Great software is worth paying for
March 26, 2013
The open source software development model has been a revolution, a sweeping tide of change and innovation that has lifted and invigorated this industry while seeming that it ought to be antagonistic to it. It is private industry for the most part that provides programmers with salaries, and giving things away for free is almost certainly going to take revenue away from some, right?
Strangely, wonderfully, the opposite is true; the technology industry is booming, populated by a veritable Cambrian explosion of entrepreneurs, innovators, makers and dreamers who are enabled by free and open-source software. Even those of us who work primarily within private industry, contributing few or none of our work products back to the community still benefit enormously from the vibrant, competitive, changing ecosystem that surrounds us.
Still, when you embrace open-source software and start using it on a daily basis, it's perfectly obvious that a great deal of it lacks a certain something. Call it usability, or perhaps the correct word is beauty. Grace? Elegance? Polish? It's hard to pin down exactly what it is, but something is missing oftentimes. Look at the software that comes with your very-much-not free Macintosh, and it you'll see a stark contrast with the competing packages that are available for Linux.
Yorba, however, is producing great, beautiful software. Usable and elegant software that you might gladly pay for. But it is free. To you. It is not free for Yorba, which must pay salaries and rent and utility bills. Right now, they are running an Indiegogo campaign to fund development of Geary, a new desktop email client that seems to be destined to define its genre. It is something that everybody who uses open-source software should support because it represents the next wave of happy, progressive disruption within the on-going OSS revolution.
Great software is worth paying for. Do the right thing and chip in.