Our new startup, Media Browser
almost 4 years ago
I have spent a lot of time thinking about Media Browser. I would like to thank the community for all of your help and great advice. I would like to thank the developers for all their patience and trust.
I am very proud and happy to announce that I am forming a new company that will make sure Media Browser development continues.
We will also be charging money for the previously free-as-in-beer Media Browser. Which brings me to the Q&A section …
h3. So, you may ask, why should you be happy about this?
- The company will be able to better support the community and continue to evolve the product.
- I will be able to continue working on Media Browser.
- We will be able to compensate the contributors.
- We will be able to buy equipment and perform more extensive testing.
- We will be able to form alliances with other companies and perhaps, who knows, give you a legal way to get things like imdb metadata.
h3. How much is Media Browser going to cost?
We are still working out all the details. My current preference is a yearly fee of sorts. Something very affordable. I would prefer not to go down the path of a one time fee for the life of the product, I don’t want to enter a support nightmare where we are stuck supporting legacy products. I don’t want people to purchase a license only to discover they need to buy another one in 3 months, in order to get the latest and greatest.
A yearly fee is simple and sustainable.
h3. What are you paying for?
The short answer is, you are paying money so Media Browser does not die. Support will be better but not perfect, at the start my work load will be pretty high so I would actually expect support to get a bit worse, while I make it sustainable. This mean I will need to focus on a usable bug tracking system, cleaning up documentation and lots of administrative stuff.
h3. Does this mean we will be focusing on implementing lots of new features?
Stability, ease of use and a very low bug count are our top priority. There will be very few new features in the upcoming months, instead we will focus polishing up our current release and ensuring that all our current features work as expected.
h3. What about about the source code, does it remain open source?
I am hoping to keep the majority of Media Browser open source. Media Browser’s hackability has been a great source of strength. I really appreciate all the hard work that was so graciously contributed by the community.
h3. What about a trial version?
We are still working out all the details on that, this is something I would really like some feedback on, do we need a trial version?
h3. Why not go with donations?
There are lots of reasons, the main being I think Media Browser has a value which is more than $0. A lot of time was invested in it, something our users fully appreciate. Donations are not fair, it means the general population receive free software because a bunch of philanthropists decide to donate. Also, people donate a lot less than you would expect. If we went down the donation route and later decided to change to a paid model, we would have a logistic nightmare.
h3. What about advertising?
There will be no ads built in to Media Browser to help fund it, I always championed usability and this would be a big loss on that front. I will consider ads on the mediabrowser.tv site, which is great for complimentary income, but there is no chance it will cover our costs.
h3. How can you help?
We are are looking to hire a designer on a short stint to help us revamp the mediabrowser.tv website, if you know someone, contact me.
Be patient, it is going to be a little slow for the next few weeks while this stuff is being set up. Once all the administrative tasks are completed, I will be focused on shipping a stable release of Media Browser.
The bottom line is, that selling Media Browser is the only feasible way for it to continue evolving, its either this, or I quit working on Media Browser and find another project.