Open source "free" software question - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 02-17-2008, 04:45 PM
Veggie Regular
 
JLRodgers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,819
And that's "free as in speech, not as in free beer" type of free.



I just had some questions for the people here (with the software being "free/open source"). Questions in bold.

Would you ever donate money to a company that released the software to help support it?



Say a free software program existed, would any of the following really annoy you if these were the conditions for a HOME USER edition of the software if you wanted it?
  • Software being free ($0 price), but absolutely no support other than if there's an issue installing it (no support forum either) -- help files would exist however. So if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get no reply, but their complaint would be logged as a potential bug.
  • Software has a paid option that gave support from the company so if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get a reply or fix for it.



Same program as above, but was designed for a COMMERCIAL USER. anything of these seem to annoy you if you had these options? (assuming the people can choose which way they want to go to an extent):
  • $0 Free with no support (other than install support) unless pay for a support package (which may be one-time or yearly)
  • Similar to above, only the support option is mandatory; so the software would always cost something, but they're actually just forced to buy support.
  • $0 free software, $0 free support, but has to pay for customization for their business ---- ex: company A gets an open source software for their industry; it doesn't do exactly what they want, so they have the company that designed it to alter it to their specifications (and that would be what they're paying for, not the software/support)
  • any variant of the above





Anyway, just thought I'd ask you all



edit:

As another part, assuming the software would always be available for download (and you, of course, could make as many CD copies you wanted of it) which methods would you prefer to have the software given to you (assuming if you were a company, and knowing that anything other than download would add an additional cost):
  • USB Drive (1GB) (it'd run about $10+ to the total cost -- but you'd have the drive to use!)
  • CD (it'd run $5-10, but the disk would be set, no additional use)
  • Just a Download
JLRodgers is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 02-17-2008, 08:13 PM
Beginner
 
SyrLinus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLRodgers View Post

And that's "free as in speech, not as in free beer" type of free.



I just had some questions for the people here (with the software being "free/open source"). Questions in bold.

Would you ever donate money to a company that released the software to help support it?





Yes. I have done so for a variety of GPL/GNU'd projects including Slackware.


Quote:
Say a free software program existed, would any of the following really annoy you if these were the conditions for a HOME USER edition of the software if you wanted it?

Quote:
  • Software being free ($0 price), but absolutely no support other than if there's an issue installing it (no support forum either) -- help files would exist however. So if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get no reply, but their complaint would be logged as a potential bug.
  • Software has a paid option that gave support from the company so if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get a reply or fix for it.



Nope. Most GNU'd/GPL'd software have strong communities that provide good support for each other. Many linuxes (see RH) have this kind of option when it comes to support.




Quote:
Same program as above, but was designed for a COMMERCIAL USER. anything of these seem to annoy you if you had these options? (assuming the people can choose which way they want to go to an extent):

Quote:
  • $0 Free with no support (other than install support) unless pay for a support package (which may be one-time or yearly)
  • Similar to above, only the support option is mandatory; so the software would always cost something, but they're actually just forced to buy support.
  • $0 free software, $0 free support, but has to pay for customization for their business ---- ex: company A gets an open source software for their industry; it doesn't do exactly what they want, so they have the company that designed it to alter it to their specifications (and that would be what they're paying for, not the software/support)
  • any variant of the above

The Snort project and other projects have this kind of scenario and do well.





Quote:
Anyway, just thought I'd ask you all



edit:

As another part, assuming the software would always be available for download (and you, of course, could make as many CD copies you wanted of it) which methods would you prefer to have the software given to you (assuming if you were a company, and knowing that anything other than download would add an additional cost):
  • USB Drive (1GB) (it'd run about $10+ to the total cost -- but you'd have the drive to use!)
  • CD (it'd run $5-10, but the disk would be set, no additional use)
  • Just a Download

It would depend on the nature of the software and it's purpose. Personally, I prefer download and the option to burn CD, although I pay for CD sets from Slackware.
SyrLinus is offline  
#3 Old 02-18-2008, 11:48 PM
Veggie Regular
 
JLRodgers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,819
Thanks for replying



Since my company's making all software completely open source now (we did a hybrid thing in the past), I thought I'd get some reactions to the general plan. Basically new software's being done this way so any client can customize it (we're trying to compete with thousand+ dollar software versions -- they're in version 8-20, we're in developmental alpha stages). And we're even using an open source interface (that's free) so anyone can edit the software without having to pay out money as well.
JLRodgers is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#4 Old 02-19-2008, 10:31 AM
Veggie Regular
 
MissGarbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 443
I read your post awhile ago, didn't reply since I didn't know if I'd be very helpful.



I do not contribute to open source projects like I should. If I could measure increased productivity from using the program, or it saved me having to buy new hardware, that would make it more likely that I would send something.



Selling support seems to me the most viable approach to making money off of open source stuff. Unless your program is so cool you want to merchandise it



Good luck with your project!
MissGarbo is offline  
#5 Old 02-19-2008, 12:12 PM
Veggie Regular
 
JLRodgers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,819
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissGarbo View Post

I read your post awhile ago, didn't reply since I didn't know if I'd be very helpful.



I do not contribute to open source projects like I should. If I could measure increased productivity from using the program, or it saved me having to buy new hardware, that would make it more likely that I would send something.



Selling support seems to me the most viable approach to making money off of open source stuff. Unless your program is so cool you want to merchandise it



Good luck with your project!



Thanks



Of course I've always hated the "pay for support" thing myself. Every time I've had that situation with a company, the product mysteriously doesn't work right.... But I figure that companies would pay for support just out of habit or just to make sure there's someone "backing" the program so it could offset any "losses" by home users.
JLRodgers is offline  
#6 Old 02-20-2008, 03:56 AM
Veggie Regular
 
bigdufstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLRodgers View Post


Would you ever donate money to a company that released the software to help support it?



I would never donate to a for profit company. I would either invest in the company and expect a return on investment, or I would buy from a for profit company. So if this company allowed me to buy their product (even the free speech product) I might consider that. Or I would consider buying a service associated with the free speech product. A donation to a for profit company is just handing someone a profit.



I would donate, and have, to not for profit organizations. Especially one oriented towards free software.



Quote:

Say a free software program existed, would any of the following really annoy you if these were the conditions for a HOME USER edition of the software if you wanted it?
  • Software being free ($0 price), but absolutely no support other than if there's an issue installing it (no support forum either) -- help files would exist however. So if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get no reply, but their complaint would be logged as a potential bug.
  • Software has a paid option that gave support from the company so if someone were to ask "X doesn't work" they'd get a reply or fix for it.



I don't mind no support. I use software like that all the time, but I'm technically oriented. If a large group of people are interested in this software, expect questions to end up in other people's forums. For example fedora, debian, and ubuntu all have user forums where people talk about adobe software, which the distros themselves do not support.



Paid support is cool and legit. Depending on the problem and the software I would have to decide if this purchase is worth it to me. However, if this is truly free software, you are allowing your users to fix it themselves, and they just might.



Quote:

Same program as above, but was designed for a COMMERCIAL USER. anything of these seem to annoy you if you had these options? (assuming the people can choose which way they want to go to an extent):
  • $0 Free with no support (other than install support) unless pay for a support package (which may be one-time or yearly)
  • Similar to above, only the support option is mandatory; so the software would always cost something, but they're actually just forced to buy support.
  • $0 free software, $0 free support, but has to pay for customization for their business ---- ex: company A gets an open source software for their industry; it doesn't do exactly what they want, so they have the company that designed it to alter it to their specifications (and that would be what they're paying for, not the software/support)
  • any variant of the above



Those are all cool, and mesh well with free software. I know from a developer's point of view, my company does this stuff all the time. We want someone's software but we wish it worked only slightly different. Or we'll fix it ourselves but want support when we hit a road block.



Quote:

As another part, assuming the software would always be available for download (and you, of course, could make as many CD copies you wanted of it) which methods would you prefer to have the software given to you (assuming if you were a company, and knowing that anything other than download would add an additional cost):
  • USB Drive (1GB) (it'd run about $10+ to the total cost -- but you'd have the drive to use!)
  • CD (it'd run $5-10, but the disk would be set, no additional use)
  • Just a Download



Just a download. That way I don't have to wait a week for it to show up in the mail.
bigdufstuff is offline  
#7 Old 02-20-2008, 04:00 AM
Veggie Regular
 
bigdufstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,472
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLRodgers View Post


Of course I've always hated the "pay for support" thing myself. Every time I've had that situation with a company, the product mysteriously doesn't work right....



Haha, tell me about it. Sometime I feel that the product I received doesn't work as advertised and now that it doesn't work, I need to pay them to get it to work. It can leave a sour taste in the buyers mouth.



I think support should be a little more lax if something doesn't work as advertised, but paying for support to create something brand new with the product makes sense.
bigdufstuff is offline  
#8 Old 03-07-2008, 09:13 PM
Newbie
 
netgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5
Hello



I would really like the software to be free open source, with a free knowledge base on line and help.



I think then you could offer training for a fee (which may be utilised more when the program has become popular and widespread) as well as telephone support for a fee (some sort of maintenance deal).



Open office has free knowledge base etc.



I would give money to an open software company if I used the product a lot, particularly in my organisation. I think once the software is used by organisations you can make money from higher support such as training, books and bibles etc.



One software program I support at work is a paid calendar program but you have to pay for support every year, which our company stopped doing before I started. It does have an online help, and we did have a copy of a basic guide, this helped me get through supporting and training the product. Sometimes the online help on the computers (pc web based help) doesn't work, so this makes it very hard.



I do miss the fact they don't have an online knowledge base.



Even microsoft has an online knowledge base that people can use even if they haven't paid for maintenance anymore.



That being said, if the program works and does everything that the manual/help says you may not need support. I have yet to see this type of program. Is it fair that you have to pay for support for something that should work and doesn't - possibly due to a different software environment, software conflicts etc.



Another interesting example is Projex project management software, an add in for use with Excel to create gantt charts etc. It is very cheap, you can also get a demo version. My company bought a site license for a low price, there are online instructions and I send him email from time to time if I find some things don't work as expected, to which he writes back.



http://waa-inc.com/projex/index.htm



Downloads:



I would prefer to have option to download, but to get an official copy on a cd. It depends how many copies I have. If it is free, then just downloading is fine. If the program is very big though and it works out cheaper to have the cd sent than download all the files, then I would prefer the cd.



regards



netgirl
netgirl is offline  
#9 Old 03-08-2008, 12:29 AM
Veggie Regular
 
JLRodgers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,819
Quote:
Originally Posted by netgirl View Post

Hello



I would really like the software to be free open source, with a free knowledge base on line and help.



I think then you could offer training for a fee (which may be utilised more when the program has become popular and widespread) as well as telephone support for a fee (some sort of maintenance deal).

.....



All software that I and my company develops is designed to be "idiot proof". Meaning that if someone asks a question one of two things is most likely the reason: 1) the program doesn't have the feature; 2) they decided that the big button that says "DELAY" shouldn't be clicked - and instead write an e-mail to ask what button you press to 'DELAY' something [had it happen too.... talk about a hard e-mail to write without making them feel like an idiot].



Basically the programs make sense and function logically. So if a company-based program is created to log employee's work hours, instead of asking them to clock-in or out, it'd ask for their ID (name/etc). Nothing else required (the program would do the rest).



The only real "training" needed would be for program administrators and such but that's just because they'd have more options, and actually have to setup the program for other users.



I see what you're getting at, just for my situation and general program design, it'd only work for home editions.
JLRodgers is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off