Dear Comrade

I sent you this post because you criticized my product for not being free. Maybe on Reddit, maybe on Hacker News, maybe somewhere else. It probably took you less than a minute to comment, on work that took me years or months to create, so I thought I'd spend the same amount of time and direct you here.

You probably have a job that you're getting paid for. If not, say when you're a student, virtually every adult you see on the street does. My living comes from creating new products and services. Is that so horrible?

We all like free stuff. But in a world where everything is free, we are the product. It's a world where big corporations have all the power because they are the only ones who can afford to offer "free" services. Is that in our interest?

I am not a big corporation. In fact, creating products is hard and I almost certainly make less money than you. By putting me down, you are not fighting the big evil. You are bashing a little guy who's trying to innovate. I have neither the power nor the desire to be a threat to you. The most I can achieve is find new ideas that others in the space can copy easily.

Maybe you also dislike the fact that my project is not open source, or not made available for free under the most permissive terms. As a software developer, my work would be impossible without free software. I know that. If I could open source my product, I would. But it's almost certain that I would then not be able to make a living from it. This in turn would mean that I couldn't devote myself to it full-time. I believe in the project and that is not an option for me.

So when you critique my product or offer alternatives, by all means do take into account that it's paid. But don't make it your only point. The world is too nuanced for that. I hope you will find things it does better than the alternatives. And whichever conclusion you come to, please let it exist. It's just another option and may help somebody out there.

Michael started fman in 2016, convinced that we deserve a better file manager. fman's launch in 2017 was a huge success. But despite full-time work, it only makes $500 per month. The goal is to fix this.