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About Subscription Software...

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by GTracer, Aug 3, 2017.

How do you feel about subscription based software?

  1. Like it

  2. Hate it

  3. No opinion

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Symatics. I own the right to use the product forever. They can't take that away from me - they can't disable my license, or remove it. I'm paying to use the software from the day I buy it, to the day I die... In that sense I do own it.



    This is the digital age. Any car purchased in the last 10 years has software on it. You don't own the software, just the right to use it - does that mean you don't own your car? Or cell phone, or computer, or printer? Everything electronic uses software you don't "own".

    If you want to be technical, it's like artwork or fonts. You own the right to use the product. So while the product itself is not yours, you still own the rights to use it forever.
     
  2. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Very Active Member

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    The question becomes a limited lifetime license or a monthly license where you lose access the minute you stop paying....
     
  3. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Not sure, I'll have to check when I get home! It should be he newest version since I bought it recently. I didn't see any release notes on the site.. I was actually trying to find out when the last update was. It does everything I need it to... So I honestly don't care if they ever update it. And I'm happy not to have to pay $10 a month so they can update it with stuff I'd never care about.
     
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I'm most troubled by how a subscription model puts one in jeopardy should anything happen to the publisher. If Graphic Tracer goes out of business tomorrow and their website ceases to function, I may then lose access to some or all of my work.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Merchant Member

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    Not necessarily true either.

    You may upgrade your system that no longer has the ability to read that software anymore. If it's designed for XP, may not work on Win 10 or whatever later version. At a certain point it may need files or system calls that have since been deprecated. So no matter what there is only a finite ability to run something. Unless you have the ability to run VMs or something that will allow that older software to breath again. Not always going to be the case.

    With the way Win 10 is going, that's probably going to be the case more so then it once was.

    They may shut off activation servers that keep you from deactivating and then reactivating your software etc (in the case of Adobe especially). Once something goes EOL, they don't have to keep it going, it's at their leisure. Once support is done, that's it, it's done. They are under no obligation to maintain servers to allow you to continue using their software by activating. You may hope that they do like what they did with CS2, but given the fallout that they had with that, I don't think that they would either. I'm talking about their activation servers, not the servers that handle their subscriptions (if they are separate).

    Also, as a little side bar, Adobe limits you to 2 activations of the same key. If one truly owned it, that limitation wouldn't be there, I'm pretty sure about that.

    OS from XP on also depend on activation servers as well. Maybe with Win 2k and Win ME as well, I can't remember on those. I know Win 98 did not. So even running VMs of XP on may become problematic as well.

    Then if it's software that only allows X amount of activations again after that, that's it. Especially if the software is EOL.

    I'm sure there are ways of getting around that with questionable legality. But that's another matter all together.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  6. GTracer

    GTracer Merchant Member

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    Thank you for sharing your view. Graphic Tracer does have more than "one feature", and yes, there are many programs out there that do have the ability to autotrace bitmaps, and I am familiar with most of them. I also know that they do not all produce the same results. If you do not have a decent quality bitmap in an appropriate size, all of them, including Graphic Tracer will leave you with some "clean-up work" before taking the image into production. Graphic Tracer does have a few other "features" that other programs don't have that help eliminate excessive time spent in preparing poor quality art for production. If you watch the videos, you can see some of them in action.

    Question??? What do you consider a "reasonable amount of time" when it comes to cleaning up poor quality customer art? I realize the answer to that question can be relative, and the program that works the best (for you) is the one that you know. If you go to www.graphictracervideos.com, there you can download the very same images that we used in producing the videos. See how long it takes to clean each image up in Flexi, Corel, Illustrator or whatever program you use. If you can make each image "perfect" in 3-5 min, then Graphic Tracer probably won't help you. But, if you spend 15, 20 minutes or longer on each image... you may be spending more time cleaning up poor quality images than you need to.

    You said that you were not going to be "enslaved" to Graphic Tracer (the cost is only $10 per month). However, Bob Dylan said it well in his song "Gotta Serve Somebody". A person might think they are saving money using software that is "paid for", but that sometimes is not the case. Some people place little value on their time... they would prefer to take two days chopping down a large tree with a hatchet rather than spend $25 to rent a chainsaw. I know... I have been there.
     
  7. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    I can run windows 95 programs for the most part, even on windows 10. Compatibility mode isn't always perfect... But for everything aside from drivers, it's worked for me when windows 10 was giving me problems.

    Yes, some software has DRM. But legally you're allowed to circumvent it! If I paid for photoshop, and adobe shuts down the activation server... DMCA says i'm allowed to circumvent said DRM so I can continue to use it. It's somewhat a grey area, but no one has ever got in trouble for it.

    And I could always keep a windows XP, or 2K, or 7, or whatever I want installation so I can continue to use said software. If GT shuts down, I cant continue to use the software no matter how hard I try.

    I don't agree with DRM either. If something is too restrictive like 2 activations, I refuse to buy it. If it allows 2 activations, then you have to contact support to reset the limit if you need to... I'm fine with that.
     
  8. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Merchant Member

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    This is going to depend. If you have a 16 bit program (which could be likely in the 9x era) and you have a 64 bit modern system, probably not going to work or work as well. Why, to my knowledge there isn't 16bit code in a 64 bit system (only exception to this is something like WINE on Linux or Mac, they can run the old 16 bit programs). There is 16bit code in a 32 bit system though.

    Or if the program is 32 bit, but it has a 16 bit installation stub in it, that could also present a problem. Have to swap out that installation stub for a 32 bit one if using a 64 bit system.

    Again, it's not as simple as you get into more modern systems as things are deprecated and/or removed.

    The programs that I use still depend on a DOS layer, that's not going to work from XP on (and DOS Box doesn't work as well as the true DOS, even FreeDOS has it's issues). Even the bootstrapped DOS in Win2k and ME had issues with it unless you did back door hacks.



    You have a specific citation for that? Not just the DMCA says so, but specifically where it does.

    Typically they go after those that strip and then sell, give, what have you, but I don't recall it explicitly saying that you can remove it if it's already there if you are going to be the only one using it after you bought it legally.

    I'm not saying that your wrong, but I would like to see that section that says that explicitly to make sure.

    If it doesn't say it explicitly, then it's up for interpretation until there is case law on it. Which may or may not go in that favor. If it explicitly said that it was OK, it wouldn't be a grey area though. That's what is getting me.
     
  9. Are you paying monthly right now?
     
  10. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    When I say one feature, I mean that it's sole purpose is to vectorize. I've seen the videos and I think it's a good program. Looks like it traces better than Flexi and Illustrator. I really like the font tool.

    I'd say a reasonable amount of time is about 10 minutes at the most. I'm generally at 5 minutes for artwork I'll convert. I don't charge to do those quick conversion, so if it does take longer than 10 minutes I start to charge. This is very rare. Like once a month. Even when I get sponsor banners I have better luck tracking down SVGs or hi-res versions of the logo than trying to trace. So for me the program would sit around a lot. Maybe even a month or two at a time.

    Let's be clear, $15 monthly, $10 a month on the annual sub and even saw $8 something from one of the vendors with a code. To me, it's not about saving money. It's about the value the software has to me. Graphic Tracer has some cool stuff no doubt, but It'd be a back up tool. I'm not going to spend the same amount I pay for Flexi, which basically what my business is run of off, on a program that could make some logos easier to work with.

    I get it. I was building a Proof Approval tool that would make sending, documenting, and getting approval on artwork simple and fast. Automatic reminder emails, cloud based storage, mobile friendly, commenting and notation features. I thought, if I could just get all the sign shops in Texas to use it at $20+ a month, I could spend all my time at the gun range. What's $20 a month? Heck, I could do that out of my own salary. I could add user limitations and what not to add arbitrary price increases. Then I realized SAAS and subscription software are something that needs to be stopped. "I pay for my phone bill monthly, why not software?" Because, and this is my personal opinion, unless you're an evil company you shouldn't limit the use of the software you sell. Sell it all to me or don't sell it at all. Let me pay by use(upload the artwork to you) or let me have it limitless. It's a dangerous road to start having everything subscription based.

    To be honest, I think you are or whoever created it, is too scared to say how much you think the program is worth.
     
  11. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    I hate subscriptions.
    I only subscribed to Illustrator because I have to have the latest version.
    Other Adobe apps are CS6.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Seems it is a necessary evil these days if I want to provide my Illustrator file sending customers the best service.
    The more flexible I am with what is sent - the more the marketing departments come to depend on me being able to do what they need with a minimum of effort on their end.

    I do not care for it at all.
    Out here the whole Adobe licencing program is buggy. At first they would not sell me a CC license even through my current valid Adobe account that I had used to purchase CS3 & CS5 in the past.
    Found that I could pay Amazon monthly for my Adobe account. Good to go for a few months.
    Got a note from Amazon saying they could no longer provide the service but not to worry - my current account would not be affected until some time in mid 2018. Few days later my Amazon/Adobe account was cancelled and I was locked out of Illustrator.
    Had to go old school and use the phone to call a human (think it was a human) at an undisclosed secret location to explain how I was a good customer wanting (reluctantly) to give them money to continue to use a legal copy of AI.
    Got it sorted out and for now I can do my work.

    This is not exactly what I would call a good sales model for a company as large as Adobe. If they offered a perpetual licence with options to upgrade when I wanted or needed to I would take it.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  13. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    I stand corrected. Looks like Congress passed a bill to amend the dmca so its illegal to circumvent drm. Legal to make a copy of software you own, such as a Blu-ray as a backup..m but illegal to make said copy because you need to bypass drm to do it... Good old government.

    You can always emulate 16 bit programs. 16 bit programs were made in what.. late 70s, early 80s? I may not upgrade every few years, but I'm sure if a new version comes out 20-30 years later I'd upgrade ;p

    You should try vdos... Better than dosbox for applications.

    I'd still rather the option of having outdated software I can run,rather than having a company decide they're not interested in up keeping software anymore and all of a sudden not being able to use it. I really hate the pay to use software model... Hope it does out soon.

    Glad to see someone with some pc knowledge on here though.
     
  14. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    Nope. They do have a $8 a month web option... But I use the desktop version. Think it was like $300 or something
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. GTracer

    GTracer Merchant Member

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    Fred,
    There is no need to be "troubled..." The situation that you are describing is not limited to the subscription model... in fact in what you described you have less risk in a subscription model as you are not paying a large sum of money up front. I have expensive software that I paid thousands for that will not run on the newer operating systems. I am forced to maintain old slow computers if I want to use those programs. I also have expensive programs that I cannot get support for anymore. If I want to use it or want support, I am forced to buy upgrades. The annual subscription price of Graphic Tracer is less than the previous cost for an upgrade.

    The predecessor to Graphic Tracer was a program called Imagaro Z and that program was first released back in 2004 cost $690. A bit more of a risk... and every year, a new upgrade would be released with new features and expanded font searching. Upgrades would cost approx $130 each year. We sold thousands of copies worldwide.

    Graphic Tracer produces vector files that are fully compatible with virtually every major graphic design or sign making software out there, so there is no danger in losing access to your work.

    It amazes me how people keep wanting to squabble about the "nominal cost" of a program like Graphic Tracer rather than focusing on how much time it can save, or how it can increase the number of jobs a small shop is able put out over the course of a month. I have owned a small sign shop in Portland, Oregon for 25 years. My shop is called "Banners Of Every Kind" if you want to look it up. I use this program in my shop & would not want to be without it, because I know first hand how much time it saves be month after month.
     
  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Merchant Member

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    All the way up until the mid to late 90s. Some of the 16 bit versions that I have, never made it to newer versions. Although I think Office 4.2 has had an update between then and now.

    I mainly run all my Windows programs in VMs. Running VMs for Win 98, Vista, 7 and 8.1. Win 98 is actually a little bit trickier to get a stable VM since I'm using VirtualBox and VirtualBox never supported the consumer 9x series of OSs. But where there is a will, there is a way.

    VMs do require more resources then stripped down, bare bones emulation, but even as good as say Bochs is, it doesn't hold a candle to a totally virtualized environment. All my rigs from here on out are going to be spec'ed accordingly.

    I agree totally. More and more, I'm probably going to keep using legacy programs and I don't quite have the same concern as a lot of people on here as in my trade, I mainly get JPGs, so unless the jpg format is deprecated, I doubt I'll ever have the issue that some on here have. But then again, I do have newer versions of open source equivalents as well, so saving down to a legacy format could still be possible through those programs.

    I do not believe that the SaaS format of computing is going to go away though. I don't like that, but there are just too many that are going to that and too many consumers of that type of software. They just aren't doing a true C/B Ratio of what is going on (at least in my opinion).

    VMs, nothing like them.

    I'm running a Win 98 vm on a computer that has 32GB of ECC Ram and a Xeon processor. Now, Win 98 doesn't see all that and is still only limited to the hardware of that time that it was out, but I don't have to keep an old slow computer to run it.
     
  17. ikarasu

    ikarasu Member

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    People aren't "squabbling" about the cost of your program, they're telling you they don't like subscription software... Which is the whole point of this thread you made, to get their opinions?!

    Some people go to your competitors, some people use Corel or illustrator and then hand fix the vector.

    Most people aren't complaining about the price, but the pricing model - with valid reasons and complaints on why they don't like it. If your just going to dismiss it and say "But graphic tracer saves you time, which makes you $$" why bother with the thread?

    I'd say one of the biggest concern is what's our guarantee that after 1-2 years you don't get bored and close up shop? Then our "investment" is gone.

    No offence, but I've seen lots of complaints and reasons why people don't like it, and not many assurances or arguments for subscription based software, except "it's cheaper in the long run" which many people don't feel is true.

    Make your case, change our minds.
     
  18. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Of course I have every reason to be troubled. I have only one software subscription ... Adobe. That because I need the latest versions to insure I can read files from clients. It isn't because of any great new features for me. I keep that subscription in force because 1) I have considerable confidence that Adobe isn't going away and 2) because I have a licensed copy of CS5.5 ready to switch to if need be.

    The danger with your software is that while the saved files are not dependent on your software to work, what the software does for me may be something I might become too dependent upon and would then require me to reacquire and relearn something else should Graphic Tracer ever turn out the lights. The possibility is very real. So far this year I've seen three decent size companies in graphics software with whom I have relationships go broke and close up shop. One owes me royalties for artwork licensed to them for resale that I will never see; one published a great program for seamless texture creation; and one publishes the core software that runs my website which will now have to replaced once PHP or MySQL versions progress beyond what it can run on.

    So while your niche software may be wonderful, there is certainly no guarantee that the publisher will remain in business and that, if not, there won't be considerable inconvenience for your customers which would be exacerbated by the subscription model.
     
  19. hcardwell93

    hcardwell93 Premium Subscriber

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    Nobody is complaining about the price, and you are being dismissive to their concerns. This thread is called "About subscription software..." (not "Is this price worth it to you?") and has a poll asking how everyone feels about subscription based software. As of now it stands at 3 Yays, 18 Nays, and 2 No Opinions.

    Nobody is saying your software is not affordable, or valuable, or a quality piece of work. What mostly everyone is saying is that if in 1 year aliens come down and take GT to Mars there is absolutely no way any of your customers have a way to use the program. They see every single dime paid up to that point as wasted investment because they don't have a product that they can still be using. It is 100% irrelevant if you agree with this or not...it is the mindset of potential customers. You need to realize this and address it.

    I have a question for you...what is stopping you from just selling a license to these potential customers that like your product but have told you time and time again they refuse to subscribe? This isn't the first thread on the board about this very same topic. I myself could do the monthly subscription, but it appears that there are members here who would pay you a few hundred bucks for a full license. You said yourself that under the old name you sold thousands of copies that way, so you know that model works.
     
  20. rjssigns

    rjssigns Very Active Member

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    Since no one else has said it I will. Best way I've found to save time and make money creating vectors is to let the Vector Doctor do it. Got enough going on without having to pay for and learn another program to do work I don't like doing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
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