Fri 09 Sep 2005
Pricing for DNS Enabler and WebMon
Category : Technology/pricing.txt
I've been asked what I would be charging for WebMon and DNS Enabler. I think it won't be more than $15 - when I'm sure that all the bugs have been wrung out, and that they'll be slick and smooth.
I've been wrestling with the idea of pricing for a long time. On one hand, I'm cognizant of the fact that, on the surface, I seem to be "merely" turning on or off settings for pre-existing software, and free open source software at that.
So the pricing has to reflect my acknowledgement that many other people had built the sofware that delivered those values in the first place - people like Wietse Venema for Postfix and all those Open Source contributors at the Apache, PHP, WebDav, and BIND projects, etc.
Yet, it has been really hard work building these "enablers" - supporting them and taking responsibility for fixing things whenever Apple breaks stuff with their updates.
So I think there's a level I can reasonably charge that reflects the value that I add. I need to stick my neck out and say that I am giving good value for money, and that I may have succeeded in making something that is powerful easily available, that would otherwise not be realisable.
And I do really want to give good value. I believe that the Mac had been the best computing platform, for businesses of any scale, for years. (Really, in spite of Apple's abject disinterest in the enterprise). So I want to make good stuff that are priced low enough to get a huge amount of use. Hopefully, huge enough to overturn the myth that Macs are not good enough for businesses. And for people who've been retrenched, or otherwise turned out of the large organisations, the Mac could be their best bet in plugging themselves back into the power grid. (No IT department? No problem. We're going to do even do better on our own.) I know we've got tools that can help, but they've got to be made cheap enough, and be robust enough, for the masses to use.
And yet profits are good. It's the money that is coming in for Postfix Enabler that has encouraged me to go on building DNS Enabler and WebMon. I'm hoping that these can help us support the continued development of Luca Accounting, in their turn.
Postfix Enabler version 2
Category : Technology/PFEv2.txt
Okay, I'm ready to do the next version of Postfix Enabler. This is what I'm trying to fit into it :
Mail queue management, RBL sites, SMTP authentication over SSL between mail servers, enforce SSL for SMTP authentication, alternate port numbers to contact the mail server, default mynetworks_style to "host" (i.e., allow mail to be relayed only if it originated from the server or if it has been smtp-authenticated) and let the user choose to relax that restriction to include mail from any machine on the same subnet, and support for Fetchmail.
I'm sure there could be more if I can find time to go thru all the Postfix-related mail again. But these are what I'll start with.
The Cliff Walk
Category : Commentary/CliffWalk.txt
I ought to be working. But I came across this book, The Cliff Walk (about a literature professor who's lost his job, who couldn't find another one even after a year, and how he's finding his way back as an unskilled labourer). I can't stop reading it.
I read the reviews on Amazon - "Why didn't he have a sense of urgency, why did he cast all his hopes on finding another teaching job, why didn't he let his wife work?" - I think some of the complacency in the tone of some of the reviewers would disappear if they, themselves, were out of a job for some time. Because all these are just theory. In real life, you're like a frog being slowly boiled alive, and it takes all your strength just to wake up and jump out of the way.
I remember this guy, Bruce Whitred, that I met, who feels that we ought to live our life to the full, like it's a canvas on which we create the best that we can be - if only to show thanks to our Creator for having given us our life. But what if we're out of a job? And that there is nothing more important now than having the money? Do these ideals go out the window? Or do they get strengthened because they're being put to the test?
I think I can understand why the author, Don Snyder, didn't want his wife to find a job, why it can take him so long to find his way, and much else also of what I've been reading. The family becomes the one remaining constant when all else is changing, and you need to build your life back from it.
I think this is going to be an important theme in the years ahead. Losing a job, joining the "free agent nation". How do we accept the hand that we're dealt and still find the belief to be the best that we can be?