Business Machine

Technology, business
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And, not least, about
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Weblog Archive Cutedge

by: Bernard Teo

Creative Commons License

Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Sun 09 Nov 2003


Category : Technology/qpopper.txt

I was determined not to use qpopper. I think I did it. I went back to trying UW-IMAP which has a Panther-friendly release. It's the power of adversity, really. Now I've got POP and IMAP, instead of just POP. I'll let it run for a day or two and then I'll take out qpopper from Postfix Enabler. It's much ado about nothing really. But it's no fun having a "License Breached" headline screaming out over your product, even though that doesn't seem to be the case, here.

It's nice and quiet now. My kid's sick but I'm enjoying this book I found yesterday about life in old Shanghai. I don't think we'll get back on versiontracker. It's too quarrelsome. I've taken out the 10 bucks price that some people had trouble with. We've just made it donation-ware. Guess what? We're now getting more than ten bucks. We should have done it all along. If you're looking for Mac software, try It looks a saner place, there.

Posted at 11:51AM UTC | permalink

QPopper License Agreement

Category : Commentary/free.txt

I've been told that I may be in breach of the qpopper license agreement. I've read it.

It says, "If a party agrees to these terms and conditions, such party may copy and use Qpopper for any purpose, and distribute unmodified complete copies of Qpopper to any third party provided that such third party must agree to these terms and conditions prior to any use of Qpopper."

I haven't modified any part of the qpopper source. In the spirit of the letter, I feel that this does not preclude anyone from bundling an unmodifed binary into their product, shareware or otherwise.

If there is any breach, I think it would be in not knowing where and how to place the reqiured notices. I'll try to improve on this. But if anyone has any input, I would be willing to work on it.

In any case, I've taken Postfix Enabler off versiontracker. It's too much bother. I'm surprised that anybody would take issue with pricing it at 10 bucks. Only 0.3 % of the people who used Sendmail Enabler ever paid. That's about the kind of return Postfix Enabler is following. That's human nature. It's a fully functional working version whether you pay or not. So the overwhelming majority of people just don't pay.

But I felt that it was better to say upfront that it's shareware. You're paying for the convenience and the design and the idea, not (my goodness) Postfix or sendmail. It's better to say it's shareware, rather than free and then ask for people to send over gifts. Nothing is ever free. Somebody pays something at the end, even if it's not the direct beneficiary. But if this is so contentious, I've left it for people to decide what it's worth.

But over and above all these hot air, people have been remarkably nice and encouraging on the whole. Look, Mac users, don't keep fighting each other if you want the platform to grow. Don't look at the immediate needs. Look at the bigger picture.

Posted at 5:43AM UTC | permalink

Version Tracker

Category : Commentary/vt.txt

It's always a harrowing experience releasing stuff on Version Tracker. It's like standing for an election. Some people will love you, but you can always count on some haranguing from the crowd.

I think a lot of the people who contribute opinions miss the point. This wasn't done for them. This was done for the people who want stuff done the Mac way. The value is in the design.

Postfix Enabler arose out of Sendmail Enabler, which arose out of a tutorial I wrote outlining the steps needed to set up a fully-functioning mail server. I took the steps further and wrote a Unix shell script, and then a whole Mac-way interface because I can see why fiddling with the command line won't work for the majority of end users.

But you need to see further. Postfix Enabler is designed as a vehicle to send over even more capabilities to an average user.

For example, Apple's stock Postfix binaries don't support SMTP-AUTH. Why is SMTP-AUTH good? For one thing, it'll give the server the capability to authenticate an in-coming connection before agreeing to relay the mail out, even though the in-coming connection is outside the local network and would otherwise be blocked from relaying.

Now why do we need this when we can send mail out our PowerBooks anyway, bypassing any central server? This is because we need to see a bigger picture.

If our objective is to see more Macs used in businesses, we need to prepare for the objections. The roving SMTP solution, while fine for the Mac crowd, cuts no ice with the IT Manager mind set. If fact, it's even more proof of the madness and naivety of Mac users, calling into mind the associations with free love and flower power.

Just one word - SECURITY - to the ear of the business owner, and it will cut the Mac initiative at the knee.

XServe, I hear you say. But if you're fighting the Mac-PC war, the last thing you want is to start the fight, openly, at the server-end. The IS mindset knows that losing the server is the beginning of the end. They've used this tactic often enough to hobble the Mac and then get rid of it.

I believe running a full-fletched Internet server on a low-end, throw away machine, like the old iMacs, is the new Trojan horse. It costs next to nothing, which makes it appealing for small businesses. And you make so simple, even a business owner can hit one button and have it running. And it's a first-class server, equal to anything the IT manager can set up on a PC. Just see the PC guy set up SMTP-AUTH, or IMAP, or everything over SSL.

Actually, all these goodies are just a couple of steps of experimentation away. I think Panther has a better foundation to make all these work, as compared to Jaguar. Now how do you deliver the capability? Writing the steps, and asking people to edit config files using tools like pico - it doesn't scale.

Postfix Enabler has been constructed as a delivery vehicle, so that we can replace only the Apple binaries that we need and put them them back again when we don't. And it will orchestrate the whole series of configurations. Plus, give out visual cues about which services are on and which are not.

Actually I don't think it's worth doing this just to sell it for 10 bucks. But it'll be worth real money for us in terms of competitive advantage. I think we'll still press on.

Posted at 3:36AM UTC | permalink

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