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Purchase another license for the same machine/config?
Thread poster: Gregory Flanders

Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:25
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Mar 28, 2011

Hello everyone:

I had understood that even after the three year period after purchasing a license, I would be able to continue using the Wordfast Pro license I had purchased, as long as I continued to use the same machine.

My three year license expired in February 2011, and now my Wordfast Pro installation is in DEMO mode. After a few exchanges with tech support at Wordfast, they are telling me that I need to buy the license renewal. My current license file (the one that matches my installation number) comes back as "Expired License." Can that be right? I've read the EULA (http://www.wordfast.net/?whichpage=agreement), but it doesn't seem clear whether they can block access to my legally paid for copy of Wordfast.

I'm not asking for an upgrade, I just want to continue using the software I paid for and have been using normally up to this point. Once I purchase a new computer (soon), I'm more than willing to purchase an upgrade so as to install the latest version of Wordfast Pro on that machine, but surely I should be able to continue using my current (old) version of WP?

Thanks!

greg


 

Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:25
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
update from Wordfast Mar 28, 2011

"When your license expires, Wordfast Pro reverts to the demo mode. This happens automatically (after notices shown a few days before it happens). Now, you are trying to generate a license file after your license expired and this won't work. If you want to license your Wordfast Pro installation, you need to renew your license."

I received this tonight from a customer service representative: is everyone else aware of the fact that Wordfast will shut down your personal copy of the software you purchased once the expiration date passes?

Does anyone know if this policy was in rigor in 2008, when I first purchased the software? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have bought Wordfast if this were the case (ie. you MUST upgrade every three years, or you lose access to your software?!).

If anyone else has any experience with this, I would appreciate hearing from you. This seems like a pretty egregious attempt to lock people into unnecessary upgrades.



[Edited at 2011-03-28 19:58 GMT]


 

Marina Aleyeva  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Re-license every three years Mar 28, 2011

Your license is only valid for three years, after which you need to re-license the software (purchase a new license at a discounted price - 50%, see the EULA http://www.wordfast.net/index.php?whichpage=agreement ). If I am not mistaken, this policy has been in place for as long as Wordfast is commercially marketed. The same system works also for WF Classic. But I agree with you that this information should be articulated on the WF Pro main page rather than buried deep in the EULA. On the other hand, the same policy allows you to install the software on two computers and to re-license for free as often as you need, within reasonable limits and within a three-year period. Re-licensing is fairly simple.

 

Marina Aleyeva  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:25
English to Russian
+ ...
Slightly off topic Mar 29, 2011

Another thing I don't understand is why there is no direct link "Download the latest WF Pro version" on the WF Pro main page http://www.wordfast.com/products_wordfast_60.html . The only product link there is to a "free trial version". True, this website may not have been designed for fools, and you should be able to guess that a trial version will also be the latest one, or, better yet, guess that you will most likely find the newest version under the Store menu (and not under Products), but... it's always nice to avoid guessing if you can.

 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:25
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are purchasing a license not the software Mar 29, 2011

Let me start off by saying I have no commercial relationship with Wordfast, I'm just a Wordfast user.

I think the problem is you don't really understand what a software license is and how software is purchased. The thing with software is that you never actually buy the software itself, what you buy is a license to use that software.

Licenses come in many shapes and forms, some of them have time limits some don't, some of them offer updates some don't, some of them offer upgrades some don't, some allow you to modify the software most don't, etc., etc.

In the case of Wordfast they have decided that the license you buy from them has a 3 year limit, now you can agree with this or not, I would personally prefer a longer or unlimited license, but that is they way they decided to sell their product, you then decide to buy it or not.

As they only sell you a 3 year license, it is perfectly normal and legal for your software to stop working after 3 years, you no longer have the right to use the software, you never bought it, you bought the right to use it for 3 years.

As anyone can use Wordfast in demo mode without a license that's why you can use the demo mode but if Wordfast was one of those software programs that don't have demo modes then you wouldn't even be able to use that.

Unfortunately if you want to continue using Wordfast you will have to purchase another license.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I was not aware - not applicable to Wordfast Classic Mar 29, 2011

With Wordfast Classic (which is, in fact, a giant macro that runs in Word) the software does not stop working after 3 years, but you need to pay the renewal fee if you want to relicense it for a different computer after that period. (or, has this situation changed with the latest version? - mine is not quite the latest).

I am inclined to consider that making this software stop working (or revert to demo mode) after any predetermined period is unethical behaviour, including if the licence terms state this fact. I know you're purchasing the licence, not the software, but that doesn't change my opinion.

I had been thinking I might try Wordfast Pro but if this 3-year limit is really the case, I'm more likely to try OmegaT instead.

Wordfast was originally created about 12 years ago to make a TM application available; now it seems the purpose of Wordfast is to make money.

Or... have I misunderstood something significant?

Oliver


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes and no Mar 30, 2011

gflan wrote:
I had understood that even after the three year period after purchasing a license, I would be able to continue using the Wordfast Pro license I had purchased, as long as I continued to use the same machine.


This applies to all time-limited licensed software -- if if it continues to work after 3 years, then that is just your luck (it is not your right). Advice is often given on WFC forums about how to extend the life of your WFC installation beyond the 3 year period, but that doesn't mean it is your right to have it extended as long as you follow certain procedures. I'm not sure if any promises were made by the Wordfast people that WFP will also continue to work indefinitely if you are careful. Can you tell us where you got that idea from?


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:25
English to Czech
+ ...
Too bad Mar 30, 2011

gflan wrote:

I had understood that even after the three year period after purchasing a license, I would be able to continue using the Wordfast Pro license I had purchased, as long as I continued to use the same machine.

I apologize that I'm not contributing to this topic with any useful comment, but this licensing policy is exactly why I parted with WordFast years ago, still as a WF Classic user. I believe there are nowadays more decent licensing schemes that can be used for production software.


 

Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:25
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Solution: OmegaT Mar 30, 2011

Thank you for your responses. After a series of unfruitful (though very polite) exchanges with Wordfast, I realize I was mistaken in my initial understanding that I would be able to continue to use WFP indefinitely on the same hardware but with no upgrades. I had read earlier elsewhere that WFC, as a set of macros, could be used after the three-year period, and assumed that the same would hold true for WFP.

However, I agree with Oliver that the disabling of rightfully purchased software is unethical and very disappointing, especially from a company I had always held in high regards. As I told the service representative, the honest thing to do would be to shut off access to upgrades (and even to other computers) after a three-year period, and not to cripple the program.

So I'm in the process of migrating to OmegaT, which I'm happy to say I've already found MUCH better than when I initially tried it four years ago: I don't think I'm going to go back to Wordfast (unless they change their licensing policies, but by that time, it might be too late.icon_wink.gif


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Curious Mar 30, 2011

gflan wrote:
However, I agree with Oliver that the disabling of rightfully purchased software is unethical and very disappointing... the honest thing to do would be to shut off access to upgrades ... after a three-year period, and not to cripple the program.


Would you have been happier with a program that cost EUR 2000.00 for indefinite license as opposed to one that costs EUR 500.00 for a 3-year license? Reducing the cost of software for the user by setting time limits on its usage is nothing new in the computer world.

And shutting off access to upgrades would really only work (as an income model for software developers) for a product that is upgrade-driven (i.e. one in which each new version is deliberately designed to be incompatible with the previous versions), such as many DTP programs.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Upgrades and licences - my idea Mar 30, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:
Would you have been happier with a program that cost EUR 2000.00 for indefinite license as opposed to one that costs EUR 500.00 for a 3-year license?


Neither of these. I would consider it ethical if all the following conditions are met, which are roughly like the current Wordfast conditions but less restrictive:
  1. A paid-for licence (about the same price as the current 3-year licence) permits the software to be used in full for an unlimited period, at least with the computer hardware and operating system on which it is first installed.
  2. If any upgraded versions of the software are released during those 3 years, they can be used on the same licence (with the original starting point of the 3-year period).
  3. The licence can be transferred to a replacement or additional computer (for the same user) at no cost during those 3 years.
  4. After the 3-year period, the software can either remain as it is on the same computer with no more upgrades or relicensed (at less cost than a new licence) for 3 more years (with further upgrades and/or transfers to other computers).
  5. Two kinds of backwards compatibility: If there is any incompatibility between files read and written by the older and newer versions of the software, then:
    • later versions must be able to work with (i.e. read and process) files produced by older versions, and
    • later versions must be able to output files in the older formats for processing by the older versions of software (which would cause some features introduced in the later software to become unavailable).
This is roughly like the the licensing systems applicable to Wordfast Classic, and to a different product, WinZip (not translation-related). A WinZip licence is valid indefinitely - if you want a newer version of WinZip, you then buy another licence, which can cost much less than an initial licence if you respond to one of WinZip's offers (which are emailed to you).
A further. potentially important thought: What happens if a company supplying software with a built-in suicide feature (like WFC's behaviour after 3 years) goes out of business, so that a renewal licence becomes impossible to obtain? On the present evidence it seems that, at the latest, 3 years after this bankruptcy or closure, all installations of the software will stop working.

Oliver


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Comparisons Mar 30, 2011

Oliver Walter wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Would you have been happier with a program that cost EUR 2000.00 for indefinite license as opposed to one that costs EUR 500.00 for a 3-year license?

Neither of these.


Well, it has to be one of them. Programmers also need salaries. The Wordfast development team is not a non-profit organisation, and if they need EUR 2000 per user per decade to sustain the product and the business built around it, then they may have several ways of getting that money from their customers. If you were the Wordfast developer and you needed to get EUR 2000 per user per decade, would you charge EUR 2000 upfront or would you charge EUR 500 per 3-year period? What would you consider to be most fair and most likely to be a success in the market?

This is roughly like the the licensing systems applicable to Wordfast Classic...


The Wordfast team isn't going to relicense a 3+ year license if you can successfully prove that you haven't upgraded your hardware. In other words, the indefiniteness of WFC's license isn't deliberate -- it is just a result of the limitations of the WFC licensing system. If people are able to use it for longer than 3 years, then it is just their luck.

...and to a different product, WinZip (not translation-related). A WinZip licence is valid indefinitely - if you want a newer version of WinZip, you then...


WinZip has millions upon millions of potential users. Wordfast has fewer than 50 000. WinZip's core function is simple, and it doesn't really change (newer versions are easier to use than older versions, but all versions essentially zip and unzip files). Wordfast has many functions and it has to add to them or continuously improve them to stay competitive. I think these two products simply don't have comparable budgets.

A further. potentially important thought: What happens if a company supplying software with a built-in suicide feature (like WFC's behaviour after 3 years) goes out of business, so that a renewal licence becomes impossible to obtain?


Yes, that's life. It is not uncommon in the software world.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Argument for fsf Mar 31, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:
A further. potentially important thought: What happens if a company supplying software with a built-in suicide feature (like WFC's behaviour after 3 years) goes out of business, so that a renewal licence becomes impossible to obtain?

Yes, that's life. It is not uncommon in the software world.

Well, it's the first time I've encountered it, and I've been using (including purchasing licences) software for over 30 years. It's an argument for "free" software (in this context, "free" does not necessarily mean not paid for; it means freedom to study and modify):
http://www.fsf.org/ and
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

Oliver


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Oliver Apr 1, 2011

Oliver Walter wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
gflan wrote:
What happens if a company supplying software with a built-in suicide feature (like WFC's behaviour after 3 years) goes out of business, so that a renewal licence becomes impossible to obtain?

Yes, that's life. It is not uncommon in the software world.

Well, it's the first time I've encountered it, and I've been using (including purchasing licences) software for over 30 years.


Well, consider yourself lucky that none of the companies that develop any of the programs that you've used and for which you had bought a non-perpetual license had gone bust so far.

It's an argument for "free" software...


Of course. One would hope that if Wordfast goes belly-up that they would leave some kind of back-door for their users to continue developing Wordfast, but that is their decision alone.


 

Denise De Pe�a
Guatemala
Local time: 18:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
WordFast license renewal Apr 6, 2011

In 2000 or 2001 when I purchased my WordFast license (Classic) I remember DISTINCTLY that their Web page announced that I would NEVER have to buy another license. Now that I migrated to a new computer for the second time I’m being told by Wordfast support that “No promise was ever been made by Wordfast that licenses are forever.” Does anyone else remember their statement of guarantee of never having to renew the license? I’m not happy with this at all, to say the least…

 
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