Paid features in opensource apps


I completely agree with this. But how about not just marking negative things about apps? Along with anti-features we could emphasize some neutral and positive features too. Maybe with a traffic light system like:

:green_heart: positive features:

  • actively promotes free software
  • educates about free software

:white_circle: neutral features:

  • contains advertising
  • contains pay to unlock features

:red_circle: anti features:

  • promotes non free services
  • depends on other non free software

My 2c, apps with paid features should be clearly marked as such. With many apps users spend considerable time choosing the app, trying to setup and customize it and after all this work they find out that they are supposed to pay for a feature?


I understand the concern. Well it’s ok that they are trying to sell some features of the app, it still does not make the app closed source. They are obviously trying to make some money for their work. I don’t know, what features aren’t there in K9 that you are looking for? What’s there in Fair Mail that is not in K9? K9 does get constant updates and I personally find it very good. In Fair Mail they simply block access to certain features using their server, that is not an issue of software freedom. Perhaps it is an issue like an email provider using open source software, yet blocking users from using all features if they don’t pay.


Interesting idea, but impractical. I think it’s highly subjective whether something is a morally positive or neutral feature. As you can can see in this thread it’s even hard to find consensus about labeling paid features/services.


Perhaps (optionally) list all of above attributes, & (further optionally) allow us to set color/weightings/“anti-feature” status, w/ defaults to the above set by a poll?


As i wrote before, filter on per-anti-feature would be a good start to solve subjective opinions

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I am also not against f-droid having apps that might require payment (like nextcloud or etesync), but I do think that new anti-feature (perhaps too strong a word, but it is how they are called currently) for apps which are crippled (eg. have some features disabled) until user pays probably should be implemented.

Or alternatively (or in addition) at the beginning of the description, have a paragraph which makes it easily visible and transparent what you get by default, and for what you must pay or have some other restriction. (currently in for example FairMail, there is only ambiguous “pro features” buried in the middle of the long description)

For example, for FairMail it might say at the beginning of the description “Note: Some of the features of this software are DISABLED unless you pay for them.

Or for nextcloud and etesync it might say “Note: This software requires that you either HOST your own instance, or PAY to use commercial instance” (EteSync does say it - but even there, IMHO it should be as a first, separate paragraph; instead in a middle of non-formatted blob of description)

(It would also be good is wording could be standardized, so all software with same requirements could spell it out the same way)

I think that does not require technical changes (just editing the descriptions0, would not be disrespectful toward developers, and most importantly would be transparent and clear and concise to users what they should expect.

Also, instead of “Pro features” (which could be interpreted by some to mean that you could install the software and start using some advanced/professional features) in description could we please write “Features requiring payment” ? It would be much less misleading that way (at least for some of us non-native english speakers).

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I think it is important - transparency is the biggest issue for me.

But another issue in this specific example is not (I think) so much the amount of money itself, but the fact that some of the users either lack the means to pay online (like minors or people without credit cards), or are reluctant to do so - maybe because they are (rightfully?) afraid of online card / identity thefts or are not educated enough to do it safely, or they do not want their credit card name being associated with buying specific software (think: big brother which is monitoring you and see you buying crypto features for your FairMail might be pretty bad news for you), or they are recidivists with online spending issues and dare not venture there again, or any of the million other issues.

On the other hand, some people want free software but have no problem paying for it. Or, some people have no problem donating money, but extremely dislike idea of deliberately crippled software forcing them to pay (also, they might have a problem with the idea that they commit to using some software, and then when they upgrade hardware that app reverts to “open-core” mode, and because the publisher no longer exists they are in world of pain)

That is why I think it is best to be transparent and concisely and clearly inform the users at the very beginning of the software description what are prerequisites and what they should expect.


Yes, do fork the app…

Simple-Email is that… how did that pan out? Months behind FairEmail, by ~1500 commits.

SimpleEmail has a community focus, all contributions are welcome

Issues answered? Maybe some.

Merge Requests from the community? One, but important


That’s why they are called anti-features and not plain negative features, right? I did translate that string into Spanish as “características controvertidas”, i.e. “controversial features” in the F-Droid client. Did I understand something badly?


I’m using “features that you might not like” so yeah… “controversial” sounds interesting too.


So paid features are anti-features, by that definition. Why so much discussion? Nothing inherently negative or bad in the term.

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I can’t understand why paid app should be anti feature.
If compare it with Nextcloud/Owncloud, NextCloud providers that have limited free storage is not related to NextCloud people themselves!

They are some server operator that chooses to provide limited free as beer also because they can promote themselves in nextcloud websites and also because of other decisions that are around freemium business model.

That is like some person choose to host an instance of EteSync for example and provide it to users free.
Comparing something like EteSync with free nextcloud providers should be this way, not like that in above that dear user mentioned.

Anti-feature is about free software, is about free as in freedom and it is completely logical.

I am someone that always search for good 0$ Apps in F-Droid because of my own problems
that can’t pay for premium softwares but it isn’t related to anti-features.
If the user think that everything exist in F-Droid is free as beer, it is misunderstanding of them, not a problem of F-Droid/Software Devs.

That said, on the other hand if you F-Droid people think that you should make it easier for user to find out the price of apps, it is logical and I think something like a $ icon is good but it should be distinguished from anti-features place. may be in top of descriptions or something like this. like what other app stores do it.

Also if you think about anonymous payment methods that should be available in libre apps because of privacy, it is also rather logical and can be an anti-feature but it is really aggressive and it harms free software community as a whole because I think it is overkill and it is not in the scope of judgment of F-Droid store and is the choice of software devs vs users (I mean user can choose not pay this way and contact the software developer for it), not app store.

Thanks for reading
Good luck


To fennec or not to fenix ?


Your point being???


Sigh, the line is very blurry and subjective. So, is “conversations” crippled when you don’t pay for the service? Probably not, but that is not because of conversations but because many kind people offer free XMPP servers. EteSync seems no different, just that there are no other free servers around.

I would say mentioning “provides additional features after payment” is something that I would expect, yet the call is sometimes rather subjective and it really depends on how crucial these features are (are they critically important, or simply enabling e.g. additional themes). Those 2 seem different enough that clustering both under a single “antifeature” seems like oversimplifying.


I don’t think your examples are subjective at all. Conversations and EteSync rely on open protocols (XMPP or WebDAV servers) that, by definition, enable free and open source server software to exist. So you can host yourself them or look for some other provider.

To be clear enough: they don’t rely on non-free services, that would be another completely different anti-feature. The software, i.e. the client app, is capable of doing all the things itself. There is no artificial scarcity involved in the form of “pay this money and I will switch on this feature-flag”.

You won’t label “contains paid features” an ePub reader app just because you have no ePub files to read. But you will when the reader app shows you no pictures in ePub files unless you pay, for example.

I agree with your oversimplification point, though.

I don’t think paid features are bad or evil, but I think it’s F-Droid’s duty to provide the user with enough information, just like they link to the license, source code or developer e-mail. The existence and development of this thread denotes that, at least, paid features are controversial.

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(edit: You were not attacked, your position was, there is a great deal of difference. If you feel your character was attacked, you have every bit of opportunity to prove your sense of community valuable.)

You helped yourself to complaining about software, demonstrating no part of helping that software or your economic situation, or even amending the situation beyond complaining. You did get a harsh reply, which you should have anticipated, since you do know the difference between libre software and freeware.

You do use the word “opensource”, which is not trademarked, and as such just means the source is open. That can be even be specifically anti-commercial. If it was, it wouldn’t be Open Source, or what I like to use, libre software.

Yes, you can develop the software yourself and sell that, is it warranted? At the very beginning of which, you will find nobody questions your decision.

What benefits the community are the decisions of makers of software, as they are copyright holders. Even if lots of code was accepted from elsewhere, it would still be legal to sell.

On the topic of inclusion policy, the tone of which turned friendly after you changed your approach, which I am happy to see, maybe there should be a non-federated antifeature? Where an app diverts a previously federated network into a closed ecosystem, or starts something founded on less than ideal principle.
Being restrictively commercial is not an antifeature, but it should be marked as a feature of the app.

In my mind, advertisment is an antifeature in any capacity.
There could be a coloured in venn diagram, or heatmap of features. And/or it could be a little text describing where it sits in the ecosystem of things. Sometimes the user does not want the best possible workaround, when there is a (no workarounds needed because it was all good from the start) alternative.

@hans I don’t think owncloud is 100% libre software, and they tried to forcibly license all softs of GPL code to GPLv2 only. The way it was done does not look legal to me.

@Ildar I imagine the people that are below UN levels of economic freedom do not have a device that can run F-Droid, or the apps in it. I could be wrong, but that they are many or few is in actual fact not an argument.

I think F-Droid should promote charitable donations as much as possible to avoid devs baking in stuff that takes time to unlock. How about listing monetary contributors (if they want that) in the client?


I could be wrong, but that they are many or few is in actual fact not an argument.

You ARE wrong. I seem not bothered yourself thinking what you’re writing.

Example: It doesn’t matter that MANY here love foss and need F-Droid. So F-Droid issues don’t matter: they can easily use Google Play Market. Does this sound right to you?


I didn’t understand much of that, but I especially don’t understand how it has anything to do with people being able to afford the price (or not), as anything but a concern for who sets it.