Well, I do pay the license fees. I’ll probably buy another one for the losing server in the current migration and keep it around as a spare / utility server until it’s put back into revenue service, which may be soon. The server hosting my personally-owned sites is getting a little crowded.
I don’t think cPanel is all that great. It was great back in the late 1990’s when I first started using it, mainly because it had no real competition to speak of. There were other panels (including Webmin in… I’m thinking around 1998 or so), but nothing was as comprehensive as cPanel back then.
It also was cheap. I forget the exact price, but it was much less than the monthly lease on a well-endowed, production-worthy VPS.
Nowadays, neither are true anymore. There are a lot of panels that do everything cPanel does, and cPanel is no longer cheap. I can lease a very-competent VPS from a very good, US-based datacenter for less than what the cPanel license will cost with this increase. That’s just ridiculous.
I actually started looking for a cPanel replacement as soon as I found out that they had been purchased by Oakley Capital. In my experience, buyouts by private equity firms rarely work out well for end users. I leased a VPS to use for testing and tried a few panels. When I got to Virtualmin, I liked it and stopped looking. I bought a license and put the “testing” server into revenue service.
I really don’t need the Pro license, by the way; but I believe in paying for GPL software that I use, especially in revenue service. In this case, I could either make contributions or buy licenses. I chose to buy licenses and get the extra features, whatever they are. (I’m actually not sure what those features are other than the script installers.)
If there were no Pro license, I’d make contributions, just as I do for the rest of the FOSS software I rely on. In my opinion, people who use FOSS software to make money and don’t pay something toward maintaining it – even if it’s just a dollar a month (or the equivalent in their local gelt) – are bums. Free software doesn’t grow on trees. Those of us who use it to make a living need to contribute to it, as well.