Well, to be sincere, I wanted to stop posting for few days till the publication of the results of our Award (at which most probably we’ll change the name in order to distinguish from Embarcadero’s award – we’re open for naming ideas, of course… 😉 ).
But the Team’s real desire to have a nice dialogue with us – see Mike’s postings in .non-technical, but not only 😉 – forces us to give them a humble idea, perhaps it would help…
As we all know, the community momentum which we pass now is how to make our tool of choice more accessible and how to grab new users. The main problem isn’t if this must be done or not – the main problem resides in the fact that (as Mike Rozlog wrote) is difficult to choose the right feature matrix in order to please everyone – both the company and the community.
Well, I do think that besides of having a low-priced entry-level edition for hobbyists (etc.) and (near-to) free editions for students, perhaps is better to have a hosted (cloud) solution.
In other words:
‘Someone’ to have one, two… ten (etc.) (virtual) servers with the best Delphi distribution (D2010 – Architect) configured for the best developer experience as far as it goes, in the term of costs: put all the free valuable things inside: the latest JCL+JVCL, the latest CnPack, the latest VirtualTreeView, the latest Firebird, the latest MySQL etc. And if some vendor wants to give some components there so far so good. Also give space. 4-5 GB is more than sufficient for a single programmer. Perhaps you can install also a small LAN between, let’s say, 4-5 such (virtual) servers. Also, don’t forget the backup. Be merciful – give joy to developer.
All this will be set up on a eg. Windows 2003 Server (or similar) with Terminal Services (or similar) installed. Then ‘The Someone’ 😉 will have a ‘freemium‘ model for the user accounts (eg. one month – 250 hours – free. More than one month 250 hours – payed – but a small amount guys!!!) aso. The users can log in using any Remote Desktop Connection tool accepted by the ‘Someone’, for example, the classical Remote Desktop Connection which is shipped by default in WinXP (mstsc.exe) and work remotely on the ‘Someone”s servers.
If we’ll have everything for free what will ‘Someone’ gain? The biggest limitation will be that the user will not be able for free to take his files out from that hosted (virtual) server. But, of course, if someone wants to do something which is an one-go – a ‘situational application‘ as Mike Rozlog & IBM guys define it – (for example one wants to find the result for a complex formula) – and after this he wants to just throw away the program or just keep it there on the VM – so far so good. We aren’t executioners, isn’t it?
Of course, for an respectable amount, the user will can actually download from there his work (sources, compiled exe, dll etc.). (Sons, watch out at the Internet access – one can use eMail and/or FTP/HTTP to upload his files outside)
I do think that such a freemium compiling service, properly set up (no Snail Servers please) and advertised (“We open this service for Learning, Playing” etc.), will boost the Delphi’s popularity significantly due of many many factors ranging from a true before-buy model till the ‘coolness factor du jour’ which (unfortunately) sometimes is badly needed. And of course, if ‘Someone’ thinks that, after a while, the service isn’t profitable anymore (from any point of view: financial, goodwill, advertising etc.) the ‘Someone’ can shut it down, announcing of course the users that in ‘x’ days we’ll close. No problem. Isn’t something which is the end of the world.
I’m even thinking to set up myself such a service but I’m afraid that the license doesn’t allow it. But ‘Someone’ else 😉 surely can.
What do you think?