Perhaps, but I do not claim to know the reason for Jolla offering the ‘free’ version. It may be to support their committent to open source, it may be because all the development work has recently been paid for by their Russian corporate clients so the incremental costs of providing it ‘free’ to others is sustainable, or it may be, as you say, to entice people to buy the full license (although I honestly can’t understand how this would generate any real income).
Personally I think that, by offering it ‘free’ to the community, they get free testing on their new releases in return before they move the new release or base on to their corporate clients. The amount they charge for the full license is so small it probably only covers their own licence costs for using ActiveSync, Aliendalvik and whomever supplies the predictive text function.
And of course you are right, anyone can test the free version before deciding to buy a license - as long as they are prepared to spend a few hundred euros on a compatible Sony phone to allow them to do this.
But my point was slightly different, and maybe not very well put in this thread above. So, me being me, I’ll offer another example.
Say, as a newbie to Sailfish, I buy my Xperia 10 ii and flash the free version. Ok, there are a few issues after using it for a week or so but it seems OK - and of course any serious bugs I (or others) find I would expect to be fixed within a reasonable timescale according to the severity of the bug (remember, in this example I’m new to all this and I don’t know that Jolla don’t do hot fixes and can take months or even years to fix quite serious issues).
But all is good so far - my imap email synchronises without problems and I can browse the web on most websites, though quite a few don’t seem to work if they have cookie dialogs (but I’m sure Jolla will fix this in a matter of days as this is quite a serious restriction).
I know I need Exchange email on my phone for my work email and also Whatsapp, because that’s how my work teams communicate with each other - so I will be dependant on these functions. But that is OK because Sailfish X provides both Exchange and Android support. I can’t test these functions because I don’t have a license yet, but Jolla have been providing Exchange and Android support for some years now so it must be OK.
I take the plunge and buy the license. Its not much money, only 50 euros (so I’ve now spent around 300 euros for my Xperia 10 ii - typical price in the UK, others may get better or worse deals - and 50 euros for the Sailfish X license).
I am disappointed and frustrated. Exchange email doesn’t always synchronise, sometime it errors, sometimes it stops completely and sometimes it gets stuck for hours on end just “Updating” with the rotating circle. I have to re-boot my phone to get it working again. Some of my email folders are missing and notifications for new email often arrive hours after the email has actually arrived itself. Events in my Exchange calendar are always an hour (late) out and all day events seem to always having an extra day tacked on to the end of the number of days I entered. Android support can’t use bluetooth and keeps losing its connection with the network - so I don’t even know if I’ve got a Whatsapp message from my boss until I restart the network subsystem (I have to go into settings, find Sailfish Utilities and do it from there - what’s that all about? I’ve never had to do this type of thing with any other phone …). Also I’ve found that sometimes there is no audio in calls, or it disappears half way through a call, or its so quiet on my bluetooth headphones I can’t actually hear anything properly. I get some really good help and advice from something called the ‘SFOS forum’ but am shocked that some of these problems have been known about for months or even years and still not fixed. I feel I’ve wasted 350 euros on an unusable product.
Returning from my above example, I think I have good evidence that the Exchange sync problem has nothing to do with Jolla’s implementation of Activesync (i.e. a paid component) which probably works just fine, but actually is more likely to be a fault in how the network stack (‘free’ component) handles the changeover or fallback from one network protocol to another (i.e. mobile to wifi, wifi to mobile, 4G to 2G, 2G to 4G) when there is a dropout of the ‘in-use’ network (and I believe Jolla, in the form of flypig, believes this also may be the reason). The same may be true for the connectivity issues in Android as well for all I know.
Anyway, my point is that I have bought a paid product (the Sailfish X licence), which I could not test before I bought it, and it doesn’t work properly or deliver reliably the functionality on which it was sold to me and on which basis I purchased it. If this was any other consumer product - a laptop, a toaster, an iPhone, would you not be justified in being dissatisfied too?
That, in a nutshell, was my point.