Just an obvservation from someone who is new to Sencha: I think it's a bad business practice to hold back bug fixes from the "free" version of the software if you are going to offer a free version to begin with. Whether you're alone in doing this or not, it doesn't really matter - I just think it's a bad idea.
Reason being, I am developing a prototype for an app right now, and how the development cycle goes and how the software performs is what's going to decide whether we use it for future development. Right now, the way it looks to my boss is that 1) the product is buggy, and 2) no one will respond to questions about it.
We have absolutely no problem with purchasing support and consider the benefits of the premium plan (performance tweaking, code review and other perks) to be well worth it - IF we have faith in the product and the support staff to begin with. Holding back bug fixes from the free version in order to get more paying customers is not a very good PR move! If you can see it from our perspective for a moment.
I really like the product in general, and maybe my introduction to it has simply come at a bad time, but I'm probably not the only one who feels this way, and a lot of potential customers have probably walked away from it altogether out of frustration, rather than take the risk of seeing what happens when they buy support.
You laid it down perfectly. I've been developing using Sencha products for more than 3 years now, but I feel the same way.
I disagree. Even bug fixes have consequences, so releasing them into the wild immediately without the opportunity to 1.) make sure they resolve the PAYING customer's issue and 2.) make sure the "fix" doesn't cause other issues is what is a bad idea.
As far as your development cycle goes, well, that's the way it goes for everyone. Regardless of the application software you are using, there *are* always going to be bugs. Some get pushed in hotfixes, some get pushed in dot releases. But the point is, these things have to be done in the right way and, as crappy as it might be, when you are paying nothing for something, sometimes you just have to deal with that kind of stuff.
Finally, have you looked at the support prices? Very reasonable in the scope of operating expenses for most businesses. If your company is serious about development in *any* environment, you're either going to have to pay for licensing fees or support. That's just how it goes. If you're not comfortable working within the boundaries of how Sencha releases happen, then pony up the paltry costs for the support. If you're *worried* about the product to begin with, perhaps you should look elsewhere anyway.
If you want to do everything for free, well, it's like I say to my young daughter: "You get what you get, and don't throw a fit."
I think you're missing the point existdissolve. I'm not trying to "do everything for free," and I don't think the support prices are unreasonable. And I understand there will always be bugs. None of these things are the issue.
There are plenty of companies who offer software with a free license but then offer paid support. There are also plenty of companies who have a separate community supported version of their product and if you want to use it for a commerical product, you have to buy a commercial license. The difference between most of them and the way Sencha apparently does things, is that the free license does have "up to the minute" releases. In fact the free version is usually newer than the commercial version because most enterprise level developers want to work with a known "stable" quantity. So by the time a product gets to a commercial release, it's been thoroughly hammered by the free user community, which benefits everyone. You're saying "make sure the 'fix' doesn't cause other issues" - so paying customers should be the guinea pigs? :D That doesn't make any sense. If Sencha has confidence that a bug has been fixed for its paying customers, there shouldn't be any worries about releasing the fix to the general community either.
Anyway, I don't want to belabor the point too much. I'm trying to be helpful by letting Sencha know what kind of perception their business model can create, when there are other only slightly different models that don't create the same perception at all.
My two cents.
I had thought until now that Sencha Touch was exclusively a subscriber service, which is an obstacle for someone just getting started in mobile development. I was so very pleased to find out there is a free version! Frankly, it seems a bit whiny that anyone would gripe about their business model; they need to make a living somehow! I'm just happy I can get started without having to pony up any cash! Thanks to everyone who makes this available to us newcomers!