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Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!

Or, this blog could also be titled: "Why TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition is not yet available on the Software Bisque Store"

The answer might seem trivial, but it’s not.  True, we released TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition last month at Macworld.  After four days of demonstrations and discussions with the Mac community, we came away with a list of “you should really change this and this to make TheSkyX Serious better”. 

That's one project we're currently working on.  And, TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition will be that much better for it.

Concurrently, (and more importantly) in order to better serve our loyal and devoted customers, as well as the entire astronomy community, Software Bisque is finalizing a completely new web site infrastructure (specifically, we’re updating and revamping our web servers, web site, web store, web access, and more)

Here are just a few of the benefits our new web site will offer:

  •  A secure, easy-to-use, account-based and cart-based Software Bisque Store that will immediately process your order and give immediate downloadable access to your software products.  Once this site is in place, and provided you have access to the web, if you want your Software Bisque software now, you can have it now! (No matter where you reside on the planet and no matter the time of the day or day of the week).
  •  All Software Bisque software products can optionally be purchased as either “Downloadable products only” -OR- “Downloadable+Box” products (Downloadable =  you download the software product installer; nothing “physical” like a DVD-ROM is actually shipped to you; Box = we ship the software box and media to you in addition to having downloadable access to your software).  You can save money by purchasing just the downloadable product.  If you live outside the US, you can also avoid costly import duties and shipping delays.
  • Manage Your Software Bisque Account - After signing in to the Software Bisque Site (exactly as you sign into the Software Bisque Support Corner now), you can visit the My Account section to view your invoices for the new products you've purchased, along with your product serial numbers, your ship to and billing addresses,  access and download the products and updates you’ve purchased, view the "shipped" status for boxed or hardware products, and review your software subscription status*

Other important benefits:

  • The new site uses the same “Software Bisque Support Corner-like” engine that you are already familiar with. 
  • The new Software Bisque web site uses battle tested, proven technology used by sites like My (70 million users), Intel, Visa, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, NASDAQ, MSNBC, Chevron, Dell, the NFL, and, to name a few.
  • You will be able to contribute to the Software Bisque Community by writing product reviews and add/edit content to our Wiki.
  • The Software Bisque Web Site resides at a physically and electronically secure "co-location" (web-server farm) for fast, reliable software downloads and minimal “downtime”.
  • Sign in to the Software Bisque site using the normal sign in name/password technique, or use your OpenID (a free, single digital identity that is now used by many sites to simplify the sign in process).
  • The new site brings the “social networking” aspect of the support corner to a whole new level.  Make new friends, start conversations, upload media.  Have fun!

*Subscription-Based Access to Software Downloads/Updates

Software Bisque software products that you purchase after our new site is on line will be “software subscription based”.  What does this mean? 

It means when you purchase a software product from Software Bisque, in addition to the normal software license that allows you to use the software as you always have in the past and for an unlimited period of time, you also receive a one year software subscription that provides:

  • web-based access to download the full product installer
  • web-based access to download the most recent product updates (updates include bug fixes, changes, improvements, enhancements, support for new hardware, etc.) 

After one year, in order to continue to receive the above benefits, you will be able to choose to renew your software subscription or not.  The cost of the annual software subscription will be approximately 20% of the retail price. 

To reiterate, when you purchase a Software Bisque software product, there are no restrictions to running the software on your computer and you still have a full year’s access to full product downloads and product updates. 

I know the million dollar question that I still have not answered is:


Provided all the parties involved in this “significant” undertaking come through as scheduled, the best answer I can give is mid-March, 2009 Revised estimate: Early May, 2009 May 8, 2009.  

I hope the above sheds light on what’s going on behind the scenes here at SB.  Thank you for your patience.

Posted 02-11-2009 8:27 AM by Daniel R. Bisque


rmollise wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-15-2009 9:06 AM

I bow to no one--no one--in my respect for the Bisque products. I have used just about every astronomy program that can be put on a hard drive, and I consider what y'all do to be THE BEST, period.

HOWSOMEEVER...I urge y'all to reconsider the "subscription" bidness. We are talkin' about a fairly consequential amount in this tough day and age...about 50 bucks a year for a "Pro" user. I can certainly understand your need to control costs, and would understand fees for anything _beyond_ downloading fixes...but not for bug fixes...which will likely continue to be issued after the software has been on the shelves for a year (just like ANY software). Charging for bug fixes would be somethin' new on the software scene as far as I know, and would not set a very nice precedent IMHO.

What will happen if you do this? Some people won't buy, others will and will just find a way around paying for hot fixes--but they and many others will be left with a bad taste in their mouths, nonetheless, for a company which has always been not just responsive to the amateur community, but, for me, A PART OF IT.

If, OTOH, I've misinterpreted, and the subscription bidness does not include bug fixes, in the immortal words of Miss Emily Litella:

"Oh. Never mind." LOL

Uncle Rod

twoeyedhawk wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-15-2009 1:15 PM

The Sky 6 Pro is great software better than the others I've tried. I believe when I buy a new version there will be bugs due the programmers inability to control all the variables. I also believe that I should not have to pay to correct any bugs in software. A future version that includes new processes could include a cost increase. Years go by to fast for yearly subscription rates. Can you imagine the fees one would have had to pay since the sky 5 was first released.

JATO wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-15-2009 5:52 PM

I agree. I think the subscription based update system is a big mistake and a huge step backwards for the Software Bisque.  

I am not incline to purchase software from a company that charges their customers for "bug fixes".  

Under your new support scenario what reason would I have to want to purchase new versions of all my  current SB software?

If I was inclined to, why wouldn't I just wait for 1 to 2 years after it is released so I could get a more mature bug free version that included all the updates. T hat way I wouldn't have to pay an extra 20% or more for it? Do you see the error in your logic?  

Seems to me the early purchasers end up being beta testers that find the bugs and then that get charged for those fixes and enhancements later.

Imagine if Apple or Microsoft pulled a stunt like did this.

It is for this very same reason there are other software packages that I no longer use or recommend. to others.

This is indeed a sad day. You guys where one of the good guys.

Marcus wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-16-2009 10:24 AM

I t's understandable that the writers of the software will improve on their products the same way in which Microsoft improve on their software, but as long as the purchaser wishes to retain their software without making an upgrade to the new improved version the the company is responsible to ensure that the customer's product is upto date for that particular version.

But customer must take into consideration that computer software is constantly been upgraded  along with computers by some of the major  companies i.e. Mocrosoft and some of the older versions of software become no longer compatible, and there may come a time one may have o purchase a newer vesion of software.

If a costomer has purchased The Sky version 6 say then as long as a customer wishes to stay with this software on an existing PC, then there should be no additional cost to update that software.

I have had to repurchase software when my computer which ran Windows XP Proffesional broke down and I purchased a new computer that was installed with Windows Vista, I could not run the XP, so i had to repurchase a later version of Microsoft Office, even some of the other hardware is no longer compatible in its full capacity.

Charles. M. Rees.

LoneStarM3 wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-19-2009 8:19 PM

I agree that subscription based bug fixes is a bad move, especially considering the reputation SoftwareBisque has earned!

I don't mind paying for value as it takes a lot of work to develop a program like TheSky.  The cost should include bug fixes.  If a major update or version comes out there should be at least a limited time discount for purchase by users of previous version.

Also an option to upgrade to a more advanced version might be a good idea.

I am sure many users would have purchased SkyX Student when it first came out if there had been an option to upgrade rather repurchase when Serious Astronomer is ready.

Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-20-2009 6:41 AM

Software Bisque has (since ~1994) offered an upgrade to higher editions for the difference in price.

See this article for details:

This offer will still be true for TheSkyX.

Matthew L. Bisque wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-20-2009 10:35 AM

I have to clarify; the subscription is not merely to obtain bug fixes.

The subscription allows customers to download the very latest version of the software (either the full installation package or as a smaller update).  In addition, the very latest version of the software includes not only bug fixes, but also includes new features and enhancements.  

We considered making releases “static” by not adding any new features or enhancements and instead “hoarding” those improvements and at some future date charging for an update.  But this has the drawback of being disconnected and less responsive to our community.  

In contrast, the subscription model puts the community right in the middle of our development cycle and gives customer/developer an ongoing incentive to report/fix bugs respectively, and to also suggest/implement new features.

A very important benefit of the subscription is the ability to download the full installation package - something our customers have really been asking for.  Have you ever lost your TheSky media?  Or has your media gone bad or been scratched?  With the subscription architecture, you can just download the full package at your convenience.

trimil wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-20-2009 2:51 PM

I'm not opposed to the subscription idea as long as it offers end users value and/or convenience. Many CAD software developers already use this approach. One possible "sweetener" to consider for the annual subscription model would be a modified license that allows users to (legally) install the applications on a laptop or second computer.

rmollise wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 02-23-2009 7:37 PM

Well, being able to download the installation package is nice. But how many people need to do that often enough to warrant $50.00 per year?

David Toth wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 03-08-2009 12:11 PM

Ron and others:

There is one company that charges a yearly fee that is higher than $50 for all downloads, whether they be bug fixes or new features ... I am not making a judgment as to whether that is the correct approach or not.

However, with all due respect, we've gotten very spoiled. I don't work for SB, although it may look like it to some, so I DO feel I can say this. CCDSoft V5 has been out for 6+ years and NO CHARGES for updates and hot (bug) fixes. TheSky6 has been out since 2005 (betas released at the Winter Star Party) and NO CHARGES either.

The subscription fee charges are a change, but the model is changing. Customer support is an increasing cost, even though they have worked on more efficient ways to do this. Are you even aware that one programmer's FULL-TIME responsibility is customer support? That has effectively cut the development team size down. Granted, many of you/us have been kind enough to help with support here and on the SoftBisqUser and Paramount lists on Yahoo (not SB groups but in fact these are owned by private individuals who maintain them and moderate them along with me as their "humble servant").

We have all had our TheSky6 upgrades for $99 and have had support for 4 years now with no charge, and you cannot really believe that is a model that has any chance of remaining viable.

Someone raised the question about effectively getting buggy software dumped on us and then being abandoned. Let us please be reasonable. The upgrade/purchase price includes 1 yr. of downloads. TheSkyX Student Edition has already been out for 1 yr. Improvements have already been made. They have been beta testing Serious Astronomer, and making ENHANCEMENTS - actually it is hard to find folks who want to beat on the beta stuff, but there are a dedicated few.

In short, being in the Astronomy software business or any aspect of Astronomy industry is a niche position in a small market. And, we all realize that things are tight and we need to budget accordingly. As another user, I would certainly respect your feelings if you chose not to upgrade at this time. They will keep making minor bug fixes to TheSky6 for some future part of the development cycle until they retire it (as they EVENTUALLY did with TheSky 5).

HOWEVER, I think once you look at TheSkyX you will want to consider the upgrade, especially for the Pro version. The flexibility and customizations that you can make will certainly impress you. The ability to buy just the parts you want or need will help the pocket-book too. But, if you want, you will have all the functionality of TheSky, CCDSoft camera control, TPoint, Orchestrate and observatory automation (with consulting work from present-day automation developers since the automation needs to go cross-platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux  -  the present Windows add-ons won't work on Mac and Linux), and COM hooks for Windows users if they want to continue to use their present automation programs.

We all want everything for free. That won't happen. However, the next best is good value for a reasonable price, and that WILL happen - you know Software Bisque, and they have a good track record of treating their customers fairly and honestly. You may not always love the answer, but you know they ARE listening.


Dr. Dave

cosmoskye wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 03-09-2009 2:33 AM

I would agree with Uncle Rod about paying for bug fixes.  Stating that the "...subscription allows customers to download the very latest version..." and putting the consumer "right in the middle of our development cycle and..." giving an "... ongoing incentive to report/fix bugs respectively, and to also suggest/implement new features."  seems like disingenuous sales double-speak.

Bug fixes should be provided for free. If there is some genuinely value added feature that becomes available then the proposed pay system might be reasonable.  But what happens if I decided not get the subscription but at some future date decide to "upgrade/update", what would I pay?

So with a $50/year subscription and assuming that Sky has a five year life cycle, then I could reasonably conclude that I would pay $250 for the next "complete" edition.  Would this be worth it if that  in the second or third  year of the subscription the "upgrades" are not features I really care about or the bug fixes are for problems I don't have?  Or the opposite, if I don't buy the subscription and the "upgrade" includes bug fixes that are "discovered" in year two and I don't get them the software becomes unusable?

Paying for features, even if they are incremental, is a choice we make every time we buy the next edition.  But if they are small incremental changes it tends to dilute the value of upgrading causing many to wait to pay for features they really want.  But paying for bug-fixes could be problematic.

David Toth wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 03-09-2009 11:36 PM

I believe that most of what you will see after the first year will more likely be enhancements rather than bug fixes. With the purchase price, you get the subscription for the first year included. You have a whole year with the product before you'd need to pay for a subscription anyway.

To put it in perspective. another astronomy developer charges $499 for their camera control software, and that includes 1 yr. of updates/fixes or whatever you want to call it. Then they charge $150 for yearly subscriptions. If you have had their software already, then an update would really just entail getting the yearly subscription. People who own that software renew their subscriptions if they believe there is value for them, and those prices are higher than SB charges for subscriptions. Each company sets their prices based on their business model, and each company probably is not directly comparable, but you get the idea.

At any rate, if you prefer, then you can stick with your current software.

Currently, you have had free updates to TPoint for up to 12 years, 8 years for CCDSoft (from 2001), and 5 years for TheSky6 (from Feb. 2004 --- I mistakenly stated 2005 in an earlier post). I believe that we've milked the heck out of these products. No other software vendor would have done this and expected to stay relevant.

As a support group moderator, and not as a SB employee (I am a full-time Emerg Doc), I will try to support your older products as well as I personally can, but it will become difficult for me once I no longer use the older products.

Your mileage may vary.

Clear skies,

Dr. Dave

Don Scott wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 04-01-2009 12:05 PM

I guess this is the way the world is going. Airlines are now charging for pillows and peanuts. My medical doctor recently went into a 'Concierge Practice' where I would have to pay a large fee each year to stay with him. (I found a new doctor.)

Nobody likes to get 'squeezed'. Paying for services that we have been used to getting gratis is unpleasant.

Each of us will have to decide if this is worth it. But clearly, there will no longer be a 'family feeling' about Software Bisque. It has become strictly business. I don't know what I will do.

johnzonie wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 04-02-2009 1:59 PM

This is an interesting conundrum.  Bug fixes are one thing, new features are another.  With most software, bugs are generally resolved within the first year, usually shorter.  

But users are always asking for new features, options, etc.  How long should a developer continue to respond to these requests with no additional revenue to offset the labor (a.k.a feed the family) – a month, a year, forever?  Even though it is not tangible, software has as much or more intellectual capital in it as any hardware product.  (This is speaking as a retired “hardware guy” and now a software author.)  

Where does the “value for value received” come from, if not from subscriptions?  With the SB installed base, the regression testing for a new feature can be prodigious, given the number of combinations and permutations.  And then what about support for new hardware?  And the testing of that support?  As long as hardware vendors eschew developing their own drivers, it is up to the application vendors.  This is not a SB issue, it is an industry-wide one.

If you’re happy with what you have and it is stable for the equipment at the time it came out, then fine.  There is no need to upgrade.  But, if you want support for new features and hardware, isn’t it reasonable to expect to pay for it?

jimcj wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 04-02-2009 8:33 PM

OK, lets comprimise!  How about 5% of the purchase price?

Tonio wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 04-03-2009 4:26 PM

I would also make the difference between bugs and added features or functionalities.

I've been a happy user of CCDSoft/TheSky6Pro tandem and will most probably upgrade to TheSkyX Pro when it will be available.

I do agree with the comments above that we as customers cannot expect to get forever free upgrades for pieces of software that last for years and cost more and more to support as their complexity increases. So, a reasonable fee for upgrades and/or added features is ok for me. We can eve imagine as customers to have the choice between :

1) Yearly subscription with free upgrades

2) No subscription, and pay-per-download for each upgrade, in which case cumulated upgrade price would be higher than subscription if you take them all, but could be lower if you choose only some of them.

Bug fixes is another story. I do not pay a software to receive bugs. I do understand it is almost impossible to ship a bug-free software, however carefully it was tested. I do not either adhere to the theory that after one year all bugs will be found, given the almost unlimited number of possible combinations. So when I buy a software, I require free patches to correct any bug in it, should this bug be found after 3 months or 3 years.

Just my opinion.

itecvu wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 04-18-2009 5:05 AM

What pay for patch ?

Noooo !

Please SB don't do that



joseferrer47 wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 05-16-2009 11:33 AM

" TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition"

it is the version equivalent to the "The Sky6 Professional"?


Jose Ferrer

rmollise wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 05-18-2009 8:07 AM

I've given this a lot of thought over the last few weeks. Yeah, nobody likes to pony-up, but in real terms, the yearly cost for Pro would be equal to my usual evening's bar tab. LOL

If this is a way to ensure the development and support keep comin', well, I guess I am onboard with it, no matter how cheap I am.

Uncle Rod

Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 05-18-2009 1:30 PM

TheSkyX Professional Edition has not been released.  TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition is equivalent to TheSky6 Serious Astronomer Edition.

See my Post AIC blog:

for more information on TheSkyX Pro.

Dr. Dana-Renee Lee PhD wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 07-15-2009 4:29 PM

Most software people I know give updates for minor ver changes ie:6.1-6.?, but when 7.0 comes out it costs a little to update to the latest Ver. This is what Micorosft does as long as you have a legal copy of the software.

When you release X are you going to give us who have pro a discount to get x or are you going to sell it as a new product at full price? I think this is a key as to if you get free fixes or not for the new software ver.  If there is a conciderable discount then an anual fee after the first year may be ok, but if I have to pay the entire cost as I did for Sky6 pro all over again the I have to do a lot of thinking if the changes are worht the cost.  There is a free software from france that looks and runs just like sky 6 pro and it is free.  To add extra functions there are plenty around that people have written and give away or sell as share ware for say $35.00 with bug fixes until they bring ut a new major upgrade.

Dr. Dana-Renee Lee PhD

KnoWell wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 07-20-2009 3:17 AM

I am going to miss The Sky.

I will not purchase any product that requires a payment for any bug fixes. No matter how long between point zero releases. 6.0 to 7.0

Payments for new features should be on a point zero release basis. 6.0 to 7.0.

30 days of free tech support, then fee based per incident.

heyslewis wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 07-24-2009 6:41 PM

No other astronomy software requires me to pay for updates. Bye Sky. Hello Starry Night or Voyager or Redshift 7.

emptyhull wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 07-29-2009 7:42 PM

Well then fix the intel graphics driver problem. there are free programs out there that work better than this!

Chris.Baron wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 08-01-2009 8:46 AM

It's been mentioned, but most commercial software packages be they OS or application, or database or what have you charge on major version upgrades. This means version 10 to 11, or in this case 6 to 7. I get that. It makes sense. You pay for the R&D that went into that version upgrade. I expect to pay for it in fact. However, from 7.0 to 7.1 is not where I expect to pay to upgrade. A version increase of this nature typically contains bug fixes. If a minor feature is added, great.

If it is felt that the number of features added warrants a majorish version increase say 7.1 to 7.5 or 8 then make it a known major increase that people can choose to pay for or not. The reality is, you are releasing TheSkyX for 3 major platforms. Are you seriously thinking that you (or your users) won't still be finding bugs a year from now? What happens to the folks that start taking advantage of features within theSky that they hadn't previously done down the road and find that there's some bug that completely prevents them from using that feature? Should they have to pay another $50 to be able to use a feature that they were already promised was included in their original purchase?

I do like the access to full downloads thought. I rarely need media for the software I install both personally and professionally and the latter is typically multiple gigabytes in size. One thing that would make this subscription worth it to me, would be if I had access to all 3 platform versions. I image from a Windows based PC, but do all my processing from a Mac. I'd like very much to do some planning and simulation on my Mac but continue to image from a Windows based PC. If a license for TheSkyX Pro allows me to run it on all 3 platforms (not concurrently say) I'll certainly be buying it and would feel okay with paying for another year's worth of access if I say added a new Mac/Linux laptop to my already excessive hardware collection.

As a comparison I just bought PixInsight which allows me to run it on as many machines as I own, on whatever supported platform I choose. As mentioned I run a Mac (well and several Windows based machines at home), and Linux at the office. That I can use their software on each is invaluable.

They've stated that upgrades for version 1.x are free. When they move to 2.x I'll expect to pay for it and will happily do so. I'll do the same with TheSky Pro X too provided it isn't just bug fixes for the previous version number that I'm paying for and is a major feature upgrade. If it's just a few new features that aren't really worth upgrading to me personally, I'll be holding off on doing so until there are.



Scott Kephart wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 08-10-2009 10:19 PM

>>Well then fix the intel graphics driver problem. there are free programs out there that work better than this!

The problem is most likely intel's terrible, terrible openGL driver. Intel's D3D drivers are tolerable - at least for graphics hardware that is as weak as theirs is. (It really is bad at this point!)

But their openGL drivers are all but unusable. I know of one major software vendor who wrote their code for openGL for the Mac and linux, but ported to D3D on Windows simply because intel's openGL driver was so buggy. (This particular company had, you could say, more resources than Software Bisque.)

If you can obtain a better graphics solution (nvidia or ATI), you are going to be better off overall.

Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 08-18-2009 2:15 PM

emptyhull wrote:

>>Well then fix the intel graphics driver problem.

Done. The next TheSkyX update resolves the Intel/OpenGL issues.  

See this article for details:

Gregory Crawford wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 08-21-2009 4:06 PM

It is unclear to me whether a yearly subscription includes an update to the next version when it eventuates. For example, from the SkyX Pro edition, to the equivalent in the next version. I can understand the need to have income smoothed out, and I think that users would more easily accept a subscription basis if it always kept them in up-to-date Software Bisque software.

Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 08-21-2009 4:29 PM

The subscription benefits do not include free upgrades to future major versions.

See the "Terms and Conditions" link for each software product on the Software Bisque Store for subscriptions details.

adrian_hudson wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 09-21-2009 3:12 PM

Most software suppliers that operate a Software Subscription model DO include upgrades to all new releases.

For example, IBM software is sold and all fixes for that release are included until the release goes end of life + 1or 2 years.

If the customer purchases a software subscription then they receive all fixes and upgrades while they renew their subscription. If they do not renew then they receive only bug fixes.

In effect, bug fixes are free, software can be purchased and remains static at that version (no subscription) or all releases are suppled automatically (subscription).

I urge you to consider this model. You will have much less customer disaffection. Charging for bugfixes causes a lot of unneeded irritation.

gto wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 09-28-2009 12:17 AM

Well, it seems like there are a few unhappy campers out there, SB.  I work in IT and do all the technology purchasing for a community college in Iowa.  Many software packages and some appliance-based applications now have an annual maintenance fee associated in the cost of ownership.  Generally, this fee is approximately 10% of the cost of the product.

Paying an annual fee for a subscription to updates which include free upgrades to the next version is tolerable.  But I doubt that many of your customers will pay the annual fee for updates only.  That is asking a bit much.

To many (most), your products are a vital part of a hobby and a very expensive one at that.  If SB needs additional revenue to keep the updates coming, I guess that is understandable....  These are tough times for all.  But for crying out loud, throw us a bone and include free upgrades to your subscribers.  That is a fair comprimise that is working for a heck of a lot of software providers.  


Steve Timmons

Estherville, IA

astrotrf wrote re: Please Bear With Us...Changes They Are Coming!
on 10-05-2009 4:45 PM

"The subscription benefits do not include free upgrades to future major versions."

Wait.  You mean that after buying the product once, and, after 5 years at 20% per year for a subscription to get upgrades, thus buying the product *twice*, that THEN all you have to do is announce a "new major version" and I have to buy the product *again* to get upgrades?

It's bad enough that you're going to charge me to fix bugs of your own creation, but then to find out that paying 20% per year for upgrades only gets you *some* of the upgrades, not the ones that are going into the "new major version" ...

You folks are beginning to make me regret every penny I've ever given you, including my Paramount ME ...


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