Please be clear: How often will I have to pay?

WVQ's Avatar

WVQ

26 Sep, 2018 11:28 AM

The (already changed) wording in your FAQ is still vague about this:

A release of a new major version of GPG Mail will most likely coincide with a new major macOS release, but certainly not more often than that.

This basically just limits major new versions of GPGMail to once a year at most (because major macOS releases are once a year). But you're not saying at all if you're planning to release a new major version of GPGMail with every major macOS release. You're just talking about "a release of GPGMail coinciding with a release of macOS" – that could mean every year, but it could also mean once in 10 years. After all, GPGMail 2 lasted for many years (more than half a decade, I think).

As I understand it, the major revision of GPGMail to version 3 was simply necessary because Sierra and High Sierra broke so many things for the plugin. When such a thing happens, I am absolutely glad to pay you 24 € once so you can properly develop and maintain this new version. And if Apple breaks stuff again with, say, macOS 10.18, I'll be happy to pay you again. I get that development and support cost you money. But 24 € per year is simply too much for me – I'm not a heavy user, and if I paid 24 € for every bit of software that I use now and then, I'd be paying hundreds of €/$ every month. (If 24 € a year is what you think you need from me to maintain the project, so be it, but if so, please tell me that. The current FAQ wording is just "Could be this, could be that".)

So, in a nutshell, will GPGMail be on a yearly major release cycle now (like macOS itself), or will it not?

(Also, please, only answers from developers here, no speculation from users. Though I'm sure I'm not the only one for whom an answer to this question is crucial before thinking about paying.)

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Steve on 26 Sep, 2018 02:40 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hi WVQ,

    thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings.

    All the open questions should now be answered on the following pages:

    In order to make it abundantly clear for users who haven't updated to 2018.4 yet, we have added a red banner on top of our release notes:
    release_notes_2.png 
For reference the [original release notes].(https://entp-tender-production.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/e2eb257eb489...)

    To sum up the most important points about GPG Mail 3 and the Support Plan:

    • GPG Mail trial will work for 30 days with no restrictions
    • After 30 days you will still be able to read all of your encrypted emails - GPG Mail will no longer encrypt/sign or verify emails
    • Once you have purchased the GPG Mail Support Plan, you will receive updates of GPG Mail 3 until the next major version is released which can but doesn't have to coincide with the next major macOS release but not more often than that. Special prices will be available for upgrades

    We would really like to see you stay, but want to assure you that even if you don't like our offering there are many alternatives available. The encryption technology which is used in GPG Suite is not a proprietary one, so you are not reliant on our tools to decrypt your existing emails. There is no lock-in. In additon all of our source code is available publicly.

    Best,
    steve

  2. 2 Posted by WVQ on 26 Sep, 2018 03:55 PM

    WVQ's Avatar

    Steve, I appreciate all the links and info, but I don't think you have answered my question (nor has any of the material you linked to). I simply want to know if I must expect to pay for GPG Mail more or less every year. "Can but doesn't have to coincide with the next major macOS release" does not make that clearer—this could still mean next year, or 10 years from now. I am sure that you, as the developers and vendors (!) of this product, have a much clearer plan than that. What I'm asking—and what every other potential buyer of your product deserves—is that you be transparent with that plan and not hide behind "can but doesn't have to". If you expect to release a major revision of GPG Mail with more or less every major macOS release from now on, please just say so.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Steve on 26 Sep, 2018 04:19 PM

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    By defining it this broadly we wanted to keep our option open to include a second major version for example, if only few adjustements need to be made, or not many new features are released in a year. So it will be at most every year and prices for owners of the previous version will differ.

    Best,
    steve

  4. 4 Posted by WVQ on 26 Sep, 2018 04:46 PM

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    What do you mean by "include a second major version"? Of macOS?

    And how will prices for existing owners differ? Depending on how much, that could make a huge difference or no difference at all...

  5. 5 Posted by Scott on 26 Sep, 2018 05:36 PM

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    I have to agree with WVQ that this answer is too nebulous. Even it you cannot commit, a general roadmap is needed. I too would hesitate to be purchasing an annual subscription at that rate, but more than happy to pay for your excellent software.

    So, is this an annual subscription, or what is it? In other words, please directly answer WVQ's question as best as you can.

    Thanks, SH

  6. 6 Posted by George Yai on 27 Sep, 2018 04:49 AM

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    It's unfortunate that even after the huge uproar that their abrupt change to a paid model has caused, this team continues to upset their market. They don't seem to be very knowledegable on the business side.

  7. 7 Posted by Scott on 27 Sep, 2018 01:28 PM

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    GPG Suite - please - give this a LOT more though in terms of your business and marketing. George is right on target with a problem that only you can fix. And should do so very soon.

    A subscription model is OK by me, BUT only if it's fairly priced with a long term vision in place by you. Too much, I'm done. You don't want to lose your many, many occasional users who can live without your product, but want to be current with their software uses.

    I'd pay $15 annually to subscribe. Won't that give you a good working revenue stream?

    Best,
    SH

  8. 8 Posted by Jerald on 28 Sep, 2018 02:21 AM

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    uninstalling. You guys have become thieves, and I hope the FSF comes after you for GPL violations. You should be required to no longer use GPG.

    Later.

  9. 9 Posted by George Yai on 28 Sep, 2018 08:09 AM

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    Anybody has the right to charge for OpenSource software!
    However, they must make it very clear that users can compile their own version and then, provide the users with their source code.
    The issue here is that, until faced with massive outrage by the community, they chose not to publish their updated code, instead saying that it would be available sometime "in coming weeks". Furthermore, because their latest code is buggy, they suggest to downgrade to the previous version. However, they've not published that code on their site.
    In any case, their source code includes lines which effectively effectively "kills" the functionality of GPGMail unless a user complies with their new demands for payment. I've no idea if this is in compliance with FSF but suspect that they're treading on very thin ice.

  10. 10 Posted by WVQ on 28 Sep, 2018 09:44 AM

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    Notwithstanding the latest off-topic contributions in this thread, I would still appreciate an answer to my questions in post #4 concerning Steve's previous answer. I'll reformulate them here:

    1) Do I understand correctly that any major GPG Mail revision in the future might still last for more than one major macOS release? That is, if a macOS relase doesn't break essential stuff and there are no other important features coming up in GPG Mail, you will release only a minor new version that existing customers will not have to pay for again?

    This is a very important question for potential customers because it tells us whether you plan to monetize as per your actual needs rather than on a fixed schedule.

    2) What is the planned discount for existing owners on future major versions of GPG Mail? I'm sure you already have a ballpark number in mind; please tell us that. Depending on what it is, the yearly cost might turn out low enough that even casual users (like me) could justifiy the expense. Or not. But we need to know where we're headed.

  11. 11 Posted by WVQ on 28 Sep, 2018 01:41 PM

    WVQ's Avatar

    So, I received a slightly revised answer from Steve in a private thread. I quote (my emphasis):

    Once you have purchased the GPG Mail Support Plan, it is valid for GPG Mail 3. Depending on the necessary changes, next years macOS release might see GPG Mail 4 or might see GPG Mail 3 going on. We wanted to keep the option open to support more than one new OS in one major version of GPG Mail. Special prices will be available for upgrades

    So that seems to answer at least question 1) above.

    Meanwhile, the answer concerning what that "special price for upgrades" will be appears to be "we can't (or won't) tell you". Which is very unfortunate, because for the customer that means the expected price for continued use of GPG Mail will likely be close to 24 € per year. GPG Mail 3 might cover a longer timeframe, or the next version might be substantially discounted, but both of those also might not be the case, so 24 € a year is what we'll have to assume. (Not even considering possible price increases in the future.)

    I'm sorry to say this won't cut it for me. I'd have loved to continue to support this project, but at that amount of expenses, I simply cannot justify it.

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by Luke Le on 16 Oct, 2018 12:08 PM

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    @WVQ: Since we have never sold software and supporting services before, we are still learning, so please bear with us. I believe the discount for existing users will probably be within 30-50% (as it is relatively common with other software, if I'm not mistaken), but this is not something we have already decided. As we are currently seeing in 10.14.1 beta 3 Apple has decided to introduce a bigger change to macOS Mail which currently breaks GPG Mail due to methods that have been removed which have been in use by GPG Mail. This is very unusual to happen in a minor release, but it can and we have no influence what so ever. That's also why we just don't know yet what will happen with the next major release of macOS.

    In regards to the source code, all of our source code is available on Github, for all versions. We might perform a restructuring in the future and clean up, but that might still take some time. The source code for each release can be found at https://releases.gpgtools.org/GPG_Suite-201X.X.txz (replace the Xs with the version you are looking for) and for the corresponding PGP signature append .sig

    As we have stated before in various threads, it is ok to remove the payment code from your own compiled version. The GPL license absolutely allows you do that and quite some people have already done that. We personally are not aware of any GPL violation.

  13. 13 Posted by Martin Hermosil... on 23 Oct, 2018 02:22 PM

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    This is the new common on software, they have grown their user base, under the Trial period, now they want to slash us with unclear price scheme, the only thing you can deduct from that behavior is the will to get more and more money, they may have done very good numbers. let' say if they have 10 Million users and 1 % stay paying... for a software that at some point was useless for a long time until they made the proper fixes on mac os.

    I am uninstalling too

  14. 14 Posted by Martin Hermosil... on 23 Oct, 2018 02:25 PM

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    If you see on the about tab it is clear that they user base should be really big on GPG Mail is the only trial par.

  15. 15 Posted by Martin Hermosil... on 23 Oct, 2018 02:28 PM

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    Darn they do not provide uninstall directly on the settings. you have to download a uninstaller separated and they offer remove only the gpg mail, (The most used thing) or uninstall everything...

  16. Support Staff 16 Posted by Steve on 24 Oct, 2018 11:19 AM

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    This KB-article explains how to uninstall GPGTools or GPG Mail only.

  17. 17 Posted by ks on 26 Oct, 2018 11:19 AM

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    Thanks, I have deinstalled GPG... I don't think that I like the path that they want to go...

  18. Support Staff 18 Posted by Steve on 26 Oct, 2018 11:29 AM

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    Sorry to see you go, but we can understand if you do not like our offering.

    We'll close this discussion. For remaining questions please don't hesitate to file new discussions any time and we will do our best to help you out.

  19. Steve closed this discussion on 26 Oct, 2018 11:29 AM.

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