Tinderbox Forum

Does the license include bug fixes beyond the first year?

Hi all,

I’m just getting ready to purchase, but wanted to understand what the license entitles me to. I read somewhere on the website (can’t find it anymore) that the initial purchase entitles me to updates within the first year. I also see that a $98 upgrade is available; I assume that means I would pay that if I want a new version after that first year. But, what about bug fixes?

I’m used to bugs being handled with point releases. So, right now 7.0.3 is out. Say 7.0.4 is released after a year has passed and that it has bug fixes but no new features. Would I be entitled to that new version after the first year and without paying more?



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My perspective is that of a user rather than of the developers, but here has been my experience in the roughly ten years in which I’ve used (and paid for each new version of) TB:

  • The exact scenario you describe – a new version with bug-fixes only, no new features-- hasn’t ever occurred. Or even close to it. That is, the evolution of the program over this ten year period has been so dense with new features that there isn’t such a thing as a year with bug-fixing only.

  • As for bugs themselves, my experience is that when a new version comes out, there is often a little crop of bugs related to the new features. And within a period of weeks or at most a month or two, they are taken care of.

  • Thus if you bought a version and had a year’s updates with it, you could be confident that by the end of that time you’d have an essentially-bug-free version of the state of the program as of that time, which you could happily use from then until the end of time without buying further upgrades, if you were happy with the feature set.

  • My experience with the company is that if some actual-bug appeared after that cutoff time, you could get a fix for that bug. But, again, in ten years I haven’t encountered things like that. The new bugs have come as part of new-feature introduction.

  • I have signed up for the open-ended subscription because I really value the ongoing set of improvements; because I use the product so much that it’s a reasonable value for me; and because I believe in supporting this model of software development. Your uses, circumstances, and so on may differ, but that’s how it has looked for me. And on your specific question, I think it’s not something to worry about. If the program is working in stable form after a year, it’s likely to keep doing so.


I really appreciate your taking the time to reply and share your experiences. Clearly TB is a very high quality product.

You describe an unusual approach to version numbering. I had thought that 7.0.3 contained just bug fixes over 7.0.2. You seem to be saying that it had new features. That’s a little good and a little bad. Suppose right at the end of my first year 7.0.4 came out to address some bugs in 7.0.3, but it also introduced new features that had bugs relating to those features. Deciding whether to upgrade would be a challenge.

Another scenario that could happen is that a major new release, 8.0.0, could come out near the end of my license period. Even though I’d be entitled to it, it would be risky to use it since it would be unsupported unless I renewed my license. Such major version are traditionally reserved for substantial new features and often have wrinkles that need to be worked out with point releases.

I’m a software developer. As such, I find the licensing model very puzzling. But, I am comforted by your reassurances regarding the quality of the product and company.

Mark Bernstein, the designer, can answer these larger questions.

My solution to this release-timing question is simply to renew the subscription, because for me in my work it’s clearly worthwhile. I recognize that people have different tastes and circumstances.

I understand completely. Thanks again for your time.

To put it simply – for me - a Tinderbox subscription is a case where FOMA makes sense. I never hesitate to buy whatever Eastgate makes.

Our model for upgrades was originally designed to minimize the problems people face when deciding whether to buy the software now or to wait for the next release. Our answer was: “go ahead: you’ll have the software now, and you’ll also get the next release, too.”

This model is increasingly common for independent software.

Our aim is to be confident that, if you’re using the software at all, upgrading should be an easy decision.

Tinderbox had 7 releases in 2016. That’s an unusually small number; in recent years, our “backstage” program, which makes test releases available to those who want them, has relaxed some pressure on release schedules.

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I’ve upgraded Tinderbox three times… in all cases, I’ve let the year pass, and kept an eye on updates for features / bug fixes that interested me enough to upgrade again.

It seemed a bit weird at first to me, but they’re upfront about it and it couldn’t be simpler: you get free updates for year after purchase. If you want updates after that, you purchase another year’s worth of updates.

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Thanks all for your responses. I would say I have a pretty definitive answer now. :smile:

I went ahead and bought it on Saturday and received the license today. I’ve had some great fun with it, playing and learning.

And a special shout out to Mark Anderson and his aTbRef; it’s made TB very approachable.

Thanks a bunch. Barry