Monday, June 6, 2011

Why We Love Open Source

We work really hard to make 2cloud in an open source, dentralised format. We spend a lot of time making everything in such a way that you can set up your own server, your own clients, and run them without us knowing anything about it. We believe (strongly!) that you don't need our permission to use our software how you want to.

Fortunately, we aren't the only ones that believe in this. We wanted to take a moment to thank the companies and individuals who have offered us discounts and free services just because our software is open source. These people deserve a round of applause.


  • Tender runs the 2cloud help site. We love it. It makes handling user problems, suggestions, and requests easy. It helps keep everything running, keep all the questions answered. And because 2cloud is open source, Tender has graciously provided this service to us for free.
  • Github stores our code base and issue trackers. It's amazing. Anyone can contribute a patch to any of our software using a pull request. We all stay on the same page, thanks to their phenomenal issues support. Because our repositories are all open source, we get this for free.
  • Balsamiq Mockups helps us figure out how to make our different software. We hear a lot about how terrible our UX and UI is, and we're working hard on that. Balsamiq is making everything so much easier. We generate mockups quickly, and they help us clarify our thinking. And again, thanks to their support for open source projects, Balsamiq has provided this software to us for free.
Are these the only products we use that support open source? Of course not. We use a lot of open source applications in our development: Android, vim, Eclipse, NodeJS, Chromium... The list of open source software that makes this project possible is staggering in its size.

We're eating a lot of costs to keep the public server up, and free. While your donations are appreciated and helpful, they don't cover the hosting costs... by quite a margin. Since Second Bit acquired 2cloud in January 2011, it has spent $400 on keeping the server online. That's $400 more than has been donated. And while we've made strides that make our server cheaper and cheaper to keep online, we've been struggling to keep pace with more and more users. Our next iteration will cost about as much to run, but will be available on more platforms than ever, and the upgrade is focused on adding more and more platforms in an easy, scalable, modularised way. We're really proud of the system we've come up with, but it's going to lead to increased costs as iOS and Firefox users (eventually) join our ranks. We've been talking with Spaz about including it natively in their award-winning Twitter client for Adobe Air and HP's webOS. We're really excited about this, but again, we need to find a way to pay for all this new traffic. Between January 1st and today, 14,700 people have used 2cloud. That's a lot of people in six months. And as we advance to new platforms and add new ways to share links and new features, we expect that number to explode.

We're working on a donation system that will let you sign up to be a subscriber. It will bill you $5 a month, for as long as you want to support the service. It will also accept one-off donations. Of course, our top donators will be listed (if they choose) with a (optionally) a link to a website of their choice, as our way of saying thank you for support. This system isn't ready yet, but we're working hard on it. In the meantime, I encourage to donate if you can. The public server is surviving by the skin of its teeth, as money runs out for it. Don't worry-- when the new service is ready, we'll email everyone that has donated with instructions on how to claim your donations publicly if you'd like.

Thank you all for your support of this software. Really, it's mind-blowing. And a huge thank you goes to all the companies and individuals who support open source software. You make this project possible.

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