In conjunction with this week’s MacWorld Expo, Linotype has released the latest version of their widely lauded font management application, FontExplorer X. The newly rechristened “FontExplorer X Pro 2.0″ now features CS4 auto-activation and connectivity with the equally new FontExplorer X Server, but unfortunately for current users the formerly freeware app is now going to cost you $79 (or $39 if you buy it early). If I may quote the great modern philosopher and incisive critic of popular culture Johnny Rotten, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
So what’s the big deal? Well, I can’t fault Linotype for wanting to monetize something that’s proven very popular (though they certainly got a lot of mileage out of the whole “iTunes of fonts” positioning, and the built-in Linotype font store has to have generated them some income), but I do think it’s real kick in the balls to current users, many of whom have spent the last year or two evangelizing the application among their peers, to release an expensive, feature rich “Pro” version without also offering a stripped down “Home” version. Especially given that the new $79 price tag is going towards features, primarily server connectivity, that a lot of us don’t need and won’t use. I’m sure that Linotype’s stance is that they’re targeting enterprise users, but that seems like a very backward way of thinking for what seemed like a very forward thinking product. Most of the nearly 450 non-enterprise-level font users on my KERNSPIRACY list, formerly an ardent hotbed of FontExplorer evangelism, agree, and Linotype has managed to alienate them all in one fell swoop.
Fortunately, you can still download the free FontExplorer X 1.2.3. Get it while it lasts, and give Linotype the finger for me while you’re at it.