From: Jesper Skov (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jul 03 2002 - 04:33:57 EDT
The Last Free AbiWord Weekly News
AbiWord Weekly News #100 will be the last free (gratis) issue edited
The company I formerly worked for decided to cut the engineering group
I was working in. So I'm without a job, and I must admit, also without
much enthusiasm at present. The last months have not been much fun,
and I need a break.
All is not bad though; I'm getting married in August, and we will go
for an 11 day honeymoon to Kenya. It will be a blast, I'm sure.
As a result of these two rather big events, I have been thinking a bit
about Life and Everything. In particular, I have been thinking a bit
about AbiWord Weekly News.
Most of you have probably noticed the contribution button at the
bottom of the newsletter. A grand total of seven people have
contributed money - for which I'm very grateful - but it's rather
pitiful given the 2000+ exposures of the newsletter every week.
I didn't exactly expect to get rich when I added the contribution
button. After all, everyone had been reading free AWN issues edited by
me for about a year before that, so few would consider paying. I'm not
one bit surprised, but I am a little disappointed.
I feel I need to know that I'm not just continuing editing AWN because
it's what I've been doing for more than a year. I need to know that
the readers appreciate it - otherwise, there's little point in
continuing (I mean, I know the information I put in AWN, so I hardly
gain anything from doing it). So I've decided to go commercial.
Presenting Your AbiWord Weekly News Editor
Hi, my name is Jesper. I am a news junkie.
So, now you all know. What it means is that I love following
development of various projects. Some years back, I got addicted to
Kernel Traffic, the Mozilla weekly status updates, the Mozilla build
bar comments, Linux Weekly News, and release announcements of a few
projects that had my interest. Oh, and AbiWord Weekly News, of course.
Problem is that some of these are now sporadically updated at best
(yes, I've contributed money to both LWN and KT which I continue to
read). It's horrible to go to www.mozilla.org on Thursdays for one's
weekly fix to find the page without change. So I stopped to spare
myself from the disappointment. Likewise for AWN (Sam stopped editing
it after issue 40), which was the newsletter I enjoyed reading the
Having recovered from going cold turkey on AWN, I eventually took on
the job as AWN editor. And being a news junkie, I know that the goods
have to be delivered every week, on time, to avoid causing that
terrible feeling of a void in people's lifes :)
I think I've done pretty well in that regard; in 60 issues there's
been a couple of times when I changed the release day (I think those
may even have been announced beforehand) and I've taken a couple of
(announced) breaks. There was one time where your AWN fix^H^Heed was
cut off for a time without prior notice when I was recovering from an
operation (burst appendix) - I do apologize for that, but it was
beyond my control (honest!).
Anyway, the bottom line is that I have decided to make AbiWord Weekly
News a subscription newsletter. That way I will get the financial
compensation I think is fair (from *all* readers) and, more
importantly, I will know how many actually care to read it so I can
stop writing it if I feel there's no point.
AbiWord Weekly News Subscription
There may be slight changes in the subscription details, but they
presently go like this:
All recent AbiWord contributors (programmers, QA helpers,
documentation writers, translaters, etc.) will get free access to
AWN. Some perpetually (those I know will continue contributing to
AbiWord development) and others for limited periods of time depending
on the nature of their contribution.
All (seven) who have presently contributed money for AWN will get
perpetual free access. They have shown that they care about AWN!
Again, thank you!
Everybody else will have to pay US$3 per quarter via paypal. At the
current paypal fee level that works out to about US$0.21 per issue in
my account. That's US$21 per week at 100 subscribers to cover the
bills for my ADSL line and the electricity to leave the box running
24/7, leaving a whooping US$3 for the 1-2 hours I spend on each
issue. I don't plan on an early retirement, trust me!
I *will* do one full quarter of AbiWord Weekly News (12 issues),
starting in September when I return from my honeymoon. The first
issue will summarize everything that has happened in the 7 weeks or
so between the last free issue and then.
If fewer than 100 people opt to pay the subscription fee, or when I
get fed up with editing AWN, I reserve the right to stop issuing AWN
and refund people. Please don't pay up front for anything but the
first quarter until I know if I'll be likely to continue editing AWN.
Refunds will be US$2 per (unused) pre-paid quarter (for a maximum of
To control access to the AWN newsletters, I will have to host them on
my personal machine. The access control will be in the form of an
account named by your email address and a password sent to this
address. Subscribers will receive an announcement mail directly.
When issues are 3 months old, I will move them to
www.abisource.com. Should I decide to discontinue the service, I will
move all issues to www.abisource.com.
I have considered some way of avoiding abuse by only letting people
access the newest issue only once. But then, there's nothing easier
in the world than saving the HTML to a file and posting it elsewhere,
so there's not much point. Hopefully US$3/quarter is too little for
people to bother trying to circumvent it (fingers crossed).
You can, should you be so inclined, buy a perpetual subscription for
US$20 (or anything above). But seeing as I cannot guarantee that I
will continue editing AWN for more than the first quarter, you should
mentally think of this as a contribution for the past issues of AWN
you have read - and then feign happy surprise for each additional
issue you get to read after the first guaranteed quarter.
Any payment below US$3 will be rejected (possibly subject to paypal
fees). Anything over US$3 and below US$20 will be considered up front
subscription payment at US$3 per quarter, subject to the refund rule
above should I discontinue the service before the money run out.
Of course, someone may decide that AWN shouldn't cost money, and
offer to edit future issues of AWN for free. But nobody stepped
forward when Sam stopped writing AWN over a year ago, nor did anyone
offer themselves the few times I've asked someone to take over. So I
think it would be unlikely. [And should it happen, I will refund as
per description above].
If you feel you trust me enough to splash out US$3, you can do it at
any time from now on so you are sure to get the announcement for the
first non-free issue. Send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) US$3 via paypal. I
will create your account (with the email name you use at paypal) and
send you email with an access password when the time comes. You can
also decide to wait until I've released the first non-free issue.
Finally, you can spend some time furthering AbiWord development. There's
plenty of jobs that you can do, even if you are not a programmer. Join
the community and prove yourself willing to spend some time on
improving AbiWord, and you might find yourself with a free (possible
limited) subscription. Of course, even if you have received free
access to AWN, I'd still be happy if you paid for a subscription :)
Until Next Time...
I will spend some time over the coming weeks on making the
infrastructure to control access to AWN issues. I will probably (but
not guaranteed) use issues 101 and 102 to test the system, providing
early access to a few testers via the subscription system.
Jesper Skov, July 3rd 2002
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