Thoughts on Growl 1.3 being a paid app now

I just browsed the Mac AppStore and saw Growl on sale for $2. At first I wanted to give a 1-Star Review and call it a scam, selling free software for money. Then I went to the Growl Homepage and saw that this is true.

Now, I don't have a problem with them charging now, it's their right. And $2 really isn't much, I bought it immediately since I use growlnotify a lot.

What is prompting me to write this blog posting: I wonder what this means for third party app developers?

When Growl was free (1.2.2 still is), it was a no-brainer to implement it in your App. You could tell your user to download it, or you just snuck it in with your apps (much to the dismay of the developers, who had to put up a notice on their web site). Now, your users have to make an additional $2 purchase regardless if your app is free or paid. And due to the way the Mac AppStore works, you can't just decide to pay the $2 for your users and bundle Growl with your app - even if you include a $2 git certificate, your users now need an iTunes account.

Now, in an ideal world where every user has an iTunes/App Store account this isn't an issue, but I still wonder if this decision will lead to everyone reinventing the wheel and adding their own notification system again? (Or forking/distributing Growl 1.2.2 for all of eternity or until a Mac OS X version that doesn't support it comes up).

Again, I don't want to speak ill of developers who created an amazing piece of software and now charge a minimal amount for it. I just wonder if this may cause issues for us Third Party app developers?

In an ideal world, Tim Cook will announce that Mac OS X 10.8 comes bundled with Growl, that all Apple Apps support it, that GNTP becomes an integral part for distributed notifications, that it integrates into iOS' notifications system etc. pp. Your move, Apple.

Comments (5)

billybob macintoshOctober 22nd, 2011 at 10:28

Why should we pay for an app that pops up with info? It seems like the simplest thing in the universe, I also find growl totally annoying so I'm going to write my own!

and then give it away for free

meOctober 25th, 2011 at 12:53

With notification center in IOS 5 is won't be long for Apple to put is in OSX too.
I always loved Growl, but wouldn't pay for notifications.

Other thins I would love built in in the next OSX:
- a native geektool
- a native quicksilver, including the plugin architecture, which can also be triggered with voicecontrol (like Siri)

Alan HewettNovember 7th, 2011 at 02:05

I am conflicted, as an aspiring developer I say go for It and good for them.
However, as a consumer, things get murky. Sole App-Store distribution along with forking the build, rub me more the wrong way than the $2. I don't know why, but I would be more inclined to buy it through their website. For individuals, this is fine, but for schools and enterprise environments, something like this could turn into a headache. It could just be we are making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

JasonNovember 8th, 2011 at 00:03

Look a little deeper on the Growl homepage. Third party developers can continue to use Growl and it's still free. In fact, the new SDK seems to be even better. Instead of third-parties having to install the growl app as a whole, they get a small piece of it, enough to let them pop up the messages they want. If the user wants more control, they can get the growl app itself and it all integrates together.

Personally, I'm pretty happy with this. I think a lot of thought went into it and I think it's a good move overall.

It would be very cool to see it integrated into OSX at some point, with IOS 5 extensions as well!

BobbybillNovember 29th, 2011 at 21:49

@Billybob: I'd welcome your app. As an end user I had no idea this was anything more than a simple system-level update. I always had growl, shipped with my Mac. Needless to say the choice to make someone pay for it makes the Microsoft team look like saints for the years of pushing updates through Windows Update without even a thought of charging for them.