he mentioned adding support for Google IMAP.
Full stop. Don't do it. You have a product that is doing well as the solution for something with a clear business case that's not well addressed elsewhere. Own that market and focus your development attention on that Exchange ecosystem.
As soon as you branch to IMAP/Gmail/General purpose you're going to be in the sea of tons of other email clients, most of which are free. It's going to dilute the value proposition for Hiri because Hiri is going to become "another email client" that also supports exchange. The taste for email clients that add exchange support is not generally a good experience. It also means that you have to ensure all of your UI elements work equally with both, bringing you to more of a lowest-common-denominator experience.
When I see Linux Exchange Email Client and that's all you do, I see specialty software that I can rely on to solve that problem correctly. When I worked at a company that used Exchange, I would have bought it IMMEDIATELY and convinced my boss to reimburse me later.
As soon as you become a general purpose email client, everything about what you offer to solve that problem starts getting lost in the shuffle.
I bought Mailbird because it looked amazing and had the feature set I wanted. It has done its job extremely well, and I'm very happy with it. But it doesn't have a Linux client; it's only for Windows.
I have six active email addresses spread across multiple providers - Office365, Exchange, Gmail, GSuite, and Zoho. I need a central place to read it all.
I've seen Hiri mentioned before, but dismissed it because it doesn't support Google/IMAP. Once it adds that support, it has my attention, and potentially my dollars.
It's not moving focus away from Linux/Office365 but it accommodates people that want to have their Gmail accounts in the same client as their Office 365 / Exchange accounts.
Another reason for wanting a client that works with Exchange and Google is simply wanting to use the same app both at work and at home, even if you never cross the streams and access them both from the same instance.
And as others have mentioned, Linux email clients suck. I'm a huge proponent of open-source software, and prefer free clients wherever possible. No one has made a free email client that I can tolerate. They're so bad that I tend to stick to web clients. Hiri's client reminds me of Polymail on MacOS, which is the only non-game, non-cloud application I've paid for in the past decade.
That doesn't seem like a great idea, on many levels.
The value proposition just isn't there with all of the free options already out there.
There's only a handful of Exchange clients for *NIX though, that I agree with.
I don’t understand the link between your second sentence and the first one. How not having IMAP support forces you to have multiple email clients open at the same time?
Nearly everything else in Windows I can replicate in Linux; Excel Spreadsheets, Microsoft Word, they all have Linux equivalents. But Calendar? Nope.
I've seen solutions online, and I tried them, but none of them worked seamlessly. In particular, there's a plugin for Thunderbird. But it wouldn't connect with Office 365's calendar. (Email worked perfectly fine.)
That was the big missing link the last time I tried them... the inability to accept and/or reply on meeting invites and handle both the email and the calendar part. I was always able to view my calendar from linux, and could even edit/update personal calendar events, but I always had to fall back to windows or web to handle meeting invites. Pretty much everyone who uses O365 calendar is going to be using emailed invites and they need to work to make this a solution, but I never saw much traction on addressing that issue.
A part for that I pay for:
- Skype credit
- gitkraken (thanks electron!)
And i would pay and pay and pay for a design software like sketch.. I have a lot of hope on figma.. Let see..
I realize though I probably need to Shell out for a Mac though. (Besides for a few brief moments in middle school, I have never used iOS believe it or not)
Another thing that author can do is to compare Linux home users sales results with Windows home users for any of their product that is available for both platforms. Sales would be similar as long as Linux and Windows software marketplace for that area is same.
In the end I ended up paying for a license to GitKraken and am quite happy.
Edit: I find using a GUI to view the state of a git repo reduces the amount of mental space and energy I need to devote to this information.
That is absolutely silly and completely false. I use SourceTree every day and have no issues whatsoever. I'm just as productive as anyone on the CLI, as 95% of actions are the basic pull/commit/push type stuff.
Currently using Mailspring, but honestly the paid mail clients for OSX leave anything on Linux in the dust. Airmail is my personal favorite and it's $9.99.. a couple of cups of coffee for a great experience in an area that touches your life a dozen times a day? Absolutely I'd pay for a GOOD mail client on Linux.
More like no significant number of home users are using Exchange.
If every software that runs on Windows ran on Linux without restrictions, that would be the end of Windows right now and it's exactly what Microsoft are currently preparing for.
They are shifting profits from Windows licenses to the app store and user data/ads to compete with free operating systems and they're trying hard to appeal to Linux users.
Except to many of those users, "Paying for a license to software" is seen as a restriction.
I would probably not be wrong when saying that most Linux users will happily pay a developer for the binary of an application if the dev is "doing it right". Doing it right largely involves "don't treat the customer as a walking wallet" and "don't fuck over the customer".
Most people would probably happily give you cash for that but I suspect Windows people and especially Mac people are more used to paying cash to get software ... sort of and then being treated like a walking wallet. Example: Anti-Virus vendors and Adobe.
You may see GNU folks as crackpots, but in many aspects they are right, for business reasons.
I have an increasingly hard time to admit in my core stack anything that is not open-source (even if not free-as-in-freedom). Commercial offerings come and go, change their terms, etc. They can do something that goes contrary to my interests, and I have no recourse, and nobody has.
This is on the top of problems while troubleshooting. Being able to look at the source, understand what's happening, and maybe even quickly patch it is indispensable when running a production system, and suddenly encountering a problem.
That is, I don't use open-source programs because they don't cost money. E.g. I've donated more to Mozilla than many commercial products cost. I happily install paid versions of open-source apps on Android, as a way to pay the developers. I won't mind to buy paid support for open-source products.
But the openness is very important for something that is not a quick fix for a temporary problem.
There is also plenty of business I know that do everything in their power to ensure that if they go away the customer isn't left helpless (this is very popular in some parts of industrial engineering where it's common sense to hand over the blue print along with a service contract).
It's just very popular for software vendors to behave without care for the user but it's not the only business model and I think that's a common mistake of some people (ie, believing that FLOSS and proprietary is a binary property that will automatically mean certain things like you mentioned).
If you are a smaller fish, you have fewer of these options, because they just cost money.
Of course it's often cost-effective to quickly start using a piece of commercial software or SaaS, e.g. Slack or Gmail, as opposed to hosting your own chat or email with opensource solutions. As with any software where you put your important data, you need to know your way out, and a way to transfer these data to different software / SaaS. With email, it's reasonably easy; don't know about Slack. With open-source solutions it's usually reasonably easy, too, and it's easier to find, or at least to produce, a migration tool.
In some cases, there's just no free alternative; e.g. if you are writing a PC game, you can't realistically stay away from Windows.
I would pay good money for a high quality application on Linux. But in large part, one of the less-philosophical, more-practical things that I value about FLOSS is the opportunity to fix things if something doesn't work right. While I would gladly purchase an incredible, closed source application, I would much more value the distribution of the source code (with a workable build chain) along with that purchase.
In that manner, I KNOW I'm not just a buck in their wallet. It protects my purchase, to some degree, and demonstrates a good faith relationship with the developer. Even if I'm not allowed to distribute the code, and much prefer FLOSS, the right to maintain my purchase is incredibly important to me.
Of course, that's almost never an option, but to my mind, that would be a fair compromise...
~A Loud FLOSS Supporter
Of course video games are highly public consumer products. So you can't actually abuse their model because if your game is successful it will be well known.
For larger companies in larger markets, it's much, much easier to see when someone is abusing a license or pirating the software without paying.
Everyone would until they realize how exceptionally hard and draining it is for a vendor to deal with blatant rip-offs and trivial repackaging of said source code, sold under a different name for a fraction of the price by some random outlet in China.
Hm, this reminds me of the Caddy, the HTTP server with Let's Encrypt integration. It's still open source, but a while ago they made the binaries paid (if you want it for free you need to compile it yourself). They got a lot hate for that; people were even accusing them of having become closed source.
I think the problem really is, atleast what I thought, was that the binary wasn't something I'd pay for. I could trivially compile it myself. Additionally the price was IIRC quite high for some hobbyists like myself. Plus putting advertisements in the header (or was that a separate event?)
If it had been a 10$/a license for the binary I would likely have done that but at the time it seemed cheaper to just switch to nginx.
Also keep in mind the different audience. There is server admins and developers. When I wear my server admin hat and license software, that is usually because there is no or not comparable free alternatives that I couldn't setup myself in a few hours of work. When I wear my developer hat I'm lazy and I will pay for software to save a few minutes of work if it's good enough.
Of course, I don't agree with the people who said it had become closed source, that is silly.
That was when Caddy lost all its reputation for me.
Doesn't seem as bad as you are portraying it... certainly not "lost all its reputation for [you]" bad?
Which isn't a problem for you and me, but is for the kind of person that was attracted to it because it's easier than nginx+certbot, as I said in my initial comment. I saw 2 major users of it: this kind of user, and people wanting a small simple thing to stick in their container-based setup for HTTPS/reverse proxy duties. The latter more or less automatically updated to container images that do the build instead of loading a binary and didn't have a problem with even having to consider paying. For the first it was a problem, especially since the cost wasn't really in the ballpark of "I'd happily pay that to host a small blog".
I still use Debian Linux for my home computers. My wife even uses a XPS Developer edition. I would like to switch to Windows 10 for the battery life upgrade, but I find that Windows is slow and has a lot of distractions (eye candy and advertisements) compared to my Linux computers. The virtual desktop management isn't as convenient as it is on Linux (Mate desktop). Emacs, Git, Elfeed, and a lot of the other Emacs-related features/plug-ins I like to use everyday are also dog-slow on Windows, which is the real deal-breaker for me.
FLOSS is also arguably more important in some software. OS is most important. Technically IDEs are very important too, but there just isn't an open source alternative for JetBrains IDEs. And they definitely deserve the money.
PPA's on Ubuntu would do to but other distros are less equipped to deal with it, in that case an AppImage might be better.
It’s not a ton but it’s something. Libre office/Mozilla/ eclipse foundation/ sequel pro/ aqua emacs...
The specific issues for applications are different, but there are parallels. The key thing is that FOSS on Linux isn't just an ideology, it's also an ecosystem and a set of norms and practices. When you ship a proprietary product, users have to weigh the cost of opting out of all of that, not just the sticker price. Nobody with any sense would ship a Windows package solely as source code and expect Windows users to love it. I can't imagine anyone blaming a weak reception of such a product on a "fundamentalist proprietary blob mentality". But when they similarly sidestep standard practices on Linux, any friction is almost reflexively attributed to the users being unreasonable.
FOSS is a reality and is a great thing!
The point that was being made, was that promoting paid linux applications is a challenge. And that that challenge becomes more difficult because we need to operate in an environment where many of the biggest publications do not want to know anything about non-FOSS apps.
Better just to ignore the religious radicals sneering on the sidelines.
As others have noted Linux for home and Linux for work are two completely different things.
At work I use RHEL 7, packages 5 years out of date, don't have access to build tools to incorporate patches myself and a million and one other things I would never tolerate at home. Throwing some more money after a program that lets me not touch outlook sounds like a great idea.
At home I do none of the above things I can't think of a reason why I would ever touch a binary blob.
There are plenty of people who feel the same. Don't come into a hobbyist environment selling corporate solutions expecting a warm welcome. Instead of /r/linux go to /r/sysadmin or some such.
I have to use the proprietary bootloader for my newer machines and the wifi firmware the machines I haven't gotten around to replacing the wifi cards for yet.
About half of my machines are on coreboot and atheros cards.
Otherwise my user space is pure free software.
For games I play open source ones like 0ad when I have the time, which isn't often.
I think that having an open-source OS and whatever-source applications is having the best of both worlds.
Let me repeat that: the base system should be open, including all drivers, to level the playing field, but we also should be able to choose any solution in an open market, again, to get the best technology possible for us.
In other words, if I want to use some proprietary software, like I use Sublime Text, it does not affect you, and I don't think you can decide or limit in any way the software I can use.
It would be silly for me to try to block Steam on Linux, since I'm a Steam user.
> In other words, if I want to use some proprietary software, like I use Sublime Text, it does not affect you, and I don't think you can decide or limit in any way the software I can use.
What makes you think I want to? This is exactly the kind of assumption that annoyed me in the otherwise reasonable article. My point was that it's important to appreciate the factors that drive user preferences and not just write off a negative response as ideology-driven.
If Adobe released their apps on Linux (more specifically Photoshop and Premiere) I'd buy them in a heartbeat. Unfortunately they seem more interested in supporting the iPad if recent news is to be believed.
Edit: Just remembered I have a Sublime Text license too, although I stopped using it a while ago.
I also received a Steam game from a friend as Christmas present. I didn't pay but he did.
Probably nothing else.
Likewise on Windows apps that I use regularly like Notepad++, jAlbum, Sublime Text, Paint.NET, Thunderbird, Firefox...
- Jetbrains Toolbox
- VMWare Workstation
- Various steam purchases
- Corel Office
- Crossover Office
90% of the people who want the source would not pirate the software, and 100% the pirates are satisfied with a binary copy. And don't tell me about copy protection, in practice it's just as effective as a line in the EULA: for any worthwhile software, those who don't care about the license don't care about copy protection either.
I have no problem paying for software, but I don't want to surrender all control of my hardware for a 3rd party to run secret code on it.
I see at least 2 reasons.
1) Mindset (and ignorance)
I've worked in big telecom companies, in their technical teams, which means people who know about programming in big (BIG/HUGE) projects. Even there, many of their -very- experienced tech people were AFRAID of anything open-source. They were terrified that using anything that had the words "open" or "free" (as in free software) would mean that they would have to "give" their code "gratis" and lose their customers.
The irony? Those programs were BIG projects that were only useable with their hardware (think stuff like devices' OSs & supervision UIs for telecom equipments), it would not have worked with other devices and any attempt at an adaptation would have cost more than developing from scratch. Add to that that they only sold to a handful of companies (those hardware + software solution are expensive) so they would immediately have noticed that something was wrong, and you see how INSANE it was that they were afraid.
They had completely bought the FUD from Microsoft and the like.
And thoss were TECHNICAL people, I leave to your imagination the attitude of managers... :-(((
2) Quality (or lack thereof)
A lot (if not most) of code done for "enterprise software" is of pretty bad quality (and I'm being nice). I've seen such horrors that you are left to wonder how anything AT ALL could work. The incompetence was staggering, comments and tests inexistant, no source management, no documentation, "if" conditions spread over hundreds of lines, 10 thousand lines of SQL in a single file, config files thousands of lines long maintained by hand (which I showed contained hundreds of errors), etc.
Showing how "sausages are made" (an horrifying view) would be bad, maybe even suicide (once their ineptitude would be proven) for those companies.
On the other hand, the bad quality would have quaranteed that nobody used their projects (LOL). Even compiling them was a HARD task. Real example: I had just arrived on a project where the most experienced guy was unable to install on my computer the tools needed for development... I had to write code "blind": without linking & testing nor documentation. Am I surprising you when I tell you it did not go well? (And they had the nerve of blaming me for their incompetence!)
I worked for a place about 15 years ago which was trying desperately to retire its previous flagship product in favour of the new version. The new version was better written and more scalable, but the major value for them was that they had made a big mistake with the old one -
The gave away source code and allowed customers to customise the software, but they still honoured support contracts. This had turned into a huge cost, as engineers were having to go out to customer sites and spend days figuring out what the customer had done.
You can't effectively support what you can't see, so you can only really support OR allow modifications.
Write it into your support contracts. Maybe offer smarter customers to review and sign off on their modifications in exchange for a reasonable fee.
These problems can be solved.
So you can have your proprietary cake and eat it too, you can sell "NO WARRANTY, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED" commercial licenses at fixed prices, but at the same time, earn much more profitable support and customization contracts from select customers.
As for the people still opting to customize their own "NO WARRANTY" installation, of course they won't get and don't expect any support for their customization until they also buy a services license.
This was a big, complex piece of software, a bank-level payment switch. It's possible that they couldn't run at all in their environment without the customisations applied.
> These problems can be solved.
I agree, if the contracts are well written and sensible :)
* Hiri went to Reddit. I would think that the r/linux community is a very tiny subset of users. Young and bored, who just want to be part of something? Criticizing the mainstream like Microsoft, Ubuntu, GNOME. Like goths and punks from before? That was the impression it gave me when I visited it a few months ago. Doesn't seem to be very representative of the average desktop Linux user.
* IRC is likely too technical. Finding sysadmins and developers there should be no problem, but they're likely not your average user.
* Since Linux is such a small section of the market, it probably won't be of any use to try other social media websites. You can find Windows and iOS users in any community, but not Linux users.
Unless there is no such thing as an average Linux desktop user. Maybe there is no mom & pop, without geeky interests, careers outside of tech, who have Ubuntu on their laptop. Maybe it's all sysadmins, developers, nerds, and youngsters. In which case I don't think there will be a lot of reason to sell anything there other than games and tools like Sublime, although the games might be better on Windows and iOS.
It seems weird that this guy will try to promote his product to the Linux community and chooses to do it by insulting its user base.
While not all Linux users have a problem with using proprietary source (and those would be their natural clients), most got attracted to the platform for the advantages of its open and freely usable code. IMHO it would do him good to understand and respect the reasons why his potential users value free-libre-open source software, and learn to communicate without disparaging them.
But the real harm here is the loss of software freedom for users of that program, not the cost of the program or some bad PR from its developer. That's what users rightly objected to and that's what is the incompatibility between free software and proprietary software. Unfortunately this also serves as another example of how someone talking about "open source" (Canonical in this case) pushes for a loss of software freedom--the freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify published computer software built around an examination of how people treat each other ethically with regard to their computers.
Please don't act like you are a representative sample of all linux users. FOSS centric guys are vocal but distributions like Ubuntu became very popular in part because they included and automatically installed proprietary wifi and GPU drivers right from their installer CD.
That you feel insulted reading someone talk about "fundamentalist FOSS" doesn't mean every linux user feels insulted reading the sentence.
So, it is OK to insult FOSS centric guys because they'll never be his clients?
The FOSS fundamentalists, on the other hand, seem to seek the mantle of victimhood so that they can gleefully unleash their vitriol.
Thankfully, the former outnumber the latter 10-1.
Personally, I am a fan of FLOSS. What's not to like? But sometimes private companies compelled to compete in a free market produce better software. Seems to be especially true of consumer facing software. Think Gimp vs. Photoshop or Sketch.
Also, I don't think this is true anymore: "most got attracted to the platform for the advantages of its open and freely usable code". It used to be true, but I think Linux has wider appeal now. And I think that's a good thing.
RMS is as fundamental as they come and even he has no objection to selling software.
People are taking insult from what you say because you misrepresent their position.
We looked into open source models and couldn't find one that made financial sense for us.
Google contributes to FOSS super strategically and absolutely no "magic sauce" is FOSS.
And most importantly, a guarantee that any paid investment to improve the code will be available in the future, no matter what happens to the original provider company. If you pay for closed source instead, the company going bankrupt may convert those investments into sunk cost.
You don't seem to understand that, by being closed source, your product lacks all those desirable properties. Having a strong desire for those benefits which disqualifies any product not complying with them, seems perfectly rational, it's just that they have a different balance of values and benefits from yours, which apparently only value the provided features.
I do understand that by being closed source, our software lacks the desirable properties you have mentioned. But we have not been able to find an open source model that makes financial sense for our company.
Reddit is well known for not attracting the best communities and the most reasonable people.
I think this would be insulting to persons who self-identify as Fundamentalist Christians .
Besides, the insult was not merely in that term, but also considering a "problem" (for him, maybe!) that some Linux users may want to keep their systems pure in terms of no-proprietary software (thus maintaining the Four Freedoms for their whole system), and complaining that popular venues in the community won't advertise his product for being closed-source, which is entirely their prerogative.
You may have misunderstood my point. Based on the assumption that the OP wants to avoid unintended insults, I was pointing out the issues one could associate with using "fundamentalist" as a term of derision.
I'm not trying to play PC-police. I was just raising the point in case the OP would want to know.
There are many English words that basically indicate membership in a particular group. Using those words as a term of derision is a slight against the target of those words and the original group.
E.g., "vandal", "gyp", or "hysterical". Or to whit, treating "fundamentalist" as synonymous with blind dogmatism.
I have no idea. I'm not sure if most persons' definition of "politically correct" is sufficiently nuanced to cover this application.
I did the same thing about six years ago and it was $75 then. Since then its only gone up $5. For me, this is really impressive. As adobe continues to increase the cost of their software seemingly daily, it's nice to see a company invest in their product while still maintaining a very, very affordable product.
I agree on the paid side as well. I just recently went "full Linux" and have no qualms about buying quality software that makes my job as a developer easier.
Things like: lightroom, sketch, omnigraffle,
Your email client looks very well done! Doesn't apply to me, but if I had to use outlook/office 365 I would probably snap it up.
Our office is so locked imto win7 that the ongoing upgrade to win10 is killing things. People are migrating to the few win7 machines to complete essential tasks that now seem impossible on win10. Win7 laptops are being hidden from the IT guys in padlocked security cabinets to prevent the upgrade. We are doomed.
Essentially every image here https://www.instagram.com/charliehagedorn/ has been processed in Darktable and GIMP.
So let me share a different point of view.
I find it extremely, extremely difficult.
As far as I know, if you need a solution for in memory SQL as cache layer or also as main persistent layer it is the only available solution, on top of that it works on top of existing, widely deployed solution.
But still I haven't received a single request for support or I have been able to make a single sale.
Of course, I believe is mostly my fault, because similar businesses models (sidekiq) seems to work but, if you ask me, it is definitely not worthed to enter this market.
I will try to focus more on marketing for the following months but if it doesn't work neither I am just going to remove the open source part and use it as an internal advantage for my consulting business. I found it just too convenient respect to Pg or MySQL or Mongo.
I really believe it is a pity, but I believe that if this product, by the end of the year, doesn't work I will just stop developing product for software developers. It is just not worthed.
1/ Your website gives a 'open source hobby app' vibe over 'professional, dependable software business'. Selling support contracts in particular requires some expectation that there's a solid business standing behind it that won't just be gone tomorrow.
2/ The 'redirect to an external store to download / purchase' will probably be making any sales funnel leak like a sieve. There's a complete discontinuity between the design of the two sites, and along with trusting you with their information / card details, they now have to trust a random third party.
3/ For a ~€1000 piece of software, I'd expect at least some period of eg. email support, rather than just supporting through Github issues.
4/ I'd remove the option of having the open source edition available through sign-up and just link clearly to the latest release. If you're struggling to even get any interest on the commercial side, getting it out in front of as many people as possible would be my priority. A clear and unambiguous 'Get started' section that doesn't worry about open vs. Pro is probably a good idea too. Worry about converting those to paid users later.
A major restructuring of the main pages is necessary, I agree.
I definitely need to re-word most part of the website, because selling support should just be a small part of the closed source version that adds the replication feature.
I would re-think again about selling it in a different platform, but setting up a shop is not as easy as it is to just use plasso, maybe I can work better on the platform to make the two more similar.
I am definitely more than keen to provide email support, but also skype or any other meaning of support, I should definitely make it more apparent.
The idea to require a signup is to start building some sort of mail list, as I said I didn't focus on the marketing side so much...
Thank you a lot!
Your feedback was really really helpful!
However, very few people expect their cache system to support SQL. So the main problem is that there is little or no demand for this type of software.
Anyways best of Luck! Hope you succeed.
the reality is that medium-sized web applications do not need full-fledged databases like Postgres or MySQL and could get along for basically all their needs with something as lightweight as like RediSQL itself without the need of being able to manage a real database.
What is really difficult is to let people know about this opportunity and let them see the advantages.
Yes, FOSS and Linux are "a more natural" match than proprietary and Linux, but the truth is: You can't get everything you might want/need for free at an acceptable quality .
Working for a company which sells niche-software for both Windows (most customers) and Linux (some big $$$ customers), I am happy to see more mainstream developers doing the same. If you're a making consumer software: Please try to follow suit!
Internally, we develop on and for Linux, but our code is cross platform enough (thanks Qt) to easily build on Linux and Windows. The biggest issue for me is remembering which C++ constructs work with GCC/clang but not with the MS compiler (which improved a lot in the last years - and which our CI usually notifies me about).
To distribute to Ubuntu users it's good though, due to being well integrated.
I totally understand the frustration of developers wanting to release on Linux and balking at the faff of adding your app to ~n package managers, but AppImage seems to be the wrong solution to that problem.
Snaps are quite nice though, from my experience so far. I've found the documentation a bit lacking, though it is improving.
EDIT: I got confused thinking FlatPak == AppImage, so you can ignore most of the above! I'm gonna check out the FlatPak system, looks interesting.
Dont go to reddit for market research. You will only find extreem views on reddit. They are the younger crowd. Try the ubuntu or mint forums if you want to talk to average linux users.
I myself would pay for such an email client because no good foss one exists atm. But i find it very odd that such basic software isnt yet free. I dont like the idea of having my email handled by propietary software.
Fair point, although I'll point out that you're commenting on a story about a client specifically designed for Microsoft Exchange.
Has Linux on the desktop really fallen so far in the last years? When did the decay really set in?
How does open source friendly Microsoft
not see Linux email clients support falling behind at least as a problem in MS documenting its APIs, if not an opportunity to participate in the major open source clients and influence and attract developers?
Even if the exchange protocol was open, I wouldn't implement support for a specific vendor knowing there are protocols which are more commonly used.
Microsoft could instead start by improving their implementation of IMAP in exchange, which is one of the most horrid and buggy implementations of IMAP I've ever seen. This is also true for their IMAP endpoint at office365.com.
But it's clear where they stand: outlook is the ultimate corporate lock-in, and it's not due to email by itself.
IMAP and the raw message/rfc822 format is already a quite complex format to handle. Most open-source software starts by building their logic around these formats.
Exchange is a completely different model, everything from how you communicate with the server, how you store the bits on disk or in memory, or even the logical structure of messages. On top of this, it adds several features that don't really have a parallel in the standard RFCs. For most people working on email clients, it is far easier to tell users "enable IMAP on your Exchange server" than to actually implement the full top-to-bottom stack you need to get things working. Even then, given the likelihood of bugs and missing features, it's hard to justify making the switch from Exchange to $ALTERNATIVE, and if you didn't need those missing features, well go back to enabling IMAP and use that instead.
The APIs that MS uses for Exchange are largely public at this point. Even the mapping between MAPI messages and message/rfc822 that Outlook does is released in one of the documents.
It's currently a toss-up whether it's even worth trying to use Outlook on Windows desktops, as much of a buggy, hogging, piece of garbage it is.
I suspect it doesn't bother them hugely that desktop client support is falling behind on any platform.
edited to add: Oddly I can't find much marketing by Microsoft of the browser Outlook, otherwise I'd link it here, but I'd say it's about 85-90% feature complete compared with the desktop client.