Ulysses ** Breaking News **

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Jaaaarne
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:42 pm Post

Okay. Still, what is their motivation then? If somebody has installed software and subscribed, then they must find it useful the way it is. I don't think that they will just suddenly up up and away at some point.

I have used unsupported Scrivener for Linux for years and haven't had any problems (apart from default scaling percent). No reason to leave it behind yet. At least, not until I upgrade my Xubuntu to next LTS and Scrivener stops working, which is known. I knew I was on my own with it, and agreed to that. If initial terms of usage satisfied me, I just kept going. So if users are satisfied with functions and pricing when making this contract, and keep paying, then what motivation do the developers have?

On the aside, their pricing does seem to target professionals. Which means inevitable drop in userbase. Whether the remaining users will be able to compensate for non-professionals who are less likely to subscribe, it remains to be seen.

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:04 pm Post

JimRac wrote:What I worry about is Keith getting hit by a bus.


I really hope lightning doesn't strike twice! Here's what happened the first time:

Image

(Top tip: when you are drunk after celebrating getting your teaching qualification and you've missed the last train, don't cross busy roads in New Cross full of bendy buses.)
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:11 pm Post

KB wrote:
JimRac wrote:What I worry about is Keith getting hit by a bus.


I really hope lightning doesn't strike twice! Here's what happened the first time:

Image

(Top tip: when you are drunk after celebrating getting your teaching qualification and you've missed the last train, don't cross busy roads in New Cross full of bendy buses.)

Yikes!!!

You obviously didn't dodge that bus, but we many happy Scrivener users surely dodged a bullet.

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:28 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:Okay. Still, what is their motivation then?

To stay in business?

Jaaaarne wrote:If somebody has installed software and subscribed, then they must find it useful the way it is. I don't think that they will just suddenly up up and away at some point.

I haven't even really looked--as mentioned, I don't use Ulysses, so I really don't care--and I've seen a crap load of posts from Ulysses users who claim they're going to walk. Assuming that 50% of those are bluster--they're angry now but will change their minds once they cool off--it seems that Ulysses is going to lose customers, at least during this initial adjustment phase. There are other choices out there, which customers will move to if they perceive better value.

Jaaaarne wrote:So if users are satisfied with functions and pricing when making this contract, and keep paying, then what motivation do the developers have?

To stay in business. There are other tools out there. If the Ulysses guys sit on their butts and don't keep up with the other tools, then their customers will walk to the other tools.

And if there are no other comparable tools out there, then some enterprising man or woman--someone like our Keith--will say, "I can do this better", and they'll build a better tool.

Jaaaarne wrote:On the aside, their pricing does seem to target professionals. Which means inevitable drop in userbase. Whether the remaining users will be able to compensate for non-professionals who are less likely to subscribe, it remains to be seen.

Good point.

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JRP
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:41 pm Post

I use both Scrivener and Ulysses; Ulysses for short and long fiction works, Scrivener for long fiction with complicated plots/subplots/time arcs, etc. I like both programs (and both development teams), and aside from momentary disorientation when moving from the markdown environment to the WYSIWYG environment, and vice-versa, am happy with both.

Did I pop for the subscription model Ulysses just introduced. Yep. $30/year for both the Mac and iOS versions seems reasonable to me since I use Ulysses nearly every day. Do I like the subscription model? Not at all. But, as Keith said, the company has decided the change is what it requires to stay in business and continue to improve the software.

So I signed up for the annual/lifetime discount, but will assess over the year the frequency of improvements/new and enhanced features, etc. If those things don't happen, I can always cancel the subscription and easily get my work out of the program. Also, I've saved the old Mac and iOS versions should I decide to return to it and use it until inevitable OS changes break it, which could be years.

In the end, a straight forward business decision for me, with an out. I still have control over how I choose to write. In the future I may decide not to use one program or the other, or neither, but as Keith also noted, (duh) who can foretell the future. :D

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Cinder6
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:05 pm Post

I guess what's frustrating, and eyebrow-raising, about the move is this line from the Medium post:
After all, we have a system which currently works — after 14 years we are still around, Ulysses is still “a thing”, it’s even going better than ever before, and there are no immediate signs which hint at a change coming soon.

Now, to be fair, that sentence is immediately followed by this:
So why bother at all then? Well, we need a good way forward before we run into trouble. We want to make sure the app will be around for years and years to come. We want to heavily invest in its development, and this requires the right setting for our team, our families and our users. Writers want to rely on a professional tool that is constantly evolving, and we want to keep delivering just that.

Do I find that to be a reasonable justification? Personally, I don't. I might if this release had coincided with a big new feature, but it didn't; spending $30 today nets me nothing more than nebulous promises. What's worse, Ulysses is essentially feature-complete for me (all it's missing is something like CriticMarkup); the only thing I really need from it is bug fixes each year to get it running on the latest macOS and iOS, but the only way to get those is to fork over $30/year, and at the moment I feel that work isn't worth that much money.

Will I cave in the end? Maybe. At the moment, though, I'm experimenting with migrating my current project to Scrivener.

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Tribalrose
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:28 am Post

JimRac wrote:
Jaaaarne wrote:Or staying on the old version, if that's an option.


That's me. If anything I use and now have installed on my PCs went to a subscription, I'd just continue using what I had until it wouldn't work any more. I'm not paying what one poster called "a monthly tribute" to any software company. I do think Scrivener is underpriced and would have paid more for it, but if it changed to a monthly fee, it wouldn't matter if it added up to a lot or a little, I'm just not doing it.

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Cinder6
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:56 am Post

Unfortunately Ulysses breaks like clockwork with each major macOS/iOS version, so that resolution will work for only a year at most.

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zikade
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:47 am Post

Why not calling this what it is? It is not subscribing, its renting. If I subscribe to a magazine - the old fashioned glossy paper ones - I get a pile of dead wood delivered regularly. Cancelling that subscription results in me not getting any further magazines, but I can keep the ones I already have. Renting a car, instead, means I never keep the car when the renting period is over.

Which is mostly what happens when 'subscribing' to Ulysses. I have absolutely no problem in subscribing to a service, like my internet connection at home or electricity. Renting products, however, was never anything I considered doing regularly - like renting a car, it is only proper when it is needed for a rather short period of time, like moving. Probably for people like me some marketing whizz kid rebranded renting to subscribing, to hell with those little things like legal differences.

Now, I happen to like Ulysses, its really brillant for shortish pamphlets. And the developers are solely dependent on the App Stores and its limitations. Still, I don't like the renting model and deeply dislike those who mangle with the meaning of commonly used terms.
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Jaaaarne
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:24 pm Post

JimRac wrote:
Jaaaarne wrote:So if users are satisfied with functions and pricing when making this contract, and keep paying, then what motivation do the developers have?

To stay in business. There are other tools out there. If the Ulysses guys sit on their butts and don't keep up with the other tools, then their customers will walk to the other tools.

You underestimate the users' severe dislike of changes. If everything works for their purposes and nothing gets broken, you will have to make a serious effort to get them to switch to another software. We had to literally drag employees by the hair back when we did a company-wide upgrade to MS Office 2013. And now people throw fits when we upgrade their corporate laptops to Windows 10 from Windows 7, even though it's mandatory and they have no say in it.

By the way, that's why the currently angry Ulysses users who can afford it are likely to grumble, but submit. People dislike changes. Switching to another software means spending time learning how to work it, instead of actually doing what you are supposed to do with it. Those who cannot afford it will be pressed to suck it up and learn new things, of course, but those who can are more likely to just pay. Like we say, a man is such an animal that will get used to anything. :) Unless, of course, they don't want to rent software on principle. But I predict that those people will get ironed out in the coming years.

So while I see how a software company would want to stay in business, I don't see how switching to a rental model would suddenly motivate them to deliver a better product, when their income is pretty much guaranteed.

Cinder6 wrote:spending $30 today nets me nothing more than nebulous promises.

Exactly what I was talking about. You have to pay and trust them on their word. And I honestly see no motivation for them in this, especially since they put themselves first, and users only come third.

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JimRac
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Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:34 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:
JimRac wrote:
Jaaaarne wrote:So if users are satisfied with functions and pricing when making this contract, and keep paying, then what motivation do the developers have?

To stay in business. There are other tools out there. If the Ulysses guys sit on their butts and don't keep up with the other tools, then their customers will walk to the other tools.

You underestimate the users' severe dislike of changes. If everything works for their purposes and nothing gets broken, you will have to make a serious effort to get them to switch to another software. We had to literally drag employees by the hair back when we did a company-wide upgrade to MS Office 2013. And now people throw fits when we upgrade their corporate laptops to Windows 10 from Windows 7, even though it's mandatory and they have no say in it.

By the way, that's why the currently angry Ulysses users who can afford it are likely to grumble, but submit. People dislike changes. Switching to another software means spending time learning how to work it, instead of actually doing what you are supposed to do with it. Those who cannot afford it will be pressed to suck it up and learn new things, of course, but those who can are more likely to just pay. Like we say, a man is such an animal that will get used to anything. :) Unless, of course, they don't want to rent software on principle. But I predict that those people will get ironed out in the coming years.

So while I see how a software company would want to stay in business, I don't see how switching to a rental model would suddenly motivate them to deliver a better product, when their income is pretty much guaranteed.

We're going round in circles.

Ulysses is a tiny company with lots of competitors. If customers stick around, despite "unfair" pricing and a stagnating product, then customers get what they deserve.

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Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:25 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:I may be wrong, of course, but with subscription model you are basically held hostage and have to trust the kidnappers on their word that they will treat you right and won’t kill you.

As noted, a bit hyperbolic, but where it comes to one’s livelihood, it can get bad depending on the model you buy into. That’s something you have to examine very closely when considering subscription software. What happens if you have a bad year and can’t pay up? Do you lose the ability to continue working on the very projects that might keep food on the table? Do you lose access to everything you’ve ever done in the past with it?

Some models are very fair and ethical I would say. Tinderbox for example, well you can hardly even call it a subscription. You pay an upgrade fee and with that comes a year of staying up to date—but that’s it. After the year is up the software continues working with every feature intact, and will continue working forever. If at some point in the future you can afford to get back on the update train then you can pick up at the current point of development, even if it is several major version numbers later.

Ulysses looks like they’ve gone with the partial shut-down model. You can get at your work and export it, but that’s it. Using the software is a privilege you pay for continually. So in their case it wouldn’t be fair to say your data is held hostage from what I see. Your way of working on the other hand would depend upon continual payment.

I’m not a fan of that myself, and don’t have any software that works that way, but I do wish them the best in their transition. It's every developer's choice to make, and as JimRac says, it's up to people to decide whether or not they can abide with rental tools.
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Pavel
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:26 pm Post

Jaaaarne wrote:
brookter wrote:I can understand their dilemma. How do you make software pay in the long term and what are the long term consequences of having to produce a snazzy new update to keep the funds coming in? Take Omnifocus -- a really good program which was made less powerful (in my view) by a paid update which focused on cosmetics rather than features. Would that have happened if they'd been able to rely on a steady income? I paid for Omnifocus 1 and 2: never use them anymore...

I may be wrong, of course, but with subscription model you are basically held hostage and have to trust the kidnappers on their word that they will treat you right and won't kill you.

What motivation do the developers have to keep working on the app and adding new feautures, when subscription money will keep coming in regardless of what the developers do (or don't do)?

Paid updates I can understand. Subscriptions to web-based apps are also understandable (say, Office 365 suite, even though I personally don't use it at home). Even small subscriptions to priority support, or something. But charging a subscription fee for a locally installed app, regardless of whether it is updated or not... just because the developers have to eat... Well, I have to eat, too. :) We all have. :) Somehow I don't see my employer willing to keep paying me for projects I have already completed long time ago. :)


I fully agree with you on this topic. In each case where software has moved to a subscription model only, I've stoped purchasing it with no exceptions. I'm fully Adobe free and refuse to use use Office despite having it available for free through my school. It's not about the total cost at all, but rather instead supporting software developers who conduct business in a way which don't make me feel like a hostage. Forced subscriptions also tend to come with forced updates and auto-updates have caused me enormous grief over the years and I'm just not going to compromise.
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:25 pm Post

Pavel wrote:I'm fully Adobe free and refuse to use use Office despite having it available for free through my school


Small digression, but you *do* realize that Office is still available as a stand-alone suite that you can purchase non-subscription *as well* as the O365 subscription version, right? In this case, Microsoft is giving their customers the choice of which model is right for them. I would think that would be a good thing -- they're big enough to offer both options.
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Pavel
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Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:31 am Post

devinganger wrote:
Pavel wrote:I'm fully Adobe free and refuse to use use Office despite having it available for free through my school


Small digression, but you *do* realize that Office is still available as a stand-alone suite that you can purchase non-subscription *as well* as the O365 subscription version, right? In this case, Microsoft is giving their customers the choice of which model is right for them. I would think that would be a good thing -- they're big enough to offer both options.


Embarrassingly, no I did not realize that fact. My wife has a copy which is a subscription, which work pays for and I have a free subscription from school which I did not download as I'm not much in need of it. But I'm glad that you pointed that out. Choice is good. :)
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