Download LC Community: trapped.

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Thu Mar 9 18:18:55 EST 2017

Paul Dupuis wrote:

 > With 75% of downloads being Community, only 25% of the user base is
 > paying for 100% of the development. The idea being that those that get
 > LiveCode for free would, in some part, contribute back to the Open
 > Source effort that, in turn, expands the commercial offerings. The
 > statistics show that is only minimally happening and not in any way to
 > support the cost of giving LiveCode to 75% of the user base free. I
 > hope this changes.

The value of an open source edition is more than direct contributions, 
and even contribution comes in many forms.

Code contributions are minimal at this time, but that's a function of 
ecosystem size.  With any FOSS project only a percentage of users will 
have the intersection of skills, interest, and time to contribute code.

Beyond code we have larger percentages of contribution to docs, and even 
now a majority of technical support is covered outside company expense, 
through forums and other online sources and many in-person volunteers.

In short, a slow start but far beyond where we were when v6 was the 
first open source edition.

But of course we'll want to improve on that going forward.

And the best part there is that the path to success for both 
proprietary-license revenue and open source contribution is the same:

Growing the platform's audience.

LiveCode is a great technology.  The biggest thing holding it back has 
nothing to do with the product itself, it's that few have ever heard of it.

The most valuable user engagement we can pursue, more valuable than 
emailing them a solicitation for money, is first getting them to use 

As many as possible.

And to do that it must be as easy as possible to get it.

Anything that lengthens the distance between "What is LiveCode?" and 
"Hey, I'm having a great time with LiveCode!" is holding the platform back.

 > In this context, asking for a email address in an attempt to market to
 > the people free access to LiveCode is a small thing to ask for.

For the proprietary trial edition, I wholeheartedly agree.

The issue here is specific to the open source Community Edition, and I 
believe it's worth taking the time to explore why the dynamics and 
expectations are so different:

The only value in email is a conversion to a sale.  Everything else 
related to email marketing is expense.

Conversion rates for email aren't zero, but they are commonly understood 
to be low.  In fact, if the hard cost of email marketing wasn't as low 
as it is no one would bother with it at all.  It's that low.

Most SEO brings people to the .com site, so those on the .org site are 
the subset who specifically went there to get the open source edition of 
LiveCode.  The conversion rate there is understandably much lower than 
on the .com site.

After all, someone at the .com site is there to look for a proprietary 
product.  Their interests are very different from the subset who move on 
to .org.  The visitors at .com expect that if they like what they see in 
LiveCode they'll pay.  They're predisposed to conversion.

But open source folks use software for a wide range of reasons, and the 
percentage likely to convert to a proprietary license is *much* smaller.

So while it's difficult to estimate exactly how low the value of an 
email address is to the company, there's little question how 
increasingly valuable maintaining privacy is the many people. And open 
source communities tend to be unusually well educated in matters of 
privacy and security.

Everyone here, proprietary and open source devs alike, wants to see 
LiveCode adoption expand far beyond where it is today.

That is the primary objective of all activities at this time.  Every 
other goal pales by comparison in importance.

Ecosystem size is the driver of both contributions and proprietary 
licenses, and the current small size is the most-cited reason I hear for 
choosing something else.

We need to see teachers using LiveCode, and students, and hobbyists, and 
many other categories who will not pay for a proprietary product, and 
most won't ever contribute code to the project either.

But what they will contribute is credibility for the platform.

Every person using LiveCode reduces the "I've never heard of it" factor.

As Geoff Moore reminds us in Crossing the Chasm, in early stages of 
growth adopters will tend to be the more adventurous personality types, 
those willing to try something new.

Among them will be influencers, the people their friends turn to for 
advice about what software they should use.

When we look at popular development tools today, with a handful of 
exceptions made possible only through historical circumstances that 
cannot be repeated, all of them are open source.

An open source edition is necessary in the 21st century.

And if it's going to serve the dev team at all, it must be pursued 

We can't afford to lose credibility with the audience most sensitive to 
privacy concerns.

And best of all, it's unnecessary:

The value of an email address is only non-zero when it's given freely.

So have sign-up as an option, rather than a requirement, and the problem 
is very easily solved.

  Richard Gaskin
  LiveCode Community Liaison
  richard at

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