New Indy License Pricing

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Tue Jul 21 17:35:08 EDT 2015

Andrew Kluthe wrote:

 > Price Increase? No big deal.

Even less so when we consider that the "new" price was the price before 
last year's experiment with lower prices.  In fact, it's only $4 more 
than I used to pay for annual renewals with MetaCard back in '98, after 
paying an initial licensing fee of $995.

Some talk about this like it's tennis shoes or other commodities, "Just 
lower the price to sell more!"

The total addressable market for software developer tools is a slender 
fraction of what most consumer apps can aim for.  Look at the bell curve 
and remember that a person needs an IQ of at least 115 just to begin to 
find programming at all interesting.  Race-to-the-bottom pricing just 
doesn't work for such a highly specialized product that can only appeal 
to a relatively slender slice of the gene pool.  Everyone needs shoes, 
but few have any interest at all in programming.

 > Commercial vs Open Source Feature Parity? Could also be no big deal
 > if done with some good intentions.

So far there's been only feature parity, and the only thing Kevin 
discussed in his email is a single Widget add-on for exotic camera 
features, which takes nothing away from any of the other front- or 
back-facing camera commands we have on mobile now, or any of the webcam 
and other image input support on the desktop.

And while I can appreciate Kevin's desire to come up with supplemental 
revenue streams, I suspect he'll find that add-on components for a 
developer tool isn't exactly easy money, so I don't expect this to be a 
major trend.

 > Only Subscription licensing? No big deal, helps keep costs down for
 > us to stay bleeding edge and helps stabilize the income runrev can
 > count on.

And not at all new.  The switch to subscriptions went into effect more 
than two years ago when the Community Edition premiered.

 > But all three of these together? It's kind of obvious why people are
 > complaining/suspicious of the long term intentions here.

Given that two of those three aren't new and the third (a proprietary 
add-on) doesn't even exist yet, it's less clear to me.

Or maybe it's no more mystifying than anything else we see in any 
reasonably sizable Internet community.  As a population grows to reflect 
larger demographics, we can expect a portion of any group to disagree 
with changes within that group.  And given human nature, those who are 
satisfied with the change will be happily enjoying it rather than 
writing about it, giving disproportionate voice to a relatively small 
subset of the group.

We see this with nearly every aspect of collective human activity, from 
politics to products.

A casual observer might count dissenting posts, but if we look at 
dissenting people the number is much smaller.  And if we look at the 
audience size as a whole and compare the number of dissenting people to 
that, the proportionality becomes even clearer.

This isn't to suggest that contrary views shouldn't be discussed. 
Sometimes great ideas come from vigorous debate.

But the repetition is sometimes a bit much, and in any social situation 
it's always useful to avoid presumptions of bad intentions.

 > The issue is trust. In trusting runrev to know how to walk the fine
 > line with the commercial features/licensing, not any of the issues
 > individually.
 > Not everyone is just going to take them for their word with this stuff
 > anymore.

Why not?

You noted that none of those issues is a big deal at all, so what 
exactly has changed?

When we believe we may have reasons to question someone's future 
behaviors, more informative than conjecture would be to review past 

We can imagine all sorts of stuff.  I can dream up a world in which 
Kevin graduated from the Larry Ellison School of Annoying Open Source 
Communities, laughing at us all under his top hat in between chomps on 
his cigar as he removes his monacle to say, "Ha!  I fooled you all!" 
There's no limit to the human imagination.

Or we could just look at actual observable performance.

Sure, the company has their share of missteps, and arguably some details 
of the wording of that email are among them.

But what has Kevin or anyone else there ever done to exhibit anything 
less than earnestness in delivering on their stated objectives?

Sure, they don't always get everything right. And like the other 84% of 
projects Steven McConnell reviewed from ACM literature in writing his 
books, they've discovered they're not the first company that can make 
extremely ambitious goals involving complete rewrites across seven 
platforms and do it all on their original estimated schedule.

Lots of areas to improve, in their company, and mine, and perhaps those 
of some of the others here.

But earnestness and integrity?  I've seen nothing that would make me 
question that.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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