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Charging for Skins?

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AeonSlayer
Posts: 2
Joined: October 11th, 2009, 1:46 am

Charging for Skins?

Post by AeonSlayer »

It has recently come to my attention that author r3ginald is charing for his theme darkstep.

(http://r3ginald.tumblr.com/post/322026702/darkstep)

I am just wondering if this is an acceptable action to take, considering that the rainmeter program is free?

I do not ask in any attempt to cause trouble for r3ginald, quite the opposite, I'm simply wondering if this is acceptable, as I would then consider charging for my own WIP skins.

Thanks for any help rainmeter community :D

- AeonSlayer / Simon
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jsmorley
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Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:02 pm
Location: Fort Hunt, Virginia, USA

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by jsmorley »

AeonSlayer wrote:It has recently come to my attention that author r3ginald is charing for his theme darkstep.

(http://r3ginald.tumblr.com/post/322026702/darkstep)

I am just wondering if this is an acceptable action to take, considering that the rainmeter program is free?

I do not ask in any attempt to cause trouble for r3ginald, quite the opposite, I'm simply wondering if this is acceptable, as I would then consider charging for my own WIP skins.

Thanks for any help rainmeter community :D

- AeonSlayer / Simon
There are two answers to that question from my own personal point of view.

1) There is absolutely nothing legally that stops a user from charging for a skin design. While Rainmeter is open source, the source code is licensed under the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE version 1.2 (1991) which basically means that if you take the Rainmeter source and make your own program (JSMorleyMeter for instance), you may NOT charge for this program. You agree by using the source that any derivative program you make with it will ALSO be free. However, there is no way to enforce this down to the level of a "skin" made FOR Rainmeter. An author has the legal right to copyright and charge for the design elements (graphics, layout, etc) that are his own creations. While Microsoft may own the rights to Microsoft Visual Studio and the tools to make programs with C#, people can and do make applications and charge for them using the tools.

2) While it may be legal, and I understand his motivation (he is charging a minimal fee to cover his expenses for distributing the skin and providing support - he is hardly going to get rich) I disagree with it completely. Rainmeter has always been an "open community" where we all delight in sharing our skins and techniques and shamelessly steal ideas from each other in a way that is really good for Rainmeter and each other. Charging for skins really rubs me the wrong way. Once again, I understand and can sympathize with his motivations, but you can be sure that any support question for his skins I see on this forum will be answered with a link to his web site and then locked. He is in effect (in my opinion only) abandoning the "community" approach to Rainmeter, and will need to provide his paid support on his own forums.
AeonSlayer
Posts: 2
Joined: October 11th, 2009, 1:46 am

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by AeonSlayer »

Thank you for sharing your view, and I must say, I tend to agree with it.

It was my expectation that this would be the view of (at least some of) those on the forum.

I would absolutely hate to lose the community feel of the program, and now that I know (again, at least some of) you are against the notion, I will certainly not consider charging for any of my skins.

I am still fairly new to skinning in RainMeter, but hopefully I'll be able to share some of my work with the community soon! :D

Thanks for your help!
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Dave_W
Posts: 37
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 10:58 am

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by Dave_W »

My view (for what that's worth, certainly less than people who have done more for the project) is that anyone who's creating a skin right now is doing so off the back of a hell of a lot of hard work put in by the likes of jsmorley, kaelri, kenz0, alex2539, ghostmatrix, sgtevmckary, dragonmage, rainy himself and plenty of others (apologies to those I've missed).

It wasn't that long ago that Rainmeter was basically abandonware. After Kaelri's desktop was featured on Lifehacker, pretty much, the whole thing picked up - Rainy was gracious enough to make the code available and the entire team has run with it from there. Ironing out the bugs, adding new features, liaising with external sources (e.g. the Accuweather feed), publicising the project, creating helper apps like themes and regexp tester, creating a default appearance for Rainmeter and making it SO easy to set up, setting up the forums in the first place and then taking the time to come here and pick through people's configs to help make them work...the list is endless.

To me it's a moral issue. Can anyone charging for skins honestly say that they've created them themselves, out of whole cloth? They haven't adapted anything out of Enigma? They haven't used any of the new features added in the last year or so? They haven't used the weather feed that the community found? They haven't ever once come here and found the answer to a problem with their skin, or a neat trick that let them do something they wanted to do? If that's honestly the case then I think it's legit to charge, but...I just don't believe anyone would be able to say that it was the case.
sgtevmckay

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by sgtevmckay »

I must first off say that this concept of Charging for skins disturbs me deeply

I understand the motivation, and by all technical what have you, there is nothing to say no.
I will say that I applaud r3ginald for original thinking, and maybe we motivated this a bit, by the coming of reducing the upload sizes to the forum.
His donating to the Haiti thing is strictly his priority, but this will not last, but a good "feel good" measure for the buyer.

For r3ginald: +2 Point(s)

That being said:
My monthly income is less that $300 USD at this time, I can barely aide myself, let alone spend $2 dollars frivolously.
I Donate 100's of hours to Rainmeter and a small handful of other programs a month, I do not build a lot of skins, and none of my ideas are original concept, but I would never have considered depriving anyone the pleasure of Modifying what I have done. For the few skins I have done, they take forever, as many of you know, my typing skill are BAD, and slow...So you can just imagine the time I put in.
I will never ask anyone to ask me permission to mod my skin(s) and I have developed an expectation of the same!
So I will not be investing.

I do not say this to belittle his or anyone else's work to be sure
I almost feel that this concept flies in the face of the Rainmeter Concept and community
I most certainly agree that Morley's statement #2 covers a lot of what I will say, but most of all, that paid for skins are certainly going to get cut off from support here, not so much from any type of prejudice, but because we can not assist with a skin that we have no knowledge of :roll:
In this instance the skin builder is on his own, and no one supporting him, or very selective few.
I fear that this may create for an aristocracy of skins, you want the best , you will pay attitude, but this is personal choice.
The more I think of it, the more that a High and Mighty attitude is going to be developed in all this.
The skin builder must first represent themselves as an absolute authority on Rainmeter and have a skin with a quality higher than Enigma, HUD Vision, or many of JSMorley's works
Rainy can not even claim so much! No one has ever found the limits or the full capabilities of Rainmeter, and Rainmeter is growing everyday!

It would have been nice for the Rainmeter community here at the forums maybe been notified that this was coming :evil:
A bit of respect for those that have helped and assisted to this point :x
And this bring up the morality question of this action, which has been covered thoroughly :!:
my own emotional response

Ultimately one of three things is going to happen:
1.) Someone will buy it, and start handing out copies, either personally or via a P2P solution
2.) Someone acquires the code, makes the necessary 7% changes and then releases as a new skin, overriding any ability to enforce copyright privilege. Since the skinning language is so common, there would be no way to prove that someone else did not develop independently, so long as there are changes that exceed 7% of the original code.
3.) The concept will die on the husk! The number of folks that will pay for what can be built or modified is low indeed. There are going to be a few, because instant satisfaction is better than work to these folks, but with an ever growing market of free skins, the concept will soon fall by the way-side, and if it doesn't and somehow manages to grow.....I will abandon Rainmeter!

It is unfortunate, I consider r3ginald a valuable member of the Rainmeter community. It is my hope that he will still be a part of this community, but I do not see how we can assist.

Against the concept: -11
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maminscris
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Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by maminscris »

:shock: <- hope this explains a lot, I always use this program because it is free, and charging for a skin made for a program other people created it is absurd, cause the skin without the program is nothing. A donation request is more human, if i can put it that way
Zero at programing, zero at writing codes, so far 2 at making images
But I'm good at copy/paste, and I not always like this
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Benjamin Linus
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Joined: July 12th, 2009, 4:05 pm
Location: The Island

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by Benjamin Linus »

:(-

The moment i have 2 dollars free i will donate at this forum and nowhere else.
Nuff sed!
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groen
Posts: 12
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 5:58 pm

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by groen »

it looks to me like he modified enigma and then started charging for it :/

that actually might be illegal under the license that enigma is released under...

http://r3ginald.tumblr.com/post/322384385/heads-up
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Benjamin Linus
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Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by Benjamin Linus »

groen wrote:it looks to me like he modified enigma and then started charging for it :/
:Pirate:
Last edited by Benjamin Linus on February 23rd, 2010, 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jsmorley
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Location: Fort Hunt, Virginia, USA

Re: Charging for Skins?

Post by jsmorley »

We need to keep this civil and fact based. r3ginald is a good guy and there will be no bashing or questioning his motives. At the end of the day folks will "vote with their wallets" on this issue.