NeoOffice Early Access FAQ

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===Why are you charging for Early Access, then?=== ===Why are you charging for Early Access, then?===
-As mentioned above, the NeoOffice project is currenty funded entirely by "donations"; donations from users currently cover only about 30% of the costs associated with developing and distributing NeoOffice. The other 70% comes directly from the developers. Additionally, work on NeoOffice is a '''full-time job''' for a single developer (but, if there were enough funding, there is enough work for at least another full-time developer). So developers must choose between developing NeoOffice, or seeking paid employment and letting NeoOffice stagnate.+As mentioned above, the NeoOffice project is currenty funded entirely by "donations"; donations from users currently cover less than half of the costs associated with developing and distributing NeoOffice. The remaining costs are paid directly by the developers. Additionally, work on NeoOffice is a '''full-time job''' for a single developer (but, if there were enough funding, there is enough work for at least another full-time developer). So developers must choose between developing NeoOffice, or seeking paid employment and letting NeoOffice stagnate.
In short, giving away software is not a good way to put food on the table and support one's family. In short, giving away software is not a good way to put food on the table and support one's family.
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Some statistics: Some statistics:
* Developers currently put in a combined '''70-80 hours a week''' working on NeoOffice * Developers currently put in a combined '''70-80 hours a week''' working on NeoOffice
-* '''Foo''' hours a year+* 1500 to 2500 hours per year depending on donations
-* NeoOffice is currently averaging 1.8 million (!) downloads per year+* NeoOffice is currently averaging nearly 2 million downloads per year
** #/amount of donations decreasing, both overall and in relation to the # of downloads ** #/amount of donations decreasing, both overall and in relation to the # of downloads
** costs of bandwidth ** costs of bandwidth

Revision as of 20:27, 21 April 2006

Contents

* * * D R A F T * * *

This FAQ supplements the official Early Access Program information found at http://www.planamesa.com/neojava/earlyaccess.php.

What is the NeoOffice Early Access Program?

The NeoOffice Early Access Program provides individuals with access to a NeoOffice release binary in advance of the release of the same binary to the general public, in exchange for a small fee that helps offset development costs.

The current Early Access Program is for NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC. Participating in the Early Access Program will provide you with an opportunity to download NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC either up to four weeks (or up to two weeks, for a reduced fee) in advance of the general public, depending on when you join the program.

The Early Access Progam for NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC does not provide you early access to any future NeoOffice release, such as NeoOffice 2.0 Beta PowerPC or NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha Intel unless you purchase a NeoOffice 2.x Early Access Program subscrition for a higher fee.

NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC will not run on Apple's new Intel-based Macintoshes, either natively or under “Rosetta”.

Please note that you are purchasing a service (advance access), not a product; as such, there are no refunds. Moreover, while we believe NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC is stable enough for advanced users to begin testing, there are likely many bugs still lurking, and, like all GPL software, there is no warranty of any kind, including for the stability of the software or suitabiliy of the software for a particular task.

For more information about the NeoOffice Early Access Progam, please visit the Planamesa Sofware website.

Why should I participate in the NeoOffice Early Access Program?

Participants in the NeoOffice Early Access Program provide funds which support the continued development of NeoOffice, including the most-requested features of further Aquafication and a version that runs on Intel-based Macintoshes.

The NeoOffice project is funded entirely by donations (including "donations" by the developers of their own money and time), and as the popularity of NeoOffice has increased, the task of simply keeping up with existing bug reports has become a full-time job for one developer. Adding new features (such as the recent upgrade to the OpenOffice.org 2.0.x codebase, and planned support for Intel-based Macintoshes and adding additional Aqua widgets) takes an even greater amount of time.

Without financial support from users (either through standard donations or participation in the new Early Access Program), NeoOffice maintenance and development would slow to a crawl, and there is a danger that, without sufficient funds, the currently-released version of NeoOffice could be the last version of NeoOffice.

Why are you charging for NeoOffice?

We are not charging for NeoOffice; the Early Access Program provides users willing to contribute to the program an opportunity to begin using an official NeoOffice binary in advance of the public release of the same binary.

NeoOffice binaries are still freely available; at present, NeoOffice 1.2.2 PowerPC is available for download completely free-of-charge. On May 23, 2006, NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC will be available for download completely free-of-charge. The NeoOffice source code remains available completely free-of-charge, and you are welcome to build NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC yourself.

Why are you charging for Early Access, then?

As mentioned above, the NeoOffice project is currenty funded entirely by "donations"; donations from users currently cover less than half of the costs associated with developing and distributing NeoOffice. The remaining costs are paid directly by the developers. Additionally, work on NeoOffice is a full-time job for a single developer (but, if there were enough funding, there is enough work for at least another full-time developer). So developers must choose between developing NeoOffice, or seeking paid employment and letting NeoOffice stagnate.

In short, giving away software is not a good way to put food on the table and support one's family.

The NeoOffice developers work on NeoOffice because they enjoy doing so and give the software away for free because they believe in the ideals of free and open-source software. Unfortunately, we live in a world governed by money, and at some point the developers must make money to support themselves.

Some statistics:

  • Developers currently put in a combined 70-80 hours a week working on NeoOffice
  • 1500 to 2500 hours per year depending on donations
  • NeoOffice is currently averaging nearly 2 million downloads per year
    • #/amount of donations decreasing, both overall and in relation to the # of downloads
    • costs of bandwidth
      OOo developed by a small company of Sun engineers plus paid employees from Novell, RedHat, others, with the assistance of true volunteers
  • donation-to-downloads ratio
    • current donations model not keeping up with demand; what Neo needs is not more users, but more donating users (most monthly subscription donors cancel their subscription after 3-6 months)

What about the GPL?

The GNU General Public License (GPL) explicitly allows for sales of software, and for collecting fees for services like distribution of free (as in speech) software. However, we are not selling software; the Early Access Program is providing advanced access to free software. Plus, the source for NeoOffice is still publicly available and free (in both senses of the word). If you want NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC on April 25 without paying $25, you're free to build it yourself. Otherwise, the official NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC binary is available without charge on May 23.

Distribution of NeoOffice binaries obtained under the Early Access Program

Distribution of NeoOffice binaries (and all software with the NeoOffice wordmark) is governed by the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy. While the GPL covers the rights to distribute, build, and modify the source code of NeoOffice under copyright law, rights to distribute, build, and modify software branded as “NeoOffice” are restricted under trademark law (and this dichotomy is common among major free and open-source software projects; see the introduction to the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy for examples).

In short, you cannot distribute software using the “NeoOffice” name without an appropriate license from the holder of the NeoOffice® trademark (either under the license terms in the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy or a separate license you negotiate with the trademark holder). This protects the NeoOffice brand and ensures that anyone using software labeled “NeoOffice” is using software built, tested, and released by the NeoOffice project. (You are free, however, to recompile the software yourself, call it “BobOffice“ and excise all mentions of “NeoOffice” from the product, and then distribute it in any manner consistent with the GPL, unrestricted by the NeoOffice CD Distribution & Trademark Usage Policy.)

While it is currently unclear whether we can legally restrict the distribution of NeoOffice binaries obtained under the NeoOffice Early Access Program, we ask that you do not redistribute these binaries to others until after the Early Access Program for the specific binary release has ended (e.g., until May 23 for NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC).

Each person who obtains a copy of NeoOffice 2.0 Alpha PowerPC during the Early Access Program without paying for the early access represents $10-$25 of lost funding that could have otherwise been used to continue development of NeoOffice. Given the large number of people who normally download each NeoOffice release, this could potentially lead to a substantial amount of lost funds and could cause NeoOffice development to cease.

There will be a “Hall of Shame” listing organizations or IP block owners who purchase one Early Access Program membership and then widely deploy the binary obtained from the single membership.

Why not use idea x instead of the Early Access Program?

Because most of the other proposals that have been offered were unpalatable to the developers or unrealistic in terms of the funds they would generate. See the discussion in this thread on trinity for some of the ideas that were proposed and their drawbacks.

What else?

  • Other issues raised (esp. repeatedly) in this thread and this thread
  • second link back to the official EAP page
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