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Comment on "Paying for Beta Software"
by Frank 'viperteq' Young — Dec 27
I'm sorry...I have to completely disagree with having people pay for 'beta' software. I also understand the term beta in regards to software as "stable, feature complete, but may contain bugs." The reason that I left the bugs part in their is because at this point in development you have no idea how each and every user will implement your software. When you initially conceputalized the software, you came up with a workflow that you thought would solve a particular problem, but that doesn't mean that people will use it exactly in the way you intended. Hence, bugs.

Your argument that "various branches off the base are still being figured out. Particularly on Mac OS X, developers start with a general set of requirements, and allow the details to evolve as necessary." doesn't really sit well with me. If you as a developer don't know how everything is supposed to work under the hood of your software then you need to sit back, chill out, figure it out and then ship. Don't make me pay for software that you, the developer, don't don't even fully understand.

The reason developers are taking this route now is because they all want to be the next Delicious Monster. Mac software developement, while still occupying a niche space, is becoming very competitive so people are looking for other ways to get their software out to the people and get paid. The problem is guys like Wil Shipley and Gus Mueller put a lot of time into their respective products to make sure they were as solid as can be before they shipped and they didn't try to make a fast buck while doing it.

If you are a developer that is intending to go solo and you don't want to take on any outside investors, then you need to do whatevery body else before you has done: Get a job, save money, learn your code and platform and then when you have enough money that you can live off of (and operate your business) for a year to a year and half, go independant. This of course requires that you sacrafice and maybe forgo a few nice things for a few months, but in the end most things that you want to do require some sort of sacrafice.

Making users pay for software that may or may not be in a shippable state yet isn't gonna help you pay off your mortgage any faster and in fact may turn people against you and your software. Just look at Disco and the fiasco that ensued from that.....
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