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VFP 8 Upgrade License


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There are new licensing terms for VFP 8 upgrades.

The VFP8 EULA Agreement for UPGRADES states that if the product is an upgrade then the version forming the basis of the upgrade must be deleted from all systems.

This idea was not widely beta tested by Microsoft.

Serious developers cannot now, by definition, just buy an upgrade and stay legal. Gotta buy the full version (either in a box or through MSDN subscription) to work with the new and still support the old.
I'd say that this license provision, combined with non-support for anything NT4 for VFP8, can only hurt sales of VFP8. -- Jim Nelson

I'll admit I was a bit taken aback at first, but I constantly hear that VFP is in danger because it doesn't generate enough revenue to make continued development of the product worthwhile. I often hear discussion of runtime licensing, which I believe would do real financial harm to a number of users. If someone is supporting VFP7 runtime production applications, what is $300? It certainly is a whole lot better than runtime licensing fees. -- Pamela Thalacker

See also VFP Revenue Model and VFP Revenue Model Problems

It's a problem only for those who can't afford a full version, isn't it? The difference in cost is $350 in US & Canada, if you allow for the mail-in rebate. Internationally the $649 still doesn't seem too high, assuming anyone in a non-English speaking country wants VFP in English(US).
I would hope VFP consultants make more money out of using VFP than MS do out of sale of their copy VFP.

I think the problem is a tad deeper than "if you can't afford a full version..."! It's a matter of principal too:
1) I'm charmed by MS' appreciation of my continued loyalty to VFP;
2) I'm impressed at MS' understanding of having developers having to support users at varying (version) levels of VFP applications;
3) I'm delighted by the fact that MS has chosen to change the VFP EULA so significantly without mention of any kind of the change and even more particularly so when MS is (allegedly) making heavy efforts to "build community". We can now conclude categorically that their 'efforts' towards community building are nothing more than a marketing gimmick and that they are taking advantage of the environment they have built to sneak changes into legal documents to the trusting unsuspecting 'community'.
4) I'm appreciative that they would have made unwitting piracy far more prevalent, reaping far more revenue from audits and fines and penalties.
5) I'm flabbergasted that they are in such need of extra revenue that they feel they can pick the pockets of loyal users to get that dough.

I see no choice but to buy the full version despite all of the versions of VFP that I own. This is NO WAY to treat a loyal customer, even if the extra cost was a mere nickel!
The greed and deception demonstrated by this development is such that I'll bet that many people will take far more serious action regarding the matter.
That MS cares to jeopardize its loyal customer base when it faces poorer .NET migration than planned by far and growing threats from the Linux and open source movements and recent prior failures at lease-styled licensing and cessation of NT4 support is testament to the rot that is settling in at MS.

MS seems to excel when they buy or steal ideas from others and make creative improvements to such products. They seem to be hamstrung at developing anything from scratch, as is apparently the case with .NET.
That MS has seen fit to forego creativity as its means of growing revenue to the more lucrative method of forced extra cost licenses and the sowing of more unwitting pirates for legal exploitation says to me that the downward slide has begun. -- Jim Nelson


Jim, unless you plan on sticking to what you dislike about VFP8's license, maybe you should start a new topic called AllSoftwareShouldBeFreeOrCheap for your rants. -- Mike Helland
And just where do I say that, Mike??? You have a knack of distilling words to a totally wrong conclusion!
And your comment reminds me of when I worked in a bank, the employees not understanding why it was that customers got sooo upset when services charges were raised without notice from time to time - it's hard to understand some problems that you don't have to live yourself. -- Jim Nelson

Problems that I don't have to live myself? Are you suggesting that I am not in the same boat as you with respect to purchasing VFP? If so, you're wrong. And what do you mean changing with out notice? Yes, the license was updated to be more effective (for both your and Microsoft's benefit) but you aren't forced to accept those changes because you haven't agreed to them yet. If MSFT changed VFP7's license file and demanded that I send them in $200 to make up for the change, you'd have a point. But they didn't, so you don't. -- Mike Helland

While I myself am not in the same boat as the two of you, it seems, Mike, that you've adequately made your point: People who don't like this new clause should not upgrade to VFP 8. And by helping us come to that conclusion, you've also made Jim's point: that's a funny end result for a product that, we continually hear, needs to grow its sales just to survive. Tell us again what makes this license "more effective"? -- Zahid Ali

First of all, yes, I will stand by this claim:

People who can't tolerate a software product's licesnse agreement should not buy or use the software

Thats hardly specific to VFP8, however. As far as Jim not liking the new agreement, thats his problem. For everyone else, maybe I can take a stab at interpreting the change. First, its quite reasonable to acknowledge the following as a flaw in Microsoft's upgrade licesnse scheme:

Scenario A
1. Consumer buys productX 1.0 for $200
2. Consumer buys productX 2.0 for $200
3. Consumer uses 1.0 and 2.0

Scenario B
1. Consumer buys productX 1.0 for $200
2. Consumer upgrades to productX 2.0 for $100
3. Consumer uses 1.0 and 2.0

Scenario C
1. Consumer buys productX 1.0 for $200
2. Consumer upgrades to productX 2.0 for $100
3. Consumer uses upgraded version

The flaw is in scenario B, where the use upgraded his product to a new version, yet continued to use the old product. This is akin to trading in a car to help pay for a new car.. yet continue to drive both. Is VFP8, Microsoft decided to change the language of the upgrade agreement to eliminate scenario B, leaving A and C as the only legal options.

Now, yes, this is not the way it has worked in the past. And yes, this IS a move on Microsoft's part to make more money. But what is wrong with that? Its no secret that VFP's future developnent depends on it's present sales. Its perfectly reasonable to grumble about this change a little, but this should be welcomed by the VFP community after some reflection. You want to see VFP continued, and perhaps marketed? Then you had better cough up some bucks for that to happen. I don't like spending a dollar more than I have to as much as everyone else, but I hardly think that buying VFP8 for $599 or whatever it is is money poorly spent. Quite the opposite. -- Mike Helland

That's an excellent analogy Mike. It's exactly how I thought about it, once I got over the initial sense of loss. It's still the best bang for the buck I am aware of. -- Pamela Thalacker

Well said Mike. At $1K - per seat VFP8 is still an excellent value. The Foxteam needs revenue and I'll never begrudge them that. This change in the EULA seems very reasonable to me. I realize this wasn't Jim's point, but IMO we should just pay up and get back to work, in a couple billable hours per developer, the difference is erased. - ?lc


Ultimately, this is a failure of the management of the FoxPro group to recognize that they were introducing a change to the product's licensing, and a failure to alert their customers (us) to the change. It didn't need to be this traumatic. It simply needed to be presented in the correct light. Or, even better, the license change could have been reconsidered and rejected, as few people are likely to qualify for the "upgrade" terms. -- Ted Roche

I agree, if this had been communicated properly in the first place then the ranting on the UT might not have blown up into such a big issue.
Anyway at the price, VFP is such good value I don't see why it's worth arguing about.
But Ted, surely you jest? I don't think that it's realistic that the license could have been rejected. The license change probably came from MS legal team (the people who caused MS to drop the MVP program) and with the same force of internal authority. I don't think it will change.
-- Paul Maskens

I agree with all of the comments regarding the error in not explaining the change prior to making it. I really don't have an objection to the new EULA (just the fact that is was a surprise). The analogy that comes to mind is buying a new car. I have the choice of trading in my old car and getting some money taken off the price or buying the new car outright and keeping my old car. However I cannot trade in my old car, get the new car at the reduced price, and still keep driving the old one.
-- Jim BoothOffsite link to http://www.jamesbooth.com

I don't mean to suggest, PAul, that the FoxPro group could have changed a revision to the license that was Microsoft-wide. I don't think they have that kind of political power. Microsoft was performing its fiduciary duties to its stockholders in maintaining its revenue stream during a downturn, something few tech stocks have managed to do, by squeezing its customer base. It did this at our expense, of course. However, I'd like to think that an argument could have been made up the chain within the Developer's Tool group that the license doesn't have the same implications in a development shop that it does for an Encarta license. Few, if any, legitimate developers can claim the upgrade discount, and hence, sales of the product quite likely will be hurt, and revenues curtailed, *if* developers do the right thing and pay the full product price. Me, I'm going to spend the bucks for the full version.

[NEW] While I don't totally disagree with the new car analogy, I don't think is a true 100% analogy. It seems to me that when purchasing an upgrade, what you're paying for are the improvements and new functionality to the product from the earlier version. When purchasing the full product, you're essentially paying for all features of the product, irregardless of what version they were first in.

I agree with what you say about software upgrades, but I don't see how it is any different when trading in your 2002 Lexus for a 2003 Lexus with improvements and new functionality. The only difference is that in software you have to upgrade from the previous version of the product for the price cut, when as in cars, its easier to talk about the dollar amount of any car, so you can upgrade from any competing product as well. -- Mike Helland
Mike, Cars and software have different intrinsic qualities, the most obvious of which is that one is tangible/physical while the other is 'abstract' (for lack of a better word). This means, among other things, that the EXACT SAME components that make up version 8 of VFP can have come in large part from VFP7, VFP7's from VFP6, etc. MS did NOT have to manufacture a different physical product, at significant expense, to make an upgrade for me, they were able to re-use parts that likely have been in there since FoxBase+. A car manufacturer cannot do this. There was a time when all software manufacturers boasted about this capability when it came to pricing considerations and environmental concerns (and other things, no doubt). And it DOES amount to attempted GOUGING when they change this kind of basic thing for the sole purpose of extra profits and as CUSTOMERS we should be downright irate about the whole idea!
In addition, from a purely selfish point of view, it is NOT the VFP Team that is generating this dire need for extra profits. Should we feel lucky to be called upon to feed the need anyway? -- Jim Nelson

Jim, once again you're marginalizing the process of creating software as an excuse for you to pay less for it.
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=7963
Mike Helland

Sorry, but I just can't seem to get irate about this. There are lots of things in this world to get irate about and many of them center around MS, but for me, this isn't one of them. IMO, the license is quite reasonable in its current form. Look at it this way: MS was giving us a free ride all these years. Now they've decided to stop dishing out. I agree they could have managed the change better. Fine. It was fun while it lasted, let's move on. - ?lc

I'm delighted that someone has challenged the new car analogy and I agree with the argument given.
I'd also like to respond to those who say that the paltry cost of VFP is immaterial given what can be earned by using it. This is a big "so what"! The same can be said for a writer who springs for the cost of s typewriter (well, in the old days) and can end up a millionaire. Or a mechanic who can earn a nice living on a bunch of tools that he buys once and last him a lifetime.
Neither MS nor its (our beloved) VFP Team there are charities and that many can so easily slough off effectively a few hundred dollars price difference (from VFP7) to comply with the new license and retain VFP7 remains a mystery to me when we ALL complain daily about the ever-increasing price of gas for instance. -- Jim Nelson

In response to the new car analogy, perhaps a better one would be a processor upgrade chip where the old processor can still be used.

The issue isn't price but that the change was hidden in the EULA, visible only after buying the Upgrade. How do I upgrade the upgrade ? Yet, it seems that since the VFP 7,6 and 5 EULA treated the upgrade as a 'supplement' to the previous version, I must delete VFP7 but can keep all the previous versions.-- BobStone

I think a large part of the issue is the motive for this change: Most software publishers could hardly care less whether you continue using an older version (particularly an older development platform to support older apps) while also using an upgraded version. The one position that was unclear was whether the old version could be "given away" to someone else to use, while the new version is used by the purchaser. Microsoft is making clear that this is Not Acceptable; However, to prohibit a single developer who distributed apps on VFP7 from continuing to run the VFP7 Development Environment and send patches to those customers, while also developing the New apps on an upgrade license of VFP8 seems absurd. - ?wgcs

Category VFP 8
( Topic last updated: 2003.04.18 11:59:03 AM )