- "We're ready to move forward from the Chocolatey experiment to the Chocolatey experience!"
tl;dr: Chocolatey is FOSS software that is kickstarting to invest in infrastructure, professional and business offerings with features that cost us $$ to provide, and the long term future of Chocolatey itself.
Chocolatey is the Alternative Windows Store for the thousands of programs and tools that are not able to be part of the Windows Store. Do you hate finding the right downloads? Do you spend hours getting your apps on a fresh install of Windows? Do you spend fruitless amounts of time checking for updates that make apps more secure? Chocolatey sweetens your Windows software management experience by automating away hours of work!
Why a Kickstarter?
- To invest in non-free features we believe bring more stability, safety and security to Chocolatey. We talk more about this in the next section.
- To support improvements to the infrastructure. We currently spend under $1K/month and see a need to more than double that to support a staging environment, a build/test infrastructure, and load balancing needs as Chocolatey continues to increase steadily in popularity. Right now the costs are paid by me and the tremendous generosity of others, including AppHarbor. We believe there is a crucial need for Chocolatey to become self-sustaining to reduce unforeseen risks.
To give the Chocolatey team more freedom to concentrate on Chocolatey so we can get these features to you faster.
- Stretch goal: To ramp up a full time staff that can support your needs and continue to deliver awesome features to you. We can't do that at the current goal, that will help but it won't be enough for any of us to be full time.
What Do You Get For Backing this Project?
Most backers get professional/business at least 2 months ahead of everyone else! T-Shirts for some levels. And chocolate, like real chocolate goodness at one level!
- A heartfelt thank you and we'll keep you informed with all the backer updates!
- Backer updates
- + A T-Shirt with "The Chocolatey Experience" on it - available ONLY through the Kickstarter! Option to receive original "Let's Get Chocolatey" design of shirt instead.
$35 Level - Pro Consumer Super Early Access (3 months early) - SOLD OUT!
- 1 annual pro license delivered 1 month ahead of most other backers and 3 months before the general public! We want to extend a special benefit to you for backing this project early!
$35 Level - Pro Consumer General Availability Access
- 1 annual pro license delivered at the same time as general public availability but for a much lower amount than the general population. This is a special offering that you wanted and we've added!
$45 Level - Pro 3 Months Early + Box of Chocolates - SOLD OUT!
- Same as $35
- + a box of real chocolates!
$50 Level - Pro + 2.5 Months Early Access
- Similar to $35 Level.
$65 Level - Pro 3 Months Early + T-Shirt
- Same as $35
- + A white or black T-Shirt with "The Chocolatey Experience" - available ONLY through the Kickstarter! Option to receive original "Let's Get Chocolatey" design of shirt instead.
- Similar to $35 Level but a month later.
$100 Level - Dark Hoodie Reward
- Backer updates
- + A Dark Hoodie with the Chocolatey Experience Logo on it. Note: design may be slightly different than pictured.
$150 Level - Dark Hoodie + Pro + 2.5 Months Early Access
- Same as $100 Dark Hoodie Level
- + 1 annual pro license
$350 Level - Pro + Beta Access!
- 1 annual pro license
- + Beta access! You are getting access to Pro even before it is done! This will give you access to the early beta bits where you can have input on design of features!
$750 Level - 2 Pro + Beta Access + Listed
- 2 annual pro licenses
- + Beta access
- + Listed - You or your business listed as a backer displayed prominently on the Chocolatey website. This provides you great marketing and tells folks you support community efforts!
$999 Level - 2 Pro + Beta Access + Listed + Workshop!
- 2 annual pro licenses
- + Beta access
- + Listed
- + Workshop - A full day workshop (in person or virtually) spent with Rob focused on Chocolatey, from beginner to advanced usage scenarios, creating packages, and successful strategies for deploying Chocolatey in your organization. Travel expenses not included.
Business License Levels
- 1 annual business license supporting up to the number of machines listed.
- The option to continually renew annually at the kickstarter price!
- The $400 level is expected to retail at $600/yr.
- The $1,200 level is expected to retail at $2,400/yr. That's 50% cheaper than you are going to find elsewhere!
- The $4,000 level is expected to retail at $7,800/yr.
- The $10,000 level is expected to retail at $30,000/yr. That's a very special offer available only through the kickstarter and only to 5 businesses!
- At $1,200+ - + Beta access! +Workshop!
- At $4,000+ - + Listed!
Chocolatey Professional / Chocolatey for Business
We have a number of features coming. Most of these will be done by the time we deliver the professional version, but some of them will follow shortly after.
Highlighting a few things:
- Pro/business only feed(s) supporting packages that are only available to professional and above customers.
- Alternate permanent download location - A private location that contains the installers for most packages, removing the instability of downloads that are removed from their distribution point (or updated to newer versions).
- Virus checking during runtime.
- Extensions - you will be able to extend Chocolatey functionality beyond the core offering, either from your own extensions or from community supported extensions (either free or for a reasonable fee). Eventually we are going to have a store front where you can install these extensions. And eventually we expect this feature to roll down to the free version.
The biggest features here are more safety, trust and predictability.
NEED MORE DETAILS?
What is Chocolatey?
Chocolatey helps good developers and system administrators become outstanding developers/sysadmins. Chocolatey goes to eleven.
Chocolatey is something you need if you've ever installed, upgraded, or removed software on Windows. It is an existing, proven, almost 4 year old project. For those familiar with *nix package managers, it is a binary package manager, sort of like yum or apt-get, but for Windows. The words "binary package manager" can be confusing for those who don't know what that means, but bear with me for a few minutes. Chocolatey is a tool that automates all the mundane getting and installing software work for you. You just select what you want installed and within a few minutes, Chocolatey has downloaded and installed (or upgraded) that software without need for further input from you. So while Chocolatey does the hard work, you can go get some coffee. Or sleep. Or do other more important things.
This may not seem very powerful at first, but imagine when you want to upgrade all of the software on your system to the latest, most secure versions, how do you do that now? Right. Manually:
- Search for most recent version
- Pick (hopefully) the right download
- Wait for it to download
- Unblock it
- Install it manually (next, next, next anyone?)
- Hope it didn't install any malware
- Now do it again for EVERY piece of software on your system.
Now let's talk about doing that same thing with Chocolatey:
- Type "choco update all"
Imagine that. That you could type "choco update all" and simply walk away while Chocolatey goes to work upgrading everything you have installed and keeping your system safe and secure. But don't just imagine it, you can do this today. Right now. And it doesn't matter if you have 1 or 1,000 computers to do this on.
Chocolatey allows you to be extraordinary. While your friends and coworkers are stuck in the past doing all of that work manually, you are getting other things done. At the end of the day, automation allows you to do more. This is the power of Chocolatey.
This is a really exciting time for the future of Chocolatey, so let's talk about where we are, where we want to go, and how we get there.
Where We Are
Today we have an active and growing community with 2300+ packages and over 5 million downloads on the community feed (https://chocolatey.org)! Microsoft recently announced they are bringing Chocolatey to Windows proper through OneGet, a package manager aggregator. This validates Chocolatey as a longer term framework for package management on Windows going forward!
Almost four years ago I started working on an experiment that is now known as Chocolatey. I started the project because it gave me something I'd never had, the ability to automate the installation of software with just an internet connection and a set of simple commands. It was the solution to something I needed with Windows that I didn't see other projects fulfill in the same way. It has since grown into a stronger solution to the package management problem for Windows. I never imagined that so many other folks would find it as useful as I have!
As we look around the community, Chocolatey has some folks really excited about working on Windows! If you meet the right folks, they will tell you Chocolatey is awesome! And Chocolatey is awesome! But Chocolatey does have some rough edges. Chocolatey has a lot of potential, but it needs some definite improvements to infrastructure, some things need to be redesigned, etc. Chocolatey has also grown in popularity at a rapid pace, something that necessitates the need to support a higher amount of users. Chocolatey is completely free for users, but that does not mean it is without cost. Many of these costs are related to just keeping the lights on and making sure when you try to install a package there is something on the other end that responds.
Where We Want to Go
We'd like to see Chocolatey around long term, so it really means we need to take things to the next level. We have realized that we need a freemium business model to support the continued existence of Chocolatey. For the long term viability of Chocolatey we need to be able to support business needs and professional users who want more predictability, stability and a safer user experience.
Many of the major improvements will flow back down to the community at large who uses and benefits from the free version of Chocolatey and the community feed.
As we have seen with Chocolatey, the experiment worked. We're ready to move forward from the Chocolatey experiment to the Chocolatey experience!
How We Get There
Now it's your turn. I need you (yes you, the one reading this), you the community, to tell me you want Chocolatey to stick around, to get better, and become something bigger than any of us ever intended! To become the project that everyone wants it to be. If you don't know how much you value Chocolatey, I want you to try an experiment: What if you turned on your computer tomorrow and Chocolatey was no longer available?
Get involved. Even if this is the first project you've backed. Get your company involved. Get your friends and family involved. Let's make this happen! Let's Get Chocolatey!
Risks and challenges
Every software project has risks.
The biggest question folks want to know before they get involved with software is will this work? If you go out and look at https://chocolatey.org now, you can see that we've had over 5 million downloads of software and have 2,000+ unique packages. So we're pretty sure this will work.
Is OneGet a risk? Some people may be looking at OneGet and wondering if that is a threat or a complementary tool for Chocolatey. It is indeed a complementary tool, it uses Chocolatey, and a few other package managers. It itself is a package manager aggregator. Microsoft has had how many years to really solve this problem? I'm qualified to overcome the issue of Windows package management as I design things based on the most pragmatic methods, not necessarily what the shiniest new tools are. The Chocolatey framework was designed in a way that made the most sense and has proven itself to be the proper path forward. We'll continue to make small adjustments along the way as we continually get better. We are qualified to overcome the issue because we already have.
We are likely moving forward with a professional version whether we are funded or not. Funding means we get there much, much faster. And you get to take advantage of special rewards that are lower than the pricing for the general public.
The risk with any business is that we won't become profitable. We think we provide a much needed service to the community and we would like to continue to do so. And evolve what we are doing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Everytime I see something I love start to seek monetization it's something I tend to worry about. Will there still be a free version of that tool? Will they offer something that has enough value that I'm compelled to pull the trigger and jump to the non-free version?
Let me address the question related to Chocolatey and free - I love free tools. I've always loved the Github model, if you are doing things that benefit the community in some way and are open, then it is free. When you need/want privacy, it tends to becomes less about community and thus non-free.
In the same way I think about the model for Chocolatey. We want to always be able to offer a free version and the only way we can ensure that is to have a self-sustaining model. Or to put in a different way, as long as Chocolatey exists, there will be a free version. And the free version will continue to be FOSS (Apache v2 Licensed).
So OneGet is a package manager aggregator. Chocolatey is a binary machine package manager. Chocolatey hooks into OneGet as a provider. Microsoft is working with the Chocolatey team to ensure that Chocolatey enhances OneGet's capabilities and vice versa. See https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/chocolatey/oneget/chocolatey/a8WdEoF-M58/iiI0bpI_oZMJ for details.
Not really. While it would be great if they did, they likely wouldn't make it work with versions of Windows prior to 8/2012. And I think if they were going to do this, they would have already.
The money goes to RealDimensions Software, LLC (my LLC). From there it will be invested in Chocolatey and giving the team some freedom to concentrate on delivering on our goals.
Eventually, but conservative estimates are at least 2-4 years. It will be a bittersweet moment when I do because the company I work for is like a family. But who knows? 2-4 years is a long time and things could change.
In the meantime I will be hiring staff that will handle day to day support.
I love my job. I get to work on awesome technologies in automation and make Windows a better place for automation. There is quite a bit of synergy between those tools and what Chocolatey does as a package manager for Windows. Having Chocolatey work better and better is a major benefit for what the company wants to accomplish.
Honestly we haven't put a ton of thought into this area yet. We think we need this. It could be we work with vendors to offer software they have that is not publicly available, so that there is a way for them to offer the easy installation for folks who otherwise won't use their tools. It could be we offer some packages that build a full stack. It's definitely an area that requires more thought.
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