Paid subscription to updates

The second paid subscription will be introduced, I will be gone. So the model, You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy, it’s getting to Jolla also?!

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There are many issues with subscriptions; several discussed in the last community meeting.
Even back in the days of regular major updates, monthly would have been hard to motivate.
People being stranded on old versions is not really a feature… i can already see the complaints of people having paid for some arbitrary amount of time and being butthurt something doesn’t work on some year-old version. …or demanding apps keep working on their version.

We all want Jolla to have more revenue, but let’s be realistic.


I hate that tenet with a passion as well, however with software owning it hasn’t been the standard for many many years. That’s what all the license stuff is all about.

The only way a subscription can work is if you receive something in return during every subscription period. If you had a monthly subscription, there would need to be at least one update every month (like it was a decade ago). There’s no way that’s going to happen unless it’s a bunch of tiny updates, but who will justify spending money on an update that only fixes a handful of bugs that never affected you?

Nothing would stop you from cheating the system either: ‘subscribing’ every time a new update with a feature or bug fix you were waiting for is out, downloading the update, then cancelling the subscription until the next update that tickles your interest.

What Jolla could do is restrict licenses to major versions, so you get access to all minor updates and support during a major version’s lifespan, and every time a new major version is released you have to buy a new license. The problem there is, again, no one’s going to spend money on a new license if the new version isn’t a substantial improvement upon the last. Nothing would stop Jolla from mimicking Google and arbitrarily increasing the major version number to make updates seem more substantial than they are, either.


Paid susbcriptions have two different effects:

  • predictable revenue
  • more revenue

I think these two need to be considered separately. There should be an option for small users to just pay as much as now but make it predictable for Jolla, and progressively increasing options for enthusiasts who are ready to pay different levels for more services.

Currently, the basic user purchases a 50 € licence and keeps a device 24-48 months. That makes an average revenue of 1-2 €/month. The most similar offer is Murena and /e/ OS with cloud services is sold 2 €/month. The range of 1-2 €/month is also the typical pricing in the world of FOSS / alternative cloud solutions such as: a managed email or domain with cPanel, a Nextcloud instance, a Collabora subscription.

I think Jolla should propose different plans for different users such that everyone can find the level of service they need for the level of price they are ready to afford.

An example price chart:

  1. Free plan just like now;
  2. Basic plan comparable to current revenue (2 €/month) with the thing complete and working (e.g. App Support, Predictive text input) just making it a predictable income for Jolla;
  3. Premium plan (5-10 €/month) for the enthusiast (e.g. frequent updates, early access, cloud backup);
  4. Pro plan (20 €/month) with things like prioritizing bug reports from that person or direct contact of a support engineer.

For context I wanted to mention I purchased my licence for the sole purpose of supporting Jolla. I don’t need AppSupport and while Predictive text input would be useful to me, this feature does not work with a Bluetooth keyboard.


Early access is kind of beta testing, I doubt people are happy to pay to be a beta tester, unless it is a computer game :slight_smile:
When it comes to frequent updates, this also causes more work, when you need to maintain a “fast” and a “slow” release plan.
I also don’t see an easy way to distinguish between security fixes and feature upgrades, from a security perspective, a newer browser would be a security fix, from a feature perspective, It would also be a feature enhancement. Same can probably be said for many other updates of libraries.

20€ is probably way to less from a business perspective, If someone pushes it a bit with bug reports and client support (Those people that pay it are the ones which will use it). Even if you take a full years subscription amount, 240€ won’t pay many hours of work.

Besides VoLTE, there is nothing I would miss. I still buy the license, just to support the company.


In the meeting I proposed a pay-as-you-like model ( like humble bundle and friends) which at least wasn’t dismissed immediately.

That of course hasn’t got the ‘predictable’ property, and probably isn’t too easy to explain to management, but I believe would gain more acceptance in the community. We have people who think 50 Euros is too much, and we have others who buy licenses just to support Joll*.

But as can be seen in this thread the important thing to figure out isn’t so much the amount, but the what-do-i-get.
Personally I’d be okay for subs to features (like AAS or that AI Asssistant that was mentioned in the FOSDEM questionnaire), but not the base OS product.


I guess we can all agree, that the current license model is not a sustainable business model for Jolla, at least not for now. Therefore, keeping things as they are is not a realistic option.

Why I prefer the subscription model over the license model (from a user’s standpoint) is essentially based on three things:

  1. It lowers the barrier for new users to try and see, if SFOS & AAS suit their needs. There is a significant difference between 5 euros and 50 euros.
  2. It makes changing the device much more straightforward; no added cost and no reason to feel bad for a “lost” license. Also, no need for Jolla to use their staff’s valuable time to transfer licenses.
  3. It has a potential to offer everyone the possibility to pay what they see appropriate.

I second what @nephros wrote above: as long as the OS itself remains free to use and we are only paying for added features, I’m more than okay with the proposal introduced in the community meeting. Also, I definitely find the idea of pay-as-you-like worth considering!

For me, updates and AAS are the features I consider worth paying for, but of course, everyone has different needs.

EDIT: @nephros Yes you are right, I could have expressed myself better there.


While it’s a bit off-topc: it never was Jollas business model, at least not since Sailfish X.

That has always been licensing the OS (and AAS) to business partners.

The ‘Sailfish X Program’ is not a product they sell, never was. It’s just a program, i.e. more or less a public demo/PoC type of thing.

(Therefore users of SFOS in its X incarnation seeing themselves as ‘customers’ and deriving any rights, entitlement or other expectations from that has always been quite ridiculous.)

Yes, formally you license stuff and pay for that, but that makes you a licensee, no more, and not a customer in the business sense.


Nice idea,
and i think your modell would be broadly accepted by most Jolla users.

What i don’t get. If Jolla is really is thinking of introducing a suscription model. Why are they not offering the possibility of a commercial flashing. Many people would like to try Sailfish OS, but are bothered, that they have to flash the OS themself. I know its also a warranty thing. But as they only offer support for Sony devices for the moment and Sony itself created the opportunity of the open device program, i am sure there coud be some kind of deal for the case that flashing would brick a device. I think without this barrier, we could attract a lot more users. I know that there is the danger that they could be not satisfied wit tge OS itself and its bugs. But seen at the potential linear growth, it could be more interesting for Jolla working on bugs of the OS used by 100.000 users then with only a few ten thousand users. So for me first would be the opening to a broader user base, and then thinking of a sucription modell! :slight_smile:


If at all, please offer the subscription model ALONG with also preserving the current licence model, so that everyone can choose which option suits him best. For the time being (and in foreseeable future), I probably wouldn’t opt for any monthly subscription. If the licence model would also be kept, for any new supported device I’ll certainly buy a new licence. But if licence model is dropped, I’ll probably be forced to only use the free version. Which of course wouldn’t be good for Jolla.

So, if at all you’re planning to offer a subscription model, then IN ADDITION to the licence model, not instead of it, please.


“What do you think of paying for an annual subscription to SailfishOS?”

No thanks.

Just so we’re clear: I have no objection to to Jolla offering a subscription model provided it is offered alongside the continued option of buying a SFOS device licence. I have no interest in renting my phone product.

I do also believe that any subscription service for SFOS will end up disappointing subscribers on either the frequency or the of feature richness of the updates vs the paid product. Forums will be filled with threads along the lines of:
“Peegeetips paid £40 for his licence two years ago, in that time i have paid £60 in licence fees and the only benefit is receiving the same updates 1-2 months earlier! In twelve months time I will have paid £90 for the same meagre benefit, and having paid all that money if I stop the subscription I receive no more updates.” #angryfaceemoji

The other two idea are great:
Selling Xperias pre-flashed with Sailfish like Murena, iode etc do with their devices
Working Fairphone 5 port that can be paid for


“What do you think of paying for an annual subscription to SailfishOS?”

For me also no thanks.

I can understand that Jolla is looking for money, it is not just for me that it is not financially feasible to pay a monthly or extra subscription, I have a very small income and we are now barely making ends off the month.

I think Jolla should do the same as Volla, work togethor with a phone compnay and make Jolla Phones with Sailfish OS and sell them for a good price like Volla do on that way the have a good income…


I would pay for a subscription like 5€/month.

A good offer would be some kind of voting right to priorities bugs or features. Something like for the top voted feature jolla dedicates x developer days per quarter. And you have x votes each month you pay.


Abo option will be offered by the most companies: Spotify, Microsoft, Netflix etc. but an operating system should be pirced once.
I could be a nice option for the beginners. Somebody who will test the software. Jolla should stay the privacy slogan = no cloud file service.
Sailfish X costs about 50€ and it was a price from last years. I think Jolla doesn’t want scare users with an expensiver price from 75-100€ and want to introduce a paid subscription. I would say: the both options could be interesting. Somebody wants safe money and could spend 100 Euro but could pay 1 or 2 Euro monthly. I would prefer a price for a longlife licence.
I don’t want pay more than 1/2 Euro monthly for an operating system and Android App Support (current state of development). But we should wait for an official message from Jolla. I know the development costs and we shouldn’t forget it.

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Previously I was more or less against this. However if monthly payment would provide benefits to the ecosystem, why not.

Problem with one time payments is that they are good for ready made products. Mobile operating system development is not a constant thing. It requires upkeep costs and further development. All the major OSes have other ways to get money from users (App Store revenue, data collection etc) which Jolla does not have. Windows used to costs over 200 euros.

But for monthly payments, Jolla would need to have a clear plan and clear offering. I don’t see AppSupport and keeping the OS a float enough.

Since Jolla is about security, they could offer “Jolla Core” subscription with additional things like Jolla VPN, Password Vault and such. These are usually money printing machines as services with a lot of open source software to build on top of.

Qt upgrade and device support roadmap are something that are dearly needed. I promised myself to not touch Sailfish until Qt was upgraded and I tend to keep that promise.

So overall, I am not against subscription model if it can provide a clear value and clear offering.

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On the other hand, the benefit of one time payments is that if you pay then it’s paid, the whole amount in advance. So Jolla gets it all at once, regardless of whether the user stays with Sailfish OS for some longer time and continues to pay or not. Whereas, I can easily imagine that quite a large part of new users, for whatever reason, will NOT stay with SFOS for longer period time and therefore will not continue to pay regular subsciption fees. From such people Jolla would get much less than if they bought a licence and paid it all at once.

So the question is what is better and more secure for Jolla: get the whole amount in advance (being a equivalent of lets say 1,5 - 2 years of monthly fees) regardless of whether the user stays with SFOS for years or not, or offer a subscription that considerable number of people not staying with SFOS for some longer time may drop long before it equals the same amount as the current one-time licence fee.

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I think pre-flashed devices would again bring the problem that Jolla would have to buy the devices and have a stock of them. If you could simply order your device to Jolla and they send you back the flashed device. With a flashing fee and the costs for the shipping, this would make it as simple as possible for Jolla and the Sailfish OS community. I just have always to think about the beginning of Ubuntu and the installation parties they had with great success :slight_smile:

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Problem with current licenses is that they work “forever”. While it is generous, you wont get such guarantees anywhere in the industry these days. Even if there were thousand new licenses every year, it would pretty much pay one guy at Jolla. It is just not enough long term.


CrossOver (wine with support) or Services of Volkswagen (Skoda e.g.) have a model: You pay for an year. 20/24 Euro for an year and after that you could extend the paid acocunt or forget SFOS,