Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

BusyCal and Textual

I wanted to call out a couple of software packages whose vendors I’ve worked with recently that I felt had really good customer service. The software packages are BusyCal (from BusyCal, LLC) and Textual (from Codeux Software, LLC).

As many of you know, the Mac App Store (MAS) recently suffered an issue due to an expired security certificate, and this caused many MAS apps to have to be re-downloaded or, in limited cases, to stop working (I’m looking at you, Tweetbot 1.6.2). This incident just underscored an uncomfortable feeling I’ve had for a while about using MAS apps (for a variety of reasons that I won’t discuss here because that isn’t the focus of this post). I’d already started focusing on purchasing new software licenses outside of the MAS, but I still had (and have) a number of MAS apps on my Macs.

As a result of this security certificate snafu, I started looking for ways to migrate from MAS apps to non-MAS apps, and BusyCal (a OS X Calendar replacement) and Textual (an IRC client) were two apps that I really wanted to continue to use but were MAS apps. The alternatives were dismal, at best.

Fortunately, both vendors allow for what I call “sidegrade” licenses that enable you to switch, without additional cost, from a MAS version to a non-MAS version purchased directly from the vendor. Allow me to publicly say “Kudos!” to these two vendors for looking out for their customers and promoting customer choice in how their software is consumed. I was able to quickly and easily switch both apps from the MAS version to the direct version (without a loss of data, might I add).

Unfortunately, I’m still left with a number of MAS-only apps for which there does not appear to be a suitable replacement. Aside from Tweetbot (the Twitter client scene on OS X is as pitiful as it has ever been), the bulk of these remaining applications are Apple-provided apps (like GarageBand and the like) that I very rarely (if ever) use. For the developers of the apps I do still use (Tweetbot, Day One, Deckset, Downcast, and Patterns), allow me to encourage you to follow in the footsteps of many other Mac developers and begin offering your applications independently as well as via the MAS. Believe me, your customers will thank you for it.

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