06 February 2007

Mint logo

Shaun Inman recently released a new version of his website stat-tracking software, Mint. The upgrade features many new improvements to the previous version, but the bulk of the full version change came in the form of speed increases, a new(ish) interface, and updated default modules (called Peppers). Oh, and it now supports IE PC – which is perhaps the reason for the influx of crazys on the Mint support forums, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Now let me get this out of the way before I go on: Though I own licenses for Mint, and read Shaun’s blog regularly, I do not know him personally. I think we’ve had one off-site conversation over email, but that’s it. Beyond what I’ve read on his site and what others say about him, I don’t have any other point of reference with which to judge his character.

If web developers were sports cars

Let’s be honest. Shaun’s work is an inspiration. His designs, software, and methods are all pace-setting. When he uses X and Y, we all “ooh” and “aah” and start to use X and Y too. He’s like a modern pide piper.

On a personal level, I remember first coming across shauninman.com when I was just discovering the Web Standards movement. I learned so much by dissecting his stylesheets and HTML. In a way, he’s sort of like a mentor to me. Shaun is like the Ferrari of web developers, and I feel like a Dodge Neon compared to him.

Yes, I respect him a lot.

Bad breath needs Mint

I guess that’s one of the reasons I take so much offense when I read responses knee-jerk reactions to the upgrade cost (of $19) for the new version of Mint. Enter those crazys I mentioned:

I think charging customers $19 to upgrade their ‘Mint’ software is an absolute joke, and a disgraceful demand on Shaun Inman’s behalf.


I have to say I’m very dissappointed. I love what Shaun does. Great design work. Excellent ideas and awesome developpement. But paying 19$ for an upgrade. I think I’ll pass. Sorry Shaun.[sic]


[…] why should we have to pay for an upgrade to Mint 2? It seems a bit unfair.

As if Shaun were indebted to those who’ve purchase his software, and must therefore make good by supplying free support, upgrades and compliments. Riiiight.

I do understand some of the frustration these people have over an upgrade fee – I’ve questioned his decision and the cost, too – but this attitude of entitlement is what irritates me. If anyone has entitlement here it’s the guy who holds all the cards: Shaun Inman.

Let’s remember, we’re all using his software. He developed it. He packaged it, and he licenses it. We’re just users of the stuff, not owners. Hence the license agreement we must agree to before installing it. He’s not Google, and can’t just give away the stuff he creates because he’s floating in a river of income. He’s a real guy with real needs, wants and feelings.

Old mints still freshen

I’ve purchased Mint 2. I did so just last night, in fact. I wanted to track this website’s stats. Sure I could use one of the other stat-tracker titles already installed on the server, but I wanted something more streamlined and focused. I decided Mint was the perfect product for me.

I’ve also purchased licenses for The City Church in the past. I won’t, however, be upgrading those – at least not for a while. I don’t need to. Mint version 1 already does everything I need it to do for those sites. Version 2 offers some great features I’d love to have, but don’t need.

The new iPod nanos are pretty sweet, too. Do you think if I complain to Apple that it’s unfair to charge full price for me to upgrade my first-gen nano they’ll listen and understand? Doubt it.

Fresh perspective

I challenge anyone who feels Mint’s upgrade price is too steep to take a good, hard look at what they’re getting for the price they’re getting it at. Do some comparisons. What can $20 get you?

Anything in that list you’d be willing to give up for a software package that’s well-built, comes with free support, a wonderful development community, and actually does what it says it’s supposed to do?

I tip my hat to Shaun, and wish him the best of luck with the future of Mint (and other endeavors). That’s free of charge.