Paid features in opensource apps

In general yes, in this particular app (NetGuard - local VPN on device - no external connection) it’s not an issue/the point.

I think the reference was to the mentioned paid version of Firefox with built-in VPN.

I stopped reading through this thread after the first few dozen posts, but I wanted to just add my two cents on the matter. I personally find nothing wrong with paid pro features in a “free” app. Apps like this, if I find them useful, I like to donate anyways. And as has been pointed out, the app is still perfectly usable (AFAICT so far) without paying. Furthermore, as was suggested by the OP, if somebody really wanted to go through the work all to save a few bucks, they could modify and compile the source code themselves to get the features for free. Sounds like a lot to go through though for very little benefit, all while preventing the dev from being paid for their time.

And as for ads vs pro features, I much, much prefer apps that offer the ability to pay a few bucks to remove ads. I consider ads an annoyance and a security and privacy risk, and I do what I can to eliminate them. Yes, some people don’t care and are cheap, and would rather deal with ads and all their implications all to save $1-2 but, frankly, those aren’t the type of audience this app is after anyway. The type of people that are going to be wanting a privacy-minded email app are going to be much more likely to a) not want ads, and b) be willing to pay for the app so it will continue on, especially seeing as there are very, very few similar options. Not to mention the asking price for FairEmail is actually quite low, and I was surprised to see that there’s actually a FAQ question for why it’s so much. If I end up deciding to stick with it after testing it out, I would have happily paid 2-3 times that, and possibly more, and may do so via donation anyway.

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I think it would make sense to mark apps which have a Paywall or Partial Paywall transparently for users. But it’s not really an Anti-Feature in my opinion.

(Don’t get me wrong, personally I dislike paywalls a great deal, but I’m trying to be objective here. Not all devs have the privilege to give their work away gratis. If this is what it takes for them to make a living we can’t change that either. I think it’s still okay to give them a platform here, after all they decided to provide a free software client, which is a step in the right direction. For non-tech savvy users this probably is a good thing too. A streamlined consumer experience by definition requires no knowledge about protocols, hosting, etc. and I think F-Droid should also have something to offer to those people.)

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The free license is not meant as free as in beer, but as free as in speach. So having to pay for some features is in no way contrary to the license.

Is there an anti-feature tag for nagware/begware? For example for apps that display nuisance dialogs until/unless you pay.

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Making/ maintaining an app costs a lot of time :slight_smile:


Money is a sensitive topic. The powers that be will go a long, long way (i.e. use logic acrobatics) to avoid tagging apps with nags or begs or premium features. It depends what your definition of Ads adds up to. :laughing:


It’s not even about money. It is more fundamentally about freedom and extortion. There needs to be a sensible policy for the following reasons:

  1. For example with Fair Email, it’s not fair (pun not intended) to see "promotes nonfree network services’ on free apps and allow apps to promote non free SOFTWARE. It’s not fair to label apps with NonFreeAdd tags for non free addons but allow apps to propose promote and ask you to replace the ENTIRE app with a nonfree version.
  2. Nag/beg screens in general (and by that I don’t mean on initial run but recurring ones) are literal anti-features. By that I mean that most of the tags are philosophical anti-features. But a nagware screen is literally putting in functionality that reduces the usability of the software. The nag screen has no intrinsic purpose other than to annoy. Software that threatens to annoy you unless you pay (and worse annoy you until you get a non-free version) isa literal AND philosophical anti feature.

F-droid can instutute charging for apps, that’s fine with me if app writers want to do that. But threatening to return daily/weekly/monthly and knock on my door until I agree to switch to a version of the app which reduces my freedom is not acceptable.

Fair Email for one, and there are others, needs NonFreeAdd today and the institution of another better tag tomorow.

You can create a fork and remove the dialogs if you don’t like it. At the end it’s still open source and anyone can do what they want with it if they don’t like the general direction.


That’s 100% not the point. Or, rather, if it were the point then it would also be the point for every anti-feature tag on every f-droid listing. Well, you can just fork Osmand and take out the non-free plugins, so we shouldn’t apply the NonFreeAdd tag to it.

So no, that’s not the point. We don’t consider the anti feature tag applied to a hypothetical fork that doesn’t have the anti-feature. We consider it for the software as it currently exists. And as “Fair Email” currently exists, it promotes non-free addons by repeatedly and infinitely promoting a non-free version of itself with added features.

Why are you so upset with people that spend hundreds if not thousands of hours working on a project, which they then give away for free.
How do you expect them to put food on the table? or a roof over their head?

In the case of Simple apps and FairEmail, the features are indeed free as in freedom.


I believe you misunderstand what the free software movement is about. Free here refers to freedom, not price:

“Free software” means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” We sometimes call it “libre software,” borrowing the French or Spanish word for “free” as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis.

Whether or not the software costs money is completely irrelevant. In FairEmail, all of the code that runs on your device is free software, including the “pro features,” and it’s possible to turn on said “pro features” by changing the code and modifying it yourself. If FairEmail actually did advertise a proprietary version as the “pro version” then it would deserve NonFreeAdd antifeature.

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The thank you app that unlocks simple mobile apps can also be downloaded for free from F-droid.

They’re is also a fork of fairmail called simpleemail.

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I have never seen FairEmail promote non-free software. Buying a license doesn’t replace the app, it just makes some of the code paths that check if you have a license return true instead of false. It’s still the exact same GPLv3+ code.


And that stopped updating because develoment is soo easy or just the opposite?

Yes, Marcel is a robot, he churns commits after commits daily, incredible.


Sorry if it wasn’t clear but I meant my comment to show how accomodating the Dev is that even the ‘pro’ version is available for free. :sweat_smile: