Mac users with GPG Mail installed on their systems woke up to a rude surprise when they updated the application last Friday and noticed that it had switched to a paid plan.
After updating to GPG Mail 3, the app's services are no longer free and a 30-day trial is enforced. Once the test period expires, you can pay $30 for the full functions or enjoy a version of the app that restricts signing, encrypting and validating emails.
This modification took a large number of users by surprise, lashing out at the developer for failing to express in a highly visible way the move to a license-based support system.
The result is a huge wave of hate from both long-time users of the suite and individuals that starting using it only months ago.
DUDE!— R Maulana Nugraha (@maulana_pcfre) September 23, 2018
It's okay if you need to switch to paid plan. I know you need financial support for Mojave.
But at least tell me THAT THE NEW UPDATE WILL SWITCH TO PAID PLAN BEFORE YOU GIVE ME UPDATE OPTIONS, man...
In defense, the developer pointed to the release notes for the new GPG Mail version, which stated that the with the new version the app is available for a fee.
Not all users check the release notes before software updates, though, and one of them was quick to indicate this:
Release notes : blah blah blah Mojave, oh and btw if you're still reading, it's now paid software, but we won't explain what you're paying for, just give the money …— Cth (@fcthulhu) September 23, 2018
This isn't clear at all, you won't get anything from me until I know exactly what I'm buying !
Really bad move … pic.twitter.com/Vg2ntKLYnx
Another user compared the switch to baiting them with the promise of opensource software into unexpected ransomware:
Great open source software quickly turned into surprise ransomware.— Attila B (@theattilab) September 22, 2018
The general consensus is that GPGTools should have made the announcement more visible, instead of advertising it as a regular update and keeping the information about the paid plan in a low-key spot such as the release notes.
I paid for the new plan, but I have to join the voices of the other users who express displeasure of being presented with a trial option with no prior warning. I checked your website and your Twitter feed and saw no indication this was going to happen. Not good business practice.— Belazor (@Belazor) September 22, 2018
Plenty of users felt cheated by the developer and decided to remove the suite. Among the three most used words in the thread are "uninstall," "remove," and "ransomware," although "disappointment" can be read in almost every reply to the developer.
Never mind, I found the uninstall option in the DMG. I'll admit, I was a bit surprised it worked after this pivot travesty.— Ed Summers (@edsu) September 22, 2018
In between apologetical reactions, the developer informs that GPGSuite is still opensource, so users can still use the tools if they build from the source, albeit it will be a different experience.
The paid plan targets GPG Mail, as stated by both the release notes and the FAQ section on the developer's website.
GPG Mail is a macOS Mail plugin that is part of the GPG Suite collection of tools for encryption and decryption services as well as file signing for validation purposes.
The package also includes an app for managing OpenPGP keys: creating new ones, modifying existing ones or importing keys of other people from a key server.