About Material Theme’s new Pricing Model
Hi people, Elior “Mallowigi” here.
This post will hopefully shed some light about the new pricing model for the Material Theme UI plugin.
But first let me address some points in the form of Q & A:
Q: Why did the plugin switched to a subscription system rather than a one-off payment?
A: While this might be the de-facto solution for other products like apps, for IDE plugins it is another story. You see, unlike operating systems that change once every two years or so, IDEs and Editors evolve all the time, especially JetBrains IDEs (but VSCode, Sublime, etc as well).
Therefore, it requires constant maintenance, constantly checking what’s new and what’s broken and fix it accordingly. If you check the state of the plugin a few years ago, you’d see that it is completely different to what it is today. Perhaps the core have stayed the same, but it has a lot of new features, improvements etc.
So paying up one-time would only be good if you never update your IDE. If that’s your case, well then it’s another story. If there is enough demand I can try to make support for “specific builds” which would cost less than the annual license since it doesn’t require maintenance. But for now it doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially since JetBrains themselves are using the subscription model.
Q: Why switching now? Aren’t you a tad greedy?!
A: Well, I’ve been doing opensource development for quite a while now, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t be rewarded for my work. Don’t get me wrong, I support open-source and still contribute to it whenever I can, but there is nothing wrong on doing both free AND paid products.
Working on the Material Theme and Atom Material Plugins is a wonderful experience! I am in charge of my own products, deciding what features will be and need to be fixed, all the while listening to user feedback to constantly try to improve.
But all of this has a price, and it is at the cost of many, many days and nights, with only myself and JetBrains’s source code to figure out how to make stuff how I want. And all of this is the work of one-guy only, myself. Not a company, not a group of devs, but just one man that worked during his free time only to make beautiful things for himself and for others.
So, I pondered for a while, but could never do it, because I was afraid of the users’ reaction. But after 4 years, I think I should be allowed to think about myself for a bit.
So here we are today, I’m asking of you, if you like or liked the Material Theme, see this as a token of appreciation for all the work done, not only as a capitalist, lucrative move.
Q: Well in that case how can I trust you that you won’t take our money and leave?
A: Well, I can’t promise you that I will keep working on this (and other plugins) all my life. I’m already 35 years old (as of today 19.02.21) and have a job and a family of my own. But I still love to develop, and even more when it’s something that I made up from scratch. (well technically ChrisRM started it, but most of the work to make it what is today is from me, not to brag or anything).
I even recently started porting it to other platforms, such as Google Chrome and Slack. So there’s not a valid reason to think that I would stop now that I’m asking money from users.
Q: So is the plugin going to be closed-source?
A: Well, yeah. Since it is now copyrighted, it has gone away from the OpenSource ecosystem. But all work done so far will stay accessible on GitHub so that plugin developers can still use my knowledge to come up with solutions to their issues. And I’m still available on Slack and YouTrack to be able to answer people’s questions
Q: Hey by the way! I supported you before when you had nothing! And now I have to pay?!
A: Okay, first of all let me tell you that I’m truly grateful for all the support you guys gave me!!! When I took the reins of this project I would have never imagined that it would become so popular, and that people would even support me financially!!!
For that I am eternelly indebted to all of you, therefore all people that donated more than $1.00 are entitled to a free lifetime license. And that is also true for companies that donated more than $75.
If you had donated in the past, or have contributed to the project(s), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send you your free license.
And again, thank you. I could never have done it without you guys!!!
Q: But $15 a year is too much for a theme!!!
A: Well, maybe, it all depends on how much you think this is worth it. To me, from someone who had been pouring a lot of days and weekends into this in order to have a slick and customizable IDE, $15 is but a small contribution. But of course it can depend on a lot of factors. $15 here might be a lot in other parts of the world or even for some households. I’m not trying to be condescending or anything. If anything, if the price is the issue, don’t hesitate to contact me, perhaps I can give you a discount, or a trial extension if you want.
Also, if you are a student, a classroom, a non-profit organization, an open-source contributor or a plugin developer, you can use the plugin for free.
You just need to talk, I’m here, and listening to everyone :)
Q: But why should I pay for a theme when there are tons of others for free?
A: Sure, there are tons of other free themes, but none other push the customization as much as the Material Theme UI.
This plugin is not just a theme, or just themes (because there are actually 15 themes bundled as of today 19.02.21), but it’s a set of features that give you a greater control of your IDE’s appearance.
I suppose you know it already but with this plugin you can:
- Customize your theme colors without the need to make a plugin!
- Customize your tabs: change the indicator color, size and position, or the tab font size
- Customize your panels: increase the size of tables, dropdowns, statusbar…
- Customize your project view: change indent, line height, colorize directories, change the font size
- Customize the IDE: change the font, the file status colors, make buttons uppercase, add shadows…
- And other tweaks such as having a themed title bar, colorize your scrollbars, add classy wallpapers…
And I’m not talking about other non-related features such as Language Additions, Project Frame Decorator, etc.
But it’s your choice in the end. If you don’t care about all of this eye-candy, and only care about your IDE theme and schemes, you can still use this plugin for free, or pick from a selection from other themes.
I hope this answers most of the questions. If anything is unclear, don’t hesitate to email me or come say hello in the Slack Channel.
And, last but not least, if you like this plugin, please give it a 5-star review!