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mint piracy encrypting your code

February 12, 2006

Last night I moved my real time stat tracking from StatCounter to Mint. So far I'm pretty happy with it. What I found most amazing about Mint is that it only uses 2 tables and one of those is for prefs, so tracking data is all in one table. While this limits a few of the things it can do, I imagine it allows it to be very fast, even in high volume sites. I'm looking forward to seeing it's speed once it's got a few months of data in there.

The other day Shaun Inman (creator of Mint) posted about rampant priacy of the Mint code. Mint is a PHP app and Shaun distributes Mint with complete source code. I feel for him, because he's in a very tough spot.

With HelpSpot I have it pretty easy because my customers are 100% business users. Having to use the Zend Optimizer hasn't been a big barrier, most deal with much larger barriers when installing the competition or other business apps in general so installing Zend is nothing. In addition, they're mostly paying me for support and upgrades, so stealing the code isn't really worthwhile. They could use free request managers as it is, they purchase from me because they like the product and just as important, they know it's supported and they'll receive upgrades, support, etc. Heck it's pretty easy to decompile encrypted source if you really want to, there's just not much reason to with HelpSpot.

Shaun is in a totally different boat. His client base in large part non-corporate. Lots of individuals, bloggers, and so on. They just want to use the software and many have the free time and inclination to decode the software if he did encrypt it. Selling web apps to individuals has got to be a real pain!

It sounds like he's working on a decent plan. I'm pulling for him, since he's made an incredible app that is a steal for $30.

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