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Railfan Technology > Is this what we are going to?

Date: 12/30/20 09:33
Is this what we are going to?
Author: wabash2800

It's been happening for some time. But it seems that most of the software I use, including  publishing software is going to a subscription basis without an alternative. I'd rather buy the software as a package and load it, with updates later.

I can understand why: software piracy, automatic updates and constant cashflow for the software provider. But is this going to be a given if not already? The downside is that in some cases it costs more this way and I don't like having to be on the internet to use the software. (Some software requires you to get online at least on a regular basis if not all the time to keep using it.)

Victor A. Baird

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/20 09:34 by wabash2800.

Date: 12/30/20 14:39
Re: Is this what we are going to?
Author: walstib

I didn’t care for it at first, but I’ve come to realize paying monthly, or annually, is often less expensive than buying the software up front and owning it. Plus, you always have the latest version.

Logging in once a month or so to validate the subscription isn’t an issue for me.

Posted from iPhone

Date: 12/30/20 17:06
Re: Is this what we are going to?
Author: jbwest

I would echo the above.  Didn't like it at first, but have gotten used to it.  And getting the latest version not only assures the lastest version of the program, but also that it works on the latest versions of your hardware and OS including new cameras.  I got real tired of issues related to various kinds of obsolescence.  Now everything just keeps working and I don't think it is more expensive (haven't run the numbers lately).   


Date: 12/30/20 20:27
Re: Is this what we are going to?
Author: cchan006

wabash2800 Wrote:
> I can understand why: software piracy, automatic
> updates and constant cashflow for the software
> provider. But is this going to be a given if not
> already?

Software piracy has been a problem for at least 3 decades. Not a major reason for the shift to subscription model, since authenticity is enforced by serial numbers/keys. Most automatic updates are actually bug fixes, to cover up the fact that software wasn't properly tested, so the publisher sends you fixes later - the reality of deadline vs. quality control.

Biggest reason for the subscription model, as you said, is cash flow, especially for the shareholders. In the past "growth by new users" kept Wall St. happy without needing the subscription, but computer use has reached a certain saturation where that is no longer sufficient.

If you are just a hobbyist and can't justify the expense of the subscription model like a professional, consider using older equipment, both hardware and software, or in your case, don't upgrade yet. I've been doing that for 2 decades, avoiding the rat race of buying the latest and greatest. I just can't imagine the latest subscription model software being that much better than the owned version few years ago, unless you need professional-grade stuff.

Date: 12/30/20 20:54
Re: Is this what we are going to?
Author: BRAtkinson

Once upon a time, the US automobile makers offered a 10 year, 10,000 mile warranty on new cars.  That protected the buyers from design errors as well as corrected safety issues of the day.  That has gotten shorter and shorter to perhaps 3/36 these days.  It's a means for them to reduce costs from having less parts inventory and it lets 3rd party vendors sell add-on warranty services.  The corporate need to keep the money coming in is the reason for model year changes as well as phasing in or out product lines.

Mainframe computers came not only with a hefty price tag, but hefty monthly/annual maintenance fees too, to keep your big iron running and to be on call 24/7 when needed.  IBM service couldn't be topped!  I've witnessed it many times!

PC makers started with a buy it and run it till it stops working attitude.  Unfortunately, the explosion of new personal computer hardware, from color monitors to hard drives all necessitated repeated upgrades to 'good old' DOS.  If one bought a premade computer in those days, it had the newest version of DOS.  But if someone decided to upgrade their computer, say, put a hard drive into an original double-floppy drive PC, they not only had to add a controller card for the drive, but had to upgrade DOS to handle the controller card.  Meanwhile, early software vendors such as Lotus (spreadsheets) and Ami Pro (word processors) software (I had both) were written to run on the earliest PCs and were thus upwards compatible with later versions of DOS. 

Windows started as an add on to DOS, starting with Windows 286 which required a 286 or better to run.  Then Windows 386 required a 386.  Windows 95 required more RAM, hard drive space, etc, and kept growing from there in capabilities and functionality.  Of course, as computer hardware grew past 16 bit addressing limitations, then 32 bit limitations for larger hard drives, Windows had to 'grow' some more.  And those who upgraded rather than bought new were forced to update Windows as well.  Microsoft quickly became accustomed to the continuous inflow of cash from regular upgrades/releases of Windows.  Through the years, I was forced to upgrade hardware, Windows, and even other software such as Photoshop to be compatible with other upgrades I made, including digital camera upgrades. 

Needless to say, other vendors such as internet security, had to 'keep up' with the latest versions of Windows, etc, and found that forcing users to buy a new version to go with their newly upgraded Windows didn't generate enough cash flow as someone could avoid making updates for 5 years or more and that didn't produce any income for those vendors.  Then, viola!  Annual maintenance fees were born for PC users!  A steady stream of cash for the vendors or the customers programs would stop working, or, at a minimum, no longer be updated and potentially become incompatible with 'the rest of the world', aka, 'left behind in the dust'. 

Business is business, as they say.  Keeping a steady or preferably growing cash flow is the ultimate goal.  Annual maintenance plans work well!  I won't name vendors, as I've had it happen with several, but internet security software vendors are 'out to get you' if you're not careful.  In particular, removing one competitors' product and installing a new competitors' product can usually be done for $49 or there abouts for 3-5 computers.  BUT, if you fail to after-the-fact UNSUBSCRIBE from their 'automatic renewal' option, a year later, the renewal will be $89!!!  And if buying it as a 'new' customer, it's still $49!  Been there done that a couple of times before I caught on.  One vendors product started overly consuming CPU cycles about 2 months after a renewal.  I sent them a flaming email, removed the product, and bought a competitors, all in the same day.  I'm nearing that point again with my 5th or 6th security company product in the past 20 years or so.

And, as alluded to, many products require internet access to function.  Even so, it's sometimes necessary to re-sign in to their website to use the product.  Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom $10/month 'lease' plan is one of them.  Using both of those as well as Lightroom Elements in the same day will end up having 8-10 Adobe tasks running in your computer even after exitting ALL of them!!  Fortunately, I disabled each of those functions except for PDF reader updates and may disable that one as well.  I run a 'tight ship' on my computer with over 50 useless to me Windows 'services' disabled and another 50 tasks disabled as well.

I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't started charging monthly or annual license fees for Windows.  Perhaps they're happy with the current level of cash inflow from new computer sales.  Considering that most of the 40 or so programs on my computer are shareware that I made donations for, or still functioning under Win 10 version 20H2 such as Office 2010 that doesn't need any updates and works just fine in my opinion, I can live with a couple of monthly or annual subscription fees.  But as newer versions of Windows come out and more and more existing products become incompatible, either I'll succumb to monthly fees or stop using that program and hope to find something newer. 

Given the ever increasing rate of new technology, hardware and software will continually be left behind and require update or replacement.  Vendors like money, and they will be coming for yours!


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