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Following the license rules

We are software developers and make a living from selling our software. Ourselves we pay for licenses to enable others to make a living. This includes paying royalties for libraries used in our plugins which enable the continued development of those libraries. And we expect our clients to pay their license fees and indeed the majority does it correctly and pays their bills.

Technically we don’t enforce it directly. Xojo itself has a server based activation, FileMaker Pro doesn’t, but the Server talks back to FileMaker Inc.. Personally we don’t like to use an activation for the plugins, so we only check license keys locally. We also do some statistics on the usage of the plugins, so we know what versions are in use on which operation systems. And we can see which license keys are in use.

The licensing terms for Xojo and FileMaker are quite clear. You can have a trial for FileMaker Pro and for Xojo simply use the software without a license. Those are limited in a couple of ways. But when you get productive, you should really get a license key. You need one license per developer and you do not share license between developrs. For Xojo you need to have a Pro key to use version control software, so you buy the Pro licenses when you want take part in a bigger development project. For FileMaker you should have a license for Pro Advanced when you develop and of course you pay it.

For using plugins we expect that you match the licenses for plugins with those for Xojo and FileMaker. So if you have two Xojo licenses for two developers and both developers work on the projects using the plugins, we expect you to buy two licenses. We want bigger companies to contribute more for the tools than a small one person company. For FileMaker you pay for each server a license to FileMaker Inc. and we expect that you also pay for each server using MBS Plugin the license fee to us. That may result in paying for every developer including trainees and managers. We do know that some things may be temporary and for that reason like to issue trial keys to use our plugins without paying for a limited time.

Luckily the statistics show that nearly everybody obeys the licensing terms and that makes me happy. We do have Xojo plugins in use for development on at least a thousand computers. We don’t know about deployment as we don’t want to track that! Still MBS Xojo Plugins is used in thousands of applications with properly hundred thousands installations. I know some Xojo applications using my plugins which sold over 10000 times. Our FileMaker plugin is used on tens of thousands computers and that makes us happy. We got some success there over the years.

On the other side the statistics reveal some really bad guys. We learnt that there are license keys used, which we never created. Someone clearly hacked the plugins. And some users really use the plugin on much more computers than intended. Like the company who runs 26 servers with just one server license for our FileMaker plugin. Or a company with eight Xojo developers and just one license key. Same with a FileMaker solution with a 5 seats key, which was in use on 21 computers on a single day last month. And those calculations include a filter which removes the occasional use of a key for a day or two on another computer.

Today I double checked this and contacted a few clients which exceed the license terms a lot. Not the job I like to do. Claris FileMaker Plugin
04 12 17 - 21:48