Yesterday I upgraded FeedDemon to version 4. In the process, I did something new - I paid for a license.
For the last year or two that I've been using it, FeedDemon has been ad supported. The full feature set was available for free, but there was a little ad in the lower left-hand corner. If you wanted to get rid of that, you could buy a license key, but frankly, I never really cared that much.
Now, however, the business model has changed. There's now a free "Lite" version with some missing features and a paid "Pro" version with all the features and no ads. One of the annoying parts of this was that the features in the "pro" version are not all new - the for-pay features include some things that were previously free.
This bothered me a little for a couple of minutes. Then I read the FeedDemon author's article about why he changed the business model. Apparently, FeedDemon is no longer run by NewsGator. It's still branded for them, but they let the author, Nick Bradbury, go and returned control of the program to him. Apparently he's now doing the independent developer thing and making his living selling FeedDemon.
Well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I've tried a number of RSS readers - Linux, Windows, and web - and FeedDemon is the only one I've ever really liked. This is a program I use every day, I want some of the "pro" features, and buying it would help out a fellow developer. And to top it all off, he's only asking a lousy $20 for it. That's a no-brainer. So I bought a license and I'd encourage any other FeedDemon users to do the same.
Incidentally, some of the comments on Nick's article were really depressing. With users like some of those, I don't envy him trying to make his living off FeedDemon. Supporting a one-man project is tough enough when you release it as open-source and you don't owe anything to anyone. It must be hard trying to do right by people who paid you money when they feel your work is lacking - even (especially?) if they're clearly being unreasonable. Working 9 to 5 (well, officially 8 to 5 in my case, but you get the idea) might not be sexy, but at least it's stable and they pay someone else to deal with unhappy customers.
One thing I did notice in the new version that I found a little disappointing was the change in some of the newspaper themes. FeedDemon basically displays feeds as an HTML document and has a number of themes that control the look of the feed list and allows you to set themes on a per-feed basis. Changing the theme is now a "pro" feature, and I really wanted this, as I have several feeds that I have set to use the Outland theme, which is a nice, clean theme that displays full entries rather than just summaries. However, this theme is gone in FeedDemon 4.
The up side is that, while the theme format may have changed in FD4, it hasn't changed much. The "styles" are still just that - CSS and XSLT. In fact, I still had the Outland.fdxsl2 theme file sitting in my "C:\Program Files (x86)\FeedDemon\Data\Styles" directory, so I just tried renaming it to Outland.fdxsl4, restarting FD, and guess what? It worked! The only real problem was that the border on the feed was a little off, so I commented out the border on the HTML element (line 24), and it was just fine.
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