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Who was demanding a ceiling on the compensation? By expanding into a Windows userbase(size and subset of customers willing to pay presumed to be larger than the Apple userbase), the ceiling potentially could have been of cathedral proportions. If Sparrow lacked the desire or skill to expand to Windows, nothing limited them from creating other Appleland products. They already had a great reputation which would have lowered the hurdle for the potential success of product number two.

If my paying $9 for a widget is not good enough isn't it ok to tell me things are not going as well as expected and you're looking for solutions? If you leave me in the dust and come back next week as Parentco Widget Version 2 then at the very least you'll cause me to raise my eyebrows.

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You are, when you say "hey big companies, stop waving money at these guys". However much you think you're offering to Sparrow's developers, it's presumably less than Google was offering.

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Can you point to me where I said that? My posts have been to the effect of "hey little companies, if you're open to being waved to by big companies then let me know before I buy into your company's offerings."

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Here is a clue for you. When a startup offers you its products for $9.99 or $2.99, they are open to be bought by big companies.

There. Now you don't have to ask them to disclose things anymore.

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What's the difference between $9.99 and $99.99(or feel free to shift the decimal depending upon whatever economic demesne you fall under)? Several of the leading karma members here regularly chime in about raising prices. If small company A makes the absolute best widget X for market Y with market Y x2 prices that it is well-received but the revenue did not match expectations and they end up being acquired by a large company or investor then how is this any different? I never would have guessed Fisker cars would have trouble.

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That is ridiculous. Plenty of apps have existed for decades on those prices. Small, dedicated devs are the lifeblood of OS X and iOS contrary to what those who don't use the platforms believe.

I have had no reason to expect this to be the norm in the past and I have no reason to expect it now. You don't just get to abandon your users without repercussions, as easy as that would make things for you. You can comfort yourself with whatever free market BS makes you feel better, you still screwed over the userbase that gave you prominence.

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You don't? You don't get to abandon your users? Not without repercussions? What repercussions would those be, angry anonymous message board guy? Are you never ever nerver nenver neva-neva-nen going to hire them or buy their products again?

"Free market BS". Because I think a $9.99 mail client sale doesn't make a developer your indentured servant.

I think they'll be fine.

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> You don't? You don't get to abandon your users? Not without repercussions?

No, you don't. Was there any purpose to asking that three times besides to emphasize that it should be read in the most condescending way possible?

> What repercussions would those be, angry anonymous message board guy?

My name is Ross Woodruff, I live in Toronto, Ontario. I use my shinratdr name everywhere. I don't try to be anonymous, I'm not, and I don't see what that has to do with anything.

> Are you never ever nerver nenver neva-neva-nen going to hire them or buy their products again?

Basically. You can characterize me as a stubborn child all you want (really solid argument tactic there BTW), I think abandoning users is a crappy thing to do. I also don't think I'm the only one who supported them with this opinion.

> Because I think a $9.99 mail client sale doesn't make a developer your indentured servant.

No because it has no bearing in reality. Your users don't care and aren't going to be understanding that you abandoned them. The theories you espouse are just things devs can tell themselves to make themselves feel better about doing what is, in essence, a really crappy thing to their users.

They don't change the reality. Likewise, users being mad at you doesn't equal indentured servitude. The only thing that defines indentured servitude is your ability to leave. They left. Is anyone demanding they return and continue the app? No. We're just making it known we support devs that support us.

> I think they'll be fine.

So long as they stay in the corporate world from now on. Should they switch back to a startup, plenty of users will hear "from the Sparrow team" in the future and avoid the product because they can't trust it will be available & useful for them in them when they need it.

They sold out their reputation in the iOS & OS X software world for jobs at Google. I hope that you're right and it was worth it. From what we've seen in the past, that won't be the case. Most startup types abandon those jobs within a couple years and are back to independent development right away. They might not find the user community so welcoming the second time around.

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> So long as they stay in the corporate world from now on. Should they switch back to a startup, plenty of users will hear "from the Sparrow team" in the future and avoid the product because they can't trust it will be available & useful for them in them when they need it.

> They sold out their reputation in the iOS & OS X software world for jobs at Google. I hope that you're right and it was worth it. From what we've seen in the past, that won't be the case. Most startup types abandon those jobs within a couple years and are back to independent development right away. They might not find the user community so welcoming the second time around.

Oh please. If they quit their Google jobs and come out with more software that is better than anything currently doing the same task it will sell like hot cakes. No one will care that a couple years ago the same people sold awesome software for really cheap and lots of people used it.

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> No one will care that a couple years ago the same people sold awesome software for really cheap and lots of people used it.

People remember when you screw up their workflow. Devs love to ignore that but it's true. The price, at least after the purchase is complete, is near irrelevant. I paid $10 for a Better Finder Rename and they've been around for decades. I paid $10 for HyperDock, I paid $15 for SoundStudio. $10 for Printopia. None of them have abandoned their app.

You disagree and think it's an over the top reaction. That's fine. It also makes it blindingly obvious that you're a dev first and a user second. As a user first, especially an OS X user, I only support devs that support me. Not worth getting used to a new program otherwise.

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They sold out their reputation in the iOS & OS X software world for jobs at Google

Oh no!

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> I really shouldn't drink and comment.

Indeed.

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I really shouldn't drink and comment. Sorry.

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> Plenty of apps have existed for decades on those prices.

Most of these weren't funded by VCs expecting some sort of liquidity event to get return on their investment.

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Fair enough but it's not like it was some once-in-a-lifetime buyout, it was $25 million and it was for talent not the app. Did the VCs really make that much off this sale?

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$5 million in the hand is better than $10 Mac App Store sales in the cloud, apparently

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Abandon?

You bought the app in its current state for $10. Any further development + new features is nice but not something you are entitled to.

As long as they don't delete your copy of the app everything is fine.

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> You bought the app in its current state for $10.

I bought many apps on my system for around $10-$20. Some of them have been around for decades. The cost is near irrelevant. If you altered your workflow to incorporate the app, you invested in it.

They abandoned the product, and as such abandoned their users. Devs are welcome to write out long lists of excuses as to why this is incorrect. Doesn't change how their abandoned customers feel about what they did. If anything it just makes it worse.

> new features is nice but not something you are entitled to.

Who is talking about entitlement? I don't think I deserve it innately. I just want it because other companies can provide it. If this group considers an app lifespan of over a year and a half to be "entitlement" then I won't be supporting them anymore. I'll take that money to a dev that just considers supporting their customers part of the deal instead of a fringe benefit.

I'm also not looking for free new features, I just want the app to have a future. If that involves a price increase or paid upgrades I'm on board. The $10 is negligible. The time spent unlearning that app and relearning a new one isn't.

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How about - when a company sells you something for $, they are open to be bought by a bigger company (or possibly a smaller company with debt)

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How about: everyone has a price. Sparrow obviously got their price and as a result sold out :)

Kudos to them, as much as it pains the rest of us in the interim we'll get over it. Back to thunderbird! :)

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Maybe it is to the point now where it is disingenuous for a company NOT to have a banner on every page stating if they are open to investments or acquihire? At least users would know there is an intention/desire/dream to head for greener pastures if given the chance.

It is quite alright to disclose as a small business owner that things are slow or somethings are not quite going to plan. If you've got a userbase that loves your product, it is amazing what goodwill can do to help find a solution.

You guys go realize that it is ok to dissolve a company and in the case of a software company, release or open-source the code right? If the service was popular, someone will pick up the torch and carry on with it.

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I think almost every company would have to have such a banner. Everyone has a price. Even Marco ("and they didn’t want to pay enough"). Some prices are higher than 'the market' wants to pay right now but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

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Yep. If I offered Marco $500MM with the sole condition that I could take the Instapaper source code and live stream my burning it with a blowtorch, I think we can safely say he'd take the money.

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A private company probably. If a public company were to do that, then I think the shareholders might not agree with your opinion.

But who knows, along comes Microsoft who can write off huge amounts like the $6.3 billion for aQuantive.

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Shouldn't that banner just be implied? Yes, company X is open to investments or being acquired if the right offer comes along. This should not be a surprise to anyone.

Should we require employees to wear a sign to work everyday saying that they will leave their job for a better one if the right offer comes along?

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Is the size of a diamond on a wedding ring a similar comparison?

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Can you explain what you mean? I think I have an idea, but I don't know if I'm thinking what you're thinking.

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Sure, it wasn't meant to be snarky. I think a lot of folks simply have vastly different measurements for success. Some think it is binary meaning either total success or total failure. Others define multiple levels of success. Tie money and success together and the resulting discussions can be quite inflammatory.

I've seen a few folks chime in here already that one of the reasons they work for themselves is that for them freedom is greater than money. Not everyone agrees with that but wouldn't some personal and business interactions benefit from a bit more transparency of goals or stated missions? If you want to shoot for the stars, financially speaking or regarding market coverage, then tell me. That's great and I applaud your enthusiasm. If you are happy just providing reasonable service and expect to make a reasonable return then tell me too. At least that will allow me to make a somewhat informed decision about possibly interacting with you. Don't make us guess as most people are terrible gamblers.

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Certainly people have different goals and ideas for what constitutes success. However, any company is for sale for the right offer. Conversely, any company looking to sell will turn down an offer that's bad enough. The owners may to even know what sort of offer they'll accept or reject until it's made. So, I don't know how you could add the proposed disclaimers, or how they would be useful.

I'm not sure how any of this relates to wedding rings, but I assume that's not too important anyway.

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My S Corp. is not for sale. Neither is my 501c3 which will dissolve with my passing. Can you explain to me how "any" company is for sale for the right offer?

The diamond ring is a silly simplistic example of where some people don't have a price. If my spouse has a 5 carat diamond band, does she subscribe to some idea that if a 6 carat diamond ring were offered by someone else then that must surely be a better opportunity and "sell out?"

Some individuals don't have have a price for some things in life.

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So if some company you really admire offers you a billion dollars and total freedom to do anything you want, anything at all, you'd turn it down? Why?

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My work is my life and hence my 501c3. Either I'm fulfilled that I'm able to "do what I want" or I'm just a stick in the mud. I also don't plan to retire.

We can substitute work/employment for anything that you value. Family? Religious/spiritual beliefs/non-beliefs? Are you saying you'll stand for some value/idea/principle...up to a certain price? Nothing is verboten?

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I can understand not selling out if you don't like the conditions. But if the conditions allow you to do whatever you'd have done anyway, why not?

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This might just be the quote of the decade! Yes, I know I'll get downvoted.

Not to bring my sour notes from the discussion on the just announced Sparrow team acquisition but the Acrylic blog post mentions that the products and services remain and the wording makes it appear to be a hire(not an acquisition) if that makes you feel any safer.

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Yeah, calvinlough and antr mentioned that. Not actually all that worried.

Although, I'm not a huge fan of the lack of attention that these products will be getting because of the creators being sucked into big companies.

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Well said. We're seeing a lot of "ship and dump" from startups these days. I'm to the point now where I don't recommend a startup to friends and family or use for business purposes unless their product is self-hostable(and release of source code upon an acquisition or corporate dissolution) or open-source. As you can imagine, the number of products I recommend has dwindled to almost nothing since I've been burned so much myself.

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Can you give examples of what you didn't recommend for the reasons stated?

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Unless the product or service meets the qualifications I mentioned then you can presume I'm not going to recommend it. Some companies that have been acquired have "done right" and released their product as open source afterwards. I would like to see more companies make this part of their agreement before purchase or use. While I'm comfortable with many things technical, many are not but open-sourcing a popular product will more likely than not allow those non-technical users to just pick up the use of that product with other providers.

A recent example is from Moxie's company Whispersystems and the open-sourcing of their Red Phone product. This came after their acquisition/sale by Twitter.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4256801

Does all of this greatly reduce my access to the latest and greatest? Yes it does but then often what is portrayed as the greatest by popularity is not necessarily a great product. And one further note of clarification, if this service is meant to be consumed in a disposable nature then obviously I've got no qualms about something like that as I enjoy actively participating in the world. There's a reason for pragmatism.

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If I read the grandparent correctly(and I do agree), the best destination is not Apple, Google or anyone for that matter but rather to stay in the game as an independent.

Where are the small companies that are building for sustainment? All of these product disappearances do have a long-term effect of causing users to hesitate before signing up to use your offering.

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That's exactly what I'm talking about. Especially in the case of a product that had revenue/customers, I can't see why you'd want to quit just to go get a job. Sure you'll make some money and your work may have a larger scope to impact, but why not be known as that awesome company that makes awesome things?

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To quote Krusty the Clown: "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house!"

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If my memory serves me right, a startup that builds apps to improve the experience of a pre-existing service doesn't stay for long as an awesome company that makes awesome things. It usually either plateaus out or gets gobbled up eventually.

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I disagree with this romanticism that a company should always be built for sustainment. A small company has only two ways of being successful - either disrupt and be radically different or fill in a piece of the puzzle that a bigger company has not achieved. If you look at the nature of the product the Sparrow team developed - an iOS/Mac client - it wasn't radical. So being gobbled up by an appropriate bigger company is natural course for that startup.

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So I should read this as all of the small business owners in the world should either just give up or strive to be acquired by ACME corp? I think we have a very different understanding of the word "successful."

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It's important for software like a mail client to be platform-neutral. What if Facebook bought Camera+ and only let you export photos to Facebook?

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Camera and mail apps don't need to be platform-neutral simply because the content and output of those apps are platform-neutral themselves. Mail apps push and pull apps from servers which can be accessed from other outlets/apps. As for camera apps, as long as they are saving a local copy (like Camera roll), other apps will still be able to access those photos. So yes, convenient form of sharing like direct export-from-app may be lost but the real output would still be platform-neutral.

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> Where are the small companies that are building for sustainment?

Can't build much sustainment if you have to sell your flag ship product fur $9.99.

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Regarding the use of LXC, I presume since it is a container you're still on the same version/release as the host which in this case is Ubuntu 12.04? So this is the new open-source lock in?

When is someone going to create a tiny gui-less linux distro meant for purposes like this (local and uploaded to your hosting provider) which can then run in KVM and company? And by tiny, I don't mean Debian minimal or an equivalent Fedora. I mean a default size of probably 50MB and not much more for your choice of localization/i18n. Then simple package management to install your language platform and database support.

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Trekkin posted yesterday in the discussion regarding Microsoft's SkyDrive (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4265621) and not being familiar with the project I asked him to post a ShowHN so more folks could chime in regarding the use of clientside JS cryptography.

I asked about the library/implementation used and it is BouncyCastle compiled/convertered to JS using GWT.

The common discussion/blog references I've also pointed out but for everyone else have a look at these: http://rdist.root.org/2010/11/29/final-post-on-javascript-cr... and http://www.matasano.com/articles/javascript-cryptography/ .

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Thank you! The Matasano article, as I mentioned in another comment, for some reason assumes that SSL is not used, which is not the case with aes.io.

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The article does not assume SSL isn't used. The article addresses JS cryptosystems in the presence of HTTPS/TLS from top to bottom.

But we also go out of our way to discuss JS cryptography as an alternative to HTTPS, because that is how many people use it; for instance, to do challenge-response authentication for "secure login" without needing SSL.

But that's a sideshow on this thread. The article squarely addresses exactly the application you've built, and in detail.

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OK, let's discuss the article in detail. :)

The article lists three reasons for why "JS crypto is bad" at the beginning:

- Secure delivery of Javascript to browsers is a chicken-egg problem. - Browser Javascript is hostile to cryptography. - The "view-source" transparency of Javascript is illusory.

The first issue is addressed by using SSL and controlling the page 100%. The third issue becomes a matter of trust, as many users trust closed-source vendors, so in an environment where closed-source vendors are truested (e.g. a typical accounting firm), the third issue becomes not about JS crypto but about vendor reliability.

That leaves the second issue. The article expands it as:

- The prevalence of content-controlled code. - The malleability of the Javascript runtime. - The lack of systems programming primitives needed to implement crypto. - The crushing weight of the installed base of users.

The first and second sub-issues, again, are more or less addressed by using SSL and controlling the page, I believe. One can argue that because JS is so "malleable", it is very easy to add malicious code to a page. Yes, it is easy if you have access to it (via third-party scripts/XSS), but it is _harder_ to infect a JS crypto page that is properly set up than a regular online-banking page, for example, as most online banking pages have links to third-party advertising (often over plain HTTP!). So in the world where people and companies do online banking, the "malleability" does not seem to add a lot of issues.

The third sub-issue is being addressed in HTML5 and/or, via SSL, round-trips to the server (for random seeding, for example).

The fourth issue is, again, not much different from online banking.

In summary, it seems we are using somewhat different criteria of what "secure JS crypto" means. You seem to be saying that storing data in aes.io is less secure than in a truecrypt volume. I agree 100%. But what I am saying is that for an accounting firm that does online banking on a daily basis, using aes.io as opposed to a cloud collaboration service without client-side encryption would probably be a great idea.

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The rebuttals you're making are addressed in the article you're commenting on, in detail.

The problem here is that the core value proposition of services like this one are "you can put your documents here even if you don't trust the operators".

But that, as it turns out, simply isn't true. You are exactly as reliant on the operators of aes.io as you are on the operators of Dropbox.

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You are misrepresenting the article. SSL is only a mitigating factor.

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If you're already using SSL, why do you need client-side JS in the first place? I'm not sure I understand the use case.

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Or you could just head down to the Steele Creek area or further south to the hotbed of Fort Mill. On a serious note, you haven't explored the Triangle?

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I'm from Seattle visiting Winston for the summer. I was hoping to do some networking here but I haven't been able to find anything industry related. Aside from a few graphic design firms it seems to be a bit of a ghost town. Any ideas?

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Charlotte really suffered with the financial mess as BOFA and Wachovia were the heart of the city. Winston Salem and Greensboro don't have a lot to offer. Asheville is one my favorite cities but just doesn't have a lot going on either unless you're on your own.

The Triangle really is a good place. You've got UNC@Chapel Hill, NC State and Duke all within a short(car) distance. Cisco and NetApp have a large presence out on Kit Creek in the Park in Cary. At the time I left that area I believe Cisco's campus was 12 or 13 buildings and NetApp was up to 4. IBM still has a significant footprint there. And Red Hat is headquartered there.

There is a lot of small startup stuff happening in Durham(American Tobacco District).

Here's a good resource: http://www.downtowndurhamstartups.com/content/startup+direct...

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Morrisville-Cary-Apex : Take your pick and you'll find a lot going on. On a map basically look at the intersection of Highway 55 and 54 and you're looking at the center from everything.

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I see Moxie is one of the authors on the draft. Is this an outgrowth/pivot of Convergence?

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The way I see the relationship between Convergence and TACK is that Convergence is trying to provide trust agility for when we need to trust third parties, while TACK is trying to reduce the amount that we even need to trust a third party at all.

I think the first problem gets considerably easier to solve once the latter is in place, and there's a lot we could do with Convergence-like systems that would make them more deployable if TACK is adopted.

In the short term, however, TACK stands on its own, and we hope it's a fairly uncontroversial proposal that will be easy to integrate into the ecosystem.

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Moxie Marlinspike works for Twitter now that they've acquired Whisper. TACK addresses the same problem as Convergence, but is a much more tactical and incremental feature.

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Induction does look good.

A bit uglier but if you need to support quite a few databases maybe Razor is another good alternative. I've used it for years. It is not open source though.

http://www.razorsql.com/

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Razor is actually quite impressive - I've made it the default SQL client tool for the team.

It works on Windows, OS X and Linux, connects to almost any RDBMS in existence, easily customizable and has tabbed results interface in addition to many other features.

All for $60-70. Easily worth the money, you can get a full trial for 30 days to see if it works for you.

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