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Wagnis - Developer tool (Registration, paid app support)

asked 2017-11-30 20:29:49 +0200

tortoisedoc gravatar image

updated 2017-11-30 22:29:18 +0200

It appears there's a tool for sfos developers mentioned here :

which allows for licensing / tracking features. I personally welcome this initiative! It's definitely a good start. Is the server side code open sourced?

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answered 2017-11-30 22:27:34 +0200

Thanks for bringing this up. :) As mentioned on the page, it's still in prototype status. I actually invested quite a bit on the client side of the code, but the server side is still not that much more than a proof-of-concept. Additionally, quite a large part of it is only there because of the survey which won't be part of the final "product".

If I realize that project (survey results and legal stuff still pending), there will be a dedicated GitHub project including the client side library, the server side code and a small contribution management app. Moreover, I haven't made up my mind if I want to force software to be open source by making the library GPL or if I'll be a little more flexible and make it LGPL. Because of these reasons, the server side code it not yet open source, also the contribution management app is not yet existing. But if I really do it, everything will be open source like all my other projects.

So far the survey results are a bit mixed - more or less as expected. About a quarter of the user base doesn't want to pay anything, another 20% maximum 2 Euro. That's really disappointing. On the other side, there is quite a number of people who _say_ that they want to pay more - so a reasonable amount of money for such an app. That makes me rather optimistic. However, as always you need to take such results with a grain of salt. I will wait for about 2 weeks until I make a final decision. Until then, I most certainly also have the confirmation of my company if I'm allowed to start that (anti-competition rules, you know...). Moreover, 85% of the user base seems to be located in the EU - which is really good as that is realistically the only market I would legally make it to enter initially.

That's it for now. Curious about other opinions here...

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Out of curiosity, what is the legal stuff?

tortoisedoc ( 2017-12-01 07:21:26 +0200 )edit

One issue I can see with this tool, is that the data is scattered between harbour (application metadata) and an eventual second interface / API.

tortoisedoc ( 2017-12-01 07:25:07 +0200 )edit

@tortoisedoc The most critical legal stuff is that I need a formal approval from my company that I'm allowed to start a part-time business. On the one hand, my company is interested that I don't compete with it in areas where it sells software/services. On the other hand, Germany is famous for its worker-protection laws. As a company you need to ensure that your employees don't work more than 48 hours a week (including any other jobs) and that you get enough rest. As there is no chance that I can earn enough money with SFOS if I did it full time, I still need my normal job (and by the way I really like it) to pay my bills and save some money for the future. So that's the way I need to go for now. In addition to that I need to register for a business officially and get an ID which I can use to do business within the EU after I got the approval.

Ygriega ( 2017-12-01 14:48:23 +0200 )edit

@Ygriega honestly the survey in piepmatz was so surprising and intrusive to me that my reply was rather negative. In general I do support payed apps and I like the business moodel of 'commercial' open source SW. I'd willing to pay something like 10€ or even donate 20€. The way how I was confronted after the last update I was very close to ask you to f... off. Sorry, no offense, I appreciate Piepmatz a lot. It was just the wrong way of communication to me.

jollajo ( 2017-12-01 21:20:41 +0200 )edit

@jollajo Could you please explain why you found it intrusive? What would have been a better way of communication in your opinion? I guess there is no solution out there which is so transparent about the data which is sent and what's the purpose of it...

But if you think it's generally intrusive if an app developer or service provider wants to know some very rough statistics about their users then please stop using it. Same with Piepmatz: You could have closed the app at the initial page and either use an alternative or go back to the previous version. Nobody forces anybody to use 0.5... But it was obviously your choice to go through the registration and the survey, because...yes, because of what? Maybe because you want to use the app, maybe because you like it and it creates added value to you? Then please also accept that I consider asking for something in return.

Ygriega ( 2017-12-01 22:15:12 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-12-01 02:02:00 +0200

Desmo gravatar image

The behavior of a large part of the open source community is why I no longer participate in open software projects. A very large portion of the "community" hides behind the ideals of free software while in reality it is their way of shielding that they are cheap, tight fisted misers.

I can't tell you how many times in the past I have listened to some advocates of free software flap their yaps about being able to "look at source code" for security, etc and then when you ask them to open a project so we can look at the code they have no idea how to do so. It's absolutely pathetic...

I've looked into getting a store running for paid apps on SF but in the end I didn't feel like laying out my own finances to do so. Your survey has only reinforced why...

A large part don't want to pay for anything, another large percentage wants to pay the bare minimum and the other half will have a large percentage of those who don't follow through with purchasing. You also will have to deal with the idealogical nuts who will pay but will then turn around and either hand out or torrent your work and will firmly believe they are doing the right thing.

It's being caught between a rock and a hard place but if you love coding then that is what you have to accept.

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Of course, Open Source Software is a comodity. Which means the value comes from somewhere else than selling software artifacts (support like Red Hat, maintenance like Torvals).

tortoisedoc ( 2017-12-01 07:23:06 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-12-01 15:23:56 +0200

@Desmo @tortoisedoc I wouldn't formulate it so drastically, but at its core your statements are correct. Actually, I still have a bit mixed feelings about the whole topic. The devil in me says: Let these misers be misers, just develop software that you need for yourself and don't publish anything, they will see where they get their apps from. The angel says: Things can't stay as they are right now and you need to do something about it. Especially because I got quite some nice feedback for my project.

If my estimates are correct, I wouldn't lose that much money if I go with Wagnis and nobody would pay anything in this "mandatory contribution model" (of course under the condition that I won't need to engage in any lawsuits - lawsuits would be really bad). I would only have spent some working hours, some electricity and a few Euros for setting the business up on it.

Writing software is a quite complex endeavour, writing good and useful software even more and I don't see why devs shouldn't be awarded for it in cash. On the contratry: It creates value for many people and this value should be acknowledged like any other thing in life. The problem is that these devs need to stand up and fight for their interests - if their interests are that they want to be awarded that way. Just think about it: If the developers showed some solidary among their peers and stopped implementing anything when people keep on bypassing any payment/contribution/donation system the "free beer game" would be over immediately. There wouldn't be any "commodities" in IT anymore.

Moreover: Why do companies use DRM? They don't apply it because they want to punish their legit customers. They simply want to ensure that everybody who uses their software pays a reasonable price for it. If you don't want to pay the price, simply don't use it! This "it's too expensive, the price is not justified, I simply get an illegal copy" thinking is just ridiculous. Just because you are talking about intangible goods, there's no justification for violating basic laws of human societies. There is also no justification when I steal a Porsche "because I need it" but if I don't have the money to buy one.

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I agree on the fact that building software is complex; and that the devil is in the details, so building good and senseful sw is even more complex, if not impossibe. About DRM, to be frank, I do not see it the same way. DRM is a way to force people into paying; yes. But if that's all your opinion is, your faith in people is quite low. If you expect to get rich overnight by publishing some app (which might make more or less sense) DRM'ed, you won't succeed in the task, in fact you will achieve the opposite: people picking up the challenge to crack it. And then you are back in the old arm's race. It is true, however, that in the old Ovi store days the situation was not much better. Your MeeGo apps got one week head-start, after which the binary got re--packaged (happened to me at last) and redistributed by somebody else all over the forums with only credit to be left for you. So they not only stole the money (from the store), but also the downloads.

You definitely won't get rich even by DRM in a small ecosystem like SFOS. Money is (currently) elsewhere, and to be honest iOS is the first choice that comes to mind when thinking about these arguments.

Anyways, the point of Free software / Open source software is for people to be able to modify / copying software freely; which does not include "use the software for free". But of course, given the source is available and anyone could theoretically compile / redistribute it, there's no point in trying to convince people to put value in it, as there is no value in a single copy of the free software. My statement before was not so much about the users of the software (illegal or not that they might be), but rather on the service model which the software business distributing the software relies upon. Redhat is an excellent example of this. No DRM, no lock-in. plain support. And guess what? It's the top-most profitable opensource "institution". They make millions, there's your money. Go to Redhat to work ;)

tortoisedoc ( 2017-12-01 19:45:34 +0200 )edit

Honestly, I'm a little bit disappointed. You've referenced my information page about Wagnis and missed the section about becoming rich? So let me quote myself (a little weird, I know ;)):

"I'm not talking about becoming rich or anything close to that. Considering an active user base of certainly below 100,000 active users you can simply do the math how many users would need to pay for an application in order to pay back the development costs only - without any "profit". [...] In the end, the sales will only make up a nice dinner or a short vacation."

I could only add that I'm actually quite happy with my job at Germany's most valuable company and also have a pretty decent salary. You never know about the future, but for now I don't need to go to RedHat. BTW, you usually don't get rich from a normal day time job - no matter in which company.

About DRM: Well, I'm quite realistic about people in general. I also don't leave my car key outside in the dark. Usual shops also apply some security measures for a reason etc. That doesn't mean that I don't trust people, It's just that I've made some experiences. Another quote: "If you only ask for donations and such polite requests can be clicked or swiped away without any consequences, only a very small amount of people will donate."

About Free Software: There is no "service model" for the end user, that's reality. RedHat and others earn their money almost exclusively with business customers. The end user distributions are just nice marketing efforts and a playground for their business products. You're right, end users are currently mostly the product (tracking, advertising etc.), except on iOS SFOS users need to choose if they want to be customers as well or just stick to the leftovers from business/government requirements. Moreover: You have also free speech and free movement in the EU and it doesn't cost you anything. Do you also think that there's no point in trying to convince people to put value in it?

Ygriega ( 2017-12-01 23:45:21 +0200 )edit

I think there's nothing wrong in self-quoting. Not at all. Also not about free movement; or free speech; or free software; or drm, for that matter. :) In fact, I'd love for a solution like this to appear in the harbour. Thats the main reason I posted it here. And if it will ever make it into harbour, Ill be taking a look at it adn evaluate if it's the case to give it a shot and dream to get rich, just like the other 10000 developers out there.

But if all I get by argumenting on the topic is to get you upset, then lets call it a day and forget about it, for the better. :)

tortoisedoc ( 2017-12-02 00:11:05 +0200 )edit

I'm certainly not upset - we've actually had a nice discussion about the aspects of paid apps for end users. I'd hope that others join as well... Really bad that you can't see the people when you're discussing here. :(

But you're right, let's see what comes out in the end. In a few weeks we'll all know more.

Ygriega ( 2017-12-02 10:45:19 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2017-11-30 20:29:49 +0200

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Last updated: Dec 01 '17