axel.grude at gmail.com
Mon May 1 19:19:55 UTC 2017
> *Subject:*Donations (was: My comment on Exchange Calendar as it applies to financial
> issues of Thunderbird)
> *From:*Ben Bucksch <ben.bucksch at beonex.com>
> *Sent: *Monday, 01/05/2017 19:05:02 19:05 GMT ST +0100 [Week 18]
> R Kent James wrote on 01.05.2017 16:40:
>> Adding EWS as a "supported" protocol to core Thunderbird does not magically make
>> the resources appear to maintain it. This particular addon, Exchange Calendar, is a
>> really good example of the problems. The work required is substantial, a
>> free-as-in-beer developer can enjoy working on it for awhile, but then there is the
>> inevitable burnout followed by periods of poor support, which we seem to be in the
>> third phase of now. Personally, I believe that something mission-critical like
>> Thunderbird (and critical addons such as this one) deserve better than that if
>> people are going to rely on them to get real work done.
>> But this gets at the core of what people mean by "open source" and "free software".
>> There is always that hope that there are lots of potentially motivated volunteers
>> that could be attracted, if somehow we just do things better.
>> Personally I don't believe in that, but I am in a minority - and I get plenty of
>> flak for charging for ExQuilla. (Note I am the ExQuilla author as well as a member
>> of the Thunderbird Council). The solution that I think makes sense is something
>> like a non-profit user coop, where there would be enough benefits to the users to
>> pay for membership, the code could continue open source, but somebody would be paid
>> to keep the lights on. We're collecting substantial donations now, and that is
>> helping alot, but not enough to imagine that EWS could be added to core Calendar
>> and supported.
> Hey Kent,
> I agree that people who critically rely on a piece of software should also be
> willing to pay a reasonable amount for it. Free Software doesn't mean the work is
> done all by itself.
> How about simply offering recurring donations on the donations page, and explaining
> to users why we need that? It's not obvious to them why the software needs
> maintenance just to keep the lights on. Once we explain it in a way that they
> understand ('we fix security bugs, we fix other bugs etc, and that takes several
> employees just to get that done'), they might be willing to make recurring donations.
I agree in principal. Let's look at the Patreon model
> They should be in the area of $30/year or so. If 1 in 1000 of our users does that,
> we have already significant progress.
I think that is too much. Postbox has recently switched to a lifetime license (but
only for version 5) for less. While I think that there are quite a few users who would
accept this sort of payment I would bet you would also find many more supporting
Thunderbird with10$ or 5$ / year. If there were different support levels like on
Patreon (and we could debate on some perks such as blog notifications, downloads of
debates, Youtube videos , workshops) it might be possible to pull of a more nuanced
variety of monetisation.
I think a monthly model with 1$, 2$ or 5$ levels might also make some sense, because
it is more dependable in regards of hiring developers and a lower risk commitment on
the part of the users.
Another possibility would be something like sales weeks (e.g. black Friday, Holiday
sales) where a cheaper "license" could be obtained.
As one of the few Addon authors who monetises I would also be open to handing out
vouchers for cheaper licenses to anyone who supports Thunderbird Core with a donation.
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