In brief letters to registered Frontier users last week, UserLand Software announced a charter pricing structure for Frontier 5.1, the soon-to-be-released version of its cross-platform scripting and Web content tool. (See "Frontier 5 Ships" in TidBITS 415.) Through 08-Sep-98, personal users may purchase a one-year licence for $300, commercial users can pay $900 per year for official support options, and partner licenses are available for $500 per month. Licensees will be entitled to new features and updates as they’re released during the duration of their subscriptions. According to UserLand, Frontier 5.0.1 will remain available for free.
Although Frontier has been a free product since version 4.0 (see "Frontier Justice" in TidBITS 279), UserLand has made no secret of its intention to return Frontier to commercial status. Nonetheless, UserLand’s move has ignited heated debate in the Frontier community, with many users expressing concern that the new pricing structure will erode Frontier’s current user base and serve as a barrier to new users. In the meantime, Frontier 5.1 promises a raft of high-end Web publishing features, including an XML parsing and storage system, RPC (Remote Procedure Calling) utilities for distributed computing, integrated update capability via the Internet, and enhanced Web authoring tools for groups.