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Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

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  • Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

    I know that there has been a lot of discussion about the new runtime pricing issue. And although I have a number of concerns about that issue, I would like to raise an issue that also affects the developers who believe that they can afford the new pricing structure.

    NB: I only develop for larger organizations that could afford the new runtime fees.

    However, I also do a risk analysis of all my development choices and tools, and with the new scheme, I have come across one risk that is making me decide to use alternative products to AlphaSoftware for future projects.


    Scenario

    Let's say I spend a whole lot of time (years) developing an application that is intended to be distributed to a number of organizations.

    I buy a 20 seat licences for each of these organizations as they purchase the product.

    I start to sell this software product and things start to go well for me and more and more organizations want to buy and use this application.

    AND THEN, For some reason AlphaSoftware ceases to exist.

    This would mean that I could no longer buy / register any new Runtime licences.

    Therefore, I now have a product/application that I can no longer sell to any new organization. ie. I have just wasted all that time, effort, marketing and good-will that I have spent years building up.

    Whereas, with v8, I can keep using the same 20 user Runtime that I bought for this application and keep distributing it to my new users.

    end Scenario

    It is for this reason that I will stay with V8 until I decide which other development platform to use.


    MS Access is looking like a promising candidate now that it does not charge for runtimes anymore.




    BTW: I only use Alpha for my desktop development. As for web development, I already use more efficient and open standards web development tools for this purpose, so WAS is not an option, and besides, I have to Purchase a new WAS for each client as well, so if AlphaSoftware ceases to trade then I am in the same boat again.
    Last edited by whiteside; 03-22-2008, 09:31 PM. Reason: spelling and grammer

  • #2
    Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

    With all respect

    I don't think there is a whole lot of validity to this argument.

    1. Alpha Software has been in business for 25 years and is doing fine.

    2. The Alpha ceases to exist scenario should not be concern. Yes, Alpha the company could cease to exist (in a sale or other scenario) - BUT Alpha Five the product is real and will continue to exist and licenses will continue to be available!

    3. Frankly, there is more evidence of very large companies "killing" off products because they have lots of products and because of internal political reasons or products not meeting some arbitrary financial objectives - than there is risk surrounding Alpha Five, where it is all that we do and where we focus on it with dedication and laser beam passion.

    For example:

    Microsoft Sentences FoxPro to Death Apr 10, 2007, http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2007041002026OSMSDV

    With respect to Microsoft Access there is considerable evidence that the level of innovation in that product has been minimal in recent years especially compared to Alpha Five. (The reason for this is pretty straightforward. Microsoft is trying to shift everyone over to the much more expensive/complex (and profitable to them)Visual Studio.NET framework.)

    In addition, our records show that a significant percentage of people switching over to Alpha Five in the last year have been coming from Microsoft tools like Ms Access and Visual Studio. If you like I can share some internal research that we conducted recently on this topic

    Sincerely
    Richard
    Richard Rabins
    Co Chairman
    Alpha Software

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

      Thanks for the reply.

      I was not inferring that AlphaSoftware was actually going to cease to exist, just that under risk management scenaros we have to concider what we do if such an event occurs.

      My Clients / Partners are very astute IT organisations and thay ask me to come up with answers to these types of risk senarios all the time.

      In their opinion (and mine) this is a risk scenario that is a possibility. Over the last 25 years I have seen any number of software/IT companies that have been bought out by larger rivals just to have their product made non existent.

      This is no problem for any product in which there is NO runtime licenceing fees, for example Visual Foxpro V9 (which I also use) because we can keep on developing and distributing the product with no restriction.

      The use of any runtimes by AlphaSoftware has always been a risk issue with the organisations that I deal with, however under the V7/V8 system it was an easily manageable risk. Under V9 the risk just became unacceptable.

      Like I said I will continue to use V8 because of its less risky runtime business model, but any new projects will not be developed in V9 under it's new, more restrictive model.

      Thanks again for reply.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

        Thanks for the reply

        Let me ask you this question.

        under the current runtime model for v8 we state

        (reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")


        "If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime."

        Unfortunately - we have seen a lot of folks ignoring this and saying to customers - " all you have to do is pay me the developer/consultant for my efforts and i will just use my runtime - so you, the customer has to pay nothing for the Alpha Five product"


        So the question is - without a system of license numbers - how can Alpha get paid for our efforts in creating Alpha Five?

        Best Regards
        Richard Rabins
        Co Chairman
        Alpha Software

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

          Richard,
          The line above the line you quote says:
          "If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network."

          So now I guess that we have to define just what is a "standalone application" and "custom application" is there some place on your web site that defines these two terms? I consider all of my applications as standalone applications but they are also custom applications. so which line of the license agrement applies? As the standalone application line is first I think that it should have more weight than the custom application line. But since the two lines seem to contradict each other how would a developer know which line to apply. Also it has been the belief of most of the developers that the standalone application line was the de facto license. See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

          http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...icense+runtime

          Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira. There have been other similar post none of them had any comment from Alpha Software. If you didn't correct these post than what are the developers to think is correct? Since version 5 I have believed that what Ira posted was the runtime license and I don't think that I am alone. In any case it is ambiguous at best. Now with version 9 that has changed.

          Allen J Klimeck

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

            Allen,
            Well written! I have been carefully following these threads regarding the destiny of Alpha software because I develop for non-for-profit church based organizations where the number of "seats" would be low, yet the price structure for this "client-base" is extremely critical. I am sure I am one that gone-by-the-wayside would be nothing more than a 'gnat on the windshield', yet I tend to think there are alot of A5 gnats out there.
            Mike W
            __________________________
            "I rebel in at least small things to express to the world that I have not completely surrendered"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

              Originally posted by Mike Wilson View Post
              Allen,
              Well written! I have been carefully following these threads regarding the destiny of Alpha software because I develop for non-for-profit church based organizations where the number of "seats" would be low, yet the price structure for this "client-base" is extremely critical. I am sure I am one that gone-by-the-wayside would be nothing more than a 'gnat on the windshield', yet I tend to think there are alot of A5 gnats out there.
              Mike for ages we have made accomodations for non profits and will continue to do so:)
              Richard Rabins
              Co Chairman
              Alpha Software

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                Originally posted by Allen Klimeck View Post
                Richard,
                The line above the line you quote says:
                "If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network."

                So now I guess that we have to define just what is a "standalone application" and "custom application" is there some place on your web site that defines these two terms? I consider all of my applications as standalone applications but they are also custom applications. so which line of the license agrement applies? As the standalone application line is first I think that it should have more weight than the custom application line. But since the two lines seem to contradict each other how would a developer know which line to apply. Also it has been the belief of most of the developers that the standalone application line was the de facto license. See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

                http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...icense+runtime

                Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira. There have been other similar post none of them had any comment from Alpha Software. If you didn't correct these post than what are the developers to think is correct? Since version 5 I have believed that what Ira posted was the runtime license and I don't think that I am alone. In any case it is ambiguous at best. Now with version 9 that has changed.

                Allen J Klimeck
                Allen thanks very much for the question regarding version 8 and prior runtimes.

                Going back a while there may have been ambiguity on this topic. It is for this reason we put this explanation on the order page for version 8 runtimes when it was first introduced

                (reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")

                The idea behind this was there were two distinct categories of developers.

                A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime

                B) Developers who develop a canned/pre-packaged solution that they plan on selling to a bunch of clients. In this case you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers

                Thanks
                Richard Rabins
                Co Chairman
                Alpha Software

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                  for clarification:

                  Help Me Choose Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

                  If you plan on having your users take advantage of any of the Enterprise features, then you will need the Enterprise Runtime (described below).
                  Runtime packages above 20-Users are ONLY available for the Enterprise Edition.
                  The Desktop Edition cannot be used to develop runtime applications.
                  Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

                  Alpha Five Version 8 runtime enables you to distribute your application to customers without the need for your customers to have Alpha Five. The runtime is also used to have multiple users access your application across a LAN within your organization.
                  In order to deploy or distribute your applications using the runtime, you need either the Professional Edition or the Enterprise Edition of Alpha Five Version 8.
                  Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime Licensing

                  The Alpha Five Version 8 runtimes allow for unlimited distribution per application or an unlimited number of installs per site. This means that you can install a 10-User runtime onto an unlimited number of computers at a specific site, but no more than 10-concurrent users may access the same application on a single network. If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network. If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime.
                  Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime PLUS

                  Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters.
                  Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime

                  For your runtime applications to take advantage of features such as Enterprise reporting, Passive Linked Tables, the SQL Genie and other features regarding SQL and remote databases (only available in the Enterprise Edition), you need the Enterprise version of runtime.
                  Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime PLUS

                  Enterprise Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters against Alpha Five's native .dbf tables.
                  ========================================================
                  I bolded the part referenced. This is non-enforcible in most any court and all I have ever been in. In some of the positions of employment I was in court a lot. It was most always contract law problems. Leave room for the one judge somehwere who thinks different though. You could lose.
                  Who is to say that you will not make it a distrbutable app and this was your beta? It also looks like something added as an afterthought.
                  Dave Mason
                  [email protected]
                  Skype is dave.mason46

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                    Originally posted by DaveM View Post
                    for clarification:

                    Help Me Choose Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

                    If you plan on having your users take advantage of any of the Enterprise features, then you will need the Enterprise Runtime (described below).
                    Runtime packages above 20-Users are ONLY available for the Enterprise Edition.
                    The Desktop Edition cannot be used to develop runtime applications.
                    Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime

                    Alpha Five Version 8 runtime enables you to distribute your application to customers without the need for your customers to have Alpha Five. The runtime is also used to have multiple users access your application across a LAN within your organization.
                    In order to deploy or distribute your applications using the runtime, you need either the Professional Edition or the Enterprise Edition of Alpha Five Version 8.
                    Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime Licensing

                    The Alpha Five Version 8 runtimes allow for unlimited distribution per application or an unlimited number of installs per site. This means that you can install a 10-User runtime onto an unlimited number of computers at a specific site, but no more than 10-concurrent users may access the same application on a single network. If you develop a standalone application to distribute, you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers again, only being limited by the number of concurrent users accessing the application on a network. If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime.
                    Alpha Five Version 8 Runtime PLUS

                    Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters.
                    Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime

                    For your runtime applications to take advantage of features such as Enterprise reporting, Passive Linked Tables, the SQL Genie and other features regarding SQL and remote databases (only available in the Enterprise Edition), you need the Enterprise version of runtime.
                    Alpha Five Version 8 Enterprise Runtime PLUS

                    Enterprise Runtime PLUS is the same as above, plus you have the added benefit that allows your users to edit and create new reports, mailing labels and form letters against Alpha Five's native .dbf tables.
                    ========================================================
                    I bolded the part referenced. This is non-enforcible in most any court and all I have ever been in. In some of the positions of employment I was in court a lot. It was most always contract law problems. Leave room for the one judge somehwere who thinks different though. You could lose.
                    Who is to say that you will not make it a distrbutable app and this was your beta? It also looks like something added as an afterthought.

                    Dave - in all our 25 years in selling database software to developers we have never taken anyone to court and we dont expect or plan to change our mode of operation. That is simply NOT the way we do business!

                    The overwhelming majority of our users are incredibly smart, honest, creative and hard working developers, who will respect a license agreement once it is clear to them. That was the only point - I was making. Nothing more.
                    Richard Rabins
                    Co Chairman
                    Alpha Software

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                      Richard,

                      A "bit" more clear but
                      A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime
                      is still somewhat ambiguous!

                      "should" by definition only suggests or implies that the client would have to have ownership through purchase but that it is not mandatory. How are we to determine the actual meaning of such a statement!? If ever there is confusion people will always lean toward the easiest to understand premise--which are the lines which come prior to these.

                      "...their own runtime..." means only that they are to have a runtime of their own and not necessarily had to purchase same.

                      ALL that needs to be done to make this much less ambiguous is to say that ---the client (or developer) would have to purchase a runtime for this specific application (custom solution).

                      Couldn't be much easier than that I think?
                      Mike
                      __________________________________________
                      It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
                      It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
                      Henry David Thoreau
                      __________________________________________



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                        good clarification

                        one further - hopefully final comment.

                        Once the client owns their own runtime. The developer can build multiple applications for that client to run

                        thanks
                        Richard Rabins
                        Co Chairman
                        Alpha Software

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                          The idea behind this was there were two distinct categories of developers.

                          A) Developers who sit down with a client and who build custom solutions for that client. In this case - the client should have their own runtime

                          B) Developers who develop a canned/pre-packaged solution that they plan on selling to a bunch of clients. In this case you may use the runtime to distribute the application to an unlimited number of customers
                          Why? the custom app will probably make less money in the long run. If a company is hiring me to do a job, they should supply all software. If I am selling a finished product, I should supply all software.

                          Think of a mechanic in a shop. Did you know he supplies all his own tools and the shop only supplies the really big stuff? Did you know that mechanic has to invest about 300 hours of school and on the job to be certified to change tires? Programmers follow similar patterns. Think about it.
                          Dave Mason
                          [email protected]
                          Skype is dave.mason46

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                            Hi Allen,

                            Originally posted by Allen Klimeck View Post
                            See this post of Mrgreenjeens replied to by Ira Perlow on the version 8 message board:

                            http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al...icense+runtime

                            Notice that Aaron edited the post for formatting but did not disagree with Ira.
                            Since you referenced a thread I responded to, note that I said that the runtime could be distributed with multiple applications, but never discussed the licensing issues. And I said things were always subject to change.

                            I've said in the past that each of my clients own their own runtimes for their usage, and I'd have my own as needed for my usage.

                            As for the new licensing, I do believe the issue of seats vs users needs to be resolved, and the issues of coming up with a viable method for distributing demos (including multi-user demo versions) in an appropriate way.

                            Other than that, I believe you have to weight the cost/benefit of using the A5 environment and decide for yourself. I'm sure the Alpha Team is hard at work trying to find the right solutions to fit everyone's needs, but I say you need to wait at least of week so they can study options and solutions. Dropping Alpha without giving them a chance is just shooting yourself in the foot!
                            Regards,

                            Ira J. Perlow
                            Computer Systems Design


                            CSDA A5 Products
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Runtime License Registration and Risk Management

                              Originally posted by Richard Rabins View Post
                              under the current runtime model for v8 we state

                              (reference https://www.alphasoftware.com/shop/index.asp# and then click on the link on the left which says "Guide to Runtime Versions")


                              "If you are developing custom applications for various customers, then each customer is required to have their own runtime."

                              Unfortunately - we have seen a lot of folks ignoring this and saying to customers - " all you have to do is pay me the developer/consultant for my efforts and i will just use my runtime - so you, the customer has to pay nothing for the Alpha Five product"


                              So the question is - without a system of license numbers - how can Alpha get paid for our efforts in creating Alpha Five?
                              Admittedly this could and should be stated more clearly in the documentation etc. as you are well aware of the existing confusion - however I do think you have hit the nail on the head there Richard. I for one understand that the new licensing is at least in part a way to ensure you guys don't get cheated out of money (either accidentally or deliberately), and therefore actually contributes to ensuring that the company continues to thrive and is not at risk etc.

                              I can however see the original poster's worries too, especially when you look at other platforms that just don't require RTs at all. I have said elsewhere that the ability to generate single user, limited functionality exes built into A5 would be nice, and while that would not be useful for the situations outlined here it might give Alpha an added edge.

                              Comment

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