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The problem with perpetual licensing

filipac profile image Filip Iulian Pacurar Originally published at pacurar.dev ・2 min read

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know should know by now the perpetual licensing pattern: you buy a license to certain software, you receive updates for a year or two, depending on the license, then you stop receiving updates for the app and you can use that version forever.

The main problem with this type of license, from a user’s perspective, is consistency. I use quite a few software with this type of license BUT the main difference is that some are updated daily/weekly or at least monthly and some are less frequently updated.

Most applications receive tons of updates after the initial release and then they magically stop receiving updates or new features for a while. My question is: why buy another year of your software if in the past 5-6 months I received only a minor update? What will I miss if you do not update it? Well, for most applications, you won’t miss anything… except some euros in your pocket.

On the other hand, there’s software like TablePlus that is fully worth paying for it year by year because it is updated a lot and you would miss a lot of features if you are stuck on an old version.

Nevertheless, I have a problem with all subscriptions lately. You pay a subscription for everything, and now you are required to pay monthly for software too. It all piles up, and sure, developers make more money and they can afford 5$ here and 5$ there, but again, it all piles up and at the end of the month you end up giving a lot of money on licenses.

So… maybe a perpetual license is ok though and it all depends on the developer itself if clients would renew their license: keeping an updated app and adding new features would make a higher percentage of the clients renew their license for another year.

What do you say, what is the best license for you and your needs? How many perpetual licenses do you pay yearly?

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