Question

Are there any one-time licenses left for cross-industry software?

I realize people ask/complain about this all the time. But seriously. Other than Microsoft's lifetime licenses for Office 2019 (which is hardly a good example since they push SO HARD on "upgrading" to 365) are any vendors still creating options for offline software. I'm generally fine with the SaaS takeover but I still want the option. Any great options I may not be aware of?

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maguay's avatar
7 months ago
Self-hosted software from Atlassian, Microsoft Office and Visual Studio, 1Password, QuickBooks for SMBs, job-specific software

Most major software today is subscription-only, and the few perpetual license options offer a year of support making their pricing more like a subscription then older software licenses were. Most software that isn't subscription is either self-hosted team software, add-ons for open source products, or creative and development software used by individuals on their personal devices.

If you collaborate on others in software and use it in a browser, chances are it requires a subscription. If the software syncs data or stores files on your behalf, it'll likely require a subscription. If the software requires frequent updates—especially for regulated industries like accounting and engineering where laws change frequently, or design tools like Lightroom that need to add support for new lenses and cameras—that software will also likely require a subscription.

That leaves a few fields that still have individual, perpetual licenses: Self-hosted web services that run on your company's servers, legacy software that still offers perpetual licenses, and job-specific tools that are purchased and installed individually on your computer. The latter include a wide range of software that you might buy from the App Store or Windows Store, things like writing and design software, to-do list apps, and more. Here are some software that still has one-time licenses:

  • Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket: Self-hosted Server license is a one-time payment with a year of updates
  • Microsoft Office (and Visual Studio): Individual licenses still available with security updates for life of version, though Office 365 subscriptions pushed by default.
  • Sketch: one-time license, with 1 year of updates (and perpetual use afterwards, though with no updates)
  • 1Password: one-time license available with updates until next major version. Hidden by default; pricing page only shows subscriptions. Can get single license by downloading trial, then buying in-app.
  • Adobe: Only programs available individually are Acrobat Pro 2017 (an older version that's still supported) and Photoshop Elements (consumer-focused)
  • VMWare offers one-time licenses for most products with no subscription available, including Workstation, Fusion, and vSphere
  • QuickBooks and TurboTax: Still offers individual licenses, though with new versions every year. Available as boxed software from Amazon and other retailers, not shown by default on their site.
  • Balsamiq Mockups: one-time purchase
  • Gravity Forms: one-time purchase, with a year of support
  • Apple professional tools including Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro, and Motion are all prepetual licenses. Consumer software is all free with device purchase now, tied to iCloud storage subscriptions.
  • Mathematica: has individual licenses with 1 year of support and updates
  • Sublime Text: One-time licenses
  • Capture One: offers one-time licenses for specific versions, or subscriptions for ongoing updates
  • Writing apps including Scrivener, OmniOutliner, and iA Writer
  • To-do list apps including Things and OmniFocus, though the latter now offers a subscription option as well
7 points
BarleyFarley's avatar
@BarleyFarley (replying to @maguay )
3 months ago

@maguay Where did you see Gravity Forms as a one-time purchase. I'm seeing it as 'per year' on the pricing page you linked. Did they just change it recently?

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @BarleyFarley )
3 months ago

They've changed the wording a bit, but much like other WordPress plugins, subscriptions are often for updates and support. In Gravity Forms' case, they say "Gravity Forms updates and support are provided only for the duration of an active Gravity Forms subscription." So essentially, you could buy it for 1 year today, get updates until a year from today, then quit paying and continue using the product as it is a year from today indefinitely. You just may not be able to use it if you upgrade WordPress and that breaks something (which I guess is one of the many ways people get stuck on ancient versions of WordPress).

2 points
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