This is the comment thread for the blog post “K-9 Mail is looking for funding”.
You might also consider making a paid version on the Play Store and Amazon App Store (could be exactly the same as the free version, only giving people the option to pay) and you could consider support contracts or licenses outside the apps stores. See Patio11’s comments about this on a different project: We don't *donate* to OSS software which we use, because we're legally not allowe... | Hacker News
Thank you for k9mail.
Few years ago I wrote an article to promote this semantic of the email address : greeting@name
The major challenge is about maintaining a good federated protocol by maintaining a good ecosystem of Internet hosting service. It also empowers users by helping them to keep control on their social relations and not be locked by big monopoly hosting services (on over 4 billion email account, Gmail manage 1.5 billions of the them).
It could interest you to promote this semantic because you could become a domain name registrar or reseller and sell a hosting service. It will give you a stable income thanks to annual renewal and so finance the development of K9 Mail.
Managing DNS records is difficult, particularly for email, thus common users shouldn’t have to do it manually on their own. While common users must own their domain name so as not to be locked in by big monopoly hosting services.
For example Gandi, a French registrar, offers good services for domain name resellers : Domain name reseller services – Gandi.net
If as reseller you purchased for 5000€ to Gandi, you get the D rates and for example the .name domain is at 8€/year including an email hosting service.
You could keep on proposing K9 Mail as a software totally unlinked to any hosting service and propose another version of K9 Mail linked to your hosting service for automatic and easy on boarding, thus helping common users to get easily their own DNS name and their own email address. Your users can easily leave your hosting services without losing their email address and continue to use the version of K9 not linked to your hosting service. It is a sane relation.
You could also broad your hosting services to other federated protocol such as XMPP and ActivityPub which would also be empowered by the semantic of conversation address greeting@name
For example when installing the app connected to your services, the user could have the choice between :
- 15€/year : get your own email address email@example.com
- 20€/year : get your own email address firstname.lastname@example.org + XMPP hosting service + a blog (linked to Fediverse using Mastodon or Plume or Writefreely or Pixelfed ?)
Yearly you would return 7€ per user so you would need only 8 000 users to reach your goal.
I understand that it’s difficult for companies to donate money to open source projects. But I don’t think offering a paid version is the right way to go. As soon as you do that you’re dealing with “customers” rather than users of an open source project. I’d rather not go there.
The hope is that enough (private) users find K-9 Mail important enough to donate money. So far it also looks like the average donation would make for a very premium price tag if it was on a paid app.
So why exactly did many of us buy Kaufen Mail Pro, the paid Version of K9 Mail back in the paar? Well in order to support Development, but that didn’t happen. Instead both versions drifted apart and never integrated ActiveSync as a modern protocol or improved the GUI.
I switched to the paid app Nine / Nine Mail out of frustration but never felt 100% comfortable as it isn’t open source.
Still I’m willing to give you and K-9 another chance, please don’t disappoint us.
A lot of the development on K-9 Mail during that time was paid for by money made from Kaiten Mail. It’s true that not all features of Kaiten have been merged into K-9 Mail. But that’s mainly because they were flawed.
Cross-financing the open source app with a paid app wasn’t a great fit. A lot of time was spent on support and doing things that didn’t benefit the open source app.
Consider multiple streams on how users can give…
- Brave browser’s BAT could be donated when surfing to this site if you register as a creator
- Paypal and Venmo are super easy for US folks
- Patreon and similar sites
- WeChat, Alipay, etc for China
- New menu in app, between About and Settings, “Donate!”, with details and links on how to give
- Annual one time pop up in the app, usually in December, and could be the Donate! new screen mentioned just above
Maybe the blog post should include an actual link to k9mail's profile - Liberapay?
some thoughts from my side. This is also what I always recommend people who write mobile apps for the Free Software projects I’m involved in.
Free Software doesn’t mean “gratis software”. Free Software developers deserve to earn money with their work the same way people who develop proprietary software do.
Therefore I always recommend people to offer their app on the Google or Apple app store for some money. 0.99€, 1,99€… Something like this. Not super expensive but a price everyone can pay easily and roughly on the same level people pay for similar proprietary apps. At the same time publish the app on F-Droid and maybe even the APK on your webpage for free. The gratis version should contain a donation button/link.
The reasoning is simple: People who want to have the convenience to install stuff from the regular app store should pay you some money the same way they pay for many other apps as well. Often this are also people who don’t know that much about Free Software and are not used to a “donation culture”. People who use F-Droid (or download the app directly at you homepage) are typically more connected to the Free Software community and might be more open for donation. So ask them for donations in return for your great app which they can use for free.
This way you get the best out of both worlds. According to the play store, K9Mail has +5Mio installations. Let’s assume only half of them would buy it for 1€, this would leave you with 2,5Mio € (minus taxes and what google gets). Still, probably a nice amount of money. Plus the donations from some of the F-Droid users.
On a education level it teaches people that Free Software doesn’t mean gratis software and that the freedom respecting, add-free and privacy respecting software they get should be worth at least as much as what they pay for way worse apps.
Therefore I would say: Don’t be afraid of asking for money and also take the easy money. Buying a app with one click is for many people way easier (and it is what they are used to) than creating a LiberaPay account and setup a regular donations. Some “hard core” fans might do it but only a few regular users will do so.
I hope you will get enough money to continue to work on the app. I don’t know what I would do without k9!
I believe the Play Store displays the number of users who have downloaded the app over all of the app’s lifetime. The current number of users is around 600k.
Making K-9 Mail a paid app on Google Play is more of a thought exercise rather than an actual option. You can’t switch over a free app to a paid app. We’d have to publish a separate app.
I get the idea behind the suggestion. But I’m quite happy with giving the app away for free everywhere. It reaches a wider audience. And I believe people using the app without paying is better than them using a closed source app that is free.
I am fairly confident that enough users of K-9 Mail will donate so the funding goal will be reached. At the very least the donations so far are paying for development until the end of March
Please consider adding a Paypal donation option, for us old farts that don’t want to sign up to a new site just to make a donation
For alternative donation options see: Become a sponsor
Just be aware that this is giving to me directly (please add a note mentioning K-9 Mail, so it can be counted towards funding K-9 Mail, not me personally). If we ever change who’s getting paid to work on K-9 Mail you’ll have to manually adjust your donations (not an issue for one-time donations).
In other news: “k9mail receives €506.29 per week from 688 patrons. Goal: €1,000.00”
So half of the weekly funding goal has been reached
The total amount of money received so far in 2021:
- Liberapay: €16,256.08, $298.46, CA$116.44, £142.90, and MX$294.83
- Other channels: €25