This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.
Here’s a few links on this issue:
OS X Notifier App Growl Goes Closed Source (Slashdot)
Episode 47 – Fork You Growl! Interview with Perry Metzger (from The Basement Coders Developer Podcast — if you care at all about Growl you should listen to this, preferably before spending any money on their allegedly broken App).
[growl-discuss] Growl 1.2.x for Lion source for XCode 4.1 (including a fixed HardwareGrowler)
Patched version project page on bitbucket
Download page for forked version
Growl-1.2.2f1.dmg direct download link (if it doesn’t work check the link above — there may be a newer version).
EDIT: Link to Growl Source Installation information for Growl 1.3 — it appears that after the Slashdot article was published, the Growl developers decided to release the source to Growl 1.3 (making the headline of the Slashdot article and this article inaccurate in the process). However, this does not mean that the problems with the new version have been fixed (as of the date of this article) — it probably only means that they didn’t like the bad publicity about not releasing the source and decided to address that issue, in an attempt to blunt some of the criticism.
I’m presenting the above links so that anyone interested can check them out (and so I can find them again in the future). I will just say that I generally agree with the sentiments expressed in the podcast. I think it’s really underhanded when a project that has been free for years (and has accepted contributions of both cash and code from folks that probably thought it would be free forever) tries to go commercial, and it’s even worse when the commercial app doesn’t work as well as the previous free version. And I won’t even get into the issue of the censorship, because the Growl developers have the right to censor whomever they want in their forums, but in this case it sure sounds like they were trying to deprive their users of the knowledge that someone else had fixed their buggy code and made it freely available. If they choose to do that, then it’s up to others (like you and I) to let Growl users know that an alternative exists.
I hope that either the forked version gains acceptance (and exposure, since few people seem to know about it at the moment) or the original Growl developers see the error of their ways sooner rather than later. What IS it with developers turning greedy lately? Keep in mind that had Growl not existed (and worked so well in its previous free incarnation), it’s quite likely that the Apple folks would have developed their own notification system and made it a component of OS X.
EDIT: Two things you should know about Growl 1.3 before you fork over your two bucks: First, due to App Store requirements, it no longer installs as a preference pane in System Preferences – it’s now an application (the podcast explains this in more detail). And second, “Growl 1.3 and later do not have update checkers built into them, so you will need to keep up with when releases are put out”, according to the Growl Source Installation page.
Full disclosure: I also censor comments — see my comment policy in the right sidebar — but it’s generally because they are spam or include one or more links that I consider spam, or because someone is being rude and nasty. You can call me all the names you like, but I’m not going to approve such garbage for others to read. However, there are right reasons and wrong reasons to censor comments or to ban a user, and I’ll leave it to the reader to decide (after listening to the linked podcast, which I strongly recommend before you form any strong opinions on this) whether the Growl folks should have banned Mr. Metzger.