Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:00 pm

richmond62 wrote:RunRev have been very free bandying around the word "Community", appointing RG as a "community liason officer" (or somesuch)
To clarify, I volunteered for the role because my experience contributing to the Ubuntu project and others seemed that it might be helpful here. For the moment we'd chosen the title of "Community Manager" because it's most commonly used, but after considering the thoughts of Aaron Seigo and others on that I'm inclined to change it to "Community Liaison". I might have gone with that earlier if only I could consistently remember how to spell it. :)
but haven't really given the impression beyond a few "outbursts" that they actually believe in a community rather than getting a load of
groupies on board to "lick their kneecaps".
I really dislike such characterizations, and would prefer that we strive for a more professional tone here. And as far as any broken kneecsaps, reading the posts in this community makes it pretty clear that the more offensive language is not generally used by those you may dismiss with labels like "groupies". Trevor, Jacque, Mark Talluto, and others who enjoy LiveCode and find it valuable for their work are very rarely if ever offensive.

But looking beyond your colorful language, you raise an important point, one that comes up frequently in open source communities where the core dev team is employed by a for-profit corporation.

What specific practices do you feel would exemplify good community engagement on an open source project?
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:13 pm

sefrojones wrote:I also don't think it's right to remove access to learning materials that have been paid for. For example - the LiveCode academies were included in THREE separate bundles that I have purchased, yet as soon as my current license lapsed, they were removed from my account. I was under the impression that they would remain in my account as I had paid for them several times over, but I guess not.
If your subscriptions overlapped you may have options for having them more appropriately serialized. I would suggest contacting support AT livecode.com for that.

I have no opinion about any for-fee services the company offers, but I do have a question about learning materials in general:

What learning materials are needed that are not publicly available?

I'm working on a modest set of tutorials myself, exploring options for corporate sponsorship to move them a little higher in my priority queue. But any that I make will be available at no cost, and I see many resources available similarly.

So that we can better coordinate community efforts along these lines, it would be helpful to have guidance from you or anyone else here on the sorts of learning materials you'd find especially valuable that are not already publicly available.
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by sefrojones » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:17 pm

Richard,

I am not implying classism, I am implying that your lifetime license has perhaps insulated you a bit from the feelings/concerns that are being expressed by the rest of the community. Had I been able to afford that perk at the time of the original KickStarter, I am pretty sure that I would probably see these concerns as less urgent than I do now, and would have never started this thread. My initial concerns of a crippled community version moving forward have been addressed and I will continue from here on out using Community version for my personal projects. The subscription issue though, seems to still be a major sticking point with a lot of the users in this thread, as well as a few other complaints not raised in my original (inflammatory) post, or addressed by Kevin in his initial responses. I have been extremely excited about LiveCode and it's massive potential pretty much from the first time I laid eyes on it. I have recommended LiveCode to anyone and everyone whom I thought could benefit from it, going so far as to contact local schools in my district to recommended LiveCode and point them to the LiveCode for teachers materials. A quick search of my post history will show that outside of this thread, I have tried to be nothing but positive and helpful. I LOVE this tool. I also completely understand that LiveCode needs a healthy revenue stream in order to stay around as long as I'm sure we both want it to. Sadly, in these last few weeks my enthusiasm has been diminished, and it is due mainly to what I (rightly or wrongly) perceive as coercive marketing tactics. To be honest, I regret starting this thread at all, as I generally shy away from negativity and find myself wanting to apologize again. (I won't though) Instead, I'd like to say thank you for your commitment and dedication as Community Manager(liaison?), I'm sure it's a mostly thankless job.

--sefro

EDIT: Honestly, I think there are plenty of publicly available learning resources that are more than sufficient to get acquainted with LiveCode, the academy comment was just mainly a gripe as I had literally paid for it several times over.

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by SimuG » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:29 pm

Richard, I say this respectfully, I don't think you get it.

It's not the price, $499 in my opinion is a bargain for what you get. As I mentioned as an Architect I spend over $3k per year in voluntary upgrades for my software, or as I view it the tools of my trade.

The point is that if I decide not to upgrade a piece of software, I still own it, it still functions, it is still fit for purpose. I am not forced to upgrade, which is what LC are doing. Maybe LC8 will be wonderful, maybe the new widgets builder will be amazing, so much so that I WANT TO UPGRADE. There is a difference.

Whats to stop LC taking their foot off the pedal now that they have everyone locked into a forced upgrade regime? Where is the incentive for them to innovate? For a business to have a guaranteed income on a spread sheet every year, the temptation would be to cut corners, after all what can their customers do? If they don't upgrade they are downgraded, so why should LC even bother with anything novel in LC9 for instance?

It's my opinion that this revenue model has the huge potential to make a company lazy, there is no hunger to produce a new tool set or feature that compels their customers to upgrade. Their revenue is safe. Whys should they spend money on devs, look at the spreadsheet, they have $X coming into the kitty next year, why don't they just bug fix and maybe throw one bone into the stew?

I honestly believe that a cost of $499 plus an optional upgrade of $299 is fair, once the upgrade can be justified of course. It's a great product maybe $499 is selling it short, but I gave you examples of software I use, with a comparably small target audience (except SketchUp, which was funded by Google). FormZ has tripled its user base inside 6 months.

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by capellan » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:52 pm

FourthWorld wrote: --SNIP--
What learning materials are needed that are not publicly available?
I'm working on a modest set of tutorials myself, exploring options for corporate sponsorship to move them a little higher in my priority queue. But any that I make will be available at no cost, and I see many resources available similarly.
So that we can better coordinate community efforts along these lines, it would be helpful to have guidance from you or anyone else here on the sorts of learning materials you'd find especially valuable that are not already publicly available.
Hi Richard,

Could we (as a community) create Tutorials to teach the basic and most useful LiveCode concepts and programming techniques using prototype applications for Text Editing, Bitmap Manipulation, Vector Graphics Creation, Rich Media, Internet and Databases?

Ideally, all these tutorials should follow the same style to explain the same Livecode programming concepts, applied to a specific kind of application.

Alejandro

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by sefrojones » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:03 pm

capellan wrote:
Could we (as a community) create Tutorials to teach the basic and most useful LiveCode concepts and programming techniques using prototype applications for Text Editing, Bitmap Manipulation, Vector Graphics Creation, Rich Media, Internet and Databases?

I, for one, think this is a great idea. It's very similar to the idea I had back in this thread :

http://forums.livecode.com/viewtopic.ph ... ences+2015

which led to the slightly updated scripting conference stacks available here:

http://www.hyperactivesw.com/revscriptc ... ences.html

All we would really need to start with is a new more modern (larger) template stack and then find volunteers to tackle each subject.

--Sefro

edit: It may be helpful to also mention this idea over here http://forums.livecode.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24833

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by capellan » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:17 pm

I forgot to add another useful type of prototype application:
An User Interface for a Command Line Application.

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:35 pm

sefrojones wrote:I am not implying classism, I am implying that your lifetime license has perhaps insulated you a bit from the feelings/concerns that are being expressed by the rest of the community.
You can rest assured that's not the case. The contribution I made to the Kickstarter campaign for my lifetime license was just a downpayment for me; I continue to donate thousands of dollars worth of otherwise-billable time to community efforts in this volunteer role, so for me it's not merely a significant expense, but an ongoing one.

Why would I choose do that?

It might be madness, but my accountant and I agree that it's a good investment in the interest of my company and the companies I work with.

Before LiveCode went open source I spent considerable time exploring alternatives. I've been in the business long enough to have amassed a hard drive filled in part with data in proprietary formats I can no longer use either because I switch OSes every few years or because the vendor is no longer in business.

There are some great tools out there, but I haven't found one that does as much for the work I do as LiveCode delivers.

My volunteer work to help them find more effective ways to engage with their community isn't charity or altruism. It's just business, helping to grow an ecosystem around a toolkit that provides unmatched ROI for the companies I serve.

My initial concerns of a crippled community version moving forward have been addressed and I will continue from here on out using Community version for my personal projects.
Please keep in mind that whether it's me or someone else in the future, anyone in the role of Community Manager has advocacy of community concerns as their primary objective. Open source is a big deal and getting bigger every year, and I think the value of the Community Edition is far from fully appreciated by any of us. I'm at your service for anything I can do to help further the vision the Community Edition as a powerful, exciting toolkit for delivering great software.

The subscription issue though, seems to still be a major sticking point with a lot of the users in this thread, as well as a few other complaints not raised in my original (inflammatory) post, or addressed by Kevin in his initial responses.
Kevin has said he'd prefer to just give everything away if he could, but like the rest of us he realizes that he needs to balance that desire with the practical need to keep the joint running so the mission remains viable.

Finding the right mix of revenue streams is a tough balancing act for any company, and we see more fluctuation in pricing models with LiveCode and Xojo and others because it's even more difficult when the market is as small as the one for dev tools.

While the subscription model has been a sticking point for some, when we look at the audience as a whole it's not a large percentage (even if it's a disporportionately vocal one <g>). Most devs who need a Commercial license have historically renewed annually anyway, so the practical impact on most business users is very small. Remember that the company does several surveys a year, is regularly in touch with a wide range of developers, and reads more of the posts here and on the use-livecode list than you might think. They don't always make perfect decisions, but they at least try to make informed decisions.

Someone a while back in this thread characterized the current pricing situation as ideal for no one. I'd agree with that, and I'd wager Kevin would too. I'd like to see lower prices, Kevin would prefer they be even lower, but the cost to produce the software just won't let it get much lower than it is.

Over time we may be able to see LiveCode Builder take on a new role on collaborative development for the platform, in which what we think of as the "dev team" becomes potentially as large as the number of people who can do reasonable decent scripting in a tool as easy as LiveCode. I'd like to believe that could be a billion people, but I'd be happy if it were as small as a million.

Exactly how the future plays out is anyone's guess, but I think LiveCode offers something uniquely valuable to the world of programming languages, and I think the Community Edition is perhaps the most interest part of that future.

Thee's something about truly free software that's hard to describe but very compelling, almost enchanting. You use Ubuntu, so maybe you've had that moment when you're happily doing whatever we do with our computers and suddently it dawns on you that you're using an operating system made by people just like you. They had an itch, they scratched it, and out came an OS. And a really good one. I like a lot of software, but I often find that free-as-in-libre software just feels more fun. Like Woz once said, "All the best people in life seem to like Linux." :)

I'd like to say thank you for your commitment and dedication as Community Manager(liaison?), I'm sure it's a mostly thankless job.
Thanks, Sefro. To be honest, I think I've had more people express appreciation for my work as CM than anything I've done yet merits. I've had some very nice emails and comments like yours, but I have a vision for what a free and open LiveCode can do in the world that's so much bigger than anything we've seen yet that I'm not at all happy with the snail's pace of my modest contributions. All in good time, I suppose. Like the core dev team, I need to balance my own goals for LiveCode Community with the need to cover my expenses as we go, so I try to be patient.

My meeting with Kevin last week touched on some organizational things that may allow us to speed up some initiatives. Early days still, but we're doing what we can to build a thriving open source community.

Honestly, I think there are plenty of publicly available learning resources that are more than sufficient to get acquainted with LiveCode
You've been a source of good ideas many times, so if you discover opportunities to expand public learning resources please feel free to suggest them in the Learning Resources section of the Open Source forums here:
http://forums.livecode.com/viewforum.php?f=83
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:57 pm

SimuG wrote:Richard, I say this respectfully, I don't think you get it.

It's not the price, $499 in my opinion is a bargain for what you get. As I mentioned as an Architect I spend over $3k per year in voluntary upgrades for my software, or as I view it the tools of my trade.

The point is that if I decide not to upgrade a piece of software, I still own it, it still functions, it is still fit for purpose. I am not forced to upgrade, which is what LC are doing. Maybe LC8 will be wonderful, maybe the new widgets builder will be amazing, so much so that I WANT TO UPGRADE. There is a difference.
I hear you. And I don't disagree. But I also recognize that so much of the industry is moving to a subscription model because it makes revenue more predictable.

Adobe's a popular example of this, and certainly one of the biggest. When they moved to a subscription model a couple years back there was significant outcry not only from customers, but the press as well.

How much damage did that do to their bottom line?

Revenues are up substantially, and their stock has more than doubled since they made the change.

Personally I'm not a big fan of their use of a subscription model because they have no alternative to allow customers to access their own data when a subscription lapses.

That's where I find LiveCode's subscription model at least acceptable. It doesn't prevent anyone from building anything they want, or even deriving significant value from that work for themselves or within their company. It doesn't even prevent distribution of work to others, provided that work is distributed under the GPL.

The only use case that requires a current license subscription is when you want to distribute a software under proprietary license.

That use case is usually only needed for businesses, and like you say it's a good value for a business.

I'm currently prepaid on licenses and won't see a break-even for several years, but back when I was paying per-term I renewed annually, as do most of the other devs I know, so whether that's a requirement or an option never mattered to me.

I can understand the principle at play, and I agree that it would be ideal for customers to have lower prices under more liberal terms, if only development expenses allowed it. But apparently their analysis came up with the same projections we're seeing elsewhere in the industry, and I don't see the shift toward subscriptions slowing anytime soon.
Whats to stop LC taking their foot off the pedal now that they have everyone locked into a forced upgrade regime? Where is the incentive for them to innovate?
We could have fun with slipperly slopes all day; there's no end to the human imagination.

But if you think about it the incentive dynamic hasn't really changed that much. If they slack off, people stop renewing. Same as it's always been.

Fortunately there's nothing in the company's history to suggest that will happen. On the contrary, each of the last several years we've seen only accellerated growth on both features and fixes, as well as platform coverage.
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:16 pm

capellan wrote:I forgot to add another useful type of prototype application:
An User Interface for a Command Line Application.
That's about to get very interesting and much simpler:
http://quality.runrev.com/show_bug.cgi?id=12108
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by dave.kilroy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:51 pm

Hi all, maybe I don't get it...

I happen to earn a living by writing code - and am content to pay for use of my development tool of choice.

I know if I want to be able to deploy to iOS I'll need to budget for that cost.

I also know if I want to make use of certain plugins that won't work with the community version of LiveCode that any apps I use them in will need to be built with a commercial version of LiveCode - and I should factor that in when I decide to use them or not - and again, budget for that if I decide to use them.

Let's assume I use LiveCode for the love of it and not to earn my living - in that case I need to decide whether to spend money (commercial licence) on my pastime or not. I might be happy to spend money on it (just like people spend money on golf club fees, scuba equipment, parachuting kit and licences etc) - in which case I do things that I could not do if I decided that the LiveCode part of my life should cost no money.

If I decided that I didn't want to spend money on it I would still have access to a pretty great development environment - for free. Sure I wouldn't be able to do the things with it that those who decided to spend money on it - but seems fair doesn't it?

It would be nice if we didn't have to use the subscription payment model - but I guess that other models don't give LiveCode enough income - but if I have to choose between subscription payment and a strong LiveCode or a non-subscription model and a weak LiveCode - I choose to have a strong LiveCode

Kind regards

Dave
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by jacque » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:25 pm

FourthWorld wrote:I look forward to comments from third-party plugin authors on this.
I can only speak for myself. I have two commercial plugins for LC and neither will ever go OSS.

AirLaunch: This provides a very easy way to distribute iOS apps to testers without jumping through Apple's Testflight hoops. The method it uses is freely available from many sources all over the web, and has even been outlined here in the forums. Anyone who wants to go to the trouble of automating the task can do so. For those who don't want to bother, AirLaunch is a well-tested and convenient solution. The reason I have not made it OSS is because it is only useful for iOS distribution, and anyone who is beta testing software in preparation for submission to the App Store must already have a commercial license; the OSS license is not compatible with Apple's store. So to protect my investment in time and effort, I do not plan to make AirLaunch OSS. This should inconvenience no one, since my customers must have a Commercial license anyway.

Zygodact: This provides a simple way to implement serial key protection for an app, using only a single line of script. It should go without saying that if I open-source a serial key algorithm, anyone could decompile the serial keys for any of my customers' apps. It is impossible for me to make Zygodact OSS without rendering it entirely useless and endangering all my customers' current software.
Jacqueline Landman Gay | jacque at hyperactivesw dot com
HyperActive Software | http://www.hyperactivesw.com

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by sturgis » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:50 pm

@dave..
Think of it this way..
You lease a car. Buying is not an option. You want to upgrade some stuff. Nice steering wheel cover, floor mats, whatever <aka add features by paying for 3rd party extensions>. Your only option to get that upgrade is to buy it, but if you do, true you own the that nifty steering wheel cover, but for some reason you can only use it with a car rented from the same company. Suddenly, these things that you "own" are useless unless you keep leasing cars from the same company into perpetuity. The nice thing about cars is that you can buy them, and aftermarket parts, and do what you wish. The car is yours, you don't have to buy next years model if you don't want t, but if you did... you could move your super nifty parts to your next vehicle.

So, I can see there might be some upset about this.. Having said that, the same company has said.. hmm, leasing isn't for you? Here, take this car here that is nearly identical to the one you would lease, use it as you will, one of the few limitations being that you can't add options to it unless they too are offered free. In my book, this type of generosity (yes, generosity, runrev could have contined as they were, but have stuck their necks out in a huge gamble, all to improve LC) This makes up for a great many missteps. (if they are actually missteps, I'm not the one who has to agonize over these decisions, and i'm thankful for that!) Everyone I have ever spoken to, or dealt with at runrev has been above board, friendly, caring, and pretty much great. I too want them to succeed in a huge way, and keeping the doors open is a rather important part of that success.

It might be interesting if extensions could be offered for use as part of the software rental agreement. Smaller short term cost, a portion of the 499 going to extension developers, which would also make learning the capabilities of the extensions easier. No extra outlay, just part of the package.

And I still say, giving the option.. Subscription with support built in, or a sale, "this is the version you own." with support being an add on cost.. = a win.

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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by dave.kilroy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:19 pm

@sturgis - I like the car analogy :)

There was a time when people bought software on floppy disk's and they 'owned' it, just like when they bought a book or a vinyl record - but even then I remember buying some software as a licence (Visual Studio came in about 10 floppy disks and I had to cough up each year to stay current <although it is true that it didn't change to Visual Studio Express if I didn't update...>) - and back then it was relatively easy to maintain your own car (I remember doing hairy things deep in the guts of engines with the help of Haynes Manuals) and to also customise them. And while I'm at it, building your own computers made a lot more sense than it does now a days...

...then sh*t happened...

You bought music on CDs and weren't allowed to rip them, the internet started to roar and people started to download software, then they started to do things on websites that meant they didn't need to download software, on-board computers made it a pain to tinker with cars, Software-As-A-Service was born and people started to charge for the service rather than for the download.

At around 2007 I made a bad business decision and launched a software product based on installations rather than annual subscription - I never made enough money at it and should have seen the-writing-on-the-wall - earning a living by charging for installations is harder than most other business models

I guess LiveCode could offer a choice to people between some (really high) price to buy a version of LiveCode that wouldn't change back to community and the present price for a month or year's subscription - maybe we would get some people who would opt for the former rather than the latter, but I suspect not many - and then we would need to add on the cost of keeping such versions of LiveCode 'frozen' once the year of upgrades was up whilst everyone else's versions were updated.

I miss not being able to maintain my own car or build my own computers like I used to but I've weighed up the options, made the least-worst choice and moved on.

Maybe its a matter of culture and how things are expressed - some of the emails from LiveCode have made quite a lot of people very angry (as we've seen in this thread), the kind of people who are supporters and who LiveCode should be nurturing rather than winding up. My view is that when this happened it was 'cock-up' rather than conspiracy

There is no conspiracy, no cabal of money-grabbing people in LiveCode figuring out the best way to exploit us. Like you @sturgis I believe people in LiveCode are alright, they are stand-up people making software just like we are...

Kind regards

Dave
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Re: Recently we've been investing ....[SOLVED?]

Post by sturgis » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:46 pm

Going back to licensing fees actually feels like a step back in time to me. I used to work at a college with a vax, a DEC mini, etc. VMS and Ultrix were both "licensed" (If I recall correctly) as were different chunks of the system software such as the networking stack. Our sister college supplied an install tape for the vax, but with multinet which was too expensive for us, so we ended up installing, excising multinet and going with UCX instead. In a way (a very masochistic way) I miss vms. It seems that the viability of an income model varies greatly depending on the circumstance. Modery day pc operating systems (which I guess are still technically not "owned") it works well to just say.. Yep, heres yours. Hardware turnover is so fast, and there are so many customers, it works well enough. In many cases its even possible to move that xp license to another machine as long as the first is pulled out of duty (or shifted to linux, go linux!)
In the case of LC, I say again.. I don't envy Kevin. Its impossible to make EVERYONE happy, and is sometimes possible to make everyone UNHAPPY. Making choices that keep customers, while increasing revenue would make me pull my hair out, especially since its impossible to really predict responses. Every time you trot something out to give it a try there is risk, then yet more risk every time a strategy adjustment is made. And people have cumulative memories for the negative it seems, remembering every time they feel the crunch in their pockets, or things don't work as hoped or or or. Luckily, most of this community also notice all the things that work well and make us love LC. A nice thing to see in this world of "Yeah, but what have you done for me today"

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