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Feedback about subscriptions



  • Hi,

    I wanted to give you a feedback about the use of Cloudron we made in our small collective.

    First of all we were very pleased to find a solution which maintain CodiMD, we knew YunoHost but only support Etherpad which is a very good solution but limited for markdown writer like us.

    But we were very surprised to see the limitations of only 5 users and only 2 apps ! Sorry if I missed something, is it well a self-hosted solution ?

    We are a small collective of volunteer videos creator without any founds, renting 2 servers (one for cloudron and an other one for our hosted videos) is already an heavy cost, we didn't imagine that the subscription would be required to overpass this limitation even when we don't pass through the store to install an app. 15$ is good when it comes to host anything, are the backups hosted on your servers ?

    We actually have more than 10 users (it could be a little bit more in the future) and we use cloudron especially for the LDAP and for somes applications which where not proposed by YunoHost like CodiMD.

    Also some apps required 2 apps (server and client) to works, but in any case if nothing is hosted on your server I don't understand this limitation for non-business usage.

    Is there a way to overpass these limitations ?

    Also, I wonder how some apps can have a MIT licence, though the source app is a GNU GPL or AGPL licence, is really it legal ?

    Maybe, an unlimited solution really self-hosted without the store but with manual installation in command lines could be a solution ?

    Sorry if my questions may be too frank, but we feel like stuck with Cloudron and forced to pay lots more a service unreachable and that we already pay by self-hosting.



  • @kimmy I'm not a developer, but I'll try to help.
    But we were very surprised to see the limitations of only 5 users and only 2 apps ! Sorry if I missed something, is it well a self-hosted solution ?
    It is a self hosted solution, but packaging and distributing the apps via the webstore costs resources, much like your two servers. Subscriptions help pay for the resources needed to keep everything running, and pay the developers so they can afford to keep working on this project.

    We are a small collective of volunteer videos creator without any founds, renting 2 servers (one for cloudron and an other one for our hosted videos) is already an heavy cost, we didn't imagine that the subscription would be required to overpass this limitation even when we don't pass through the store to install an app. 15$ is good when it comes to host anything, are the backups hosted on your servers ?
    I understand money can be tight! Maybe we can help you find cheaper servers. Many people here have experience getting the best prices for their servers. As for installing apps, the web store is the only way to do it. You can run your own Docker containers to run more apps outside of Cloudron,, but it is difficult and time consuming.

    Also some apps required 2 apps (server and client) to works, but in any case if nothing is hosted on your server I don't understand this limitation for non-business usage.
    It takes time and money to maintain all these apps, the work goes into integrating them with Cloudron to make it easy to manage. You can try to do it yourself for free, but is really hard. (I tried for a whole year)

    Is there a way to overpass these limitations ?
    Buy a subscription. Getting paid for hard work is a good thing, it keeps updates coming and makes the developers money so they want to work hard for us.

    Also, I wonder how some apps can have a MIT licence, though the source app is a GNU GPL or AGPL licence, is really it legal ?
    You don't understand open source licensing, so let me help out. Think of Amazon or Google or Microsoft Cloud services, you can run Linux or BSD on all of them, but their platforms are closed-source. Same thing here.

    Maybe, an unlimited solution really self-hosted without the store but with manual installation in command lines could be a solution ?
    You can do manual installation of everything Cloudron does and "make your own Cloudron" right now. From FreeIPA for LDAP, to Docker, to all the apps in the web store. You can run them all with docker if you have the skill. It is difficult, but it can be done.

    Sorry if my questions may be too frank, but we feel like stuck with Cloudron and forced to pay lots more a service unreachable and that we already pay by self-hosting.
    Questions are good! Maybe we can help you save money in other ways so you can afford the Cloudron subscription. If you are open we are here for you.



  • @will
    Excellent, well-detailed reply!



  • Just to add re:

    @kimmy said in Feedback about subscriptions:

    limitations of only 5 users

    AFAIK there are no limitations on the amount of users without a subscription, only the amount of apps (limited to 2). ah, the user limitation and been reintroduced

    But I also think it'd be good if there was a cheaper subscription option of say "up to 10 apps to apps for $10/ month" or something like that. $30/ month is a barrier to quite a few smaller groups and orgs.

    Some more discussion on this over at https://forum.cloudron.io/post/5565



  • @jdaviescoates The pricing and user limits have changed again
    https://cloudron.io/pricing.html



  • @Hillside502 oh, thanks for the heads up, hadn't noticed!

    @girish @nebulon why have there been no announcements about the pricing changes on here?!?

    Also, I'm assuming everyone currently on $30/mo will now be on $15/mo plan going forward?



  • @jdaviescoates said in Feedback about subscriptions:

    everyone currently on $30/mo will now be on $15/mo plan going forward

    paid annually



  • @Hillside502 said in Feedback about subscriptions:

    paid annually

    Ah yes, I see that now, thanks.

    That's a very generous discount but would still like to see something between $0 and $30 on monthly tariffs.



  • @will thanks for taking time to explain your vision of open source

    I understand all you said, but I think you missed all the point, it's a question of political here.
    You say I don't understand open source... no I perfectly understand it, maybe I asked the wrong question, and packaging an app with another licence may be legal as Amazon, Google or Microsoft does.

    It's my opinion but doing open source with the same goals and same models than any GAFAM is not very the mind / ethic of "libre" licences like GPL / AGPL.

    I won't blame you any longer for doing it, just do it if you think it's good for you. But consider there is more than developers and people class which would like to afford the privilege of having time of learning dev ops or admin system.

    I'm also a developer, a woman (yes it's very important to precise it if you know of it's hard for woman or every oppressed minority to give their opinion in developers communities), and I know perfectly how time and energy are precious, but I also know that all the world does not turn around a buisiness, that's also why open source / libre softwares exist.

    Now, if I posted here it was in hope this point was not missed, forcing people to pay something open source and not consider where they're from and their goal is a non-productive way.

    The communication of Cloudron is unclear and can be a kind of trap.

    Again, if it was for a buisness I would have paid 15$ per month for sure to support developers, but for a collective unpaid and volunteer cause, nope it's kind of abusive.



  • @kimmy said in Feedback about subscriptions:

    It's my opinion but doing open source with the same goals and same models than any GAFAM is not very the mind / ethic of "libre" licences like GPL / AGPL.

    GPL and AGPL allow for commercial use, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

    Also please note that the Cloudon developers help fix a lot of bugs upstream.

    I won't blame you any longer for doing it, just do it if you think it's good for you. But consider there is more than developers and people class which would like to afford the privilege of having time of learning dev ops or admin system.

    You can always consider e.g. YunoHost.

    I'm also a developer, a woman (yes it's very important to precise it if you know of it's hard for woman or every oppressed minority to give their opinion in developers communities), and I know perfectly how time and energy are precious, but I also know that all the world does not turn around a buisiness, that's also why open source / libre softwares exist.

    How do you put food on your table or pay your rent?

    Now, if I posted here it was in hope this point was not missed, forcing people to pay something open source and not consider where they're from and their goal is a non-productive way.

    The communication of Cloudron is unclear and can be a kind of trap.

    Who is forcing anyone in this context? There's a free offering and a paid offering. You can use it or not, your choice. The source is open and available (https://git.cloudron.io).

    And how is the communication "unclear"? That's harsh and untrue. It says "Pricing" right on the front page: https://cloudron.io/

    BTW, I'm not affiliated with Cloudron, just a user.

    nope it's kind of abusive.

    ???


  • Staff

    @kimmy said in Feedback about subscriptions:

    Also, I wonder how some apps can have a MIT licence, though the source app is a GNU GPL or AGPL licence, is really it legal ?

    All our app packages (scripts which help deploy and update) are MIT. Apps themselves can have any license they want. They can even be closed source like confluence, emby etc.

    but we feel like stuck with Cloudron

    Not sure why you feel this way. In fact, the app packages are open source exactly because you can know how things are deployed and it's straightforward to move your apps outside Cloudron anytime. Any changes we make to the app itself are upstreamed and nothing is proprietary.



  • @kimmy Hey Kimmy, I'm not a developer& and I am not affiliated with the project. I am just a user like you. I couldn't sleep so I thought I try to help 😊

    As for the politics of open source, the Cloudron developers post their code here: https://git.cloudron.io
    Now read my message, I did not say you did not understand open source as a subject, merely open source licensing. To be honest, there are days I feel like I don't understand it either, so confusion understandable.
    I can't speak to if it is right or wrong, but I can say that it is legal.

    You use words like "forcing people to pay"
    Nobody is forcing you to pay anything. If you want to learn DevOps and SysAdmin skills I'm all for it! Cloudron won't teach you those skills. You must put in the hard work and learn yourself, and ask questions on how best to learn.

    "but for a collective unpaid and volunteer cause, nope it's kind of abusive."
    So you have claimed charging for a product is abusive? Your volunteer work has nothing to do with paying for something of value. Do you pay for food? Do you pay for your servers? You exchange money, for things of value. Clearly you see what Cloudron does as valuable. Why are you unwilling to pay for that?

    The communication of Cloudron is unclear and can be a kind of trap.
    You are making it difficult to be patient and want to help you because you have a very bad attitude. The pricing is very clear.

    "hard for a woman or every oppressed minority to give their opinion in developers communities"
    Is it? We have many women members who ask questions all the time. I don't recall any women having issues posting here. I hope you can overcome your incorrect attitude and feel comfortable here.

    I'm also a developer, a woman
    How is this relevant? Nobody cares that you're a woman, a man, or an alien.

    You have come into a new community and in very short order managed to be very offensive. Perhaps its a communication barrier. I will assume you don't mean any harm.

    If you want to learn, devops, sysadmin, programming, etc... Every single thing Cloudron does, you can make yourself. It will take you a lot of work, but you will learn so much, and it is all free.
    If you want a tool to use for your small team that can save you time, energy, and effort, pay for the value that it brings. That is the most honest thing in the world. You get value, the developers get paid. You pay for everything else in your life, why not this? You would be a poor customer, you want other people to work for you for nothing.

    I came to you trying to help and you accused the developers of making pricing traps, of abusing you, and misquoting my reply to you in order to argue. This is very very poor manners for a person asking for help.



  • @kimmy

    I personally very much care about the ethics behind Free / Libre Software and the importance to create a healthy, co-operative and sharing culture for society (I would even rarely you the word open source...unless I really have too). However I do free that Free Software is about user's freedom, not about price. In fact I think there is a real problem to grow free software from the lack of business model that allows for Free Software alternatives to be maintained (which is very different than Free Software following a GAFA model).
    Cloudron's model might not be perfect but it's an attempt at doing so. Plus the devs have really struggled with their pricing structure and kept experimenting with something trying to find the balance between allowing them to keep working on it and keeping it accessible / affordable. If you have a better suggestion for pricing, feel free to let them know, they are very open to suggestions. They have a really good mindset and really care about what they do and can apply discount in some cases or for particular users, maybe you could ask.
    I have struggle with this dilemma with a few groups I work with which also have limited to zero income, but I also need to recognise the fact that for Cloudron to be so easy to use and convenient, it means that some people are putting work into it which saves me having to learn how to run, manage and maintain a webserver. Plus they do have costs to maintain which someone has to pay for.

    Regarding ethical consideration you point out, it feels that more than pricing there is one issues with the cloudron model:
    that there are non free software apps packaged for Cloudron (while users have the choice to install them or not, it means that people's subscription fee goes towards paying for time to package those app. I personally feel uneasy for my money to go towards helping the use of unethical apps - I am saying this as a paid subscriber)

    I think it is good you raised this point, it is good discussion for the community to have but I am a bit sorry that our message did not only feel "frank" but really quite aggressive. I suppose communication is not easy. On this point, while @will had some good points, I'm sorry they (though I am tempted to assume "he") dismissed your very valid point on oppressed communities facing barriers to express their opinions.

    I'm also a developer, a woman
    How is this relevant? Nobody cares that you're a woman, a man, or an alien.
    It is very relevant actually, you'll learnt that it's not about whether it's relevant for you "the receiver". It is about the sender who faces constant social oppression and have to push harder than other to have their voices heard. While this might be temporarily reduced by gender anonymity on a forum, it doesn't take out the ongoing struggle that person faces throughout.



  • This post is deleted!


  • If Cloudron Dev were relicensing GPL code to MIT, it would be an issue indeed, but that's not the case.

    FYI, not all Cloudron code is open source (FOSS).
    I'm not happy about it, but it's a comprise I can take, like so many others I have already in my life. 😉

    Working with non-profits, I wish Cloudron could be free for all of them, but I understand cloudron dev should be paid for their work. Maintaining up to date, developing features and adding apps for the platform is a lot of work and is difficult to do when you don't have money to live a decent life.

    @kimmy I hope you can find a solution that works for you.


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