Cowboy in the desert.

Licensing and support/maintenance changes

August 20, 2013

We're planning to make a change to the support and upgrade terms to make it fairer.

Previously, when it came to upgrades, we said:

All updates for the same major version of the product (e.g., releases beginning with 1.X) are free. In addition, if a new major version (e.g., 2.0) is released within 6 months of your purchase, you'll receive a free update to that major version. Otherwise, you'll receive a 50% discount when updating to any new major version. We aim to release new major versions approximately every 12 months.

This means, for example:

  • Customers who bought a license 5 months before 2.0 ships get a free upgrade
  • Customers who bought a license 7 months before 2.0 ships get a 50% discount
  • Customers who bought a license 13 months before 2.0 ships get a 50% discount

This seems like a common model and it's used by many companies, so I hadn't given it much thought. However it has a number of disadvantages that hadn't occurred to me when I first drafted the policy:

  1. It means some customers will end up making two purchases within a 12 month period, while others won't. That seems unfair.
  2. It means a somewhat unpredictable expense if you want to continue getting new features, which might be hard to get approval for in some environments. It would be better to have some certainty about when a renewal is due, and shouldn't be any less than 12 months.
  3. It creates an incentive for us to hold off on releasing useful features until we bump up the major version number (though I like to think we haven't done that); that is bad

Changes to the policy

For 2.0, I want to make it a much simpler policy.

  1. From the day you receive your license key, you'll get 12 months worth of upgrades/bug fixes/new features.
  2. If you want to continue getting new features after the 12 months, there'll be an option to renew. Otherwise, you can stick with the last version you had access to (that is, you have a perpetual license for the version you paid for and any upgrades released within 12 months of that).

This will mean a more predictable renewal cycle, and will mean we can ship big new features as soon as they are ready without worrying about how the version number impacts on upgrades.


Renewals will be 50% of the original price if you renew no longer than 3 months after your existing maintenance period ends, or 85% if you wait until after after that. Renewals will extend your maintenance period by 12 months.

Backdating the policy

If/when this policy change comes into effect, we'll be backdating it:

  1. Customers who bought 7-12 months ago will also get a free upgrade to 2.0, and will continue to get upgrades until 12 months after their license was purchased
  2. Customers who bought a license more than 12 months ago will still get a 50% discount when renewing to use 2.0, but they'll continue to get any patch releases we make for the 1.X branch for free, as they would under the old model

This should mean that no-one is worse off under the old agreement, and no-one will be asked to renew within a 12 month period either.

Feedback welcome

This change isn't set in stone yet, so if you have any issues with it I'd love to hear about it! You can leave a comment in the box below or mail me at

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