So, NetNewsWire 2.1 is out and, as many folks have pointed out, it boasts plenty of interesting new features, most notably automatic synchronizing with NewsGator’s online feed reading service.
What you may not have realised is that signing up for a NewsGator account is a requirement of your continued use of NetNewsWire.
You’ll probably remember that Ranchero, the company responsible for NetNewsWire, was purchased by NewsGator last year.
If you dismiss the NewsGator signup window that appears when you first run 2.1, you will be able to continue using NetNewsWire just fine for 30 days, at which point it will appear again and ask you to sign up.
The official upgrade instructions to say that need to complete the sign-up, even if you have a old NetNewsWire license.
NewsGator explains that this is because Ranchero used Kagi for online payments, while NewsGator has its own payment system, and they need to tie the two together.
I contacted Brent Simmons, founder of Ranchero and creator of NetNewsWire, to get some more detail. Brent said:
NewsGator uses its own system instead of Kagi (which NetNewsWire used
previously) — but we didn’t want to just transfer accounts over, since some
people already have an account, and of course we want to give people their
choice of username and so on.
If you’re upgrading, the only information NewsGator asks is for your name
and email address, and it asks you to make up a username/password for the
account. It collects the serial number, so it can associate that serial
number with your account.
It does not ask for any billing information. It does not get a copy of
your subscription list unless you turn on syncing. Syncing is a very cool
feature, and I hope people use it — but it’s optional.
At the same time, NewsGator is giving folks who already bought NetNewsWire
two years free of the premium package and two years of free NetNewsWire
Which means that if someone bought NetNewsWire when it came out in 2003,
that person hasn’t paid for an upgrade yet, and that person won’t have to
until 2008. Even if we release 3.0, 4.0, and 42.0 during the next two years.
(This is more than Ranchero Software promised: this is coming from
I should also add that this is not subscription software: your copy of
NetNewsWire will continue to work (though minus some sync features) even if
your account lapses.
Another thing: NetNewsWire Lite remains free, and you don’t have to have an
account to use it, but to use syncing you’d need an account. (Syncing is
free in NetNewsWire Lite — and you can use it with a free account — though
the full version will have more advanced sync features.)
So there you have the whole story. I must admit, I was somewhat confused before I got in touch with Brent. While the NewsGator site implied that getting an account there was necessary, the fact that the sign-up window went away when I asked it to and didn’t return made me think that there was a way round it.
Despite some initial misgivings about signing up for a service I don’t actually want (I’ve no doubt that NewsGator, and it’s ability to sync with NNW, is as cool as Brent says it is - I just don’t wish to use it), I shall be opening that sign-up window again (go to NetNewsWire -> License to do this) and signing up anyway; mainly because NNW remains a very cool app, and my favorite means of browsing a bunch of feeds. I particularly like the Sort Subscriptions By Attention feature, which brings your “favorite” feeds to the top naturally.