LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

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theux
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LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by theux » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:53 am

Hi guys!

I would like your opinion about the LC licenses.

Is the current LC license scheme a shoot in the foot? Company Revenue Limit??? Come on!!!

If you compare the LC licenses against Xojo, you will see that Xojo is way simpler. Xojo even allows you to keep working and deploying it after the license expired.

Why to complicate things?

Please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:13 am

Hi,

I agree only partly that Xojo's licenses are simpler. LiveCode's license is pretty simple now: for approximately 400 euro, you are allowed to release commercial software for one year. That's it. The more expensive licenses are only required to get additional support or if you are a corporate company.

Xojo has different licenses and provides different feature sets for different amounts of money. There is even a separate license for databases except SQLite. That sounds a bit complicated to me and disappoints me a bit. Moreover, the command line tool option is free in LiveCode and comes as LC Server, while you have to pay €250 for a similar feature of Xojo, which is very much over-priced IMHO. (I think Sever is included in the commercial license, but it isn't clear to me what you'd use that for, unless you're using password-protected libraries on your server).

However, if you're happy using SQLite and developing desktop apps only (who needs web apps and console features anyway), you can pay € 250 every 3 or 4 years to keep your Xojo license updated. Whenever you have a big commercial project, you can simply reserve budget for the Xojo license you need. For small projects, the desktop license is often enough. This makes small Xojo projects very affordable for my customers.

For some of my LiveCode customers I only need the open-source version of LiveCode. However, for other customers I need a commercial license. This can make their projects expensive, because I have to make commercial customers pay for the commercial license. Suppose that I have 2 big and 10 small projects in a year. The small customers would normally pay a few 100 euro but because I have to include a mark-up for the license, they have to pay around 10% extra. Big customers may pay almost 200 euro extra per project. Only to finance the one-year license.

Thus, I try to avoid using LiveCode's commercial license for as long as I can. Every month that I don't need to buy it, I save money for my customers. Meanwhile, I'm buying Xojo licenses for desktop every few years, because €250 isn't too much money and I know I'll earn it back somehow.

I think that for new potential users, the choice is simple: €250 euro for Xojo and as much time to make your commercial app as you need or €400 for LiveCode and being forced to release your app within 1 year. If I still had to learn either language and wanted to have a commercial license per se, I'd go with Xojo. If I decided to learn the language before buying a commercial license, I'd go with the open-source license of LiveCode. Either way, RunRev doesn't get my money.

Perhaps it will be different in the long term. A freely open-source development tool may attract many new customers. If LiveCode is able to attract a critical mass of users, s sufficient number of people who download the open-source version now may decide to buy a commercial license later and keep LiveCode alive. The problem here is that people will starve if they don't eat, no matter how many slices of bread you promise them in the future. I just hope that the $500000 from kickstarter was enough to keep LiveCode alive until it obtains that critical mass.

Just one more note: I think that "http://livecode.com/store/livecode/livecode-commercial/" is unclear about what you get. You don't get all new releases for one year. You get to use all new releases commercially for one year. That's a big difference.

Kind regards,

Mark
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theux
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by theux » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:16 pm

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your reply. It was very educative.

To be honest, I would love to see LC without so many restrictions. The company revenue is a killer. Another thing that is not clear on LC site is what will happen when your commercial license expire? Will you be able to continue working on your projects and deploy them. At Xojo, the answer is yes! When your license expire, will not receive any more updates and support. Just that! But you can continue work without restrictions. However, this situation is not clear for LC.

Cheers!

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:40 pm

Hi,

Hence my last remark:
Just one more note: I think that "http://livecode.com/store/livecode/livecode-commercial/" is unclear about what you get. You don't get all new releases for one year. You get to use all new releases commercially for one year. That's a big difference.
When your license expires, after one year, your copy of LiveCode returns to being an open-source copy. You will no longer have access to commercial features, such as password-protected stacks. With the open-source copy, you're no longer allowed to release commercial projects.

If you are working on a project, thinking that you will release it in 8 months and therefore buying a commercial license, you may be unable to release your project if you need 2 months more. However, I would think that once you have built your standalones with a commercial license, you can continue to sell these standalones after your commercial LiveCode license expires. If you want to know for sure, ask RunRev support.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:29 pm

theux wrote:The company revenue is a killer.
Is it really? Remember that LiveCode has something that Xojo doesn't: an open source license option.

Check out the various use cases outlined in the first question on this page, many of which allow use of the open source Community Edition:
http://livecode.com/support/ask-a-question/

Educators, hobbyists, or anyone else who wants to share their code with the world can use the Community Edition, and anyone, even large corporations, who want to make tools for internal use can also use the Community Edition.

Some of my largest projects have been in that latter category. With any proprietary language they'd have to pay for a license, but with LiveCode they not only get to use it but they also get access to the source code, something many organizations require these days in order to commit to a new language.

So the only use cases affected by the license categories are those selling proprietary products. There needs to be some way to distinguish between small business and enterprise licenses, so the revenue division seems as good as any other. There are many different ways various orgs and agencies define "small business", often by number of employees but FWIW the $500,000 threshold is used by the US Labor Department for enforcement of some of its regulations that apply to small businesses.

If a company is able to generate more than half a million US$ in revenue from selling proprietary software made with LiveCode, it seems a modest requirement to share less than 4% of revenue with the company that wrote more than half of their product.

And since most pro devs are running one- to three-person shops, I'd wager relatively few would have to pay more than $500, which as Mark noted compares favorably to Xojo once you add up the various different platform options. Compare that to ToolBook, a Windows-only xTalk that sells for $2,795.

We might also compare that to Adobe Flash or Director, but for the life of me I can't figure out their licensing page. But one thing we do know is that Adobe products are now sold on a subscription basis, and because their products are proprietary that means that if you stop paying you lose access to your own work.

In contrast, even if you let your LiveCode Commercial license expire, you can continue to work with your code using the Community Edition; you would only need to renew your license while you're maintaining a proprietary work. Open source only governs when code is shared; what you do on your own hard drive is up to you.

The impact of open source is difficult to overstate. In the modern world, it's quite a challenge for any language to be taken seriously without at least an open source license option.

And in practical terms, for many categories of use where LiveCode is a great fit it reduces the developer costs to zero, while also providing access to the source code, so you can have confidence that bugs can be addressed, and the format you're committing to cannot die.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:47 pm

Richard,

All those people who are allowed to use the open-source version don't bring money to RunRev, until they have a reason to want to release a commercial app.

I don't see how the way the US government defines "small business" is important to RunRev.

I also think that the term "killer" is slightly exaggerated and obviously I can't predict what will happen, but I do worry a little that another Kickstarter event will be necessary later on. I just hope I'm wrong.

I should add that as soon as your license expires, you can't use password-protected stacks anymore. That can be really awkward. You'll have to be very careful keeping unprotected versions of all your stacks.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:19 pm

Mark wrote:All those people who are allowed to use the open-source version don't bring money to RunRev, until they have a reason to want to release a commercial app.
True, but that's RunRev's concern. I trust they've thought it through very carefully before committing to this open source initiative. While the percentage of users who would need a Commercial license is definitely much smaller, in our modern world, driven as it is by open source languages, it would seem they stand a better chance of expanding the pie large enough that even with a narrower slice it means revenue growth for them.
I don't see how the way the US government defines "small business" is important to RunRev.
It probably isn't, but it may be of interest to theux and others who wonder about the efficacy of choosing a revenue threshold as the distinction.
I also think that the term "killer" is slightly exaggerated and obviously I can't predict what will happen, but I do worry a little that another Kickstarter event will be necessary later on. I just hope I'm wrong.
There are risks with any business model, but with a programming language it's an especially hard sell if it's proprietary. I doubt RunRev will ever match Red Hat's US$1 billion in revenue from open source software, but over time I think it will prove to be the better option over attempting to remain in the ever-dwindling pool of proprietary languages.

In the '90s delivering a proprietary dev tool was a good model, and for most other software categories there remains strong growth in proprietary software. But programming languages are a special case where the preference among developers for FOSS options is very clear.
I should add that as soon as your license expires, you can't use password-protected stacks anymore. That can be really awkward. You'll have to be very careful keeping unprotected versions of all your stacks.
Good reminder for those who intend to stop deploying their proprietary apps. But this would really only affect those who manually set the password of their development copies; I would imagine most folks just use the GUI provided for this in the Standalone Builder, which IIRC applies the password only to the standalone being built.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:50 pm

Richard,

You trust... Surely, I'd expect that RunRev made an analysis of their situation and decided that of all options Kickstarter was the best. How this will actually turn out over the next decade nobody knows. Not even RunRev. That's why I expressed my worries and I assume you understood that.

It probably isn't... Exactly!

Yes, indeed, there are risks with every business model. I agree with that :-)

You're wrong with your last sentence. Once you have built your standalone, you really don't have to stop selling your apps. You're just no longer allowed to sell newly built standalones after your license expires. That has nothing to do with the fact that you need to keep unprotected copies of all your stacks.

Mark
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SparkOut
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by SparkOut » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:57 pm

For what it's worth, I am not unhappy that there is an open source version and a commercial version, but I really don't like the subscription-based format now. Sure, have a subscription-based option for ongoing maintenance releases, especially if there are incentives to do so, but what sticks with me is the "after a year LiveCode reverts to an open source version" scenario. It's how it is, I know, but that's my subjective opinion.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:04 pm

I agree, Sparkout.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by paul_gr » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:51 pm

Interesting Thread. It encouraged me to go and read the EULA at http://livecode.com/LiveCode-EULA/
I have assumed any version of Livecode would continue to work even if the license expired, but I would lose access to further updates -- I have been paying each year since 2006 under this assumption.

but reading clause 1.e) of the licensing agreement::

e) The Licensed Edition is purchased on a subscription basis and may only be used while your subscription is current. During the subscription term we will provide updates to the Licensed Edition free of charge. At the end of the term access to the Licensed Edition will cease unless You renew Your subscription.

"access to the Licensed Edition will cease" ??

I'll keep this in mind when it's time to renew my license.

Paul
Last edited by paul_gr on Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:32 pm

Mark wrote:You're wrong with your last sentence. Once you have built your standalone, you really don't have to stop selling your apps. You're just no longer allowed to sell newly built standalones after your license expires.
I should clarify that it wasn't my intention to attempt any detailed authoritative legal opinion about licensing there. Since I'm not an attorney, of course that wouldn't be possible for me to provide.

The GPL appears, in this layman's reading, to focus on distribution of software, rather than its creation. As such, it seems reasonable that it would apply to distribution of works governed by it.

As for the Commercial License, the EULA wording seems ambiguous to me, esp. given that Section C includes "deployment" and Section E suggests that the license is only in force while it's active. Since I need to maintain access to new versions for my clients I've maintained a current license since I first started using LC, I can't claim to interpret that in any permissive way as I've never needed clarification on it.

But as I noted, I'm just a layman, neither an attorney nor a representative of RunRev Ltd. As with any licensing questions, it's always best to seek clarification from the copyright holder.

I just dropped a note to Heather on this. I look forward to hearing what she has to say.
That has nothing to do with the fact that you need to keep unprotected copies of all your stacks.
True, and as long as the developer takes advantage of the convenient UI provided in the Standalone Builder for setting passwords, only those who go out of their way to do otherwise will also need to maintain unlocked copies if they anticipate needing to work on them with the Community Edition.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:37 pm

Mark,

I also look forward to a clear explanation from RunRev and I hope they will post it on their website in plain sight.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:17 pm

paul_gr wrote:Interesting Thread. It encouraged me to go and read the EULA at http://livecode.com/LiveCode-EULA/
I have assumed any version of Livecode would continue to work even if the license expired, but I would lose access to further updates -- I have been paying each year since 2006 under this assumption.
If you've been renewing annually, what would change for you if indeed the EULA covered distribution?

It would certainly be nice if RunRev could make LC available for less than ever before, as they do now for free for the majority of their user base using the Community Edition.

For a great many users, including hobbyists and educators eager to share their work, or even businesses making internal tools with LC, the licensing cost of LC has dropped to zero with the Community Edition.

For most pro devs who need the Commercial Edition, the cost remains roughly the same, since like yourself most of us need to renew our licenses annually anyway to have access to the latest and greatest.

This leaves a much smaller subset for whom costs have increased, those who make money from proprietary software but not enough to keep current with annual license renewal, so historically they may have upgraded their own software only every few years, and renewed their LC license less frequently than you do.

I'll be very interested to hear what Heather has to say, but for most of us it won't affect us since we've always kept current for our clients anyway, or have switched to the Community Edition where costs have already been lowered to zero.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by paul_gr » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:32 pm

Well put Richard.
Unfortunately what is clear to the lawyers that drew up the EULA, is not necessarily clear to non-lawyers like me that have to read and agree to it.
Sometimes we need an interpreter. :)

Paul

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