Dear XML Mind,
I was disheartened to learn that you’ve chosen to make the free version of your product even less useful to end users. This appears to be an acceleration of a recent (and alarming) trend in your release cycle of removing features for non-paying customrs.
While I can certainly understand the desire to convert more customers to paying ones, I suspect that what instead will happen is that people will abandon the product entirely, rather than risk running afoul of the license.
Here at O’Reilly, your XML Editor has helped to bring an XML workflow to many more mainstream users (in authoring and production of manuscripts) than any other tool available. Among the biggest selling points for authors has been their ability to dowload and use a fully functional version of the product for free (making it a viable alternative to OpenOffice, to our advantage). It’s a very low-risk way to test the waters.
As we develop and expand our XML workflow, we’ve purchased a half dozen licenses for the professional version of XML Editor, and have had several discussions about purchasing an Enterprise-level license within the next 6-18 months (partially pending the addition of a revision-tracking feature). However, this latest announcement means that we’ll need to seriously reconsider that — most of our authors are not on site, and are not employed by us, so would not be covered by an Enterprise license. And it is not economical for us to purchase individual licenses for those authors (200+ per year).
Again, I can certainly appreciate your desire to convert more free users into paid ones, and I of course don’t know the specifics of your business model or situation. But I *strongly* encourage you to reconsider your decision on the Personal Edition license. While it may well be the case that some of your users who are using the Standard Edition are getting something “for free” that they would otherwise pay for, I suspect that the vast majority will not convert to paid customers, and the overall user base for XML Editor (and hence potential market) will shrink. As with the case of music and software piracy, you may soon find that such restrictive measure have the opposite effect of what you’re intending (see Piracy is Progressive Taxation)
Director, Digital Content and Publishing Services
O’Reilly Media, Inc.