Could Moneydance become a free software?

Heitor's Avatar


24 Apr, 2020 12:07 AM

Have you ever considered turning Moneydance into free software? What could you tell about it?

Just to clarify, this is what I mean by free software:

  1. 1 Posted by dwg on 24 Apr, 2020 12:35 AM

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    I'm a fellow user.

    Moneydance original started as open source software, but it was reported that there were no other contributors, hence the only way forward was to turn it into a proprietary product, but with a documented ability to add extensions.

    Possibly the two most notable open source Financial programs are GNUCash and kMyMoney

  2. 2 Posted by Heitor on 24 Apr, 2020 09:37 PM

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    Hi dwg,

    How do you know this historical background about Moneydance?

    What is the relationship between the lack of developers in a free software project and this obliging the software to be made proprietary?

    Free software is far different from open source software.

  3. 3 Posted by dwg on 24 Apr, 2020 10:26 PM

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    The historical background of Moneydance has been talked about in the forums over the years.

    Most substantial programs that are free are the product of collaborative efforts by a reasonable number of developers e.g. Linux, Libreoffice etc, that are all giving up their free time to create and maintain the product, often with donations or sponsorships in order to be able to fund the systems that are necessary.

    In proposing that Moneydance be made free you are saying that the staff that Moneydance employs should all go and get a job elsewhere. Who would work on the product or do you expect the existing people to do that in their spare time, so work on the product but do not get compensated for the work done.

  4. 4 Posted by Heitor on 25 Apr, 2020 02:35 AM

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    So, based on your arguments, you have left me with no other option but to think that you don't know what free software means; please, refer to the link I put in my opening message.

    Again, your information isn't accurate because there are paid "versions" of Linux, paid parent project of LibreOffice and even LibreOffice can be sold by anyone.

    Based on how much Moneydance evolved in the last years, is hard to think that there is more than just the owner of Moneydance rarely developing anything on this software.

    Please, don't put words in my mouth. I've never said a thing about not charging for the software or people getting unemployed. You just evaded my questions.

    I opened this topic in "Suggestions" for a reason that is not to discuss whether or not to charge for the software.

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Sean Reilly on 25 Apr, 2020 10:56 PM

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    Hi Heitor,

    I'm the developer of Moneydance, having started it in the summer of 1997. It was originally open source, under the Artistic License which I don't actually remember if it was an approved Free Software license by the FSF. I've never been a big fan of the viral effect of the GPL, but I totally understand why many people choose it. I know that the GPL keeps code from being used in non-free projects, but for any code that I share I'll usually choose the Apache license or something similar. I really don't want to get into a debate on the differences and merits of Free Software vs Open Source. I was seriously into both Free Software and Open Source back then, but it just didn't make any sense to continue producing Moneydance as either.

    While I understand that it is technically possible to charge for Free Software, it's not practically feasible. If I had kept Moneydance Free (or open source) then others could also charge for it and make just as much revenue (and probably far more because I'm awful at marketing) off of the decades of work I've put into it.

    I think dwg is probably referring to the fact that it is impractical for retail consumer software to be Free Software in the GNU sense, which I think has been shown over quite a long time. If other developers had contributed back when moneydance was free/open then I probably would have kept it that way, but not a single person did.

    All the best,

    Sean Reilly
    Developer, The Infinite Kind

  6. 6 Posted by Heitor on 26 Apr, 2020 05:30 AM

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    Hi Sean Reilly,

    Thank you for the reply, I knew that you would probably be the person to reply to this topic.

    I'm sorry to hear that there was no adherence to the project when it wasn't proprietary. Could you say at what period of time the project was "open"?

    I hope someday you can review this position. From 1997 to nowadays this industry has changed considerably. Would be awful if Moneydance were buried with its author.

    Best wishes,

  7. 7 Posted by GBO323 on 26 Apr, 2020 03:13 PM

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    As a user of many different kinds of software(free/Subscription/1X pay), I find that typically the ones that I 1X pay for tend to be better supported and feature requests implemented quicker...again, a general statement.

    With MoneyDance covering different OS install platforms, it is in a unique position of being a premier "for pay" software. IMO, I don't want it to go free or as a subscription. I like knowing there is a developer and support staff when I have an issue that are paid to assist and seem to do so above and beyond....and you can't buy that kind of caring support. It's my hope that people aren't asking it to be free because they are cheap and want something else for free...something others have poured years into and hopefully seeing the fruit of their hard work in supporting themselves and re-investing in the future of their product.

    With that said, I will always encourage people who want something free to give it a shot themselves and create their own software and see how that works. :P

  8. 8 Posted by Heitor on 26 Apr, 2020 11:41 PM

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    As a free software sponsorship, as a free software contributor and even as an unpaid contributor of proprietary software, you can rest assured that I'm speaking about freedom.

    Like you said: "I like knowing there is a developer and support staff when I have an issue". Then you wouldn't worry about paying to a company in order for them provide it to you, regardless whether the software is free or proprietary.

    Last but not least, as you said that you are a free software user; please, tell us about the shots that you already gave and still giving in creating you own free softwares and how they are working. Of course, if you are not one of those who like to tell what the others must do while doing the opposite.

  9. 9 Posted by GBO323 on 27 Apr, 2020 03:30 AM

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    Not getting into a flame discussion here. You shared your opinion...I shared mine. Will leave it here. Best regards.

  10. 10 Posted by dbronstein88 on 02 May, 2020 05:31 PM

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    I've been using Monedance for a couple of years now and am happy to pay for it. It's a great product - much better than Quicken - and I have gotten a very good response from support when I have needed it. They deserve to be compensated for their efforts.

  11. 11 Posted by Heitor on 02 May, 2020 07:22 PM

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    As I said in first post I'm not referring to charge/price/cost/money.

    Just to clarify, this is what I mean by free software:

    For those who, for some reason, are unable to follow the link above, here's an excerpt to clarify:

    “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.

  12. 12 Posted by quotient on 03 May, 2020 10:36 AM

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    Moneydance is free software. All are free to use it... or not.

  13. 13 Posted by Ben on 08 May, 2020 01:31 PM

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    Another excerpt from the same page, to clarify:

    Freedom to distribute (freedoms 2 and 3) means you are free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission to do so.

  14. System closed this discussion on 07 Aug, 2020 01:40 PM.

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