How long penpot will remain free?

Hello,
I’m new to penpot. I’ve been using sketch and figma. I can see the penpot resemblance with these and also can foresee the future. Both turn out to be suckers (money) after starting as freebie. I was wondering how long you guys will remain free?

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We have said many times that Penpot will remain open source and free forever for power users. At some point in the next few years, we will make sure we can put in place some monetization based on enterprise usage. We have been discussing how to be very explicit about this and share our plans in detail so expect some news soon and updated FAQs on this, but the TL;DR is “power users will enjoy Penpot for free and open source for ever, its companies than will required to pay for some extra benefits”

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Thanks for clarification. Who are the power users?

Users that need to make the most out of the tool and need total flexibility and freedom without the pain of paying for such capabilities

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@diacritica I’d quite like to know what I will be paying in the future before I start using Penpot and switch my team over from Figma.

I actually find it concerning that you don’t plan to charge power users. As someone who would be using penpot for work, in a team, I expect to pay for my tools. As a non-self hosted tool you’ll always be paying for my hosting my data, so it feels odd for you to rely only on other customers to pay for that.

I’d actually prefer to always pay than for you to start only charging enterprise customers and then later realise you’re not making enough money (or even worse, have investors insist on you making more money) and add on a pricing plan. That would feel deceitful.

In short, I’m looking forward to your announcement on pricing being clear and long term in scope.

@diacritica it’d also be nice to know if you’d offer differing pricing for, say, educational usage and for community, non-profit or open source projects.

Hi @brendanjones I think we’re not saying anything dissimilar to your request. Also, please note that you can both self-host and non self-host Penpot as it is open source software. What we will clarify very soon (most probably upon exiting BETA) is that it is imperative for us to NOT charge power users (defined above) for features that would be obviously considered core to their productivity. There are many thing we can charge for (marketplace content or plugin related, enterprise features, vanity or otherwise “cool” stuff, etc) but as a open source team we want to stay away from business practices that leave core elements of the value proposition of the tool outside the open source nature.

Now, for our SaaS offer, could we still ask that you pay something to enjoy the service (that you could otherwise pay for yourself if you self-hosted)? Sure! There are many valid ideas around that. Perhaps we can charge you for long term archiving or backups, for instance.

Enterprise customers (meaning companies bigger than 50 people using the tool) generally represent more than 80% of revenue for tools like Penpot. On proprietary SaaS you’re left with “aggressive per-seat pricing” where you fine tune the on-boarding journey so that most of the users arrive at a “conversion” point, the paywall. Open Source operates very differently and for its commercial model to succeed you need to be extremely popular on both SaaS and on-premise. That’s fine.

Everything I just said fully backed by our investors (if not directly suggested by them).
PS: you mentioned you’re using Figma. Do you have any clue as to where their pricing will be going after their recent 2021 pricing change and the even more recent Adobe acquisition?

Absolutely, the same we do with our sister project Taiga. Basically, either free or almost free for such organisations (on any premium tier we might have, I mean).

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Thanks for the in-depth answer, I appreciate it.

Quick FYI: nothing on your landing page https://penpot.app I’ve seen mentions the possibility of self-hosting, so I had assumed it wasn’t possible. That’s definitely a value proposition, it’d be a shame to only tell people who make it to GitHub - penpot/penpot: Penpot - The Open-Source design & prototyping platform about it!

A bit tangential but can I also ask about how you approach contributions from outside your org? I’m always curious how for-profit SaaS orgs (you are for-profit, right? I presume so, since you’ve gotten VC funding) work as open source. Do contributors get paid, for example? This is not an attempt at criticism, I’m just trying to learn.

Yeah, you’re right. I mean, we say we’re open source so it’s sort of “a given” but we’ll make it more explicit right there on the landing page! Perhaps not everyone makes that connection and we have a great Github README page, right?

Regarding contributions for a for-profit open source project, it’s actually quite simple and it works great across thousands of similar projects. We operate on an altruistic model. First, we start by giving away 100% of our technology for free, no strings attached, for ever. At the same time, we just can’t build and extend everything we’d like to so we accept contributions from outside the core team provided those are also open source and free.

We might put in place some bounty or sponsorship program in the future but for now, we follow a simple “everyone shares for free”. If you think about it, the question is not at all tangential to the “pricing” concern you reflected on above, we will charge people (or rather, enterprise customers) for something of value, but not for the code itself, otherwise this open source “social contract” could get tainted.