OpenSource and Premium, how does that work?

I am just wondering how an open source app/SaaS can include premium as well.

I am not a developer. Lets say, isnt it possible to fork Bitwarden and enable Premium Features without a real license?

I am happy about any explanation how all that matches, open source + premium :hugs:

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Yes, you are right. It’s possible to fork and enable premium without paying.
It’s even already done :hugs:

We know one thing for sure, if everybody is using those ‘free’ projects instead of the official ones it’s not good for the opensource projects. Development isn’t free right?

A lot of people are using the free/forked versions of bitwarden but also take a Premium subscription on the official Bitwarden. Just to support further development of Bitwarden.

I’m interested in supporting BitWarden financially, but I can’t find an explanation of how the paid plans relate to the open source license and how my financial support affects the open source development vs only the paid feature development. Anyone here have links to info like this?

Paid features are not more expensive to develop. However, they bring some kind of value to the user, and the team behind BW expects that this value is worth paying for the premium license.

They have to find a balance between the free and paid features. For example, if including 2FA and getting advanced reports in your vault is worht $10/y to you, then you’ll likely be paying these $10 and so supporting the development of all features.

Something like autofill however is a must have in a password manager. If BW offered autofill only for paid users, you would likely not pay the $10 because you would say that it should be included in the free plan.

If I have to guess, autofill is more expensive to develop than some reports which are basically queries against a database.

Yeah, that seems right.

It seems I’ve not expressed my primary interest, however. What are the different licenses that Bitwarden uses for the various distributions of its software? I see it has most (all?) of their projects open source on Github, https://github.com/bitwarden. If I subscribe to a paid version of the product, am I getting code from some projects of theirs which aren’t open source?

I’m interested because I can’t find communication of how the paid subscriptions relate to their open source origins, which makes me feel like it’s possible they will start to neglect their open source products. I can accept some degree of this, but I would like to see some official communications about it.

IMHO (I’m not affiliated with Bitwarden), all of BW related stuff is open source on GitHub including the premium features. With the premium license, you only unlock some features which are locked by default. But you could easily fork bitwarden projects, remove the pieces of code that check for a premium license and deploy your own version.

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That answers my question, I think.

As to the original question, which is something like “Why would anyone pay when they can fork and disable the paywall?”

Upgrade your personal account to premium and unlock some great additional features.

Everything from a free account, plus:

  • 1GB encrypted file storage
  • Two-step login with YubiKey, FIDO U2F & Duo
  • Password hygiene & vault health reports
  • TOTP authenticator key storage & code gen.
  • Priority customer support

I highlighted the two aspects that you can’t get by disabling the paywall.

The confusing part, then, is the two other ways of subscribing, namely “Personal Use” and “Business Use”. When I see a subscription plan that says “Business Use” I think there is a Terms of Service license that it implies signing, which is something like “You are using this software for X amount of business use”.

I haven’t looked for any ToS, so I would guess this “Business Use” difference is only about “buy more save more” where you’re buying multiple user accounts at once. Looking more closely, it looks like “Business Use” says “Priority Tech Support” where “Personal Use” does not. More interestingly “Business Use” says “includes 5 users” right before saying “Unlimited users”, so it seems even the Bitwarden business hasen’t even figured it out yet, haha.

There are different types of organizations :

  • The free one allows you to only share credentials with one person, therefore two users max
  • The family plan allows you to share with 4 users (5 including you) for a fixed amount per year
  • The team plan starts at $5 per month for 5 users (5 users included) but you can add more users if you want (unlimited users). They’ll each cost you $2 per month
  • The enterprise plan costs $3 per user per month

The “business use” and “personnal use” are use cases only. You can buy the enterprise plan while not being an enterprise or part of an enterprise, it’s just that it’s more suited for businesses.

In layman terms, I thought this has been set for obvious reasons.

  1. Running an online (reliable) server isn’t cheap. Even more when talking in long-term plans to keep databases safe and accessible without any issues.
  2. The developers takes this as the full-time job (I suppose), so keeping it alive and coding day by day isn’t an easy task.
  3. Premium plans encourage people to keep the support for this software to keep being developed, otherwise there shouldn’t be a point to make a profit of this.
  4. Some of the APIs that Bitwarden uses are paid, so it should be a must to encourage people to “donate” via a friendly premium plan.
  5. You probably should know, but to make it clear: premium plans have just hatched out of the egg, so it’s likely to get many other features implemented (with proper care, ofc) in the future.

Anyway, I think the developers deserve a good coffee for what they have done so far. I might not be coherent by saying “I haven’t subscribed to premium plans yet” (for personal reasons), but also making it accessible and more affordable than other password managers is also a good reason to keep this on the road.

Spread love. Spread Bitwarden. :wink:

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