"Introducing New LiveCode Licenses"

Mark Wilcox m_p_wilcox at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Oct 29 18:16:41 CET 2013


>> The only real value for a Commercial license is when shipping commercial products.


Not all products that ship are intended to profitable. Remember it's not possible to ship at all on iOS without the commercial license.

>> Remember that the GPL only governs distributed works, so hobbyists and even professional devs making in-house tools for the businesses they work in can use the GPL-governed version.


There are 1 million apps on Apple's app store - a large fraction of them were created by hobbyists and software pros from non-mobile backgrounds tinkering in their spare time. You might say that the stores would be much better off without these mostly poor quality apps but:
1) Everyone starts somewhere - the same developers may go on to start app businesses or quit their day jobs and do freelance development work.
2) This is also the source of the long tail of quality apps, filling all the niches that are too small for serious businesses.

Android has a similar number of apps and even greater proportion of hobbyist developers. Technically the GPL is usable by Android developers who are happy to release their hobby creations for free but many beginners feel their code isn't good enough to publish and don't want to make it public. Both iOS and Android hobbyist developers with no real expectation of profit like to have a monetization model just in case - maybe to pay for some of their hobby costs, like devices for testing.

To me it seems a little odd that an environment that should be one of the most approachable for this developer segment doesn't have a usage model that fits their needs. I think something slightly creative could be put together - such as a revenue share on annual revenues above some low threshold and below the level where it would then make sense to get the full commercial license. Make it a zero-risk proposition for people to try out without the constraints of the GPL. Of course that route is slightly more open to abuse but those who do wouldn't have paid anyway, so RunRev loses nothing.

In my view, the GPL is a great way to give people access to the tool for education and to give those interested in contributing to or extending the product open access to the engine code but it's a very poor option for most other developers (unless we see a thriving open source LiveCode app community spring up). Getting people hooked as students and hoping they'll come back to the product professionally is a very long term play! :)

At the other end, I think they're potentially leaving a lot of money on the table - $500/year is a screaming bargain for a cross-platform environment in productive use. Selling support and services on top to capture some of that is not really scalable if the product starts to gain in popularity.

All just my humble opinion of course.

Mark


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