How much would you pay for software?

This week HashiCorp announced that they will move Terraform from an OpenSource license to a more restrictive license. We have seen others such as Elastic do this as well. Sentry made the license change a long time ago. Mostly out of fear of AWS and the likes profiting off of their software while not contributing back in any form or simply paying them. But this is not about BSLs.

One question I often hear people ask as part of this discussion is how much an individual would be willing to pay for software they use. While I have an estimate that some people found absurdly high in a time of high quality open source software being available for free, I thought it would be a fun exercise to try to get a more realistic number, at least for myself.

I will keep the focus on software used to run our business. I better not do the same exercise for all expenses. I do not want to know how much exactly I am spending on streaming services right now, otherwise I might cancel all of them which my wife would not appreciate.

(I will be rounding the numbers, so expect them to be off by a few cents)

First the subscriptions (yearly cost):

This totals 3570€ or $3910 per year.

There are also still some applications left which do not require a subscription, but as we plan to upgrade when a new version drops we assume a one time payment every year. If we have a year without an upgrade, well, I am not complaining. The budget is still reserved for upgrades and if it is not needed the remaining money is donated to OSS projects we are using on a regular basis.

Which is around $846.

There are exactly two reasons why I am paying for software on this list. It either makes our life a lot easier or I want to support a project.

I do not have to pay for OPNsense, Proxmox or iTerm. The software would be perfectly usable to me without the extra features a paid license or donation brings. But I use these applications on a daily basis. They help running my business or getting my work done. I want them to be around in years to come and the easiest way to increase chances for this is giving them money.

What also plays into this is that I am a paying customer. I can open a support ticket and actually can expect to get an answer. I do neither have the time nor the desire to spend a weekend trying to figure out why a GPU does not properly pass through to a VM.

Looking at the list there are apps which should get way more money from me. iTerm2, Affinity, Arq and BBEdit for sure. There are also expenses I am not happy with such as Office 365 and Slack - I am still not sure about Apple One. And then there is Adobe. I cannot wait for the day to cancel this subscription - once the migration to Affinity is complete. This is the one line item that stings.

I would love to see more one time payment offers, even if they are more expensive. But as the AppStores of the world set expectations what a “fair compensation” for software is and pushed the market to a race to the bottom while also teaching people that paying each month without receiving something - such as continuous updates and improvement - is normal it seems like a lost cause.

>> posted on Aug. 26, 2023, 4:58 p.m. in business