We’ve seen a flurry of tweets and posts recently from the community about the future of Horos. There are naysayers calling Horos dead. Others suggesting that changes Apple has made have impacted the code’s performance. With a small number of vocal supporters acknowledging that keeping Horos functioning through this period is difficult and expensive.
We are proud to proclaim that the Horos project is still active and vibrant, but not without its challenges.
The difficulties involved in keeping a free open source project alive and well are numerous. Even with a community that is bordering on half a million registered users, we have the daunting task of ensuring there is sufficient financial support to pay for the technical work that continually needs to be provided to stay up to date with Apple’s operating system changes.
The vast majority of our community uses Horos completely free of charge. Only about 1,000 of you contribute anything to the well-being of the project. That means that about 2% of the total user base pays the freight for the other 98% of our users.
Purview has shouldered the financial burden of technical updates, bug fixes, and maintaining the Horosproject.org website for the past six and a half years. We get assistance from a small group of dedicated technologists in the Horos community who freely contribute their precious time and knowledge to the project, even though their talents are scarce and highly sought out elsewhere.
Technical expertise is expensive; changes that Apple continues to make in its hardware and operating software throw roadblocks in our way; and the Horos code is aging, the product and its processor are nearing the two-decade mark of maturity, making changes and updates that much more difficult.
Purview (The Chief Sponsor of Horos) offsets some of its Horos operating costs by receiving donations from the loyal members of the Horos community, from paid-for support services, cloud sharing, and reporting (although these are delivered at near breakeven), and from the sale of user documentation and training videos. However, all of these combined don’t add up to nearly enough to fund what is required to keep Horos at the top of its game. Purview contributes the rest of the costs.
Several years ago, we pledged to keep Horos free and open. We don’t plan to step that back.
Instead, we are going to begin a campaign to “encourage” those who can afford it, to contribute on a regular basis to the project. We will do this via a voluntary payment from each person who downloads the product. Our goal will be to raise sufficient funds to put a focused part-time technical resource on the payroll, with their sole focus on keeping Horos as current and functional as practical.
We know that doing this is expensive. We will need to generate somewhere near $100,000 US net of costs of credit cards and collection; more if we really want Horos to shine. With the current number of downloads per month, that means on average, is if everyone volunteers $5 each time they download a copy of Horos, we will have this covered. That certainly seems like a small contribution to such an amazing piece of software!