Ext.NET Community License changes

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  1. #1

    Ext.NET Community License changes

    Hello,

    Discontinuing the "Ext.NET Community" license is being considered.

    Before officially making any changes or final decisions I would like to start a discussion and obtain feedback from the community.

    The reason is rather simple, basically for five years we've made a dual licensed version of Ext.NET available under the open-source AGPL license, but it's been very difficult to quantify if we've seen any benefit, as they're all theoretical.

    The community will "give back" is often held up as a benefit of releasing as open-source. With Ext.NET I can't say I've seen a difference between the amount of giving back between our Pro vs Community members. If you're using a framework you want to see it improve in quality, regardless of commercial vs open-source. If anything we've seen far more giving back to the community from Ext.NET Pro members than Ext.NET Community members. I think because Pro (paying) users have more vested interest in the success of the project.

    A few community members have posted samples and shared back with the community (which we are hugely appreciative of), but that sharing back has been limited. I could probably count the instances on one hand. In the vast majority of cases developers using the Ext.NET Community release have not given back or participated in the community. Some to the point of belligerence. It's been mostly a one way street, and that game is getting old.

    The community will "help debug" and "fix" defects. Maybe in theory, but in practice it hasn't happened. Your users will always report defects, whether they're developing under a commercial "source-available" or open-source license.

    Personally I wish we could release Ext.NET under a far more liberal free and open-source license, although this is impossible because of our dependencies on other libraries. I'm a huge believer in free and open-source licensing, although it would seem some projects work well under this scenario, and others do not.

    We have big plans to improve the product, release new products and grow as a company. We need the community to help fund this growth through the purchase of Ext.NET Pro licenses and Premium Support Subscriptions.

    Ext.NET Pro has always had a very liberal development license with no expiry date. There are no time-bombs, unlike pretty much all the ASP.NET Control 3rd party market, and standard issue with "30 day demo" products. With Ext.NET you can install, test and develop your project for as long as you wish. We only begin to render an "Unlicensed" message once the project is moved off the development environment.

    Please feel free to comment and ask questions and I will be honest and open with answers.

    NOTE: For Ext.NET Pro, the full source code would continue to be available in SVN to all Premium Support Subscription members.
    Last edited by geoffrey.mcgill; Jan 27, 2015 at 2:34 PM.
    Geoffrey McGill
    Founder & CEO
  2. #2
    This is an interesting post.

    I completely understand your concerns and needs.

    I can only speak from personal experience, but your point about Ext.NET pro edition not being time-bombed is very relevant to me and the company I work for: when I first came across Ext.NET (i.e. Coolite) I was able to spend spare time trying it out building more complex proof of concept apps for our company's needs. This was all spare time, so took a while. When we were satisfied that this was the framework for us, purchasing the license was a no-brainer and we have not looked back since. Not only has it paid itself off, it did so incredibly quickly, given the productivity benefits.

    I am guessing the other problem you might face with the community license is how do you police it? How do you know if someone is using it for a closed source app when they shouldn't be? That would be too costly an exercise for you as a small company I would guess? I don't know how other companies that rely on their products to make a living do it. To me supporting Ext.NET through a license purchase feels quite fair given the productivity and other benefits it offers.

    I cannot comment for truly open source developers but if you need to fund its development and continue making it better (in addition to feeding your families!) then I think this is fair enough.
  3. #3
    Hi Anup,

    Thanks for the feedback and I appreciate your comments.

    I am guessing the other problem you might face with the community license is how do you police it?
    This has actually never really been a concern. In general I've found people to be very honest. Those who are not honest wouldn't be purchasing an Ext.NET Pro license anyways.

    I've never expected free work or "free" customers either. Developers could use the product, or not use it. It's their choice, and they have the choice to "vote with their feet", and walk away. We were releasing with a FOSS license because we wanted to give back to the community, and we gave a lot.

    In another plot twist, I've come across a phenomenon where a lot decision makers don't want to use open-source. It's been drilled into their heads that it's a liability. Historically this has been especially true in the Microsoft camp. For years (decades really) Microsoft has gone to great lengths to spread FUD and propagandise against FOSS licensing.

    Yes, Hanselman is "turning the ship around", and he deserves a lot credit. He's seems to be single-handily saving ASP.NET... with the help of everyone else. If only we could get him to push the button and nuke the Ms-PL license... actually all their "open-source" licenses should be tossed. Remove them as options on CodePlex. Sorry for getting off on a major tangent there.
    Last edited by geoffrey.mcgill; May 04, 2013 at 11:24 AM.
    Geoffrey McGill
    Founder & CEO
  4. #4

    What about learners ?

    Hey McGill,

    This will effect lots of people like me, who are at learning stage, and also who do programming for fun.

    If you close the community version, than people will start using the cracked version, so I don't know if this will be a good approach.

    You may limit the download like, in order to download, first post an example or sample, or make at lest 5-10 comments.
    Download will work, only after approval of those posts.

    Rest, its all upto you, after all its your hard work, which we are enjoying for free.
  5. #5
    Hi GKG4,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    This will effect lots of people like me, who are at learning stage, and also who do programming for fun.
    Just to clarify, the Ext.NET Pro license allows for local development and testing. No 'Unlicensed' message is rendered until you move the application off a Development box and onto and server. You are free to use Ext.NET Pro for learning, testing and development and when you're ready to 'go live', a license required.
    Last edited by geoffrey.mcgill; Mar 25, 2014 at 10:22 AM.
    Geoffrey McGill
    Founder & CEO
  6. #6
    Hello Geoffrey,
    I really can't recognize, what will be your profit, if you cancel the community edition? What is your motivation for canceling it?
    What I understood from you - you give the great library, and get almost nothing from the community back.
    Let me observe this from an opposite point of view:
    1) Will you have less development effort if you suspend the community edition? I doubt it. What you will probably get - more unanswered questions in free forum section.
    More, because many of them can be solved, if you have the full sources.


    >>Personally I wish we could release Ext.NET under a far more liberal free and open-source license, although this is impossible because of our dependencies on other libraries.
    2) Which libraries do you mean? Ext.JS is a javascript library, - and Sencha must deliver it with the full sources, because it is a pure javascript, which you can't use otherways. :)
    Anyone can download the full ext.js sources.
    Will you cancel community edition completely, or give only compiled assemblies only? If last, one can use some reflector tools, which are free(ilspy, or from jetbrains).
    At the project starting point you don't have the sources. Would I probably use an open source ext.js directly,
    with some direct .net implementation, which can be found on ext.js forum for free?


    3) I think, before you buy any library, it is always a good idea to look at it's sources. If you see the sources, you can justify about it's quality, even if you have never seen and used it before.

    Yevgeniy.

    p.s. I'm a premium member, so I don't have any personal profit with a community edition.
  7. #7
    Hi Yevgeniy,

    First of all, than you very much for the feedback! I will try to answer your questions.


    Re: benefits

    Quote Originally Posted by Yevgeniy View Post
    1) Will you have less development effort if you suspend the community edition? I doubt it.
    Well, a bit less. But, really, insignificant. But, I think, the main Geoffrey's point about benefits is:

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffrey.mcgill View Post
    We have big plans to improve the product, release new products and grow as a company. We need the community to help fund this growth through the purchase of Ext.NET Pro licenses and Premium Support Subscriptions.
    Re: full sources

    Quote Originally Posted by Yevgeniy View Post
    1) What you will probably get - more unanswered questions in free forum section.
    More, because many of them can be solved, if you have the full sources.

    3) I think, before you buy any library, it is always a good idea to look at it's sources. If you see the sources, you can justify about it's quality, even if you have never seen and used it before.
    Sure, you are right. But, as Geoffrey stated the sources will be available for anyone. EDIT: I might be wrong here...

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffrey.mcgill View Post

    This will effect lots of people like me, who are at learning stage, and also who do programming for fun.
    Just to clarify, the Ext.NET Pro license allows for unlimited local development and testing. No 'Unlicensed' message is rendered until you move the application off a Development box and onto and server. You are free to use Ext.NET Pro for learning, testing and development for as long as you wish. Only after you're ready to 'go live' is a license required.
    Re: licensing

    Quote Originally Posted by Yevgeniy View Post
    >>Personally I wish we could release Ext.NET under a far more liberal free and open-source license, although this is impossible because of our dependencies on other libraries.
    2) Which libraries do you mean? Ext.JS is a javascript library, - and Sencha must deliver it with the full sources, because it is a pure javascript, which you can't use otherways. :)
    Anyone can download the full ext.js sources.
    Will you cancel community edition completely, or give only compiled assemblies only? If last, one can use some reflector tools, which are free(ilspy, or from jetbrains).
    At the project starting point you don't have the sources. Would I probably use an open source ext.js directly,
    with some direct .net implementation, which can be found on ext.js forum for free?
    I am not strong in licensing, but I think that Geoffrey meant the following. Yes, Sencha delivers ExtJS with the full sources, but it delivers it with some license, i.e. GNU GPL license v3. And we can't provide more liberal license than it.

    Hope it helps answer your questions/doubts.
    Last edited by geoffrey.mcgill; Mar 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM.
  8. #8
    To put my two pennies in....

    I don't think you can stop doing a community edition if its under GPL already best you can do is stop developing it. I totally get that you are not seeing the feedback from an open community, but that says more about the adoption of the framework than the general community.If you have a lot of enthusiastic programmers, using and promoting the framework you will see the feedback here an on places like stackoverflow.

    But from starting to learn ext.net I see that these forums are really the only place for find all the information and examples. What I am saying is you need more marketing, to build a bigger community if there was no community edition I would never have used this framework and that would have been a shame as it has made a massive difference to how my company develops.

    I ditched 5months of work in jquery and jqgrid as it was clunky and a real fight everyday to get a bit done, I now have a professional looking web based application that can be used by our client and it only took a month to redo.

    I say restrict the paid forums to paid members only so paying members are not paying for the community support, switch the community version to be one step behind the pro version, its mature enough to be useful anyway and will still let people get to know the framework.

    For developers like me the cost is a no brainier, and the support is too. Its a framework to build applications for business so were always going to pay and as long as you have that paid license with support I don't think I am ever going to have an issue with a company adopting it.

    When I am paying for support I just want to post an example problem get an answer and move on with the dev work, and this you have to pay for, it should not be free.

    When trying to get a community going its always the masses and discussion that get things going. The community will feedback you just have to get it out there more, maybe even close the community forums to get the guys to start posting a bit more to stack, get the support staff to help out a little to get things going.

    Just my thoughts...
  9. #9
    Hello, I'm new in the community.

    Recently bought the book to read Ext.NET Web Application Development on my Kindle, I did a course in dotnet (c #, data access, asp.net and WCF) in a Microsoft certified company and am studying day and night. I describe below some situations that occur in my daily life that are making me think about how it will be going forward.

    1. Working in a government sector and we are excited (we are a team of 2 people) with Ext.Net. We're just doing our applications into the sector using the Community Edition.
    2. This my friends with my team, also worked in a public sector that there was a person who was using the Ext.Net, but had to buy the license for PRO decided to sell the application to an external public sector.
    3. Parallel to this, I'm putting together a project for a business automation software that will use the Ext.Net and now we think we'll need at least 3 PRO licenses, but this here about 1 year ago.


    I imagine that these three scenarios presented, I can not use more of me here in my version of Community Service.
    I read the posts above and understand that this government sector right here is where I use Ext.Net to study, where people have feedback in real time.

    I know the concept of commercial use is extensive and I think if you spend time to develop a tool like this should remunerated, but the way things are going, I understand that the community has not had and does not have any weight to measure where you are now. I'm afraid to start developing in Ext.Net not see more information throughout the meeting today as Google.

    This is my opinion.
  10. #10

    My Thoughts

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