The problem is that our lower-end licenses cost us more to support. We already pretty much just about break even on the Virtualmin 10 license (while we make money on all the other licenses). If we offered a license for $20, we would lose (a lot of) money on every single license we sell. We simply can’t afford to support a $20 license, and the more we sold, the more in the hole we’d be. The number of domains is merely a proxy for “how much value does someone get from Virtualmin Professional”; it is not a unit cost in any traditional sense. Sure, 1 banana ought to cost 1/10 the cost of 10 bananas. But Virtualmin is not bananas. We’re just trying to have people pay us a reasonable percentage of how much value they’re getting from the software, so that we can keep making it better and supporting it really well.
This may seem like an odd and unintuitive situation, but our most expensive licenses tend to be our cheapest to support (and support is our biggest cost, by far). The people who need a couple hundred domains often know a lot about web hosting and Linux (sometimes as much as we do). They probably could do everything manually or write scripts to do a lot of it, and so their questions are very rare, and they rarely need more than a nudge in the right direction. On the other hand, people buying a Virtualmin 10 license tend to be hobbyists or part-time web developers, rather than people who do this for a living. Thus, the people who buy Virtualmin 10 are many times more likely to need help, and the help they need is drastically more time-consuming. (Note that we’re OK with that, which is why we offer unlimited support for all of our commercial products, even the cheap ones.)
Even though the incremental cost of software distribution approaches zero the more copies we sell, the cost of supporting said software ends up being inversely proportional to how much people spend on it. So, if we sold a $20 license, based on our current curve of support costs (where there is currently a large spike in support costs for the Virtualmin 10 license, which I’m pretty sure would be even more pronounced for a $20 license), it would cost us about $210/year to support it (Virtualmin 10 costs us very nearly what we sell it for, while Virtualmin Unlimited costs less, even though it may be hosting hundreds of domains). That’s why the per-domain cost of larger licenses is so much lower; we know that 500 domains costs us about the same as 50 domains to support, because of the level of expertise of the people running the 500 domain server.
We’re trying extremely hard to provide a Virtualmin solution that fits every budget, but we have to work with reality, as well. We also know that a Virtualmin 10 customer today may become a Virtualmin Unlimited customer eventually; and Virtualmin 10 customers get cheaper to support after they’ve been with us for a while, even if they never become professional hosting providers, which is why renewing Virtualmin 10 costs much less than the initial purchase. But, we are not a major corporation with money to burn to earn the “goodwill” of people who only value our software $20.
As Eric mentioned, several of the Install Scripts have become available in Virtualmin GPL, which is one of the major features of Virtualmin Professional. We want people to use Virtualmin, even if they have zero dollars to spend on their control panel.
But, realistically, there’s just no way we can provide a supported commercial product for $20. I can imagine a future where we sell enough licenses to amortize it out to a $99 license, assuming our userbase continues to grow and users helping users fills in some of the gaps in support that would be necessary to offer a price that low. If cost is your primary determining factor, Virtualmin GPL is the right product for you (or, if there is some competitor out there that I don’t know of that only charges $20, maybe they’re for you). Virtualmin Professional will never cost $20.
In short, a Virtualmin 1 license would not cost $20. It would cost the same as what a Virtualmin 10 license costs, because that’s what it would cost to support it. Think of it as getting 9 bonus domains for free, because there is a lower bound on how cheap Virtualmin Professional can go, given our current support costs. If Virtualmin Professional is only worth $20 to you, I’m afraid we can’t afford to have you as a customer.