A brief history of Gallery Server
Gallery Server began in 2003 when I took a few months off of work to travel the United States with my new bride. I wanted to share photos of our trip so I thought I would throw something together with the newly released .NET Framework and enhance my programming skills at the same time. I was really happy with how it turned out, so I released it as a 100% free, open source product in 2005. It wasn’t long before I added a donate button on the website and started getting donations. For several years, I sent a free Dilbert book to anyone who donated $50 or more.
This donation model brought in around $500 – $1000 a month. It was really satisfying to give the product away and let folks pay whatever amount they valued the software. But $1000 a month is essentially minimum wage and this was my main source of income, so I was constantly brainstorming ways to increase revenue. With reluctance I eventually added a commercial edition, which later morphed into three editions: Home & Nonprofit, Enterprise, and Enterprise Ultimate. My goal was to build a sustainable business model that was also rewarding on a personal level. It has always been important to me to have a free edition with as many features as possible while trying to get enough revenue to pay the bills.
I’ve been working on Gallery Server nearly full time for the last 15 years. Unfortunately, I never got the revenue to where it needed to be. Every single year I could have made more money being a developer for some corporation. But that was okay because I valued work satisfaction more than money, and Gallery Server has truly been a labor of love. It is a solid software product with an architecture that follows industry standard best practices, and reports of bugs have dwindled to near zero.
A new beginning
However, I’m at a point in my life where my expenses are exceeding revenue, and my hand is forced. I must work in the private sector and, as such, do not have time to continue working on Gallery Server. As of today, I have stopped selling all commercial editions of Gallery Server.
I moved the source code to GitHub, removed all licensing restrictions, and posted compiled versions for installation and upgrade as a new 4.5.0 release. There is now a single edition called Gallery Server.
The good news
All the features of Gallery Server Enterprise are included in this release. That means users of the Free and Home & Nonprofit editions can immediately upgrade to 4.5.0 at no cost, and enjoy access to the enterprise features you may have wanted but couldn’t afford. Upgrading any 4.x edition to the new, open source 4.5.0 release is just as simple as previous upgrades. Download the upgrade zip file from GitHub and extract the contents over your existing files. I updated the Admin Guide, so refer to that for more details. It’s a download on the GitHub release page.
The bad news
Significant development on Gallery Server has stopped. If you submit a GitHub issue, I don’t know if I’m going to have the bandwidth to address it. I will do what I can to help. If you report an issue and the fix is easy, I’ll take care of it. If you submit a pull request and it’s decent quality, I may merge it. With any luck, some developers will jump into the GitHub project and help keep it active. Maybe it’s you?
What about existing customers?
Your existing Gallery Server installation will continue to work. You can continue deactivating and activating your previously purchased license. At some point in the future, the endpoint for the activation will be taken down. When this happens, Gallery Server has a built-in fail safe mode that automatically considers the license activated when it cannot reach the licensing server. That means you can continue using and installing any version of Gallery Server you already own, even when the galleryserverpro.com website no longer exists. Even so, I anticipate the website to be up for at least another year. The forum is a valuable source of knowledge and the website provides valuable information about features.
If you bought or renewed your Gallery Server subscription within the past year, you are entitled to one year of free support. I intend to honor that agreement and continue providing support until your renewal date is up. My day job means I may not be able to answer until the evenings and weekends, but I won’t leave you hanging.
In the coming days I will be updating each active subscription to the ‘pending cancellation’ status. That will give you continued access to downloads on the website, but you will not be auto-charged on your renewal date.
I still dream about all the fun things I’d like to do with Gallery Server. What a treat it would be if I could rewrite the front end in Angular and the back end in .NET Core! But for the foreseeable future there just isn’t enough time. I need to focus on being a good dad and provider for my family.
I thank every one of you who have supported me over the years, especially if you made a donation in those early years. My customers – you – have always been fantastic to work with and it’s been a pleasure talking with you on the phone or in the forum as I installed your gallery or helped with some issue.
I’ll see you on the interweb.