N4TE_B

What To Expect Next From Sync

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Hey there.

 

Depending on the actual terms and conditions it's not necessary to have a central authentication service to keep track of valid or invalid subscriptions.

 

If I would release software by any kind of time limited license, I would just issue license files. Every license file just contains the current date and is cryptographically signed by me.

Whenever someone installs my software, he just drops the license into the application. The application binary contains my public key part.

This way every application process can individually decide if the entered license file is valid, invalid or expired.

 

I really dislike any software that has to be payed per time period. It always gives me the impression of being forced to pay forever unless I want to lose a lot of work when either I dicontinue the primary tool or the software service provider does.

Although sync isn't such a thing since all my data stays right where it is even if I uninstall sync, the feeling is pretty much the same.

 

Having that said, if I was you I wouldn't issue "pay per usage period" license. I would issue licenses that allow to install application binaries being released within one year after the moment the license is issued. This means if I buy a one year license today, that one would grant me access to every version released before nov 21th 2015. I still could install that 2015/11/21 version in 2016 if I wanted.

 

This usually is selled as "buy the current version and receive one year upgrades". It's nearly the same thing as "licensed per year" since most of regular users clearly renew their upgrade privileges once per year. But it gives customers the feeling of paying for improvements. The "pay per year" thing instead gives curstomers the impression of paying just to maintain the current state.

 

As soon as someone gets used to a current workflow, it's usually not really an option to step back to the free version but rather compared to completely re-thinking the whole thing. What if I rely on fine grained privilege control. I don't necessarily talk about active directory integration, can be as simple as a shared holiday photo directory configured as "drop your photos in but don't delete mine" (don't know if this will work). As soon as canceling the subscription means losing access control, stepping back requires me to cancel that share completely as wel.

 

At the end of the day it's totally up to you how pricing works. But I would really like to not having to decide wether to renew a subscription or to stop using the current feature set.

 

Regards,

Stephan.

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If the pro version is aimed at corporate users with hundreds of peers that is totally acceptable. If you guys are trying to suddenly start charging for a product that we were led to believe was free, I imagine many of us with switch to an open source alternative as they mature.

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If the pro version is aimed at corporate users with hundreds of peers that is totally acceptable. If you guys are trying to suddenly start charging for a product that we were led to believe was free, I imagine many of us with switch to an open source alternative as they mature.

 

Ok I don't think everyone of the beta users thought it was going to be free forever - they mentioned pretty early that there might be interest for the coorperate sector with BTSync.

 

We are all free to use whatever we want but since we all spent so much time figuring out how to repdroduce bugs, send logs, thinking about features and explaining them in a lot of words throughout the forums it is just like someone punched you in the face.

 

Nothing is final. Everything can change. Even if they now say "It is going to be like this" tomorrow they can change their minds or they won't - we don't know but we can discuss and talk about it.

I was/am pissed - not pretending I am not, but maybe we will all find a way to end this without pissing of a huge chunk of the community helped built this.

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Thank you to those who have provided constructive feedback on this thread. Let me see if I can provide some additional info as I do want to be as forthcoming as possible about what’s happening at BitTorrent.


A very detailed feature list will be available when Sync 2.0 is released. We will also be posting an Alpha build to the forum in the not too distant future, which will come with a lot of details. We hope many of you appreciate us providing some information in advance instead of surprising you on release day. Until then, let me add a little more color to the Pro features I alluded to in the blog post:

 

- Access to very large files and folders - today, to sync a folder, you need the capacity on each device to hold the entire contents of the folder. With the Pro edition, you’ll have the option to sync all folder contents or not. If you decide not to sync all the contents, placeholder files will represent the real file in the local filesystem. When you double-click on that placeholder file, it will sync the file on-demand and open it. This will allow you to access folders TBs in size on a lower-capacity device like a laptop.

 

- Controlling ownership and permissions for shared folders - today, if you’re sharing folders with other people, you have the ability to set “read only” or “read & write” access, but once they access the folder, there’s no changing it. With the Pro edition, you’ll be able to change the level of permission at any point in time, designate others as owners of a folder, and revoke a user’s access to future folder updates.

 

- Keeping folders consistent across your devices - today, each of your devices are independent. If someone shares a folder with you and you have a laptop, workstation, phone, and tablet, you have to add that folder four times if you want it on all of your devices. With the Pro edition, you’ll be able to associate all of your devices under a single, fully private, identity. So when you add a folder on once devices, it will be added to all your devices. You’ll have options to configure this behavior. For example, you’ll be able to set any device to sync all contents of all folders, keeping everything you add to Sync automatically available and protected. A nice feature if you have a workstation with a lot of capacity or a NAS box. Also, permissions and licensing will be on a per-user basis, cutting down on the number of configuration steps and share approvals.


A topic that’s come up often is about capacity used in Sync compared to the cloud. Whether you use Dropbox or Sync, if the goal is to synchronize files across end-user devices, the same amount of local capacity is consumed whether you use a cloud-based or distributed product. Unlike Sync, with the cloud the files first have to go to their storage before they can be synchronized. We feel this is a serious inefficiency.


A beautiful thing about Sync, unlike the cloud, is that is relies very little on us to remain operational. If you want to continue to use a previous version of Sync, feel free. We’ll be putting our development effort into 2.0 and beyond, but older versions on existing platforms should work fine. Our goal is that the free version of Sync continues to improve and if the premium functionality brings you a lot of value, we’d love to have you as a customer.


Aside from investing a lot into developing Sync, we’ve also built out a very capable support organization. Many of you know Roman, Nate, and Helen. They lead this effort and premium support is included in Sync Pro, with the goal of even better and faster response times than today.


We very much appreciate those who have tested the product, provided feedback, submitted bug reports, and have requested for features to be implemented (and a special thanks to you too GreatMarko). We do plan to acknowledge those who have helped, so please be patient. We want you using Sync 2.0.

 

-ErikP

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I am not understanding what differences will result from the pro version.

 

Mobile to mobile is already featured in the free edition.

And (up to now) seems that large folder are not a problem on the free edition.

Sync only some files is today possible (only) in mobile edition...

 

 

Isn't that true?

 

If yes why I have to update to a pro version or even to a new free version?

(The only way for you is to broke compatibility with older version and remove features from the newer free version but... look... there are something new... and open... something called SyncThing...)

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It's the selective sync feature that they're referring to, not a folder size limit - ie if you have a 2tb folder, you can still "sync" it on a 350gb laptop, and just download files as-needed, instead of needing to have a full copy of all the files on it to access them.  Currently this is not possible on the desktop versions 

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There will be a Free version of Sync 2.0 as well :)

 

There's nothing stopping you from using earlier versions of Sync now (1.2, 1.3, etc) ...but as I say, there will be a free version of Sync 2.0 as well.

 

To the best of my understanding no current functionality will be "removed" from the Free version of Sync 2.0. So in paying for Sync 2.0 "Pro", you're not paying to keep existing functionality that you've already been enjoying previously for free, you'd be paying for new additional features/functionality not already found in the current "free" offering of Sync.

 

...and in a way, it still will be! If you're happy with the current functionality that Sync offers, you can continue using 1.4, 1.3, or the forthcoming free edition of 2.0! If however you want the additional features/functionality that the "Pro" version will offer... or perhaps don't necessarily need these features, but still want to support the project, then you'll be able to purchase a "Pro" version.

Bottom line is you're not being forced for fork out to retain the same functionality you've been enjoying previously with Sync 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, etc.

Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to hear. Great product, I'd probably be happy to pay for it, it's been a great tool for my work.

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I am starting to get a picture of what 2.0 have feature wise, but I still don't fully understand which features are paid and which features are free. I guess that will come out with time.

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Is the $39.99 per year for syncing into the Cloud?

 

Two suspected problems with Sync-Beta:

1. With Sync-Beta, when saving a file, something is happening to the save with BitTorrent running. The file records 0 bytes, and I have to save file again, by re-naming.

 

2. In using BitTorrent between two computers located in two different Cities, I am getting "1- locked files"; I have checked both computers and closed all active files. The "1- locked files" still comes up on one Folder. 

- This is the same Folder where I am having the "save" problem.

 

Any ideas...?

 

Ed

 

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The more granular security in particular sounds like a useful option, and I've noticed something like the selective sync seems to have already been integrated into the android client. I do think a cloud option, or the ability to 'bridge' into another cloud service might be worthwhile. I tend to be wary of the subscription software model though (although for Enterprise use the advantages often outweight the disadvantages).

Jonnan

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Just chiming back in briefly as I posted earlier in this thread. I think the idea of pricing per "Individual" would be great meaning we can distribute as widely as we like for the annual fee. Are you able to clarify whether a Business would qualify as an "Individual" as well. Perhaps personal limited to 5 nodes, and then business has unlimited nodes at a higher rate.

 

Great job guys and from my point of view the sooner you get proper funding (no ads) in place the better, because I'd rather pay a fee and keep it sustainable.

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Hi, I have not been involved in beta and created an account on the forum here just to voice this opinion. One that I think will be very mainstream.

 

As an ex-user of Live Mesh and other sync products before and after, I was very excited to finally see bittorrent tech being applied to the task of syncing. That's when I discovered this product and Pulse/Syncthing simultaneously and have been trying to decide which to devote myself to. Sync 2.0 looks amazing, and it will be interesting to see how things play out.

 

You almost had me until this thread about monetization of additional features for Pro. Like most people, I'm willing to pay fair value for features that enrich or simplify my life, but at that price, it had better do so a *lot*. For me, the chart posted that compares against "competitors" including Drop Box, is almost more of a sale for them. The highest value item mentioned on the chart is the storage space that they include, which you do not. It is easy to justify a price like that when they are paying for the hard drives, bandwidth, hardware, redundancy, energy, and manpower to make it simple.

 

That price is simply out of line unless it is including a high value item like that. If you are only including additional software features, it is a hard sell above $10-$20 / year. Heck, even charging a re-occurring fee is a hard sell for a product whose main advertising feature is avoiding the cloud. People who are looking to do that want to untether themselves from a company who could go belly up in the future and find themselves stuck with a product's feature set which is unusable without a place to renew the service plan.

 

Sure, if you include 500GB's of secure and redundant cloud storage, and software that intelligently syncs the flagged, most used, or most recent data up there for safe keeping and extra speed, I'm sold. Otherwise, paying for removal of arbitrary software limits on a product that uses my hardware is sketchy.

 

Just my 2c. Standing by as this plays out.

Edited by Cyph3r

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I realize you have not yet detailed the feature set, and as such, the previous response may be premature. But at the same time, it is exactly the right time to voice concerns, while there is still time to affect change to a business model you are surely ironing out in the boardroom, before it is too late.

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Also, you do realize you can roll your own offsite backup with BTS, right? All it takes is having a few peers located elsewhere.

I am very new here, but my first thought when I read the feature list for 2.0 (because I'm a solo lawyer and need remote backup but all my machines are in one location) is confidentiality of remote peers. I have lots of friends who would be willing to put a peer on their machine, but I'm bound legally and ethically to protect the confidentiality of each client's information. So if it's clear text on remote peers, it's a show-stopper for me.

 

Is there a present method or one on the horizon that can handle that use case?

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Hi,

first, thanks a lot for this software.

 

So from next sync i would like :

 

- the possiblity to add a directory to an "existing sync key", for more flexibility of what i want to share. The "workaround" i use on my nas, is to create a root directory "john", and under this directory i mount localy subdirectory with "mount -o bind .....".

 

- a KEY (or an other way), to put encrypted data on a node (like untrusted node).

 

- the possiblity to backup from a node to an USB device. May be it is not the primary purpose of sync, but sync is used for bakup too. OR the possibility to have on a node 2 different directories with the same key, on a special KEY for USB devices etc....

 

- a KEY RW/O ? Read/Write Owner only. The purpose should be to avoid duplicating data that you don't want to loose if other node delete a file (workaournd if a mount -o bind,remount ro ... to avoid duplicating and to have data protection again delete)

 

 

regards

nunu

 

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I have lots of friends who would be willing to put a peer on their machine, but I'm bound legally and ethically to protect the confidentiality of each client's information. So if it's clear text on remote peers, it's a show-stopper for me.

 

Is there a present method or one on the horizon that can handle that use case?

 

- a KEY (or an other way), to put encrypted data on a node (like untrusted node).

 

This can already be achieved though Encrypted Nodes - Please see What is an Encryption Key

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Hi GreatMarko.

 

I already have seen for untrusted node, but i will more easier if GUI interface give the key directly. (or i have miss something).

I read that, syncing with untrusted node cost cpu time because of the encryption, but it's a little bit a shame that an encrytpion key is not provided by the gui.  The strong of sync, is that is very simple to deploy.

 

regards

 

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I think when considering charging for BTS, you should carefully examine the history of similar mesh programs.

 

Many current BTS users were previously on Cubby, and before that on Windows Live Mesh.  Most of these users, I think, were pretty happy with WLM - I know I used it happily for years - until Microsoft abruptly shut it down.  Then there was a mad dash to find a replacement, and a lot of ex WLM users ended up with Cubby.

 

Cubby worked fairly similarly to BTS, and in some ways slightly better (eg I didn't have the problems with stuck syncs like plague BTS).  So that would have been perfectly fine.

 

Except that suddenly previously free Cubby announced that the free version was going away, and the new pay version would be a) quite costly B) per node and c) recurring.  Unacceptable!  I don't know how many Cubby users/testers left it but from the forums I got the impression there were a whole lot of them, and they left feeling cheated so much so as to blacklist the parent company, LogMeIn.

 

So, I think that while people may in principle be willing to pay something towards BTS, and definitely businesses would for higher-end administrator-type features, ordinary users aren't willing to pay very much or recurring fees.  You could probably get away with a $40 one-time fee for an in-network license (ie you only need one license for all the computers in your network, even if they don't all share every folder, so long as they connect to the network in some fashion.)

 

And as pointed out, eventually there will come a full open-source free sync tool and many or most of the users will go there.  Is that what you want to happen?

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I'm pretty surprised by talk of subscription model for a product that isn't dependent on backend services. Why would it not simply be a one time fee for the syncing software?

 

Luke

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Another thing that doesn't seem to be touched upon is how the Pro and Free versions will interact? If I, as the Pro owner, share folders out to Free owners, will all the permissions and other [applicable] features carry across to their access?

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I'm looking forward to seeing the announced 2.0 version, it sounds like a great step forward. Paying will be a no-brainer and will increase trust in BTSync since 'free' usually doesn't last for long …

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My thoughts:

  • It's unthinkable to charge a fee from every user.
    • If I pay for my shares, I have to be able to share them with free users and they must get those advanced features when accessing my folders. Don't restrict my usage just because my customers/friends/family don't have upgraded versions. You must charge ever user that wishes to CREATE advanced folders, but not every user that wishes to ACCESS them. This is important!
  • U$ 40,00 a year per user doesn't work. Make it a monthly payment of U$ 4,00/month and give the home user the option to go yearly for U$ 20-25 a year. Then, charge more if more than 5 different users need access to the folders (company environment) upping it to U$ 40,00/year.
    • Why? This makes it easy to understand, transparent, and accessible for personal use. Your objective here should be: Don't restrict personal users, give them a cheaper version to pay for and get all features. Or you will end up with just a bunch of free users complaining about the high price and no one will pay for it because it is not popular. I am a private user, and I wish to pay, but make it reasonable.

If you follow these tips, I will be totally open to paying a fee, but make it reasonable. Notice that spotify/Netflix charge users 5-10 U$ a month for development, hosting, streaming, AND all the costs for the content, so my pricing model should be more than reasonable.

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