LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

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thatkeith
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:16 pm

jacque wrote:While it isn't the more traditional method of licensing, it isn't really "renting" either.
In as much as renting applies to this kind of thing in general, it is - in that you're renting (paying for a fixed period) rather than buying the ability to make closed-source products.
Software pricing as rental or 'club membership' fees is a bit of a touchstone at the moment, and it's never been something I've much liked. I understand what the realities are regarding what someone gets with a commercial LC licence and what they still have after the 12 months is up, but I'd like to point out that it's the sense of a clock ticking that's making some people a little uncomfortable. As you say, it isn't the more traditional model, so it's inevitable that it's going to raise at least some eyebrows.

You mentioned "if no one purchases the product regularly". That was very close to what I was pondering: what IS the likely tradeoff between (1) requiring annual fees and possibly not getting as many takers and (2) requiring proper upgrade fees for new LC builds but leaving versions as they are and – perhaps – getting more buyers? To my mind it's the big question in this thread. I won't pretend to know, but the academic in me is honour-bound to point it out. :)

This is peanut gallery stuff and the seriousness of all this talk here should be – and probably is – taken as such by the RunRev folks. :D
But I hope it's also something that they think about from time to time.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by amthonyblack » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:31 pm

jacque wrote: 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.
If your work involves a commercial app its hard to see how you can consider that either an "only" or an "ability to continue working". i think thats the point being made by others particularly in reference to xojo and it is a big consideration. It is most definitely renting to any business entity I know of (but a renting I think has value and merit). The surrendering of intellectual property can't reasonably be considered trivial. However its a decision we all have have to make and live with since it IS within Runrev's rights to charge.

I do think about end users though. Apple is a large market. I did and do consider that as a troubling issue. If my app that might not even make me any profit consumes a web service that changes its Api (example only merely representative of small changes) my understanding is I can't fix the code with community so the end user ends up with a dead APP or I must continue reupping for them each year. In my mind I just had to think about what the potential ROI was on the app or just pass on Livecode. Again this is not something that is normally an issue with an open source language/engine and its strange and likely to cause more confusion going forward.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:41 pm

thatkeith wrote: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. ;) )
Personal use would allow you to use the Community Editiion. The GPL only governs distribution - where the executable code is shared, the source needs to be made available to those users. But when making tools for your own use, since the executable isn't being shared with anyone else there's no requirement to share your source.

If you do intend to distribute it, you may want to consider how integrated your app will be with WordPress or the MySQL it relies on, since, like LiveCode and a majority of OSS projects, both are governed by the GPL.

In fact, WordPress, like Drupal and Joomla, even considers themes to be "derivative works", requiring GPL licensing for all such add-ons:
http://wordpress.org/news/2009/07/themes-are-gpl-too/
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by amthonyblack » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:54 pm

thatkeith wrote: You mentioned "if no one purchases the product regularly". That was very close to what I was pondering: what IS the likely tradeoff between (1) requiring annual fees and possibly not getting as many takers and (2) requiring proper upgrade fees for new LC builds but leaving versions as they are and – perhaps – getting more buyers?
I answered that for myself when I considered Livecode and I concluded (again for myself only) that forced upgrades are bound to provide better security of income going forward. Adobe was mentioned before (not exactly a solid comparison though considering you can do several things with Adobe files without the software) but they felt their future was more secure going forward with forced subscriptions. People are still using Photoshop 4 after all. Its not easy coming up with release after release that a customer base will feel they just have to have.

Anyway you are right about the peanut gallery thing. Its not appropriate to continue discussing discuss business models going forward. I just will put out a suggestion as others have that I think somewhere down the line might be appealing if not now - multi-year or perpetual licensing with or without upgrades (the latter would just ensure I can fix or adjust apps based on version 6 (for example) without using new livecode release features of 7,8 or 9). I'd consider paying more for that security of existing app work especially since I have no idea how much future licensing fees may go up by each year.

My two cents over.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by SparkOut » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:42 pm

Personally, I never thought there was any confusion about the licence terms. Where the problem is for me is in the sense that something is being "taken away" in regard to what we had before, licencewise. As a former Livecode Complete customer I have been able to keep up to date as far as version 5.5 but not been in the position to continue that spend. Still, I can continue to use 5.5 to deliver projects. I am not really earning enough to stretch to updating my licence but I would like to. I can not justify to myself the idea that investing in update for a limited time is worth it at present. It's not that big a change, I dare say, but it's certainly a big shift in mentality to me, which I'm not ready to reconcile at present.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by Simon » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:36 am

During the Kickstarter campaign there was a "lifetime licence" offer, it continued for a while even after the campaign.
How much would you pay today for a lifetime licence? Six year subscription price? Five?

Simon
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by sefrojones » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:10 am

I bought a personal license when 5.0 was the latest and greatest, and was very happy with the product. (I am not a programmer by profession) I just love the ease of having an idea and being able to make it into a reality with livecode. When community edition came out, I was also very excited, because now I would be able to see all the cool new features without having to renew my personal license. An that's about how it went until yesterday when I saw that Livecode school/commercial license/academy classes were available this week only at a monthly rate. I had no intention of upgrading to commercial, since I have never really released any software to the public, it's mostly for personal use or for friends. But if they made a monthly license, I would gladly stay subscribed as long as I could afford it, simply because I believe in Livecode, and want to see it continue it's mission to bring coding to everyone. And heck, now that I actually have a commercial license, it might give me the extra push I need to actually create/release something that somebody might find useful or entertaining.

That's just my 2 cents,

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by SparkOut » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:38 pm

Simon wrote:During the Kickstarter campaign there was a "lifetime licence" offer, it continued for a while even after the campaign.
How much would you pay today for a lifetime licence? Six year subscription price? Five?

Simon
If I'd been in a position to obtain a lifetime licence, I would have. If the offer were still available, I'd still not be in a position to buy one. I'm not really in a position to buy a single year either, but it is closer to being within reach. If I were to stretch to it, I'd feel uncomfortable at losing the right to do anything commercial with it after a year.

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:02 pm

SparkOut wrote:I can not justify to myself the idea that investing in update for a limited time is worth it at present.
This is exactly what I was wondering: are there people who aren't buying because of the expiring licence? The quantity is unknown but the basic answer is "yes".
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:05 am

FourthWorld wrote:If you do intend to distribute it, you may want to consider how integrated your app will be with WordPress or the MySQL it relies on, since, like LiveCode and a majority of OSS projects, both are governed by the GPL.
A good point. But all I'd want to lock away in that scenario would be the db access details. The rest of the logic isn't the sort of thing I'd want to hide. I'm *very* happy about the Community edition in that respect!

(I've pretty much always provided source documents for my apps over the years, from Wordless (mid-1990s, SuperCard) to the iOS Font Maker (Jan, http://thehelpful.com/iosfonts/), as I'm far more interested in shared learning than anything else. Some of my lecturing colleagues – the ones who teach marketing and economics, of course – can't get their heads around that, which tickles me. :) )
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:18 pm

thatkeith wrote:
SparkOut wrote:I can not justify to myself the idea that investing in update for a limited time is worth it at present.
This is exactly what I was wondering: are there people who aren't buying because of the expiring licence? The quantity is unknown but the basic answer is "yes".
For any given scenario, there's likely at least some who would prefer any option we can think of.

But if there's a serious interest in an in-perpetuity license for LC, let's see if we can help quantify that:

With a one-year subscription license currently selling for $500, what would be a good price for an in-perpetuity license?
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by thatkeith » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:22 pm

FourthWorld wrote:With a one-year subscription license currently selling for $500, what would be a good price for an in-perpetuity license?
May I suggest a slightly more open way of putting it? Simply: "What would be a good price for a non-expiring licence?"

In case I'm starting to sound like a troll I'll reiterate that I know this is peanut-gallery stuff, just musing by users, but that said...

It's worth clarifying: I think the question in most peoples' minds is about a more traditional "buy a version, keep using that version" concept, not the 'permanent subscription' licence offered as a high-end option in the Kickstarter pitch. *That* – free updates forever – would be highly unusual and worth a hell of a lot! :)
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by AxWald » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:49 pm

Hi all,

I may not be a typical LC user, so I'll share my thoughts with you, may you find it interesting!

I've abandoned the idea of selling closed-source stuff long ago, for me as a freelancer it just doesn't make sense: I'd rarely get enough items sold to even pay the license fees for my development tools ...
May be that's because I don't do fancy smartfone thingies, my job is the dry, hard and heavy business stuff: Front-ends for big databases, tools to keep the workflow alive in the bureaus, recently a small server that runs in an protected environment and feeds the web-site with sensible data (that are not to be in the MySQL up there ...).

This way I'm working "at order". Customer comes, explains its problem, I find a way to resolve it. Customer then pays me for the development, until the thing is done. Source code must be open for the customer anyways, any other day a truck could hit me, and another Dev must be able to continue my work.

I see no problems releasing as GPL V3, customers widely accepting it, too. My code usually runs in safe environments, no need to further protect it.

Would a customer want to have closed source (or Apple stuff), they'd need to pay for it. Not my problem. The few 100€ for a commercial license wouldn't hurt much, the costs for a Mac and the Apple DevProgram would be much higher I think ;-) These costs would still be just a fraction of what the complete development costs ...


What I'm now wondering a bit is how RunRev will survive - after all they don't get much money from me, if at all! I plan to buy a commercial license (that I don't really need ...) to support them within my possibilities, but I could think of some more ways to generate income:
  • One-time licenses to compile a standalone with password (10€?)
  • Certain Add-ons that make coding more easy (5€ - 20€/ year?)
  • Maybe kind of an LC-AppShop? (30% of sales?)
(Just raw ideas, with guestimated prices ...)

I think such things could work, and, due to small costs, bring more money effectively than the full commercial license does.

All in all, I don't see real problems (for me!) with the current practice. This will be different, for sure, for those of you that need to sell in the mobile AppShops, or, even worse, need to compile for Apple gadgets.
I have no problem at all with GPL, and the GPL/ community edition finally enabled me to start the long, slow process of migrating from MS Access.

Back to the HC-roots! \o/ \o/ \o/

Have fun!
Livecode programming until the cat hits the fan ...

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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:19 pm

AxWald wrote:I've abandoned the idea of selling closed-source stuff long ago, for me as a freelancer it just doesn't make sense: I'd rarely get enough items sold to even pay the license fees for my development tools ...
I think you touched on something very important, and easy to overlook for many who have a lot of experience with proprietary software but haven't spent much time considering open source as an option.

When we seek a return-on-investment for our work, we often think solely in terms of revenue from direct sales, but there are many ways software can be valuable beyond that. We see the success stories from companies like Adobe and Roxio, and may not be aware that last year Red Hat closed more than US$1 billion in sales from their open source OS, or that a majority of programmers who work on the larger open source projects like the Linux kernel aren't volunteers at all, but fully salaried. I've had paying projects funded by grants to produce open source software, with another on the horizon.

Publishing commercial proprietary software can be a good business, but like any business it requires careful planning and a lot of commitment. While direct sales seem simple enough to pursue, a good business plan will account for a user registration system, tech support, marketing, and other expenses.

And to be successful, a good software product needs to deliver what Geoff Moore calls a "whole product solution", a level of feature-completeness that fully satisfies the needs of the audience it seeks to serve. In his book Code Complete, Steven McConnell suggest that the difference between a tool and a product is roughly an order of magnitude of effort: with a tool it need only be possible to use it correctly, but with a product it should be impossible to use it incorrectly.

So while potentially lucrative, building a software publishing business is not without risks, and requires significant ongoing investment.

Any software that carries a price limits its audience. Where the business plan is solid this can work well, but if a product isn't able to pull in enough revenue to cover even a LiveCode license it won't compensate the developer for the time and tools needed for the rest of the business.

But rather than just committing to ongoing expense and resigning ourselves to losing money, LiveCode's Community Edition invites us to consider another option: open source.

Whether this means growing revenue through support contracts, or custom development, or just monetizing the traffic a larger audience provides opportunities for, will of course depend on the specific nature of the project, and the inventiveness of our own thinking. And like LiveCode itself, when you choose the GPL you retain the right to provide a proprietary licensing option for those who may need it.

As you suggested, for many projects open source is an option well worth considering.
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Re: LiveCode vs Xojo licenses

Post by AxWald » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:23 pm

Greetings,
FourthWorld wrote: When we seek a return-on-investment for our work, we often think solely in terms of revenue from direct sales, but there are many ways software can be valuable beyond that.
That's the way I took. (Be sure that it's not for everybody, it's just for ppl like me!)

I, the meek lil' Dev out there in the wilderness, cannot count on providing a well selling piece of code twice a year, providing food and rents for my place. But I still need the food and the rents...

So I go another way, I don't sell a product, instead I sell my work.

And here OpenSource fits in nicely.
As soon as a customer agrees to "OpenSource" she not only hires me, but some more people interested in the idea, too. Together we'll find a way to solve the problem. And not only me, but all others participating, or maybe even leeching, will profit of the work done.

My customer will profit, too - more expertise than only mine helping in the job, a better result, better software.

This way we all benefit - contractors get money for food, customers get nice, widely tested software, helpers receive good, tested software to be used in their projects, and all & anybody is happy.

I might add that the software I'm writing isn't this easy to understand. Even if it's GPL V3 anybody trying to use it commercially would do good to hire me for a customization. Neglecting this may rise a lot more costs ...

GPL doesn't mean that you give away, for free, all of your expertise. It only means you offer your code to the community, get help from it, and improve with them. It's a "giving and taking" thing.

My 2 cents. Enjoy yourselves!

Axel
Livecode programming until the cat hits the fan ...

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