LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by heatherlaine » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:35 am

Folks,

I'm a touch confused as to where the confusion lies! But I'm assured there is confusion so here is what our licensing means in terms of Commercial vs Community:

With a Commercial license you may build closed source apps and distribute them however and to whomever you wish. While your subscription to Commercial is current, you can continue to build these apps, using the latest versions of LiveCode. If your subscription lapses your access reverts to Community. Any apps you have built while your subscription was current continue to function, they will not suddenly cease to work and you can continue to distribute them as before. You will only need to purchase an update if you want to update your apps and distribute your new closed source updates.

You can use Community to create work within your organization (or on your own harddrive). The minute that work becomes public in any way, including for beta testing, in education, use by a contractor for your business, use by a client outside your own business or of course release as a standalone app for general use, you must release the complete source code for your work. You cannot use for distribution any closed source software in conjunction with Community that is integral to the creation of your app. For example this means some add ons for LiveCode are excluded as they are not open source.

If you have created an app using Community, and you then wish to release it and protect your source code, you can simply purchase a Commercial license and build your app. No conversion process is required, Commercial seamlessly integrates with Community. You do not need to own a Commercial license during the entire app creation process, you can buy it when you are ready to build.

The only other point I can think of that might require clarification is access to support. Community does not come with any kind of support package from us. To receive technical support, you need as a minimum a Commercial license.

Please let me know if any of the above is not clear and I will be happy to attempt to clarify it. You will also find more help and information here:

http://livecode.com/support/ask-a-question/

and here:

http://livecode.com/livecode-licenses-comparison/

Warm Regards,

Heather

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:47 am

Heather,

The problem is that in many places on RunRev's website it says "'commercial license' gives access to releases for one year" instead of "'commercial license' gives you access to the commercial edition for one year". As an example, have a look at the link that I posted earlier in this thread. If you want me to explain this in detail, feel free to send me an e-mail. You have my address.

From your reply, I think this is all what really matters:
With a Commercial license you may build closed source apps and distribute them however and to whomever you wish. While your subscription to Commercial is current, you can continue to build these apps, using the latest versions of LiveCode. If your subscription lapses your access reverts to Community. Any apps you have built while your subscription was current continue to function, they will not suddenly cease to work and you can continue to distribute them as before. You will only need to purchase an update if you want to update your apps and distribute your new closed source updates.
and the underlined text is all that people need to remember, besides the need to keep unprotected copies of all stacks (which you don't mention anywhere).

Btw quite a few add-ons for LiveCode are open-source now. In some cases, the developer has found other ways to allow for combining an add-on with the open-source edition of LiveCode. Therefore, it isn't always true that add-ons can't be used with the open-source edition of LiveCode. You may want to edit your post to make this clear.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by theux » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:32 am

Hi all,

My intention here was to try to understand what really happens when your commercial (whatever you are using) license expire.

What I understood from Xojo is that the license servers basically to keep Xojo updated and to provide support. But once the license expired, you can continue to work as usual.

https://www.xojo.com/store/about.php
All new licenses allow access to all Xojo updates for the next 12 months. After that, you can continue to use versions of Xojo that were released before your license expired indefinitely, and your apps continue to be yours to sell or share! To get access to new releases of Xojo for another 12 months, renew your license.
However, that is not what happens with LC. I truly have the feeling that in the end of the day, you are only "renting" LC and once you stop paying it, you are locked in. That's my fear!

Cheers,
TheUx

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:52 pm

heatherlaine wrote:You will only need to purchase an update if you want to update your apps and distribute your new closed source updates.
I've added the bold emphasis there to indicate where the ambiguity rests for myself, and perhaps others.

We understand that standalones are functionally independent of the IDE license, and won't just stop running when the license expires.

But given the many places where both building and distributing are mentioned in terms of what the Commercial license covers, the question I have isn't whether it's functionally possible to continue sharing apps made with Commercial, but whether it's also legally encouraged.

It's technically possible to do all sorts of things, even distributing proprietary works with the GPL-governed Community edition. It just isn't legally allowed.

In my own reading (and I would love to be wrong on this), my Commercial license grants me certain distribution rights for the LiveCode Commercial engine bound to my code in my standalone. And when my license for that Commercial engine no longer exists, my rights to continue distributing that engine cease along with it.

If the license duration for the IDE is indeed separate from the duration that applies to the runtime engine, it may be helpful to clarify that in the license.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:10 pm

Richard,

I think that the emphasis should be on "new" and not on "distribute". You can still distribute previously created standalones.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:20 pm

theux wrote:My intention here was to try to understand what really happens when your commercial (whatever you are using) license expire.
There are two sides to this, as I noted in my previous post:
- the duration of the Commercial license as it applies to the IDE
- the duration of the Commercial license as it applies to standalones

Heather's post seems to suggest the duration for standalones is in perpetuity, though I'll have to wait for her reply here for clarification.

On the IDE, LiveCode seems to strike a middle path between the newer subscription models increasingly popular with software publishers, and the older per-version model still used by Xojo.

In a true subscription model, such as Adobe and many others use, once your license for the authoring app expires, you would indeed lose access to your work until you renew it. While this created some noise in the blogosphere when Adobe made the switch, apparently it doesn't actually matter much for most, as revenues for that company are up significantly since they changed to a full subscription model.

Fortunately, the implications of a true subscription model don't apply with LiveCode as they do for proprietary apps like Adobe's.

What LiveCode has that Adobe doesn't is an open source edition.

With LiveCode, anyone can use every feature the LiveCode language and IDE provide (with the sole exception of password protection of scripts), forever, at absolutely no cost, and you even get the engine's source code.

The only time you need to purchase a Commercial license is when you want to deploy a proprietary app.

This is usually done when selling a commercial product, and in most cases the app delivers enough value for its audience that it's producing far more income than is needed to cover the cost of the license. Indeed, a good business plan also covers the developer's time and expense, and provides a healthy profit as well.

For most developers who sell software, like paul_gr, myself, and most others I know, we need access to the latest versions so we regularly renew our licenses annually anyway.

So for the subset of LiveCode users who need a Commercial license at all, only a smaller subset of that subset will see an increase in costs under the new pricing structure, the relative few who depend on LiveCode to develop proprietary commercial products but don't normally take advantage of the current releases on a regular basis.

But even then, if I understand Heather correctly, you may still be able to continue distributing your proprietary app even when your IDE license expires. If that's the case, then you could even use the latest version of the Community edition, with all the new features, while you're working on your app's next version, and would only need to purchase a license when you want to build it with the proprietary engine.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:27 pm

Mark wrote:I think that the emphasis should be on "new" and not on "distribute". You can still distribute previously created standalones.
That may be, but I can't claim to speak for RunRev, and paul_gr and others in the community suggest I'm not alone in finding the license duration ambiguous given the wording in Section E.

It would of course be very helpful for the community (though less so for RunRev's revenue) if they're generous enough to grant an in-perpetuity license for the runtime engine even when the Commercial license expires in all other respects.

But the license as currently worded makes no mention of two different durations. If that's their intention, it would be helpful to express that in the license.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Mark » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:49 pm

Richard,

I don't suggest to speak for RunRev, the community, or anyone else. I'm speaking just for myself. I believe it is important for people to understand that the commercial license reverts to the open-source license after one year. I believe this has been made sufficiently clear in this thread now.

I also understand that standalones won't stop working after the license expires and no one can stop me from continuing to distribute those standalones unless the license explicitly tells me not to (which it currently doesn't). Hence my remark.

Kind regards,

Mark
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by heatherlaine » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:10 pm

Richard - when your Commercial license expires, any standalones you built using that license will continue to work and you may continue to distribute them exactly as before. You can't build any more closed source standalones or edit the existing ones until/unless you update your Commercial license.

I hope this helps,

Regards,

Heather

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:56 am

Personally, I'm a little surprised that the Commercial licence flat-out expires after a year. Like others I had assumed (foolish me, I know) that it was about *access to updates* for a year. Practically all the software I've ever used – ok, largely general creative professional tools, some mainstream others very niche, nothing seriously enterprise I admit – is sold under the same general open-ended licence concept: you buy a version, you use it for whatever you like for however long you like. New versions are bought to get feature enhancements and system compatibility fixes.
The big exception to this is Adobe Creative Cloud, and THAT move is not exactly popular with users... In no small part because ceasing payment for a month locks you out of your tools AND your documents. I could go on at length – I predicted this as the logical conclusion when the first Adobe Creative Suite came out – but there's no real point.

I'm not privy to the decisions behind this, I'm just outside looking in. I know this ain't no democracy, it is business, and I totally respect that. But I would like to add my voice to those saying they're not thrilled with having the tool they buy changing like this after 12 months. Could there be another way?

Would the loss of income from axing the annual pay-or-lose-it license really be that significant? Might the ongoing release of feature and compatibility updates be enough to keep most people paying to stay up to date, while allowing them to at least stay on board in the treading water sense if funds are a little tight at an inopportune moment?
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by theux » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:11 am

thatkeith wrote:Personally, I'm a little surprised that the Commercial licence flat-out expires after a year. Like others I had assumed (foolish me, I know) that it was about *access to updates* for a year.
That's was my thought too. The current business model is good only for the company and to be honest, the open sourced version mean nothing for those that want to make their life selling apps. So, once you developed a software using the commercial license, you are locked-in forever!

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by amthonyblack » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:37 am

As a newb that recently looked at and compared the two and decided to proceed with livecode (surprise to a few people especially on the mailing list :) ) I will weigh in as an outside perspective.

I got and understood the licensing so it was not too confusing or misleading. I can't fault the runrev team on that.

That said I did have to readjust my idea of LIvecode being open source, in that in order to justify me proceeding, I made the decision to look at it as a commercial proprietary platform and ignore the open source label altogether. To me thats where the confusion can slip in real quick despite the wording being adequate. Right now the open source languages owning the market are not as restrictive as livecode. Php, javascript even C# (to a degree) allow you to do anything with it. Php does not consider your idea as derivative of the language simply because you coded the idea in it and you can use it like a canvas to present/create your idea whether thats commercial or free. Thats pretty much the expectation when people talk about open source languages (IDEs are another matter). Almost all open source languages are free to do as you wish.

Xojo is at the moment twice as expensive and you cannot release anything in anyway until you pay but its a little easier to understand because it does not claim to be open source. Given present pricing I don't think they compare well and to me Livecode wins that as well as ease of use. However open source tends to bring some different expectations. Plus it is reassuring to know you own rather than rent. Starting on a project you don't know when and if it will take off. 366 days or more and you will have a decision to make or lose everything on that idea. There does seem to me to be a need for an option that allows for at least minor changes or bug fixes. the idea that my proprietary commercial software has to revert to open source if I change even a line of code at day 366 is onerous.

Anyway Runrev employs a number of people and they do need to eat so there are not that many options. They would have to bank their entire livelihood on livecode getting so popular the could make it on support, upgrades, training etc. I entirely get where they are coming from. I don't see LIvecode getting that synergy to take over or hit critical mass for that to happen (even mores so without taking that gamble so its really a conundrum)

Still lets face it. its not just an issue of sharing revenue or paying a percentage back to Livecode in licensing fees like Richard said. Just to distribute Ios apps you have to get the commercial license so regardless of whether you make money or not intend to or not - if its your goal to distribute cross platform you do not have an open source livecode to work with you must pay for the commercial version as i understand it.

So theres a whole segment of the user base where the talk of open source options means absolutely nada. I pretty much ignored it when I decided on livecode.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by amthonyblack » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:48 am

theux wrote:. So, once you developed a software using the commercial license, you are locked-in forever!
Pretty much but that isn't an unfair thing if you are making money. We have to consider the user base and their economics. It very well might not be just good for the company but necessary for them to stay afloat.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:36 pm

One thing that may be interesting to consider is whether enough people might join in if the license was 'buy rather than rent' to make up for not getting another payment every year from those who are okay (enough) with that. The RunRev folks are the only ones able to work that one out and it's the kind of business debate that doesn't go on in public. I just hope it's kept on the agenda.

The LiveCode Open Source Software initiative was & is brilliant. That's why I chipped in. (Despite my wife's ruling on "no more Kickstarter payments!" :D ) But there are cases where OSS use isn't wise, such as building in access details for external SQL sources, say to get content from a WordPress site's db. I'd seek advice for this even with closed-source software creation, but it'd be a "don't be daft" thing for OSS. (Before anyone says that's clearly commercial it's part of an idea I'm exploring as a personal experiment, as a possible angle in applying for a PhD. Personal development can be relatively hard-core too. ;) )

RunRev deserves to make a ton from what they do. I applaud that as strongly as I do the OSS initiative. But I'm still wondering whether tempting users into buying regular upgrades through ongoing enhancements might be as viable as requiring an annual membership fee. That would be giving the choice to the user then making them want to keep paying anyway!
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by jacque » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:53 pm

Well, of course, the main issue is how RR will stay in business if no one purchases the product regularly. But that aside, what do you lose when the commercial version reverts? Only two things: the right to proprietary code, and the right to distribute in Apple stores. You won't lose the ability to continue working. There is also nothing preventing you from distributing to any device or computer outside of the Apple stores either, provided you are willing to also make the source code available. You can distribute Android apps via Amazon, Play Store, or your web site using the community version, and desktop apps for all platforms, including Mac and iOS, on your web site or via hard media. The only restriction that would require you to re-purchase a license is if you want to keep your code proprietary and/or distribute via Apple-owned properties.

While it isn't the more traditional method of licensing, it isn't really "renting" either.
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