BlackCyberWeek deals and free software

Because I work in the WordPress ecosystem, I am inundated with “best sales of the year” around now. And for years it has scratched at something in my brain, I’m only starting to understand it.

Basically: I pay for software because I need a developer to have an incentive to maintain it.

In WordPress a common method is to release the software under the GPL, but charging for access to updates and “support”. I rarely use “support”, and it is almost always frustrating (though I will say I was impressed when I had an obscure issue with GravityViews and admin menu permissions, and the main developer called me within a few moments of visiting the support page; that is outlier af).

So along comes BlackCyberWeek, and everyone is sending me discounts for all kinds of payments schemes and subscriptions and bundles… and I keep thinking to myself: if I pay you now, once, will you close up shop in two years? I know that’s a big deductive leap, but it appears to be how it plays out. When a “premium” piece of WordPress warez goes on sale and has a mad blowout, it tends to sink a project.

I believe it comes down to at least two points:

  1. Sustaining businesses around software is difficult, and
  2. Each new sale introduces the possible expense of “support”

I don’t know, just thinking about how this ought to be set up. Capitalism, driving us to compete to get the best results… it leaves a lot to want, as a system. Now I have to decide if a bunch of software is going to be updated in a year, whereas I just want to support folks helping me with my software needs.