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Neo and the glitch in the Matrix…

You can obtain a copy of MS Office 2007 Beta for US$1.50. That beta, I believe, is valid for a year; and it’s a beta of a program that when released, will cost hundreds of dollars.

You can obtain a copy of Neo Office 2.0 Beta (NeoOffice is a Mac OS X office suite, closely based on OpenOffice) for US$25.00. This for an open source program that, when, released, will be available free for download. In fact the beta version will also be available free for download after Aug 29.

Just so we’re clear here… this is like an ad saying, “Get this software NOW! Only for the month of august, you get to actually PAY! After August, the software will become free and you’ll lose the right to pay for it! Hurry!

The NeoOffice team is justifying this by saying this is an appeal for donations because they don’t have enough cash. I feel that they could simply ask for donations nicely and the willing would pay. Few people, I suppose are dying so much to have a beta of NeoOffice 2.0 that they’d rather shell out $25 for a beta version now than wait for a month. And the people who will pay in the spirit of donation would have paid anyway to a big appeal. Remember also that anyone can at any time download the source code and compile Neo Office 2.0 at any stage, including the beta, for free.

The problem here is that beta tests are supposed to be for weeding out bugs, not making money. And if a lot of testers are deterred from testing out Neo Office 2.0 it may end up being more buggy, which will be a bad thing not only for NeoOffice, but for open source as a whole. I can definitely appreciate that they need money, and I hope they make loads of it with this program, but I’m not sure they will.

[news report via DailyTech]

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