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Changes to the status of Pegasus Mail and Mercury
(Updated 3 January 2007)

I have been developing Pegasus Mail and Mercury full-time since 1992, providing them as free products and relying on voluntary financial support from those that used them. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, a combination of spiralling costs and dwindling financial support from my users has led me to the point where I can now simply no longer afford to sustain this business model. The Internet has gone from Community to Commodity, and the majority of people no longer feel any moral obligation to support free software (this sounds like a complaint, but really it's just the grudging acceptance of an inevitable fact).

This creates a dilemma for me: I am a creature of the old Internet, and would not willingly abandon ideals that have underpinned my work for seventeen years; on the other hand, if I can't get enough funding to sustain development of these programs and to live a modest lifestyle, then everyone loses when they cease to exist. In an attempt to reconcile these contradictory demands, and in extensive consultation with my test teams, I have made decisions about the development of Pegasus Mail and Mercury that I hope will allow me to preserve some of my idealism while putting food on the table.

From January 2007, Pegasus Mail will become completely free for all to use, manuals and all. A "Donate" button will in due course be made available on this site for people wishing to offer voluntary support, but there will be no formal purchase options for the program. To balance this, Mercury will become a semi-commercial product. A range of licensing options will exist for Mercury to suit the needs of the user community, but a paid license *will* be required to run the program beyond a basic trial period (the exact details are still being ironed out).

I want to stress that making Pegasus Mail a free product does not in any way mean that it is being "orphaned": this is a return to my roots, and I see this as the way the program was always meant to be. My aim is to set up a reliable, volunteer-staffed support centre for Pegasus Mail to provide high levels of well-informed technical support, and the program will remain in full, active development.

People with existing support subscriptions for Pegasus Mail and Mercury will be fully covered under these new arrangements: they will be supplied with Mercury licenses reflecting their subscription level, will retain full access to technical support for Pegasus Mail, and will be able to renew their subscriptions indefinitely if they wish to continue them, but new subscriptions under the old model will no longer be available.

I hope my user community will accept these changes and support them - maybe this will be the way to ensure a long, prosperous future for some of the Internet's oldest servants.

David Harris,
January 3rd, 2007.

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[ Page modified 3 January 2007 | Content David Harris ]