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Firefox pledgers hold onto their cash

By Chris Williams. Published: 22nd Aug 2005, 18:34:10 | Permalink | Printable

Puppy dog eyes time

firefox logoThe developer of the RISC OS Firefox port has complained that a "significant proportion" of users who pledged cash have failed to cough up when asked to. To date, there are four beta versions of Firefox for punters to download and test drive, with each release being met with varying degrees of success for end users.

"Perhaps understandable given that Firefox is still some way from being a nice RISC OS application," admitted Peter on his blog earlier today. He continued, "In fairness, many people have been very generous, and I hope many will continue their [Unix Porting Project] subscription after their 6 months; but for the rest of the pledges, it's a considerable amount of money I may never see back."

In his original announcement, Peter said he would collect pledged cash once a beta version is made available.

He also lamented that very few developers have shown an interest in aiding the development of the mammoth web browser port and the Unixlib and CX11 libraries. According to Peter, it's also possible for someone to tweak some elements of Firefox's appearance by editing the XML and Javascript user interface files.

In March this year, Peter first called for people to pledge money to the project. The programmer, originally from New Zealand, is set to move to the west coast of the US with his family, which is hampering development. With his computers packed away, Peter says he will be relying on VirtualRiscPC on a laptop. He added, "You'll just have to look for new versions [of Firefox] when I'm able to make them".

Peter has also moved the location of the Firefox downloads to his own website, now that riscos.info is no longer hosted from his home cable internet connection.


RISC OS Firefox website

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Sad but hardly surprising, there are always people around who'll try to get something for nothing. If that's you, I suppose you could always spend the cash you should've given Peter on a shrink to help you sort out that particular personality fault.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 22/8/05 6:45PM
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SimonC , yes I agree it is sad.

I supported the initiative via a 6 monthly distribution to Peter's UPP and even had to remind Peter that he had not cashed my cheque!

With Peter off to other climes I only hope that this experience does not deter him from doing further work on Firefox once he is settled as it would be a great loss.

Perhaps further updates of Firefox could be distributed to UPP/paid up Firefox pledges with a say 3-6 month gap before being releases to all?

Anyway thanks to Peter and good luck for his new adventure.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 22/8/05 7:14PM
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Pay Up !! Peter has done what he said he would, and released (several) Beta versions. Even though the present version is not really usable - on a SLOW RPC - I paid (Before and after release) and am prepared to await developments. So come on guys keep your promises, unless you just want to be parasites sucking the live blood out of our platform.

 is a RISC OS UserYorkey on 22/8/05 7:53PM
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It's really sad to see when someone has put in so much effort *in advance* of payment that people won't pay up. It's not as if Peter asked for a whole lot upfront (in fact nothing other than a pledge). Yet people have been quite happy to pay considerably more for stuff that hasn't arrived - go figure that !

Hopefully people will see sense and do the right thing.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 22/8/05 8:59PM
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This is a bit off. Peter has never asked people in general to pay for Firefox, only that sufficient people promise some money so that it's worth his while. If you didn't pledge then he's generous enough to give it away; if you did pledge (which was a free choice) then that is surely a commitment that should be honoured.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 22/8/05 9:16PM
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Look at it another way: I made a pledge and honoured it Firefox worked fine for me

On the other hand, I know two other people who made a pledge and have not honoured it because Firefox does not work for them.

I would hope that as the browser becomes more usable to more people then they will pay up as and when. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Userfwibbler on 22/8/05 10:38PM
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"I know two other people who made a pledge and have not honoured it because Firefox does not work for them." That wasn't the deal! If they felt that way, they should not have made a pledge.

Peter's original statement was quite clear: "I propose you pledge an amount to the project which you will make available to me once a beta version is available."


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 22/8/05 10:53PM
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As an impartial observer, but one who has been studying the feedback about Firefox on RISC OS, it seems that Mr Naulls has delivered what he promised. That people knowing fully the terms of making a pledge now refuse to do so merely confirms the continued presence of that well-established cheerleader/freeloader dual-faceted mindset rampant within the RISC OS community.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 22/8/05 11:50PM
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I agree that people who have pledged a contribution should make that contribution and do so promptly. However, I'm afraid that in trademark fashion Mr Nualls' behaviour has hardly been exemplary.

I was contacted by Peter for "non-payment" although I had already met my pledge payment by direct funds transfer within a week of having made the pledge. I wrote to Peter and explained this but have received no reply at all, let alone an appology. Moreover, my name as a non-pledge-keeper was also circulated to all others on the list; which is, of course, in breach of the Data Protection Act as well as being highly discourteous.

Such dealings leave a bitter taste in one's mouth. I have no doubt that Peter is a brilliant programmer and as such needed by the RISCOS community. However, his trademark arrogance and forthright rudeness means that the business between us is now concluded.

 is a RISC OS Userzlkj099 on 23/8/05 12:43AM
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zlkj099: While I can understand your disappointment such a talented and prolific contributor could be given a bit of slack.

As he is a father of a young family and contributor to our scene he still has to make a living. I would imagine the amount of time he devotes to both put him under a lot of pressure at times and may mean things are not done the way all of us may prefer.

That said, I'd rather have Peter and his brilliant support of our platform (with all his human traits) than not have him helping us to survive.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 23/8/05 3:09AM
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zlk: some of what you say simply isn't correct. As you well know, a number of names/emails didn't match up directly between pledges/subscriptions which was why a check was required.

Yes, I haven't replied to you yet, but you're not alone for reasons referred to in the article. As for my attitude, I rather think you ought to try leading by example, rather than resorting to pointless outrage here and elsewhere.

adamr: actually, that is the deal, which I think is entirely fair. The problem is that in _not in one single instance_ have I been contacted by such people to know where they stand.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/8/05 6:53AM
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With respect to artificially trying to restrict access, there's no practical way to enforce this for open software, and the resulting complexities would be to no-one's benefit - certainly not mine with an administrative nightmare.

As with any software development or platform, there's always a core of selfish freeloaders, and it would be unrealistic to not take them into account in any business model; and certainly does not refer to the vast majority of users, who are open and honest, as representative of the general population.

As for the people who've yet been unable to get it to run, this is unfortunate, but not entirely surprising given the sheer complexity. And it would be impertinent to expect them to pay for something that doesn't work for them (and the subscription page states as much). The problem, as I referred to above is that I simply don't know how many people are in this category - all the people who've had problems are either already subscribers, or are non-pledgers from for example, usenet.

To complete the picture, there are of course a number of people who've either forgotten, or simply didn't know - that's the point of reminder emails and such postings and entirely expected; that I managed to CC rather than BCC these people is a mistake after a rather a long day was unfortunate, but I hope no harm is done. In future, such things will be done by an automated system.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/8/05 8:03AM
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mrchocky: I would not despair just yet - I am pretty certain the number of people who deliberately did not pay is close to zero. For instance, it was by no means clear to me that we should pay after release of the first beta without being explicitly asked to, so I did not. I only paid when I received the e-mail advising me that I had not paid. I bet there are still many people who missed that message and who are still waiting.

With my Gimp-Print project, I sent several reminders to people asking them to pay, and even now, 18 months afterwards there are postings by people along the lines of: "I have pledged money to the Gimp-Print project but never heard anything afterwards. Is the software available?". There was one recently by someone who posts regularly. Even if he did not receive my e-mails, I have no idea how he could have missed the announcements of the various releases of Gimp-Print and all the public discussions. Fortunately, the software is only available to supporters of the project (an arrangement that cannot work with Firefox), so I *know* that the users who have not paid are not freeloaders, they either simply missed the announcements or were too busy or forgot to pay, which is very different from /not wanting/ to pay. And yes, there is still a small percentage of users who have not paid, even 18 months after the official payment day.

I find this discussion about freeloaders very irritating. I have found the RISC OS community to have very high standards.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 23/8/05 8:46AM
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wuerthne: no, it wasn't clear; that was of course the point of the email as I said. That was never in question, and it is fruitless to discuss it further.

As for freeloaders, I would make clear that my use of the word was quite different from that used by guestx, and I only mentioned it by way of clarification - my reference is only to a specific group that exists within every community, and has nothing to do with anyone who might have made a pledge.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/8/05 8:53AM
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Bad Bad me!

completely forgot, even after our e-mails, will do this now :@) sorry for the delay!

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 23/8/05 8:59AM
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Yes, I too only found out that Peter was calling in the pledges after I just happened to visit his website for another purpose. This was on return from a fortnight's holiday, so the notice might have been there for a while before In saw it. ISTR that the announcement of the first release of Firefox on Drobe only stated that the Firefox beta was available, not that the payments were due. I had sort of expected that all the pledgers would be informed by email when they were expected to pay up (as Martin did with Gimp-print). I could well understand people not paying because they were not aware that payment was due. It seems that Peter has now sent out the emails, so hopefully he will get the expected response. It would be unethical and unfair on Peter for people not to honour their pledges. It might also discourage other similar efforts in the future.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 23/8/05 9:19AM
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For reference, the email was sent some weeks ago. This was accompanied by a notice posted to csaa.announce with Beta 3 along with notes on drobe and prominent notices on the download pages.

Yes, of course people have been away, on holiday, missed it because of visiting the far side of the moon, etc. However, the number of people is too large to reasonably account for that.

Sadly, this thread has quickly turned into what looks like endless complaints, which was anything but the focus of the original blog post, nor my intention. Nor has anyone seen fit to comment on the other issues I raised in that post.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/8/05 10:10AM
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Lets not forget that it isn't just the people who originally pledged that should honour their commitment, but if you didn't pledge, have downloaded the beta and are getting siginificant use out of it, then please show your appreciation of the developers by putting a little food on their table. Minor things such as eating will enable the riscosification of FireFox to continue.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 23/8/05 10:44AM
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Only a completely different note, I recently learnt that the Cockney term for 25UKP is a "pony" (from pony and trap). Combine that with the other popular expression (which seems to have a different etymology) to "pony up", meaning to pay. 25UKP is of course a basic UPP subscription.

As if that weren't enough, the latter phrase comes from a Psalm for the 25th of Feburary.

Time to call in PV; I think we have a conspiracy.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/8/05 11:50AM
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lol that is also my brithday ;@P

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 23/8/05 12:04PM
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I'm another non-payer who had no idea that the time had come to pay up.

Anyway, I've been in Iraq for the last 4 months - possibly the only person in that whole sorry nation using RISC OS on a daily basis.

I'll decide to pay up or not when I've had chance to find out what its all about and whether or not Firefox works for me - to be honest I've never used it.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 23/8/05 12:31PM
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UPP: Unpaid Porting Ponies ?

 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 23/8/05 3:06PM
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cynic: If you pledged to pay something you should pay, plain and simple. If you didn't, but feel like giving something if you think it looks good then that's fine.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 23/8/05 3:38PM
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*In reply to SimonC*

Peter says quite clearly on his website that if Firefox doesn't work then the pledge doesn't need to be paid.

When, to quote Peter, I "have a version I can use" then I'll pay up quite happily.

Anyway give me a break - I've been back in the country less than a day and playing with Firefox isn't on my list of priorities.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 23/8/05 4:18PM
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cynic: Don't recall seeing that last time I looked, but I haven't done for a while. I'd read "whether it works for me" as meaning if you decide you like it, not whether it even goes or not, sorry.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 23/8/05 4:25PM
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I'd just like to thank all those who have sent me their subscriptions over the last few days either as pledge payments or new subscriptions. Also worthy of mention is the conclusion of CJE's memory upgrade offer, for which I received a nice payment. For anyone worried about the validity of my mailing address, there will be an announcement very shortly, once I confirm a few details.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/8/05 12:02PM
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I couldn't find the expression 'pony up' in the Psalm for the 25th February (see mrchocky's comment of 23/8/05), perhaps he is singing from a different psalter, but I am sure it is an ill omen for those who don't pay up. ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserDaveLane on 26/8/05 3:00PM
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It's actually 25th March (but don't let facts destroy a good conspiracy). See:


 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/8/05 4:21PM
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mrchocky needs to state the year as the church calendar varies each year (e.g. date of Easter). On looking up etymonline, it seems to be 25th March /1824/ for the day of the psalm. To find which psalm you have to work out where 25th March comes in the church's year for 1824!

 is a RISC OS UserDaveLane on 26/8/05 7:40PM
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Bringing it back from a religeous theme; the collection plate is being passed round the pews, get your hands out of your pockets and give generously.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 2/9/05 11:06AM
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