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Unlimited Free Runtime

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VFP has always come with an unlimited free distributable runtime license

This cuts two ways.

  • The unlimited free distributable runtime is great for VFP developers because there are no distribution barriers.
  • The unlimited free distributable runtime sucks for developers because VFP performance within Microsoft is measured alongside some products that pay Redmond by the seat.
    Personal opinion: The unlimited free distributable runtime isn't a viable proposition long term because it makes no economic sense.

    What do you think?-- Steven Black
    Application development languages have always been this way and should remain as such, IMO. If MS were to go this way with VFP because of the economics, then by the same logic, MS should go this with its Visual Studio product.

    The CLR is a freely distributable runtime. The developer need only purchase VS.NET and they can create and distribute as many applications as they want.

    Why should VFP be treated any differently than VS.NET is this regard? Or are you saying that the entire free runtime model be scrapped for economic reasons? -- Larry Miller
    As a developer who primarily builds web-applications (little or no distribution), the cost (or lack thereof) of the runtime makes little difference. However I can imagine that the shrink-wrap vendors and others who distribute would think otherwise.

    IMO, what's wrong here is the notions of "purchase" and "upgrade" of software. The problem is that Its All About The Upgrades. At grave risk of aligning with Ellison, I'd vote for a subscription service for the IDE. In fact, I'd vote for a subscription option for ALL MS products. I'd gladly pay $100/seat per month for the VFP IDE (essentially, we pay that now with MSDN Universal). This would give very clear visibility to MS on which products were generating revenue and give early warning for those that were losing market share.
    The best part of this arrangement would be a funneling of funds from the MS Hype department that gets paid to generate buzz about new versions to the people who make the software worth subscribing to. - ?lc

    As a vendor of shrink wrapped software, paying to use the development tool via subscription, but distribuing my apps royalty free is something I could work with. -- Mike Helland

    I develop different apps for each client. Instead of my having to buy one copy of VFP and distribute finished exes to the client, wouldn't it be better to buy VFP for me and for each client? -- Mike Yearwood
    May 8, 2002
    It would be a shame if VFP's fate were determined by how its sales compare to those of Windows, Word or even Visual Studio. As long as VFP generates enough revenue to justify continued development by the Fox team, why worry? I would rather see an increase in the number of VFP developers than see each one paying more. Prior to Dot Net, Microsoft would have cannibalized Visual Basic if they had touted the benefits of VFP. But now VB6ers have to migrate to either a lower-level language (C#) or a high-level language such as VFP or Delphi. Because I'm a VFP developer, I know that there are many applications waiting to be developed that won't require a language as low-level as C#, but need something more powerful than Access. I'd like to see Microsoft do more to publicize the fact that VFP is the appropriate tool for developers who fit in between C# and VBA.
    McDonalds might make some money selling burgers, but the make huge amounts selling fries and soda. But when was the last time you thought "I want to go get some fries." ? Never. You go get a burger, and as long as you are there, you give them an extra dollar or two for a cut up potato and some bubbly sugar water. .Net isn't about making a fortune, it is about making Windows Applications. What do people do who use a Windows App? They buy Windows. What do people do who have bought Windows? They buy Ms Office. I see VFP as the Fish Burger It will never get as much air-time as the Big-mac, but some people want fish, and MS sure doesn't want anyone going somewhere else for fish because then they can't sell them the Fries. - cfk
    Steve's thesis: "The unlimited free distributable runtime isn't a viable proposition long term because it makes no economic sense."

    I would suggest considering the proposition from a different perspective: Selling a freely distributable runtime by itself makes no business sense, in the long term, since everyone can give it to everyone else. However, selling the proprietary tools to generate applications in the runtime could be a business. Selling technical support services another business. Selling your professional skills in developing products is a business. Selling pre-built servers that work in the language could be a business. Bundling VB runtimes with Windows didn't kill VB. Bundling DotNetOffsite link to runtimes with Windows XP won't kill sales of VS.NET. Other examples to kick around and debate: VBA, Python, Java, J2EE. -- ?tr

    Give away the razor blades, sell the razors?

    Isn't that backwards? I thought it was, give away the (bubble-jet) printers, sell the ink cartridges. Michael Wagner
    Category VFP Marketing
  • ( Topic last updated: 2005.08.12 12:14:01 AM )