I am pondering an idea and I thought who better to ask than our community members!
I’ve been working on this project for over two years and we made great progress. We still have a long way to go and I want to keep the effort alive with just as much dedication if not more. I am very grateful to contributors who have opened pull requests, donated money or offered useful feedback to help improve Rockstor. It’s also great to see the quality and growth of our community. It validates our effort and boosts the project into a new phase.
But… there are bills to pay.
It takes a lot of time and money to develop Rockstor, host various things for testing, shipping releases etc… Rockstor is and will always be open source software. So we are not going to close any part of it for commercial gains. We are also strongly in opposition to revenue streams that compromise the project or community. This leaves us with fun monetizing challenges. In that spirit, I am wondering if it’s fair to charge a subscription fee for updates. Not too much, and only once per system. This is how it would work.
- There would be two streams of updates. testing and stable.
- testing updates are almost daily updates that are created whenever we merge a pull request, cutting edge stuff.
- You would be subscribed to testing stream by default. It would be free of charge and you can choose to update automatically, regularly or selectively.
- Stable stream, on the other hand, consists of less frequent(about once a month depending on testing and application of necessary extra fixes) releases that are more tested, less cutting edge and qualified by developers and contributors at large.
- To receive stable updates, there would be a one time charge of, say $20.00 USD. Your system will get lifetime access to updates.
- For users that don’t want to pay, testing stream is the way to stay updated. For every such update, you can look at the changes and decide to update or not.
- We will continue to release periodic updated ISOs and of course users can build Rockstor from the source with a few easy steps.
- We would also give free passes to users meeting some criteria. For example, contributors, donors, users who bought hardware or other services from us etc…
Long story short, would you pay a one time charge of $20.00 USD for a lifetime of Rockstor updates delivered with extra care? Would you pay more? less?
personally for me 20$ is too much right now, but i guess the free updates are more or less the updates currently used so the testing “branch” would be ok for me. When rockstor has grown to be a rock solid system 20$ is fair.
alternative: many other “vendors” of similar systems offer support (lines) for a monthly/yearly fee, but i think rockstor is just not ready for such a thing.
alternative 2: selling hardware, right now there is a small shop for parts, when rockstor is growing and getting more stable and “business ready ™” you might offer pre built appliances (with support).
You might consider two-tiered pricing if you went this way; maybe one for individuals, and a significantly higher one for (commercial) organizations?
And if you sold hardware, you could advertise as including “free premium lifetime subscription” or some such.
I love cutting edge and would stay with the testing anyhow
It makes just more fun as long as this doesn’t mean losing data, but I think this should be main focus on both branches anyhow (stable/testing)
Based on this, I do not see any benefit for me to pay 20$ if stable is the benefit, you should come up with something more “worth it” like proper app store, or data replication to a cloud service, or being mentioned as a supporter so everybody can see it … some thoughts.
Also I would do it like Bittorrent Sync Team has now decided to go, a one time fee for personal use, no restrictions on number of machines and a yearly and per seat subscription for business users.
Another option would also to run a kickstarter campaign to get some money for an open source project like this, I would back this for sure if rockstor stays that solid for the next few weeks
For me, it would be worth it.
It is the reverse of what plex is doing with their plex pass. They offered a lifetime plex pass for €80 (I think) which gives you access to the bleeding features and extra content. Of course, cutting edge for a media management and player is a different thing entirely. Crashing a storage system can be a bit of a headache, at least more so for me than crashing a media library As such I would consider a similar price for a lifetime rockstor ‘pass’ for regular stable and tested versions a fair price.
I think this model is more than fair to be honest. A lifetime of updates at $20 to maintain the software that stores all my data is a decent price. That’s less than I spend taking the family out to dinner.
I gladly paid $30 for DriveBender which I am switching to Rockstor from. I fully support a fair charge model for a quality products. I don’t feel like I’m the majority however and a lot of people like / prefer $0.00.
I would pay for a stable branch. And even more than 20 $. Maybe also 50 would be OK.
But the stable branch should be realy stable and better tested, not only a snapshot of testing.
Good point @Schrauber. The plan is to minimize the risk of regressions and prioritize test coverage and hotfix issues over others as we merge new code into the stable stream. So stable will be lagging behind testing to a degree depending the qualifying factors mentioned earlier.
Count me in for the 20$. I already thought about donating some money and having a stable branch would imho strenghten the project as not everybody is willing to deal with cutting edge releases.
Yes I would !
I have been using it as a test Samba and Plex server along side my other FreeNas & Open Media Vault servers. I see a great product arising. (Just started using it 2 weeks ago! )
Count me in, Just received a letter with my Rockstor stickers!
They Look good on my Dell CS-24. My test machine is a dual quad core 2.26gz running 16 GB of ram and 1 146g HD for OS. 4 WD RED 4TB HD on Raid 5.
So far it’s been running for 1 week without any need for reboots or down time.
Looks like a winner! Keep up the good work. Do you have a PayPal button to send a donation? Never mind I found it on the rockstor pannel.
My donation of $50.00 for great work.
A new happy user in New York!
I am glad you liked the stickers, they are pretty cool aren’t they? designed by @sheldyn. And thanks for your generous donation! and welcome to Rockstor community!
thanks! Very nice stickers, On the donation button I hit the $50.00 on that gives you a USB stick
can you make that the install USB please. Thanks…
Have you thought about monetizing rockons or services? $.99 for iscsi? $.99 for NFS? $.99 for SMB? etc…
Partner with a cloud backup provider for integrated backups? I know there are backup reseller programs.
Thanks @stupidcomputers for your ideas. Cloud backup service is in our plan. Charging for services like NFS and SMB seems like an overkill to me, but I am thinking about service models for Rock-ons.
your usb install disk is on the way! Thanks again!
FWIW, I think monetizing services is fine, which is basically what you’re proposing in this thread, and with ideas like cloud backup.
But I really dislike the idea of monetizing software itself, and that includes the rock-ons.
I would not mind the onetime $20 to support you guys and get stable updates only.
But I would really recommend you get some more hardware in the store, stuff like HDD’s in particular.
IHMO, I think its better to make support as ‘commercial’ and keep both testing/stable version are available to user. It should be much more easier to manage a single branch rather than having two. I’ve seen most opensource projects charge for support (ex: GlusterFS) . I think its okay to provide features (fancy ui/chart, connect to cloud etc) for commercial user.
And price 20usd is too low , IMO. Just my thoughts