Thank you very much for sharing your opinions. Please allow me to reply below.
require that all source changes be provided back unless they buy a special license that allows them to keep the changes confidential.
This is not a good idea. If customer implemented some code to update the sensitive info (e.g. customer info, billing info), and customer contributes back to iRedAdmin-Pro, the code may leak my SQL structure, etc. Also, as @Dexus said, "i dont get money from you, so i dont make it public." That's the reality.
Ironically, we have also set an initiative in 2015 to start investigating how to contribute back to iRedMail and iRedMail Pro beyond purchasing licenses.
I don't understand why it becomes ironical if you contribute to iRedMail project. I want to make it clear here, because you always say "iRedMail Pro", we don't have "iRedMail Pro"
*) iRedMail will always stay open source (GPL) and free. All mail services are implemented in iRedMail.
*) We're talking about iRedAdmin-Pro - the web admin panel. It's just a web-based admin panel, it doesn't provide mail services like POP3/IMAP/SMTP/HTTP, etc.
Have you ever considered a support model?
Open source projects have many ways to generate profit, but that doesn't means it works for all open source projects.
As you may know, we provide paid remote support service, charges USD $39 per ticket. Let me show you the numbers of support tickets in 2014:
2014-01: 4 ($116 total, $29 per ticket)
2014-02: 13 ($377 total)
2014-03: 6 ($234 total, $39 per ticket)
2014-04: 12 ($468)
2014-05: 9 ($351)
2014-06: 6 ($234)
2014-07: 7 ($273)
2014-08: 8 ($312)
2014-09: 5 ($195)
2014-10: 2 ($78)
2014-11: 3 ($117)
2014-12: 7 ($273)
82 support tickets, $3028 total in 2014.
iRedMail is too easy to install, not many customers bought remote iRedMail installation support. And very few customers (less than 5) asked me to provide long term support before, but unfortunately, no final deals.
Now you know the numbers, it's obvious this mode doesn't work for iRedMail project.
What worried me is not the closed source model ... but the price per mailboxes model... .... Speak frankly iredadmin ose is quite unusable for a "serious" admin's work because it has few functionalities , and the
removal of product like phpmyadmin and phpldapadmin from the iredmail 0.90 does not help.
About why we remove phpMyAdmin/phpLDAPadmin/phpPgAdmin, it's clearly mentioned in iRedMail-0.9.0 release notes, and we asked for feedback in mailing list on Jul 21:
https://groups.google.com/forum/?pli=1# … 5l1aDpxzSQ
Ask these users if they would donate to such a project/product vs purchase?
Donating doesn't work for iRedMail project. We have donate button on web site before, i received few donates, i guess it's about $300 total. yep, total.
what about a code base to control the account number for the appropriate number of accounts.
This is what we're going to do.
Ask for contributions and/or crowd funding.
Crowd funding for what? And you cannot ask for contributions/donations/crowd funding every year, we're not big project like FreeBSD/OpenBSD, we cannot get enough money to live.
Selling license of iRedAdmin-Pro is a persistent and steady way to get profit, and the most important point is, it works quite well. so we can keep iRedMail project moving on.
End result is that another "open source" project will emerge to further compete with iRedMail.
Customers always have choice, they choose the one matches their needs, that's good thing for customers. We cannot avoid this situation.