Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:10 pm Post subject: RE: Why should I donate to NeoOffice?
Since I haven't paid the requisite donation amount, I cannot post this to the proper forum, Ranting. Please move this post and attach it to the thread with the title "Why should I donate to NeoOffice?"
I want to say up front, I'm a big fan and supporter of Open Source software. When I fix someone's PC (sadly Windows), and the PC owner does not own the software that needs to be reinstalled, I always install open source equivalents with permission. The PC owner knows I will do nothing illegal in repairing their computer. Everything, including the OS, must be legally owned/licensed by the computer owner.
I pay my shareware fees for programs I use. Always have, all the way back to 8 bit computers.
This post is in reply to the following thread, since I cannot reply in Ranting:
"Users who have donated US$100 (or €71 or £62 or CA$100 or AU$100) or more within the last year can post in any of our NeoOffice forums."
Note, the quote from the Contact page specifically says "within the last year". That means, one year and one day from a $100 donation, your ability to post expires, and another $100 donation is required to enter any further posts.
From a moral perspective, why should I pay anyone to tell them about their problems? How would that differ from taking my car to the dealer and paying the dealer for the privilege of telling the dealer what is wrong with his product? Would you support a dealer who did that?
And why should I pay $100 to ask questions of other users? If Patrick wanted to institute a system where you paid a small fee for a service request directly from him, I would have no objection. That's the way Microsoft handles things. If you want to talk to MS, you pay a fee.
Personally, I think MS and others would rather charge you for a fee, rather than charge more for the software and then write a decent set of manuals.
I know that free manual writing is probably beyond the scope of most open source software creators. But there are other alternatives, take Scribus for instance. They have a web based manual, which I wish they offered in PDF format, and there's a couple of books available for purchase. Perhaps one of those solutions might be an option for NeoOffice. Gimp does a similar thing.
I do not know if there is a similar option for Open Office or Libre Office, but I will be finding out. That's been on my To Do list for some time.
I know what the money is intended for. If it was a one time only donation, I would have absolutely no problem with a donation. But, making this an annual requirement turns the software into a subscription service, or very close, similar to many antivirus/antispyware/antispamware programs.
I have, in fact, obviously donated to the NeoOffice project, otherwise I couldn't be making this post. I donated based on the amount of use I make of the product annually.
I would think Patrick would welcome knowing all the errors users find, regardless of whether he wishes to reply personally or not.
From Daniel's post:
"If you think MS office represents better value for money to you then I sincerely suggest, without vitriol, that you should buy MS Office."
I think, just do the math. You can get 3 legal users for the home and office edition for $150 from MS, around $100 elsewhere online. Anyone, whether you buy Office or not, has access to the forums. You can actually ask questions of other users to help you decide whether you want to purchase the program. But with NeoOffice? By choice, Patrick has closed NeoOffice out of the option for users to ask questions to see if they are interested in downloading and trying NeoOffice. But for NeoOffice? You've got to spend $100 just to ask what other people's opinions are.
If you are a person who needs to watch their budget, and get help, there's no doubt that MS Office is the better buy. (I don't want to, but may end up purchasing Office in order to get Outlook. So far, I've been totally frustrated in finding an email client for the Mac that does what I want. I've found only one alternative, but when you read their forums, there's a lot of problems on OS X, Windows, and Linux. )
As for vitriol... I learned, probably 30 years ago, that the intent of what a person writes is not always how the reader interprets the writing. I absolutely did not read any of your post as being vitriolic. And in my post, I didn't call anyone names, or even worse, nothing was meant to sound vitriolic. I just pointed out that the whole system of support wasn't particularly conducive to garnering support from users who have the same objections as I do. I have to wonder how many problems have gone unreported, and possibly unfixed, because the user considered $100 to be way too much money.
From Patrick's post:
"I will add onto Daniel's explanation with the following: NeoOffice is supported solely by donations."
This I know, and mentioned above. And why I think you and the NeoOffice project would be better served if you instituted a small fee to talk to you directly, and let occasional users like me post freely in the forums so other users can offer help. That would free up your time. And definitely make me, and probably other users, happier about the money, especially in today's economy.
From Patrick's post:
"but let's be realistic: Microsoft, OpenOffice.org, and LibreOffice rarely staff their free forums with their product engineers."
I can't speak for OpenOffice or LilbreOffice, but MS has/had in their newsgroups posted they do NOT pay their engineers to post in the newsgroups, aka forums. And I've read more than one post where an MS employee has stated specifically they are not being paid to be there.
Since MS and everyone else is switching to this God-awful, time wasting, resource wasting, bandwith wasting, forum format, I've not visited MS's forum's much. And I've read a lot of posts elsewhere about how crappy MS's support system has become since switching to the forum format.
A competent newsgroup reader and computer user can run circles around a forum user any day of the week. Forums, IMO, are just a substitute for not educating users on better, more efficient way of using computers.
Since you did not take a hint from our last response that your posting in the wrong forum in order to get around the support requirements is inappropriate and rude, I will be blunt: this matter is closed and if I see any more inappropriate posts from you I will disable your forum account.
Your business ideas are not new or unique and have actually been tried and discussed ad infinitum on this forum site over the last 8 years so I am not going to respond to your business ideas.
Don't like that we don't have a free forum? Then setup and fund your own forum site.
Think we charge too much for support? Then staff your support site.
If your ideas are any good, then I am sure that you will more than recoup your investment to create and staffing your site.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You cannot download files in this forum