Approaching 4 years of designing purely liberated, enterprise quality, free open-source software and I'm begining to grasp a more firm understanding of the general publics' orientation toward my projects and possibly free software as a whole. An orientation that may be verified empirically within all the correspondence I've been delighted to keep--mostly pertaining to my projects--throughout these long years. My conclusion to this orientation isn't pretty, so here goes:
Once software is declared as free (read: terms of the GNU Public license), the user does not wish to pay any amount of money, not even a nominal one-time-only only fee, for any services related to the software and it's operation (updates, generic help, feature requests, user additions, etc ...)
Thus stated, I'm faced with an interesting dilema: download.com, the main source of downloads for Windows Control (a popular project of mine), decided to begin charging for software listings--even for free software posters such as myself, thus leaving 2 viable options. I can release software updates everywhere except download.com and live with the fact that download.com users are running outdated software. Or, I can pay the download.com fee out of my own pocket so that others may use my software freely, the same software that was updated with their requested features and modifications. I know a few users of my software are switchers from proprietary, cost based solutions, so what gives? Does anyone else sense the duplicity here? All I'm asking is for small donations to cover the download.com software listing fee. Please consider this. Thank you.
A Starving College Student, Keith