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How JetBrains Lost Years of Customer Loyalty in Just a Few Hours (bytecrafter.blogspot.com)
430 points by rograndom on Sept 4, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 490 comments



What bugs me about this is when I asked them about the change on Twitter and they kept trying to blow smoke up my butt about how it's better for everyone.

Their first response was that it's cheaper than before. Except it's not. Did they think I wouldn't actually go look at the prices?

Then they said it's better because you can jump in and out at will. Only need Product X for a month? Only pay for a month. Which is fine, except I've never heard of a developer who would do that.

This move wouldn't bug me so much if they were just honest about it. If you're doing it because you need the money or it makes your life easier or whatever, then fine. I don't like it even so, but I could deal with it. But when you try to convince me it's better for me, while treating me like a fool, I start to have a major problem with the whole thing.


> Their first response was that it's cheaper than before. Except it's not. Did they think I wouldn't actually go look at the prices?

Uh - their "everything" price is $20/month = $240/year (or $200 for the annual plan)

(All renewal at current license price)

PHPStorm - $129

PyCharm - $99

ReSharper Ultimate - $600 (no renewal price)

If I were to purchase that with their old license it would cost me $828, with the new plan I only pay $240. And those are just the tools I have an immediate need for (I do Python, PHP, and C# on an almost daily basis).

$20/month for their full suite of tools? Count me in.

When I first found their tools - I was like "ehhh I don't know - I'll stick with Eclipse/Netbeans etc". Eventually I tried IntelliJ, PHPStorm and PyCharm and they have been the best IDEs I've ever used. Trust me I'll advocate open source when I can - but after all the issues I've had with Eclipse and Netbeans I almost just totally switched to vi.


Yeah, Eclipse has the Linux GUI curse.

Linux users expect the GUI to be unusable so they split into the camps who (i) think Eclipse is the bee's knees or (ii) use vi.

The difference between IntelliJ and Eclipse is like night and day -- Eclipse fans think the plug-in feature is great but install one too many plugins and your Eclipse will get sick with pluginitis.


I recently had to use Eclipse again, after 5+ years of Emacs mostly coding sessions, and boy it was tough. I kept thinking it's just one IDE, and others are better, thinking about IntelliJ. Heh.

ps: people, take a look at Emacs, it really is nice, and only needs 8MB cough


> I kept thinking it's just one IDE, and others are better, thinking about IntelliJ. Heh.

I usually don't endorse a product or service (different tools for different tasks and different people etc) but at least try out IntelliJ. I'm pretty sure there is a reason why Google decided to dump Eclipse in favor of IntelliJ as their officially supported IDE.

You may be able to crank out code faster using vi and/or emacs - but an IDE will be more advanced to tell you mistakes that could mean a world of difference. You don't know how many times I've seen people make simple mistakes writing PHP with vi that could have easily been avoided using an IDE.


My English is often cryptic, it was flattering towards IntelliJ. Since long ago they wrote very useful code either infrastructure (their caching mechanism) or UX (thorough keyboard bindings).

What kind of errors did they fail to catch ? vi/emacs rely on external checkers, I don't know what IntelliJ uses, if they have an in-house fully fledged AST analyzer or if they reuse community made ones.


> ps: people, take a look at Emacs, it really is nice, and only needs 8MB cough

As an Emacs fan, I feel obligated to, ahh, unpack this reference.

EMACS: Eight Megs And Constantly Swapping. A Humorous Expansion of the name from when eight megabytes of RAM was more than you had, bucko.

These days, I'm sure that, if you really worked at it, you could get an Emacs process to take up as much RAM as the Chrome tab you just opened to look something up on Stack Exchange.


Some times emacs has perf issues, but Eclipse overhead is really too much for me to enjoy. And the UX is miserable, all this OOP, OSGi plugins and frameworks for this leaves me meh.


I am a complete newbie so my perspective is inherently flawed but I am wary of installing anything on a Debian machine that I can't just get using aptitude (sudo apt-get install foo).

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't it possible to create a Debian repository server at Jet Brains that I can add to my aptitude sources list and then install Intelli J and stuff from the conventional command line interface? Why does Jet Brains insist on doing things the Net beans way with opening a web browser and downloading a binary every time?


Fwiw it's worth learning how to use the excellent Debian Alternatives [1] system to install stuff not in the repo's. Download the precompiled binary, or download the source and compile it, put in $HOME, /opt, or wherever you want, then use update-alternatives to soft link it into the standard system directories (/usr, /usr/bin, /usr/local, etc). You can manage and toggle between multiple versions of the same software that way, including the repo version, and lots more benefits, see github readme below.

Intro: https://www.debian-administration.org/article/91/Using_the_D...

Example setup scripts: https://github.com/byrongibson/scripts/tree/master/install/h...

[1]:https://wiki.debian.org/DebianAlternatives


Not just that, but they've closed numerous bugs as "wont fix" & blamed them on the linux ecosystem. On Ubuntu, I've gone through some very annoying bugs like the IDE randomly freezing every 10-15m and needing to be restarted, even after removing openJDK & installing the official Java, and all the other annoying things they suggested.

I dislike them as a company because they claimed to support Linux, took my money, and then blamed my choice of OS when things broke. If they don't want to support linux, fine, but they shouldn't say that they do on the sales page, then act to the contrary.


Funny, because neither Pycharm or CLion have randomly frozen for me in Linux. Sounds like they support Linux in my case!


There's a big difference between "it works for most people on linux" and "we support our product on linux"


> I am wary of installing anything on a Debian machine that I can't just get using aptitude (sudo apt-get install foo).

I don't think that is really an issue (anymore?) - I've installed deb packages manually and compiled stuff from scratch. The only problem you could run into is if package A from the Debain repos requires Version X.1 - but you installed some random deb which installed Version X.2 - you might get into dependency issues. I've found backports to fill this gap.

In fact the Jetbrains stuff is self contained so you need to bring your own JRE and run it from the folder that you extracted it to.


It opens web browser in Debian?

On Fedora, it just downloads a patch, applies it and restarts.

The pet peeve of mine is, that it downloads a patch, restart, then it finds out it has updates for plugins too, downloads them and restarts again.

It would be much nicer if Jetbrains had a yum repository for both IDE and plugins and would download delta rpms. Just like Google Chrome does.


> It would be much nicer if Jetbrains had a yum repository for both IDE and plugins and would download delta rpms. Just like Google Chrome does.

Yes, it'd be nice if we had repositories for yum and apt-get.

Also, I understand that most of the time it just downloads a patch, and restarts but the first install is still a problem. It shouldn't be that way.


Eclipse is has the cross-platform GUI curse. :-)


In that example, you have someone working regularly enough in PHP, Python and .Net (Resharper) to appreciate the JetBrains tools. I'm sure it happens, but it doesn't seem to be the usual case to me.

edit But looking at the pricing page ( https://www.jetbrains.com/toolbox/ ), a pure C# dev could just get "ReSharper Ultimate" for £79 Per year, or "ReSharper" for £71 per year, which I think is not much different from the current price?


I code php, java, python regularly. My team of two code php and java regularly and a little python. We have a small resource starved team. May not be normal but it is for us.


All of those languages are already covered by IntelliJ Ultimate. So your net cost in this new scheme is roughly the same as before, except if you don't renew your IDE stops working.


I'm glad it's better for you (really!).

But they shouldn't present it as better for everyone when it's clearly not.


He is specifically refuting your argument that the new model isn't cheaper than the old model.


And I'm accepting that but pointing out that it still applies to many.


Yes you are but you are providing no concrete examples of that. I'm interested to hear your examples?


I have a feeling that the people posting here on HN that are against the subscription may only be a small percentage of their user base.

Personally I don't upgrade - because I don't need to. But if given the subscription I probably would if the price was right. Take Office 365 - yeah you can pay $200+ for a full offline copy but you have to do that for every version (and the whole keeping track of your media). Or just pay $99/year and get a perpetual license + extras + online installer. I know there are a number of people who are like "open office does everything I need!" - and that's great but just wait until you need to work on a document with another person who is using office 20XX and open office doesn't support the subtle formatting in that version yet. I know of a large company that tried switching to open office - they couldn't do it because open office didn't format many documents correctly.


> Uh - their "everything" price is $20/month = $240/year (or $200 for the annual plan)

If you need that.

The individual products are more expensive with the subscription plan if you buy a license starting 1/1/2016


With the previous model you could just stop paying them and keep using your current version of the software. With the new model stop paying them and you are locked out.

I want DRM-free IDEs!


Wait, what? The only product I use is Resharper... I was paying $119 an update before, now I'll be paying $240?!? Yeah, that's not a good deal for me. There's no amount of skewed math I can apply that makes $240 less than $119...


Here's the pricing policy:

https://www.jetbrains.com/toolbox/

The $20 is for all products, Resharper alone is $11.90 a month or $119 a year.


It used to be you would stop getting updates but could still use the product at its frozen (for you) point. For example, to re-examine an old project (even if you might not want to do any fresh builds on an outdated platform).

Can you still do that, or does the tool "die" for you altogether once you stop paying?

P.S. Assuming underlying OS compatibility, which would probably eventually break unless e.g. also frozen in a VM.

P.P.S. It was a couple of years ago, and during a promotion, but I got the "whole enchilada", plus a year of updates, for a bit under $100. It was a 50% off promotion, as I recall, so the non-sale price would have been under $200. [Or maybe it was just a bit over -- either way.]

I understand concerns about revenue stream; nonetheless, I have to agree with some others here in... more or less detesting such "subscription" pricing/licensing models.

Among other things, I have some old, old systems and programs that work just fine, as long as I keep them isolated e.g. from the big, bad Internet. I don't want stuff that dies unless I perpetually feed it, even just for historical purposes.

I've also been a Safari online book library subscriber, and I've started to regret not simply instead spending the money to buy ebook versions of the titles I'm most interested in.

In areas where I have a stronger personal interest in long-term and historical access, I am growing increasingly tired of and leery of the "subscription model."


After 30 days of a failed payment [1] or 30 days without contacting JetBrains servers [2] it will only allow you to open their software briefly before "the product will gently notify the user and will allow some time to connect to the Internet before asking to close the application".

[1] https://sales.jetbrains.com/hc/en-gb/articles/204344871-Does...

[2] https://sales.jetbrains.com/hc/en-gb/articles/204348441-What...


In other words the software requires perpetual rent to keep working [even as is]... that's not cool at all.


> does the tool "die" for you altogether once you stop paying?

It dies. Or at least, this is what they have announced, obviously we will only be able to test from December.


Have they? Where have they said that?


kileywm has this to say about that:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10171998


So previously $119 would buy him infinite years.

And now $119 buys him a single year.

Sounds like a downgrade to me?


no $119 would buy him one year of updates, and he could choose not to update in the future if he didn't want to. If he chose to update on a regular basis, then he would still need to pay $119 every year


Also, under the new regime, the moment he stops paying, the IDE stops working. Previously, when you stop paying,you'd be left with a working-but-outdated version. This is definitely a downgrade


Do you have anything that says that's specifically what happens? Cause their FAQ says that when your subscription expires, you can continue using the last version that was released when your sub expired.


Where did you read that? The closest I could find was "Does the new model demand that I have Internet access?" [1] in which it states that it requires an internet connection every 30 days to authenticate and if it cannot then it will close the application. I'm guessing that also means if it does auth but sees an expired license, it would also close the application.

[1] https://sales.jetbrains.com/hc/en-gb/articles/204344871-Does...


> Cause their FAQ says that when your subscription expires, you can continue using the last version that was released when your sub expired.

Would you mind mentioning the question in the FAQ which states this? Everything I've read so far (notable this question: https://i.imgur.com/u7Y7otq.png) suggests the software cannot be used when a subscription is not being actively paid for each month.

Cheers.


And he'd get to use the product indefinitely, without updates, for that initial $119.

Now, his software gets turned off.


and he could choose not to update in the future if he didn't want to

Yes, that's what I mean by downgrade. This choice was taken away from him.


I'd read it that I would lose my "update" model and I'd have to go back to paying the full outright price again if I decided to skip an update.


Resharper ultimate is $11.99 a month or $119 a year.


I switched from RubyMine to emacs and got a significant productivity boost. YMMV, but I don't think I'll ever use an IDE for a dynamic language again.


PHPstorm was excellent when I, a Ruby developer (among other languages), had to adopt a PHP codebase. RubyMine was less impressive, especially with all the enhancements available for Pry and IRB. RubyMine couldn't find method declarations or infer types the way PHPstorm could.

So, I stick with Vim for Ruby, but don't rule out IDEs entirely for other dynamic languages in a pinch.


I agree, it is cheaper but there are some of us that simply have no way to force, convince or otherwise cajole our employers to adopt a service license model. I have designers on staff using old Adobe products due to this same problem. JetBrains isn't going to magically convince management to open their wallets for monthly fee's. If this goes through, I'm boned. Stuck trying to make shitty IDE's work like jetBrains products. Not a happy day.


The problem with SAAS pricing for previously bought software is that the conversation changes from 'Pay us for this great bit of software, then pay us again when we make it even better', to 'Pay up or all your years of work goes away'.

It's a fundamentally different relationship.


Agreed. The incentive to make it better becomes less because users are on the auto-pay plan. Whereas they have to prove themselves worthy of the upgrade otherwise.


A typical move to subscription based pricing LOWERS costs to the consumer, but the company gets the benefit of more predictable recurring revenues. That makes the pricing JetBrains puts out a little bit of a head-scratcher.


Starting from zero, their pricing is lower over a set number of year. They got rid of the initial "hump" and in turn made the annual amount higher. I didn't look too closely but I guess the cost evens out over a 3-4 year subscription span. For a business this is actually going to simplify accounting I would think. It's no longer a cap-ex with a maintenance fee, it's just rental so all pre-tax.

My guess is that overall their spreadsheeting makes this even out based on how customers have been paying.

The fringe bits (loss of permanence, ability to install a home copy) will disproportionately hurt solo/small business folks and hobbyists. The very people that have been their champion getting their software into enterprise dev teams.

I don't understand why they don't go to the rental model with optional one-time permanent license add-on.

So like hypothetically 100$/year rental and a 100$ supplement for permanent license. Basically option into the current deal. They can even make the sum total greater then it used to be. Like 120$/year rental + 100$ permanent license supplement.


> Starting from zero, their pricing is lower over a set number of year.

Starting from zero the prices are the same or higher. The worst offender, Webstorm, from 49€ first year and 29€ next years to 99€/year from the start

PyCharm is 40€/year more expensive from the second year


[flagged]


I suspect your comment would get fewer downvotes and still be useful if you dropped the jab at the parent commenter's math abilities.


It wasn't meant as jab at his math skills, but our math skills. Companies offer predatory monthly rates and we gobble it up, much to my dismay.

Edit: my ISP, for instance, will happily charge me $7 a month for an $80 router that I won't upgrade for 3-5 years. Who does that?


> Who does that?

A company that knows that people will blindly say "Hey, if I only have to fork over $7 a month instead of finding $80 plus tax, plus gas, plus the inconvenience of going and finding a router myself, and configuring it so that my network works, seems like a good deal" and they purchase the rental - even though $420 for an $80 (plus tax and inconvenience) router is a terrible deal.

Then you get the types that have a box full of routers at home or know that if they purchase for $80, then in a year, it's paid for itself and everything else is gravy.


Everyone's just trying to get their nut.

I imagine they're stumbling thru this viable business model notion, just like everyone else.

Cut them some slack.

I frankly don't care about the price. Developers need to get paid. I hope they figure out something fair (reasonable) with modest profitability, so they can enjoy vacations and have hope of someday retiring.

If I ever stop renewing (or subscribing), I can just use the community version.


Contractors that work with different clients using different languages? You've never heard of someone that works with different languages at different times?

Huh.


Why not just use IDEA ultimate and install different plugins per language?


I tried, it's not the same. The dedicated tools are better.


Not to mention, I see less incentive now for Jetbrains to make the IntelliJ plugins on par with the standalone, language-specific IDEs.


Also, it doesn't support all the plugins for each language, only some languages.


@toyg (not sure why I can't reply to you so I'll reply to me instead) - really? I've never tried them. I thought Intellij was the same with the appropriate language plugin. Maybe I'll give some of them a go...


(aside: HN blocks replying to your replyer for a short while to discourage heated exchanges. If you wait a bit the reply button will show up.)


I dunno what it's like now, but there was a time when, among other things, IntelliJ could not open a project created in rubymine. They were providing ruby support as a plugin and it was considerably broken, for about six months.


> Their first response was that it's cheaper than before.

It is cheaper if you are using a number of their products. It's the same price for the individual products I'm currently using. Net for me is that it's cheaper.

> Which is fine, except I've never heard of a developer who would do that.

I don't code in Python or Ruby every day, but when I do, it's usually for a specific project, and having PyCharm or RubyMine at a low price point and in an environment that I'm familiar with is nice to have. I wouldn't want to buy the IDE outright, but the lower price point is more attractive.


I think JetBrains miscalculated just how much people like the current licensing model.

I liked their first model - I paid for it and just used it. The current model, with the yearly upgrade premium, I tolerated. I felt it was a scam (are they going to publish an update in the next year so I get my money's worth? Probably not) but I could deal with it.

This new model doesn't work for me at all. As someone who bought his own license, used it at work, and got 3 employers to switch to it -- this doesn't feel right. I am reminded of Altova. They turned their $120 XML editor into a $999 enterprise behemoth. I haven't recommended them in over 10 years.


I agree with all your points. I have used jetbrains products for 15 years so I feel sad that this is how they are going to lose me and other customers. I was hoping they would come with an IDE for golang and I would buy that as well. Now, this is a big disappointment.


So your license price jumps from $89 to $120/yr and now you're no longer a customer? Do you not think their tools probably make up for that $120/yr in terms of your productivity?

If you struggle with Netbeans or Eclipse for an hour or two with something IntelliJ does easily, you've already paid for your license.

I don't understand arguing about peanuts; pay it the trivial increase and get on with the show of making real money. No wonder why so many startups fail.


I think (for me anyway) the problem isn't the price at all. It's the fact that if you let your subscription lapse you CANNOT use the product.

In my case (small business) we have months of very low activity. Now if I let my subscription lapse then I lose access to the software and it becomes more expensive since I wouldn't have the existing customer discount anymore (presumably).

I would easily pay double what I'm paying now _but_ on the existing scheme where I can upgrade when I want to, not when I'm forced to.


You need to use their tools. Jetbrains needs to pay the bills.

Your profit margins prohibit you from purchasing new licenses at $120/yr (it's a business expense, so it's even cheaper).

Your business model seems more suspect than anything to do with Jetbrains.


pixard said:

> I would easily pay double what I'm paying now _but_ on the existing scheme where I can upgrade when I want to...

If he upgrades every other year, then JetBrains's revenue per year works out to be the exactly the same as in their subscription model. In the subscription model, if he has a down month around about the time when his JB subscription payment is due, he loses access to his tools. This could kill his business, which would -in turn- shut off the money faucet to JB.

> (it's a business expense, so it's even cheaper)

Does JetBrains have a business license that's cheaper than $120/year? If they don't, then $120/year is still $120/year, whether or not a business is spending the money.

> Your business model seems more suspect...

Do you run a business? Do you know anyone who does? There are good months and bad months; cash flow is almost never steady. Indeed, it is likely this very fact that is causing the JB people to switch to the subscription (AKA "Let's get a guaranteed revenue stream!") model of billing.


so don't fucking use it. if it's literally not valuable enough to justify 100/yr, just let it go and use eclipse or notepad or something.


Pixard said:

> I think (for me anyway) the problem isn't the price at all. It's the fact that if you let your subscription lapse you CANNOT use the product.

(emphasis mine)


So pay yearly and make sure at the annual accounting meeting to renew your Jetbrain subscriptions because they are the ultimate infrastructure for your company?


My comment was tailored to address killface's dramatic lack of understanding [0] of pixard's statement. :)

[0] Indeed, he appears to have failed to read and/or comprehend the first two sentences in pixard's comment.


I don't care about the difference between $89 and $120 in the cost of a tool.

I do care about the difference between license and have it to use indefinitely and continually having to pay to use the product.

Notice how your comparison isn't apples to apples, because the one price is in dollars and the other is in dollar years.


I want to upgrade when I want to. I don't want to be forced to upgrade just to continue using the product! This is main grouse.


> * I felt it was a scam (are they going to publish an update in the next year so I get my money's worth? Probably not) but I could deal with it.*

Surely under the current model you can just not pay for another year until they release an update you want access to?


.. but then you lose the 'renew' discount and have to cough up full price when the update eventually arrives.


So the complaint is that, because you choose not to regularly renew the software, you don't get the discount that comes with it? That sounds kind of entitled, honestly.


It goes against decades of tradition. In the past, the upgrade was offered at a discount to reward your customers for staying with you. It also reflected the lower acquisition cost for that release -- since you didn't have to spend any marketing dollars to find them.

Their policy was saying "We appreciate your loyalty, but only for the next year then you'll have to go back to paying full price." But the year didn't start on the renewal date, it was back-dated to the anniversary of the original purchase date. Which meant if you didn't renew on time, you weren't getting a full year .. maybe only 8 months. It was a money-grab, but one I could tolerate.


I made sense if you think about paying for updates in terms of paying for their work. If you wait 3 months and then get 12 months license for updates you effectively got 15 months for a price of 12. They may be hesitant to offer that to you on a discounted price. I think it makes perfect sense.


The 3 months were spent using the previous version, so you didn't get the benefit of the improvements in the upgrade. But this scheme means you paid for them anyway.

Anniversary date: March 1st Upgrade announced: June 1st You get around to purchasing the upgrade: September 1st You get to use the new version for 5 more months (until March 1st) before your upgrade premium expires.


You didn't "use" the new things but you get them now. They've spent 3 months developing stuff which you now want basically for free. Think about it as paying for work, it takes time to develop features, say 1 feature a week. You didn't pay for 3 months, they added 12 things. You now get them without paying if you were to get 12 months since renewal. It really is no wonder they don't want to offer that on a discount.


Your 1 year upgrade starts from when your last license ran, not from when you paid for the upgrade. So if your license ran out in January and you bought a 1 year upgrade next June. That upgrade would only last until next January, not next June.


No you can't. Under the new model if you stop paying, it stops working.


I said current model, not new model. (But other replies to me say that isn't the case with the current model either.)


I was with Adobe during their change (as a tech evangelist meeting a lot of users), and watched it play out from both directions. And setting aside questions of pricing, one thing people overlook is that a subscription plan is a much, much better way to make software than selling annual or biannual updates.

The problem is that for a mature product, yearly sales cycles create a toxic incentive to focus engineering time on flashy demo-friendly features, at the cost of spending cycles on performance, stability, workflow improvements that benefit power users but don't impress salespeople, and so on. It's a recipe for bloat - cutting out a flashy feature never helps sales, so they stick around even when they're not useful.

I don't know anything about JetBrains or their software, or whether the above is an issue for them, but FWIW I think most of the Adobe teams are making better tools since the change, and it's due to having the feature priorities in the right place.


> Yearly sales cycles create a toxic incentive to focus engineering time on flashy demo-friendly features

I understand that argument, but what incentive does DRM with a killswitch create for the software company, if its customers must pay in order to keep the product running at all? Might it not create different perverse incentives, for example trying to close the ecosystem in order to make a switch a painful experience?

Or in other words: What incentive to improve the software (other than the threat from competitors) does subscription DRM provide, if you can just collect the rent, because the cost of switching is too high anyway and the customers are at your mercy?


Very fair point, and believe me I heard it from a lot of users. My answer is (was), the pressure to improve has always been from competitors, and that doesn't change under a subscription model. I know people tend to see Photoshop as an endless monopoly, but actually tons of rivals pop up and get users in significant numbers (e.g. Sketch), and they do it by being lightweight and flexible. And if Photoshop just kept being huge and adding on ten more huge features per year it would inevitably become a relic, if not by losing old users then definitely by failing to attract new ones.

Not to dismiss your point though - it's absolutely possible that the company gets complacent and stops innovating and collects rent. I just don't think anything really stops people from ditching Adobe if that happens. In this sense I think people overestimate the tools' intrinsic value and underestimate the value of the updates each year. That is, I like Photoshop better than its competitors today, and I felt the same way three years ago, but between a three year-old version of PS and its competitors today I'd switch in a second, and I think many others would too. In other words, the only reason PS maintains its monopoly-like dominance is that it's kept innovating, and if one side of that equation changes the other will too.

With that said, playing devil's advocate against myself, one big argument against what I'm saying here is lock-in from file formats like PSD - if people subscribe and make PSD files, the risk of losing work if they switched tools removes some of the pressure on Adobe to innovate. At the time of the CC switch Adobe said they would come out with some way to make sure people don't get locked out of their files, but I don't know if anything happened with that or not. A lot of tools support PSD these days so maybe it's not a hot issue but I think it's worth keeping in mind.

Sorry to go to such length but I hope that answers your question.


What about pay for a product + 1 year of updates and then if you want it you can pay for another 1 year of updates? It seems it doesn't create the problem you mentioned because as people buy on different days there is no cut-off point you would be incentivized to wait with updates to.


What an incredible whinge and whine.

Why are people so resentful about paying money for their incredibly useful primarily development tool?

Often while I'm using PyCharm I'm awed by how powerful it is and amazed that JetBrains has the resources, time, brainpower and money to write it. And that's not worth a few bucks? Sheesh.

Seriously, it's a trivial amount of money and if you or your company can't afford it then you like this should go and use free alternatives.

Loving the tool enough to use it but hating on a company enough to declare it's lost all its customer loyalty makes my blood boil.

Also, how does this guy elevate himself to the all-knowing position to declare from his personal opinion how much customer loyalty JetBrains has actually lost?

I want the companies who make great software to make money and keep doing it.

This guy should just go use a different product that he doesn't have to pay for. It's not necessary to trash JetBrains on your way out the door.


Few, if any, people are complaining about paying money for the tool. I don't know where comments like this are coming from.

What I, and most, are complaining about is the fact that they are turning their offerings into "rental only" software (a disturbing trend in the industry).

I have no problems paying JetBrains, and I do, every year, even for duplicate product offerings whose functionality is included in the main IntelliJ product because I love them so much.

I have a problem with rental only software that will stop working the second I stop paying you. I will no longer be a JetBrains customer if they do not bring back a perpetual license offering, and I have told them so.

See my other comment [1] for why customers are allowed to complain.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10170759


This isn't about paying money (we'll pay the money), this is about whether the software will just curl up and suddenly die on you, while you're on the hook to meet a deadline where minutes count.


I really doubt that JetBrains will allow your IDE to just stop working without any advance warning.


They reserve the right to do just that. In the case of sudden, unexpected company collapse, they may have no choice but to kill all their software at once. That is the hazard.

Unless you have a rock-solid contract with stiff penalties, software rental is a highly risky proposition.


+1

I do not like the idea of paying a monthly fee BUT I do buy the license annually so its not a huge difference to me. If this keeps JetBrains in business its fine with me. This is such an insignificant cost for a tool that I use all day, every day.


Moving to a subscription model for 1 thing is okay, perhaps 2, or even 3. But with every company gradually moving to subscription models, it is emptying out our wallets every month and removing more and more of our income to maintain the status quo.

From my own perspective, and I know this doesn't apply to all, but I cannot imagine I'm the only person with this viewpoint, I'm sick of other developers saying things like: "You know what? For the amount developers earn, $X is a small price to pay." You're right, $X for a single piece of software is a small price. But when you add the cost of your MSDN license here, your JetBrains license there, your Xamarin university/license, O'Reilly Safari License, PluralSight license, Apple Developer License, the Mac required to compile/publish for iOS and countless other licenses, software and hardware purchases to do our jobs - all of which are gradually moving towards month-by-month subscription models with excessively large combined annual overheads, it cuts more and more into your budget... and not to forget that the income you make doesn't just pay for an ever revolving cycle of tools to maintain your competitiveness as these arguments seem to forget [unless you're still living in Mom's basement and all your income is expendable or can feed the endless software-as-a-service lifestyle]. It's also used to ensure that your kids get a good education so they can make their own valuable contributions to society; that you're able to live comfortably and not worry about where your next meal is coming from; that your family is safe and secure and well prepared for the unexpected; medical plans; retirement plans; mortgage; vehicle payments; the list goes on... all of which costs money - every month!

I'm growing tired of companies feeling like they can reach into my pocket month after month and take every spare penny for "services rendered." At what point will people turn around and say "Enough's enough! My money is mine!" I'm happy to buy products when they move me forward, but I hate paying monthly subscriptions on the off chance that you're going to provide an update that may [but probably won't] benefit me in the longer term.

As a company providing software, I'm not purchasing you as a service. I'm purchasing your product. When I work for a company that pays me every month, I'm selling myself to them as a service - to do their bidding and write the code they want. If I'm to pay for you as a service, then the money I'm paying you had better be providing what I need to do my job more effectively, just like if I pay a cleaner to come clean the house, I'm not paying for them to develop makeup products that benefit their other clients while I don't wear makeup. I want the option of buying the product that does help me do my job more effectively and then I'll hold on to the rest of my money and allocate it where that is the case.


So would you rather pay a one-off fee for a JetBrains product and have no maintenance and support for it?

And by that I mean not even access to their public forums and for their devs to stop posting on Stack Overflow. Because that's the reality for most one-off purchase products. You'll get minimal over-the-phone customer support if you're lucky.

Not sure why you see it as a product that doesn't fit a subscription model. These devs have to constantly put in a ton of work to support this kind of product.

And like other comments have pointed out, if you don't see the value, there ARE free alternatives. It's your call. Ultimately if JetBrains have in fact got this offering wrong then customers will say no and JetBrains will lose out.


I rarely go looking for customer support for anything except on Stack Overflow. 90% of the time, community driven forums are way more helpful for most products than the original company... most developers give of their own time there by donation, to give back to the rest of the community that feed that cycle. I like that I can give back there, just as I can receive help. If Jetbrains suddenly required that their developers boycott such forums, I would wager it would be a downward spiral for loyalty to them.

I'm not knocking Jetbrains here, so don't take this like a personal gripe at their company. I've been a faithful purchaser of Resharper for a number of years and will likely continue. I'm quite happy to pay for software, and I pay for thousands of dollars worth of software and licenses every year to do my job. Developers have families to feed. I know, I am one and I have one. But I don't expect to write a piece of software that makes your life easier and say - hey, by the way, you can have that software for $10 a month and when you stop paying me, it stops working.

I don't mind paying for a support contract if I feel I need one, but that should not be the default model for the software. I'd rather pay for the software outright and then if I feel I will need support, pay for a support contract too. But I don't want to be told "the only way to 'purchase' our software is via a perpetual rental agreement."... as someone said below somewhere - that's how poor people stay poor.

What is being sold here is effectively the same as a perpetual support contract that comes with some free software... which stops working if you stop paying for the support contract because you decide you no longer require support...


They had a model where I got some support for X months (12?) for the cost of the license. When that license ended, I got no more support, but the software kept working. If I don't need the support, and am happy with the version I have, why do I need to keep paying in perpetuity for new features and service I'll never use?

I'm fine if they want to introduce new licensing options, but pulling the old perpetual license model bothers me. Raise the perpetual price if you want to guide more people to monthly/annual, but let me keep a perpetual license that doesn't stop working when I quit paying.

The problem with JB not accommodating the sentiment isn't just "Jetbrains will lose out" - many current and future users will too.


The business plan that you or your company wrote probably includes "Pricing plan: subscription, revenue bazillions!"


If you don't like it, take your ball and go home.


Mature


I think if you cant pay for 20$ s a month for your fav tool that you use to earn money, maybe switching jobs might be a better option


> What an incredible whinge and whine.

What a bullshit way to start your own complaint. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people complaining about this.

> Why are people so resentful about paying money for their incredibly useful primarily development tool?

It's not about the money, it's about the principle. Poor people rent things. That's how they stay poor. How would you feel if you woke up one morning and couldn't go buy some eggs from the supermarket until you joined their club for 100$ a month? You'd go to another supermarket. What if you couldn't buy a car, only lease one?

> Loving the tool enough to use it but hating on a company enough to declare it's lost all its customer loyalty makes my blood boil.

Have you ever heard the saying "You have to love someone before you hate them?" Does that saying also make your blood boil?

> Also, how does this guy elevate himself to the all-knowing position to declare from his personal opinion how much customer loyalty JetBrains has actually lost?

Because he's talking about himself and his own loyalty to the company?

> I want the companies who make great software to make money and keep doing it.

OK. But if people disagree with the pricing model and it drives away customers, that's not going to work either and no amount of your own whining is going to stop that.

> This guy should just go use a different product that he doesn't have to pay for.

Yeah it's a good solution. I think that's what he said he'd do in the last paragraph. Many of the comments here and on his blog echoed the same thing saying that they'd use Eclipse or NetBeans instead.


> It's not about the money, it's about the principle. Poor people rent things. That's how they stay poor. How would you feel if you woke up one morning and couldn't go buy some eggs from the supermarket until you joined their club for 100$ a month? You'd go to another supermarket. What if you couldn't buy a car, only lease one?

Wow, you've just explained so well why I feel uneasy about all this switching to subscription payments for locally install-able software.

I mean, there isn't that much change, and it's even cheaper upfront, but... there's something about it. Not being able to own the stuff you're using every day (and depend on) is that it. It just kinda feels that you're owned instead.


> How would you feel if you woke up one morning and couldn't go buy some eggs from the supermarket until you joined their club for 100$ a month?

Sounds like the local co-op; turns out they sell better products and generally provide a better shopping experience...

>But if people disagree with the pricing model and it drives away customers

If you change a pricing model (and it's not cheaper) you'll get a ton of complaints no matter what you do. Their model will work fine.


I'm with you. It especially bugs the hell out of me to see this attitude coming from other software developers. I've never complained about having to pay for someone else's software, because I really hope other people will see fit to not complain and buy mine. This is our livelihood here. We can't all be independently wealthy open-source developers.


Read the cogent comments more closely. Folks aren't concerned about the cost of the software. They're concerned about the built-in killswitch. Most folks in the thread will pay 2->4x more than they are paying now for a perpetual license to a particular version of the software. They're also more than happy to pay that same amount for future versions of the software, but on a schedule that they dictate.

If you're considering making a tool a critical part of how you do business, you need to be able to rely on it forever.

If you rent that tool -and don't have a rock-solid contract with stiff penalties- the lessor may chose to suddenly discontinue, or dramatically raise the price of that tool. Or their company may suddenly go under, taking access to all of your rented software with it. In any of those situations, you'll be left scrambling to find a replacement for something that once was a critical part of your business.


I do too, but many of us hate the subscription model. To go from having a certain level of autonomy to feeling like little more than a peasant in JetBrain's little software fiefdom...

That is the problem with these models. Perpetual licensing grants the user independence... subscription licensing holds your tools hostage unless you pay up. $25 for adobe here, $20 for jetbrains there, pretty soon $20 for windows, $20 for office, $20 here $20 there $20 everywhere... it adds up. Maybe all of these companies will stay in business... if the software was sufficiently popular. If not, then POOF

It didn't used to be that way. It doesn't have to be this way. Some of us prefer to pay once.

That said, JetBrain's previous model was pretty shitty too... if you wanted to sit out a couple months and wait for the next version before renewing your license, those fuckers would backdate your purchase so it began on the last day of your previous license. Jerks...


Frankly, I support this.

We need to pay more for software, not less. The Freemium model is killing products because you can't make any money from writing programs anymore unless you get a huge homerun. People only want to pay $0.99 for a program that took months of man-hours to write. $5.99? Fuck it, that's too expensive!

IntelliJ is magic to me. It's a wonderful piece of software, and I generally do not like Java. But it has transformed the entire experience.

Companies like JetBrains needs to be incentivized to write this kind of software, and innovate on it. They're not going to if they have leeches that use the free version in perpetuity. And if they change to a subscription model, then good for them.

If you use IntelliJ in a professional context, and you make a decent wage, a large part of it is because of IntelliJ, so you should pay up. $200/year is nothing compared to other things people spend money on like Starbucks, DirecTV, gas, etc.


This. This whole thread is people saying how great IntelliJ is, but damn them for changing their prices. I can't believe how short sighted people can be when confronted with even the smallest change. Jetbrains needs to make money both to stay in business and to continue to innovate with their products, that is a fact. Prices on things go up over time, why should software be excempt? Would it be better if they put in ads and sold your personal data to pay for it? With constant uproar or using the consumer as the product you would think that folks would relish supporting a software company with their dollars instead.

Besides, this pales in comparison to a yearly MSDN license and that new fancy macbook every couple years, or even that morning starbucks fix.


Most wouldn't mind a price hike. But the outlook that in a few years the tool I rely on for my projects will not work anymore is unacceptable for most developers.


> the tool I rely on

Then don't stop paying for it.

Meanwhile, its not like they are holding your data hostage. Apart from your customized settings in their IDE you can always access your project files with another IDE or editor.


> Then don't stop paying for it.

If a tool is good, I will happily pay a large one-time fee for it.

Unless there is literally no other choice, I -personally- will not rely on a tool that may cost me an unbounded amount of money in the future. In a subscription model, four things are pretty much always true:

1) When you stop paying your recurring fee, you lose access to your tools.

2) The rate you pay is subject to change at any time.

3) If the company decides to stop offering a given tool, you lose access to it, regardless of how much you relied on it and how unsuitable any replacement tooling is.

4) If the company folds, you've a 50/50 chance of losing legal access to the tools that you "paid for" forever.

I understand that a constant, guaranteed revenue stream makes a company's financial planning easier. Unless I have a contract that makes rock-solid guarantees and imposes penalties that far more than cover my losses for breaking them, neither paying in advance for software upgrades, nor renting tools that will become a vital part of my projects makes any sense at all.


Is it written in stone, that Jetbrains and their tools will still exist in a few years? And that the then current version will be able to open my ancient project files?


Not really, but our benevolent God has ordained that, especially if it becomes abandonware, versions without license check will be available on plenty of internet sites.


> The Freemium model is killing products because you can't make any money from writing programs anymore unless you get a huge homerun.

This isn't Freemium. This is the equivalent of Buy-To-Play. You are paying for the product. Paying quote a lot, in fact.

And unlike an MMO, there's no servers to run, just possible bugfix updates.


If software developers expect to be paid well for their talents, the cost of software has to increase.

And it's not just bugfix updates, it's new features and innovations.


But previous model catered for that: you buy a tool and x months of developers' work. If you want to buy more work (updates) you pay again. The incentives are nicely aligned here. With the rental model they aren't because you will have to pay for 20 years even if they stop developing the software. This trend is disturbing. It really is similar to not being able to buy an apartment, a car or a kitchen knife.

With all the goods I want to pay you for your service/time/offering and then maybe pay again if I like what you provide and want more of it. I don't want a financial relationship with you when just because I bought something you made I need to keep paying for it even though you don't need to work on it anymore.

What's next? Laptop as a service where you get upgrades every year but if you don't pay up they take it away from you?


You are confusing an subscription-based IDE with software-as-a-service.

Do you even use IntelliJ? You don't lose anything except access to the IDE. You can always switch to Eclipse if you don't want to pay. You lose NOTHING except the convenience and power of IntellJ, which is why you pay for them.


If the loss of access to IntelliJ is not a large one, then why would one ever pay to use it? :)

I, and many others in this thread, are happy to pay for a perpetual license to a particular version of software. We are also happy to pay for future versions of that software, if future versions are even vaguely worth paying for. We are not happy with making rented software that contains a built-in killswitch a critical part of how we get our work done. [0]

[0] kileywm found some JetBrains FAQ answers that indicate that if your license cannot be verified for 30 days, or your license payment is 30 days overdue, JetBrains's software will refuse to function: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10171998


IDE's have their own learning curve. We invest time in learning IDE software in order to be more productive. When we lose access to IntelliJ the knowledge we gained is worth significantly less than it was and now we have to go and spend time learning another IDE. We are also now less productive so we spend more time working to make up the difference. Time is money.


Renting computers has always been pretty popular at the enterprise level. I believe there are a few steps trying to bring that model into the consumer market.


If they expect to paid well; they should make software worth buying and price it properly. In the subscription model, they're still (likely) under-pricing but now they don't have to keep with features and innovations -- because if they do nothing, and you don't pay, you lose access to everything you had before.


>they should make software worth buying and price it properly

They do make software worth buying, and I have already stated that I believe it is priced properly NOW.

Wrong. You don't lose access to your files, your code, your data. You only lose access to the IDE. If they stop innovating, the great thing about this model is that you can leave immediately to another competitor that likely is copying all their feature.


How is this a defense of this model from the customers perspective? In the old pricing model, if they stop innovating I can just stop paying for it and stay with the version I have. This is good for me. And I have actually done this -- I own PHPStorm and while I've bought a yearly upgrades in the past this last year I did not. I'm not doing as much PHP work and most of my PHP work is legacy. Thankfully I own PHPStorm instead of renting it for almost the same price.

With this new model, I wouldn't be happily moving to another competitor, I'd be forced into it immediately. I would paying nearly the same amount but instead I don't own anything.


Imagine this scenario :

Big company sees Jetbrains income / username; buys Jetbrains. Decides to cut costs, lets a few devs go. Income doesn't change but profit rises. Let a few more devs go. Switch to minimum viable development model. Customers are locked in to access their work, don't really care about updates because they already like the product. Gradually customers drift away. Not enough revenue for minimum viable product, close it down. All customers can't access files "too bad".


You hit the nail on the head. Yes it is a price hike.. At the amount of money software developers make annually, $240 annually is peanuts. Especially since it will be pretax for the company (or the self employed individual). Jet brains offers free community editions and hasn't indicated that it will stop doing so. Use that if you cannot afford the $240. Or just get the one product you are interested in for half the price. Think of the productivity improvement you get and decide if it justifies the price.

I think this is a tremendous deal for polyglot or multi platform developers and a mild price hike for specialist programmers. If you think the new price isn't worth the software, don't get it. I think it is.. in fact I think the kitchen sink license is worth a lot more than the $240 they are charging frankly.


Programming gets easier and more accessible every year. Here's some other industries that wished their skills were worth more even as they became generic or commoditized:

- scribes

- blacksmiths

- http://www.sfgate.com/jobs/slideshow/14-jobs-that-don-t-exis...


I would like to encourage everybody that does not like the new licensing scheme of JetBrains to band together and produce either an open source product that is as polished so it can be used for free or, alternatively to take this apparently huge business opportunity and run with it.

I never quite understood what makes people that make 100's of thousands of dollars per year so cheap that they would balk at paying a few hundred $ for their main tool of choice.

Looking at a moderately tooled up wood or metalworking shop you'd be looking at a very large multiple for the main tools + accessories without a hope to make the kind of money we can make in software.


Many people are quite happy to pay for their tools, what they do not want is to be forced into a situation when it is pay for the tools this month or lose access to them.

Jetbrains could have avoided all this negative backslash by keeping the current licencing scheme in place and adding the subscription service as an option.

Again, think of it like buying a DVD over renting it on Netflix, most likely Netflix would be the cheaper option as with the exception of children's movies most movies/shows are not watched more than twice/thrice.

However we want to feel the ownership of something.

We do not want to be told that we must pay $5 for this exquisite hammer this month or be forced to go back to a 3 year old hammer.


To continue the analogy, most woodworker's tools are 1) well over three years old, and 2) have consumable components which cost well over Jetbrain's highest subscription cost every year.

Not to mention, once purchased, a woodworker won't get upgrades to their tools, or have problems with them fixed as part of their ongoing cost.

Consider it a contribution to a team whose tools you obviously enjoy, to ensure both that updates keep coming and you're not stuck with a three year old tool because Jetbrains couldn't afford to stay in business.


If the problem is low revenue, they should just raise prices and be honest about it.

I mean, if you're already paying £100 for an IDE despite the wealth of free alternatives, you do it for a reason: because it's worth it. There might be a price point where it stops being worth it, but it's likely not £120 or even £200. You're already competing with free, so price is likely not much of a differentiator already.

Instead, they try to achieve a relatively modest increase by shoving a forced and fairly unjustified SaaS model down their existing customers' throats. That leaves a bad taste, so to speak. Instead of driving sales with innovation, they now drive it with fear (your tool will stop working! pay now!).


> they try to achieve a relatively modest increase

Looking at their (current) pricing model for this, it seems like a drive for more predictable income, instead of additional profit. The ability to depend on getting X dollars per month makes it a lot easier to hire employees on, and justify working on the products.

And for many folks, Jetbrains will be getting less money out of them, since they're offering quite a deal for anyone who works with more than one of the products.

> fairly unjustified SaaS model

Except that they are providing constant, incremental upgrades to their tools as part of the model. That alone acts as fairly strong justification for a subscription model.

> Instead of driving sales with innovation, they now drive it with fear

Anybody who fears being unable to pay a $20 monthly bill is very unlikely to have paid $200 up front for the tool in the first place. Double that for any company who fears this new cost; they're already ponying up over ten grand per employee, another $20 isn't going bankrupt them.

To go back to the woodworker analogy - the woodworker who can't afford to replace the worn blade in their bandsaw has bigger problems than the monthly cost of consumables.


Anybody who fears being unable to pay a $20 monthly bill is very unlikely to have paid $200 up front for the tool in the first place.

I avoid subscription software not because of the price, but because if I stop paying or the company goes out of business the software stops working. Say I completely change industries, then ten years later I want to go back and look at my old projects. If I was using a subscription (IDE|audio editor|DAW|video editor), I won't be able to preserve my historic work.


For some proprietary formats (such as Microsoft Word, PDFs, or photoshop PSD files), this is absolutely the case. However, when it comes to code, the format is _unicode text_. There's very little danger of losing your code to the sands of time because a company whose product you used to write that _unicode text_ went out of business.

Of course, businesses are realizing danger and are publishing specs to their proprietary file formats as well, so even in 50 years someone can re-create a document which would have previously been lost. For example, https://www.adobe.com/devnet-apps/photoshop/fileformatashtml...


An IDE is not just a text editor. There is a nontrivial amount of configuration that goes in a build system, and the IDE takes care of some of it. Having to ditch the IDE often means having to manually reconfigure a good chunk of the build system, as well as tracking down the exact version of build tools the IDE was shipping with in a particular release.

And this just for IDEs. Intellij also ship a lot of tools (youtrack etc) which may or may not be replaceable without significant data loss.


Note that YouTrack and other tools are not moving to subscription licensing, only the IDEs are.

Pretty much everyone has their project set up to be able to build via an external tool for CI anyway. I'm really not seeing the lock-in argument here, except that moving back to Eclipse would be painful for a lot of people. But I don't see why you would go through that pain now if you're currently happy with what you get from JetBrains for the money that you're paying.


Also, my hammer won't phone home to Lowes every month to make sure I have a valid subscription to hit things with it.


Your John Deere tractor will...

The world is changing, for better or ill. And we're at the forefront of what's driving those changes.


> Jetbrains could have avoided all this negative backslash by keeping the current licencing scheme in place and adding the subscription service as an option.

Thats what Visual Paradigm did with their Visual UML product.


>I never quite understood what makes people that make 100's of thousands of dollars per year so cheap that they would balk at paying a few hundred $ for their main tool of choice.

You make an assumption that we developers make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. That may be true in some places and for some fortunate people but it's not true everywhere.

Besides, the main complaint I see here is that the subscription model makes all your code assets hostage to JetBrains' fortunes, since the moment they go out of existence all the software you depend on stops working. People are not balking at the thought of paying a few hundred dollars for a tool - they are, in fact, asking for the opportunity to do just that.


I think it's the idea that their favorite lathe maker no longer lets them buy a lathe., only rent. If you stop paying for your lathe, someone comes into your shop and disables it.


They would tend to own a lot of these tools. As in their spanner or their CNC mill does not phone home and then stop working if they fail to keep paying the monthly rent on it.


It would be possible for people to fork the community edition (https://github.com/JetBrains/intellij-community) and try and rebuild the most popular ultimate features.


How would you feel if your favorite machine tool manufactures decided that they would no longer sell you machine tools - only rent them?

How about if cars could no longer be owned, just leased?

This is why people are upset, not because they begrudge tool vendors getting paid.


They've posted a response on their blog:

"We announced a new subscription licensing model and JetBrains Toolbox yesterday. We want you to rest assured that we are listening. Your comments, questions and concerns are not falling on deaf ears.

We will act on this feedback."

http://blog.jetbrains.com/blog/2015/09/04/we-are-listening/


I really hope they do act, I love their products but this new subscription model annoys me.


Thing is - their current model was sort of a dumb semi-forced yearly upgrade anyways. "Oh WebStorm 8 is out already, didn't we just buy 7?" etc.


True, and I failed to explain myself properly, I have no issues with the price, only with the fact that if I stop paying I can no longer use the product, not even in the version it was when I stopped paying, but since they say that are listening to the feedback maybe there will be some compromise on that.


The problem I have with subscription model for my tools is this: It removes the option for me to decide to not upgrade because the improvements are not worth the cost.

Note that I have been upgrading my license most every year, but chances are I'll just make do with what I have next time around.

If the current pricing model isn't viable for them, I'm sorry, but it is not my problem. It's already the most I pay for any tool I use, and I have found it worth it so far, but coercion into a subscription model just doesn't work for me.

Not a great move by JetBrains.


> The problem I have with subscription model for my tools is this: It removes the option for me to decide to not upgrade because the improvements are not worth the cost.

That's fair. But at the same time, that presents a problem they mentioned. In order to get those sales, they had to worry about big features that would get people to buy. Bug fixes and performance improvements are things people want, but it doesn't make people buy. So you are stuck: you want to make a solid product, but bug fixes don't make sales. So where do you put the effort?

> If the current pricing model isn't viable for them, I'm sorry, but it is not my problem.

You say that, and I know what you mean, but it is your problem in the sense that any software you pay for, you've invested time and workflow into. Moving off IntelliJ products isn't easy unless you haven't been fully utilizing their tools (at least, I can't imagine easily moving off). I'm generally wary of paying for products that I'll rely on because of reasons like this.

For myself, I'm fine with the change because the value they provide is substantially higher than what they charge, and frankly, the subscription model (which again, amounts to the same price I'm paying yearly now) hopefully means less hassle when actually renewing my license.


> bug fixes don't make sales.

Has anybody ever tested that hypothesis?


Haha, fair point. But anecdotally, the comments I've always seen regarding upgrades ask about features. Even here in these threads.

Would be difficult to test this theory though. I've never seen software that doesn't include some level of new features in big releases. Could you convince people to pay for a normal upgrade that didn't include any new features? I seriously doubt it.


> It removes the option for me to decide to not upgrade because the improvements are not worth the cost.

The blog post stated this as a reason. They want to focus on quality instead of features to sell upgrade licenses. I was a bit put off that statement though since I expect bug fixes as part of my original purchase price.


Yeah, that's bullshit. I'd gladly pay for a maintenance release with only bug fixes considering the quality of the latest versions has tanked. I've already done it for the last two version of PHPStorm (each which has been more buggy than the previous with no great new features).


> I was a bit put off that statement though since I expect bug fixes as part of my original purchase price.

You should expect that. But when it comes time to purchase the upgrade, would you do it ONLY for future bugfixes? Or for new features?

Most people would upgrade only if there were new features, because otherwise they'll just use their older version with whatever bugs it has that might not even effect them. JetBrains is a business after all...


I see a lot of whining in this thread. If you think that an increase of $100/year in the price of a tool that you use every day, for, say, at least 5 hours daily as part of your job as software developer as a meaningful price increase, than the cost of your IDE is not close to being your biggest problem.

Even taxi drivers invest more money than software developers in the tools that they use every day, and software developers make quite a bit more money than taxi drivers.


The price is not the problem. I simply do not want to rent the tools I use. I want to buy them.


So if instead of $100/yr they had raised the price to $500 but you "own" the software, you would have been okay with that?


$100-$500 is a bit much, but I'd have been happy with some increase (10%? 15%?).

A modest increase, with a discount for moving to a subscription model (like they're trying to do) would have appealed to all camps, imo. Professionals recognize these are good tools, and want to support them, but not necessarily in a 'one size fits all' SaaS model.

Instead of $199 intellij ultimate license, saying "Buy a perpetual license for $229, or a SaaS model for $149/year"... I would probably still opt for perpetual (at least some of their products), but having the option is important, imo.


yes.


It's absolutely about the price. If I told you you need to rent them, but the price for renting for the next 15 years is negligible, I don't think you'd have a problem with renting them. Now our only disagreement is on what constitutes "negligible".


No it isn't. I would pay twice as much as I did for PyCharm, but I want software that I can control which doesn't phone home to the mothership to see if I have the privilege of being able to use it for that month.

I don't want to open the travel laptop I keep stored for when I'm away from home in an airplane or the middle of nowhere and be interrupted because I can't contact a licensing server or whatever such bullshit.

If they want to raise prices, that's fine. But renting tools that are not hosted on the web, for myself and lot of other people, is just a big no-no.


You're complaining about bugs you haven't encountered yet. If the software simply defaulted to working when it couldn't contact a licensing server, would that resolve things?


That would be a pretty weak DRM implementation, and unlikely to be used in the real world.

(Or... How many people pay for WinRAR?)


Licensing servers are not DRM.

Having the tool ping a server every week doesn't make the tool any harder to crack, and cracked versions obviously don't ping the server, so there's no reason whatever to be draconian about what happens when the check doesn't go through.

At least that's the approach they took at Adobe. IIRC the tool worked normally for up to a month without pinging the server, and after that showed warnings but kept working for a while. The times may have changed but idea was to err as far as possible on the side of lenience, because anyone using a version that pings the server is by definition a paying customer and not a pirate.


I take your point regarding phoning home. I also think that's a problem.

But really, you can't blame software providers. In the old days they'd all do the one-off purchasing model, and then they would all starve to death because people don't want to pay for software. So it's no wonder they're going for a model which is actually proven to work, which is a subscription.


Why not? I have paid consistenly for yearly upgrades, and I'm sure a lot of people can too.

I want shit that works, unconditionally. If JetBrains can't give me that, I'll start looking elsewhere.


No it is not about the price, it is about my dev tools needing to call the mother ship every month to make sure I am still a valid user.

Just keep the option for a perpetual license thanks. Even if it means increasing the cost, I am fine with that. I just don't want to rent my tools as a professional.


Besides calling home, what motivation do they have to improve their tools under the subscription model? Upgrades have to be appealing enough to bother paying – built-in motivation to produce a superior product.

With subscriptions, they don't have to improve the software; it's guaranteed revenue as long as one wants to use the tool. Eventually a competitor might step in and create something better, but until then you're stuck paying whether or not the software is improving.


A taxi driver will buy a nice pair of comfortable shoes and then keep them forever. The seller will not come around every month asking for money and threatening to take back his shoes if he doesn't cough up. That's what a different type of "business" does.


A taxi driver will need their car fixed periodically at their dealership. If they don't pay up, no car.


You realize the norm is that the taxi company owns the car right. Drivers rent it


Just like my computer needs upgrades and fixes as well :)


Except a small fixup on a car can cost about as much as an entire computer.


Seriously, someone on HN equating SAAS to extortion...

Much like the OP talking of not being able to do development if your employer fails to approve the payment in time. Resharper is nice and all but you can actually write C# without it. (I know PyCharm etc might be harder but the article was about Resharper).


> someone on HN equating SAAS to extortion

I'm getting a bit of an extremist regarding SaaS, I'm happy to admit it. It's just that, the more it gets shoved in all sorts of businesses it doesn't really belong, the more I realize is just a form of very modern rent-seeking.

When a product-making business moves to a forced SaaS model, it's basically admitting defeat: it says the market does not value their work enough to profit from innovation alone, so from now on it will extract rent from established customers. That is depressing and exploitative.

I'm happy to have the option to turn my product-buying into a recurring event; but at the end of the day, in most cases I want to buy products, not to subscribe to a book-buying club. This because products change, in some cases for the worse. PyCharm in a few years might drop support for Python 2 (or something equivalent); why should I not be able to run an old installer I paid for whenever I need to work with Python 2 ?

I fear sooner or later somebody will file a class-action suit, and a lot of people will be sorry.


Stuff like this and Adobe's efforts aren't really Software as a Service - at the most it's just Software License as a Service. You still download, install and run it on your own hardware.

The value of actual SaaS is that the expensive management of the software has been taken off you hands.


Indeed. A better term would be DaaS, "development as a service": you stop paying, they stop developing the tool for you. That would still imply that you can keep the software as-is in perpetuity if you stop paying though; otherwise it's basically ransomware.


I'm pretty sure cool-RR is referring to the fact that most taxi drivers lease their cabs from the cab company, not the pair of comfortable shoes they invest in.


Its not the price, it is that if I write some software in an IDE, I want the capability to push a bug fix out two years later without having to "subscribe" again. This will just further contribute to bitrot.

>taxi drivers invest more money than software developers

Citation needed.

>software developers make quite a bit more money than taxi drivers.

You are assuming that everyone who develops software is employed as a software developer. There is fine work done by hobbyists and independents.


>> taxi drivers invest more money than software developers

> Citation needed.

Pretty sure that for the price of a car, including maintenance, you could pay for a nice workstation and multiple monitors with lots of "expensive" software on a subscription model.

> You are assuming that everyone who develops software is employed as a software developer. There is fine work done by hobbyists and independents.

If you're developing open-source software, you can probably get a free license for many IDEs. If you're both a hobbyist, don't want to release your software as open-source, and expect to be given top-rate tools for a cheap price...


>Pretty sure that for the price of a car, including maintenance, you could pay for a nice workstation and multiple monitors with lots of "expensive" software on a subscription model.

Most taxi drivers don't own their own car. The person that owns the car and own the medallion taxes the driver, typically but not always, a percentage of the drivers income[0].

[0]: http://work.chron.com/much-fare-taxi-drivers-keep-22871.html


An increase of $120 is a 100% increase in what we were already paying. Perhaps $120 wasn't reasonable... and given the amount of functionality it adds to Visual Studio that it now seems like I can't live without, perhaps that's a fair assumption, but a 100% increase in cost with such little warning... that's not cool at all!


I think the critics are missing one huge benefit: Most of their licenses are bought by companies. A company that buys a perpetual license now has no reason to upgrade unless the developers complain and prod; a company that buys a SaaS subscription enables its devs to upgrade to the newest versions as quickly as they want.

For most of JetBrains actual corporate users, the upshot of this is that they'll never need to bug their managers to buy the new version, or suffer on years-old versions because of corporate inertia. That's a big win.


I think it depends on the company.

For a larger corporation where the act of managing pools of licenses is a significant expense and literally everything the business does is managed in terms of contracts that must be maintained via regular payments, this makes a whole lot of sense. Even if the licensing model costs a bit more on paper, it's probably still cheaper to them because of saving the cost of having someone spend time physically managing all those individual licenses every time someone switches projects or enters or leaves the company.

For a smaller company or indie shop I'm not sure it's the same story. The calculus above depends on economies of scale to work out.


As an owner of a company, business continuity-destroying dependencies on SaaS is the opposite of a big win.


Nope, we just had to shut down our corporate evaluation of phpstorm because our org does not allow us to purchase locked in products with shut off mechanisms.


That place actually sound like a nice place to work :) Im used to getting: "We need a 5 figure support contract from one of these 5 vendors".


The most developers will never need to bug their managers because a subscription based solution is a no go for the financial department anyway. Corporations do like getting blackmailed as much as a indie developer.


Most of the large organizations I've dealt with are fine with this because they like having someone to call for problems. “subscription” is the same as “support contract” for the accountants and that's something they're very used to: it converts an unknown risk of an expensive outage into a predictable annual expense.


This is also known as having a "Throat to Choke" in IT circles.


That's not necessarily the case. Corporations also love pre-tax operating expenses much more than depreciating capital expenditure. A lot of "cloud business" is moved by this simple accounting reality, rather than any technical benefit: renting AWS time might cost more than buying a server, but because the server is depreciating cap-ex, for your CFO it's actually the cheaper option.

Miracles of finance, eh.


Miracles of tax distortion, you mean.


I always hoped that one of these let's force everyone into software subscriptions-actions would become such an embarrassment that companies will think twice about doing this.

Given how much I like IntelliJ (and liked JetBrains until they pulled this off), I'd be a bit sad if they would be that example.

I am still hoping for a quick follow-up announcement that they have listened to their customers and decided to keep the old licensing model as-is. If not, I cannot trust them anymore. How do I know that they won't change the rules of the game again with just two month's notice?

(Note: I am not principally against subscriptions, though I do think the model puts customers in a weaker position. Just offer people an alternative, or give them plenty of heads-up time.)


I'd point out that "software subscriptions" and "software keeps working even if you don't pay" can both be in place.

For something like this, it's not a half-bad business relationship; the incentives are well aligned for everybody.

For something as fundamental as build software, I'd be nervous about committing to anything where whether I can use the software I already have in two years is in somebody else's hands. I really want to be able to squirrel away complete build environments and know I can build the thing I sold two years ago again if I have to release a "my business may die if I don't" update. Remember, in two years, the "somebody else" may not exist to give me permission. Then what?

The incentives here aren't so good if access to the software is actively being removed for non-payment... the vendor is extracting small values from their customers by forcing their customers to take hidden, but actually quite staggeringly enormous, business risks.


Polishing and bug fixes cost money, but nobody wants to pay for that. People only want to pay for new shiny features.

If IntelliJ doesn't get money because developers think "old version is good enough for me", then there is no money for bug fixing and for keeping the product alive. It would end up as abandonware like most apps on the iPhone App Store.

I'd guess the IDE have now reached this "fully featured" milestone where most developers don't care to upgrade. So IntelliJ has to switch to a subscription model to survive.

So we users have the choice between paying a subscription or having the IDE end up as unmaintained software due to lack of funds.

IntelliJ can't put out a new paid "version 15" which has bug-fixes only. People would be unhappy about that too.

I feel that the core IDE has degraded in quality over the past years because the releases were feature-driven, and I'd be happy to see IntelliJ refocus on quality instead of quantity.


"Polishing and bug fixes cost money" and should be factored into cost of development and price of the product...


> I'd guess the IDE have now reached this "fully featured" milestone where most developers don't care to upgrade. So IntelliJ has to switch to a subscription model to survive.

Sorry but this doesn't make any sense to me and I doubt IntelliJ's sales are putting the company in any danger.

Even if they couldn't come up with new features, the programming languages and frameworks keep evolving and the tooling needs to catch up with that. But I can come up with a hundred things to improve from the top of my head, so I'm sure they can too.


Half the reason I haven't updated is that JetBrains hasn't been polishing. I'd pay for that, happily, but bugs sit unfixed for years while JetBrains rolls out entirely new (and similarly buggy) IDEs.


I wonder if that's part of the reason to move to subscription? To improve funding for that area?

If you operate on perpetual licenses you have to support that software and find a way to get people to purchase again - via new features etc etc


If you operate on subscription licenses you don't have to do anything at all. There's no need to improve the software in less tangible ways or provide new features since people will have pay for what they current have regardless.

This is a great model for Jetbrains but it's a poor model for consumers.


> Polishing and bug fixes cost money, but nobody wants to pay for that.

You pay for that when you buy the product - it comes with a year of updates.


I want more than a year because:

1) New OS releases might require fixes to IDEA's embedded JVM.

2) There's still a lot of bugs left after the first year.

The ONLY reason that I have bought the past 2 updates is to get bugs fixed, but so far it has been for the worse.

A company can't live forever on one-time payments. It needs a continuing income, otherwise the most sensible business decision is to close shop.


This was a solved problem: simply buy another Jetbrains 'upgrade' and you get fixes (or upgrades) for the following year. Subscriptions should be entirely optional.


> A company can't live forever on one-time payments.

Which is why they've been charging for updates outside the year. You yourself provided them two recurring payments with no need for a subscription model to prompt it.


"I feel that the core IDE has degraded in quality over the past years because the releases were feature-driven, and I'd be happy to see IntelliJ refocus on quality instead of quantity."

I couldn't agree more. The latest versions have a ton of bugs that were not present before. Some of the IDEs are totally unusable for certain tasks like debugging. I don't think they will focus on fixing bugs and they haven't introduced any great features, IMO, in years.


This isn't even Software-as-a-Service. Most companies that offer SaaS are HOSTING the software and thus incurring ongoing monthly costs. The Service part is that the purchaser doesn't have to install the software on their own machines, pay for nor update servers, etc. Selling rights to use [but not own] software on a monthly basis should be called RtpS - Rent-to-pwned-Software (cause you're pwned, you'll never own it)


JetBrains produces a continuous stream of improvements to all of their tools, previously they would have to artificially hold some of the bigger changes back to justify the next big yearly version number increase. With subscriptions, this is no longer necessary, everyone can have the latest and greatest right away.

And I do hope the next logical step is to offer an optional fully hosted service that has feature parity with something like WebStorm. There's cloud IDEs out there, but they're lacking when compared to JetBrain's tools.


Yeah, but the "right" way to do it is to disable updates on license expiration, not just turn off a product you might have paid for since 2010.

Maybe the best thing to do would be an initial payment worth, say, 6 months, followed by monthly renewals; if the renewal does not go through, updates stop. This would be closer to the current model, but would still switch most revenue (renewals) to the SaaS model.


+1

I'm happy enough to pay a subscription for intellij since the price seems about the same (oh actually they're putting it up by £20 or £30 per year after the first year). I'd rather get frequent updates, but since I've already bought it outright twice (upgrading when I feel I need to) it seems a bit lame to just pull the plug should you ever take a break.


Some of the comments propose granting a perpetual license after 1 year of subscription. I would go for that.


I want to agree but the problem with that on this is that it can be gamed by buying one month, using that until a feature entices you, and then buying another month.


At least you'll have paid for 6 months right away; and if you lapse, when you go to renew you pay for another 6 months upfront.

If you're going to all this trouble just to skimp £100 per year on your main development tool you're probably the type of customer who will simply not buy into a SaaS model anyway, so there is no point in chasing your pennies.

You could unofficially make the "skimping" into the reduced price option, removing the current "personal" licenses and removing complexity. Cheap "Personals" will pay a 6-months fee once a year or less, losing updates, and "Companies" will happily pay full whack (because they value predictability and opex vs capex) for the full monty. Win-win, and nobody gets hurt in the feelings.


Which can be anti-gamed by charging $50 for new installs then $10/mo for each consecutive monthly renewal


Agree


"previously they would have to artificially hold some of the bigger changes back to justify the next big yearly version number increase"

I get that. Perhaps they should or could have just sold the current latest version as is for a bit less and then whenever the next big release comes out offer a prorated upgrade amount to those that feel the new features are worth the additional upgrade amount. Their model, withholding features so they could package them into a huge update, was hurting themselves and their customers.

What's to say they don't start pulling IntelliJ with other/more products? That is, to stop or slow down development/improvements and now milk a cash cow?

Clarification: They could have sold a working perpetual license without the 1 year of upgrades. When they have an upgrade they have an prorated upgrade path/cost based on when you purchased your current license/product.


Some SaaS "hostings" are paper-thin, like Adobe or Steam. They are glorified FTP sites.


Ha, yes. As a daily user of Creative Suite, the 'cloud' benefits are fairly feeble.

The file hosting is handy, but we already use Dropbox and Google Drive. The other features seem like they could have been incorporated into the desktop apps but were pulled into the cloud to make it appear more worthwhile.

I can see how moving shrink-wrap software to a subscription can be good for the company – reliable income streams, no longer having to worry about headline features to get people to buy the next version – but (especially in Adobe's case) it's hard to see it as anything but a cynical attempt to milk customers for every last drop before the whole thing crumbles.


Former Adobe evangelist here. In my opinion, what you said about headline features is the crux of the matter. Under the subscription model engineering's only job is to make the user happy, so they can focus on performance or stability when needed, but when you sell a new box each year their main job is to make sales happy, with new demoable features. The result is always bloat.

Whereas the "cynical attempt to milk money out of customers" angle is, IMO, not nearly as relevant as people expect. I mean, everything a for-profit company does is an attempt to milk money out of customers in some sense, so when Adobe (or JetBrains) sold shrink-wrapped boxes I assume they set the prices at whatever their models showed was the maximum people would pay, and presumably they chose the subscription prices the same way. I expect it's much of a muchness.

As for the SaaS stuff (storage, etc), I just see that as little extras that become possible once each install is tied to a user account, so the company tries them out to see if they work. But it's not like they're supposed to be so amazing that they justify the switch. (views my own, not those of my former employer, etc.)


> so when Adobe (or JetBrains) sold shrink-wrapped boxes

... they didn't have this wonderful option of bashing customers on their virtual heads and break their products if customers forgot to pay rent. It just wasn't an option, when it all started. Now it is, and here we are. The internet sometimes is just bad for people.


I don't follow, if JetBrains wants to rent software how is it the internet's fault? If the fact that the internet provides an enforcement mechanism is the issue, I'm sure cracked copies will get around that...


> before the whole thing crumbles.

Are there any alternatives to adobe on the horizon? I'm asking because I'd like to know. All I know of is affinity designer and pixelmator.


The field is wide open at the moment. It's an interesting time - there hasn't been so many options in a while.

For Photoshop alternatives there's Pixelmator, Acorn and Affinity Photo.

For Illustrator there's Sketch, iDraw and Affinity Designer.

All we need now is a good InDesign alternative.


Sketch is an alternative to Photoshop and Fireworks for UI design.


I'm with you on Adobe, but Steam is a whole different thing, even leaving out its OS aspirations. Probably most importantly, it's free -- I think of it as an unusually heavy e-commerce site that needed me to install a bunch of stuff to get it to work. Kind of like if Netflix let me watch stuff offline, but only if I put their Chrome app on my computer: It's a client for accessing their platform.


Steam cloud save (play on the living room, continue in the bedroom), friends (with game integration like invites), anti-cheat, automatic update, video driver updates, in home streaming, fps in game overlay. Definitely not a site.


Steam isn't really SaaS as much as a platform. It supports eCommerce, the logistics of delivering product on a massive scale (even if said product is bits instead of boxes), and some social networking on top of that.


I purchase a lot of commercial IntelliJ/WebStorm licenses for my company. Previously, the cost was $499/y for new employees, $299/y for existing employees. Now it looks like it will be a flat $319/y for everyone. Eh, I'm OK with that. Now there's also upfront volume discounts, whereas previously you had to talk to sales. In some ways it's simpler for me, and the pricing is in line with other per-dev SaaS costs we have. Consider what you pay for a software Engineer and the productivity gains, personally it's a no-brainer for me. It's the best Java, Scala, Python, JavaScript etc. IDE by far.

With this change, I hope JetBrains takes the opportunity to switch from the big-bang yearly releases to just a continuous stream of improvements. In some ways they've already been moving in the this direction, they've added some pretty great improvements to point releases this year (React/JSX, TypeScript etc. comes to mind). This will eliminate release timing anxiety on both sides (customers optimizing when the best time to buy is, and JetBrains deciding if releasing major new functionality now vs in the next big-bang release), and lets the company ship improvements as fast as possible.


The social cost of subscription-based offers can be enough to make users forfeit good products.

If a developer convinces a manager to buy a perpetual license of IntelliJ, mission accomplished: the developer will be able to use IntelliJ forever. Persuading the manager to spend more on IntelliJ by making a convincing case that an upgrade is worth the money is an optional campaign, reserved for a favorable moment (e.g. when being able to use a new feature would be very valuable) in a vague future.

If a developer convinces a manager to buy a yearly subscription to IntelliJ, the developer should expect to start using Eclipse after one year due to a cost reduction effort. Persuading the manager to spend more on IntelliJ is difficult (no expected updates), urgent (the software stops working rather than sliding into obsolescence) and a recurring unpleasantness.

Moreover, JetBrains makes the sort of luxury products that are bought when money is abundant and regretted (but still used and enjoyed) in times of poverty; forcing customers who cannot pay right now to eliminate JetBrains products from their daily workflow instead of keeping them as happy users and waiting for when they'll want to spend again is a gratuitous demolition of goodwill.


I've used Eclipse for development at my current place of employment for years. I recently tried the JetBrains product and loved it, so I started pitching to my bosses that this will improve productivity blah blah blah. I can still do my job without it, and pitched it 2 months ago and have still not gotten approval (but haven't got said no to either) and it's a good year money wise, so the upfront cost is nothing to us. Now I would have to do this annually, even during down years? It's easier just to stick with Eclipse.


If your company is that tight when it comes to developer tools, maybe you should consider alternate employment.


I'm sure there are development shops that are that tight with a buck, but I've never worked at one. In my experience, once a recurring cost is baked into the run rate, it's easier to get it approved for the following year than it is to get an unforecast license purchase made during the year.

If you're working for a shop where a $200 annual expense for a dev tool is a deal-breaker, I shudder to think of how the rest of your work life is (free drinks, food, merit raises, etc).

(I acknowledge ahead of time that my comments are based on US employment.)


On the initial blog post there was a suggestion for a very good compromise which I would happily accept:

Add a minimum duration to the subscriptions. If you cancel the subscription after that minimum duration, you can keep using the products you have subscribed to, but you don't get any more updates (like it is now).

If you want to re-subscribe, you can, but the minimum duration starts to count from 0 again.

This would give me the safety net that if worse comes to worst, I'll still be able to use the IDE(s) in some fashion while it still guarantees Jetbrains the fixed income which gives them the freedom to finally work on bug fixes some more, instead of needing to add killer-features all the time.


This is a psychological issue for me.

I gladly entered JetBrain's "cattle pen", and pay yearly for the privilege of being "trapped" there. Whether I might want to leave doesn't cross my mind, because I like it there.

Now they're adding security at the gate. I still don't want to leave, but now it's obvious that I'm trapped. It just feels different, and I don't like it.


I think a lot of people are encountering this same issue -- myself included!


To be fair , it worked quite well for Adobe products ( most of them are now using a monthly subscription scheme ) despite all the dissatisfaction voiced by some customers at first. It is both good for Adobe and good for the competition. In fact allowed some challengers to be profitable when everybody pirated Photoshop before as 95% of people using it only took advantage of 1% of Photoshop features. It will be a good opportunity for alternative products such as Eclipse or Netbeans to evolve and get better.


The reason why it works well for Autodesk and Adobe is the fact that they have a defacto monopoly in their fields. My boss doesn't like the fact that they have a subscription scheme but we have one for Adobe Cloud because there isn't another way. That is not the case for an IDE. I really like PyCharm and PHPStorm but I can (and also would) drop them in a heartbeat.

You will always find some (edge) case who can profit from these kind of schemes - an amateur photographer for example with Adobe CC or somebody who uses all the jetbrain tools - but there are a lot of cases that are a different and really don't have any benefits of using SAAS.

In Flanders we have a saying that goes a bit like this: "all small things makes on big thing". The personal problem that I have is that if I would add all those "inexpensive" subscriptions of services it will add up very fast to a point that it is becoming really expensive. I don't buy all software in a single month or can even wait for upgrading if an older version is good enough for me, with SAASS that is not the case.

But I have the same opinion that this race to convert all commercial software to SAAS will be beneficial for OSS alternatives. Personally I would even go as far as donating (or crowdfund) (for the same amount that I would give to jetbrains) to an OSS project, if that means that I would get an alternative that I don't need to "rent".


It's been good news for Serif. I've bought a grand total of 4 non-games on my Mac, Serif's Affinity Photo & Designer being 2 of them so I didn't have to pay Adobe for things I'd only use intermittently (Intellij being a third).


I don’t know how it is on other platforms, but Adobe’s move to a subscription model has brought a flurry of far cheaper plain-old-purchase alternatives to OS X. Off the top of my head:

PS Alternatives: Acorn ($25), Pixelmator ($30), Affinity Photo ($50)

Illustrator alternatives: Sketch ($99), Affinity Designer ($50), iDraw ($25), Canvas Draw ($99)

And you know what? All of these options are far lighter than the Adobe behemoths while providing all the most relevant functionality and looking and feeling like real Mac apps instead of half-assed ports, all while taking advantage of the best part of the OS. Here in SV people I know in design are switching away from Adobe in spades.

If companies like Adobe can’t exist without subscriptions, maybe it means that large software companies that produce gargantuan beasts of applications are going out of style. Small indie teams producing lean, maintainable, focused apps are the way forward.


Adobe photoshop has pretty much a monopoly. IDEs do not.


I have built their open source community edition, from source, and it is very serviceable. I prefer to pay for the ultimate edition but I could do my work with the open source version.

Yearly subscription pricing seems OK to me, with some allowance for giving companies adequate notice to re-subscribe.


It seems likely that JetBrains moved to this model because their current revenue model doesn't allow for enough runway to allow them to make updates as needed or grow the business. So from that perspective changing to a model where they continually get money helps them stay in business.

Where they 'went wrong', if you could call it that, is that they forced developers down this new path without allowing us to 'dip our toes in'. It would have been better to open this up as a separate way of paying for their products alongside the current model, and then in a year or two simply switching over.


IMHO the "dipping toes" was the switch to the current model, which they did 4 or 5 years ago. It was a clear attempt at moving from shrinkwrap to SaaS. The constant stream of reminders in-product, on blogs, twitter etc was a strong hint that they'd really like you to pay something every few months. They were much more forceful than the average software vendor. This is why I wasn't really surprised by recent news.

As a hobbyist developer (I use PyCharm with a personal license, but I don't actually sell anything), I'm basically in the "screwed" camp. I thought it was about time for me to upgrade, but now I'll just keep using my current copy forever. I'm sad, because the tool is great; but stopping it from working when the license expires, rather than just disabling updates, is really a low blow. It signals that they don't think their upgrades are worth paying for (which in some cases is absolutely true, a lot of recently introduced PyCharm features are of no use to me whatsoever), and that they've stopped innovating and are now just rent-seeking.


I've not needed any of the new PyCharm features in about two years - but I've still purchased the new versions. In fact, as I work for an open-source company, my PyCharm license at work is free. I buy the personal license for home even though I don't work on non-free software... because I want to support JetBrains.


You are absolutely right. As someone who uses PHP, Python, JavaScript and a little Ruby, I had purchased IntelliJ so I didn't have to renew multiple licenses each year. If they had just come out with their "All Products" subscription service at $149/year, I would have signed up for it immediately.

I don't like their proposal that I must forfeit my perpetual license to IntelliJ to take advantage of the lower price and that if my subscription lapses for any reason I'll be forced to pay an extra $100 a year!


Where JetBrains went wrong is in spreading themselves too thin on too many development fronts, letting products like IntelliJ languish with few significant features added and far too many bugs unfixed, and then deciding the solution to a lack of effort on these products was to switch to a subscription model so that all of their customers would pay for the updates whether or not they're worth paying for.


It seems to me that where JetBrains went wrong was building every language supported as a separate application. According to their announcement post the stated goal of was to deal with the customer ask to get easier discounts on multiple language products or to move from one language to another more easily. To JetBrains the solution was apparently to switch to SaaS, which kind of makes sense, but from my perspective maybe they should have just consolidated some of their product efforts?


The subdivision served multiple purposes: it increased revenue by segmenting the market, and it allowed for a level of specialization that was difficult to achieve with a single tool. For example, some of the PyCharm stuff requires hacks that most Java developers wouldn't want in their IDE, and I honestly wouldn't want to deal with any Java stuff if I can avoid it.

At the end of the day, the announcement is just corporate speak for "we need more money more regularly, so from now on you're going to pay rent; to make it a bit sweeter, rent includes use of swimming pool and sauna, which you may or may not need". Most businesses switching to SaaS don't do it for the customer, they do it for themselves.


The Ultimate version of IDEA seems to support all languages at once.


It does through plugins. The language-specific IDEs are updated with language features earlier than the plugins for IDEA and they have simplified project creation/management. For instance, it's a lot easier to setup a Python project and choose your interpreter/packages in PyCharm than it is in IDEA.


Not quite - it doesn't support ObjC/C++/C


This _feels_ pretty accurate. As a user of PyCharm, PHPStorm, and recently YouTrack, and in my experience, all the products either lack support for current trends (ES2015 for instance) or are riddled with bugs (YouTrack). YouTrack in general shocked me in the rough edges / lack of sane integration with SCM.


I disagree, at least for PHPstorm new features are cutting edge and don't exist in competing products.

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