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Getting to know PCSoft

Posted by PurpleEdge 
PurpleEdge
Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 09:43AM
An old (in every sense of the word) Clarion developer is evaluating WinDev and I am amused by the handcuffs the PCSoft seem to apply - they insist on an email address on their version of this forum, they still use a dongle (!!!), you need to login to WinDev - I almost forgot my password, I read that they splash their name over the applications you create with WinDev.

As I said, just amused by their policies.
Ruben Sanchez Peña
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 10:29AM

Hi. I'm exClarioner also.

If you are evaluating Windev with the Express version, then yes. The applicaions generated with Express version have the "Express version" words in all the windows and file generated. Other limitations are the limited table relations in analisys for example. Ofcourse in full version you haven't any limitation.

The dongle is only for licensed versions, it isn't for the Express. Where is the problem with dongle?

Clarion has a "Express" version for evaluate the product? My last purchased version was 7.0 EE and i hadn't a demo version. Simply drop money.

Rubén
PurpleEdge
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 10:48AM
Don't get me started on Clarion! <g>

Biggest problem with a dongle - when it fails, or if I lose it, I am out of work until I get a replacement!
Jimbo
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 10:58AM

Hi,

I've been a Clarion user until about 2000 and I left because I felt that their behaviour and everything else was unbearable in the time after softvelocity took over the shop.

1 - use real WinDev, the Express version is only to get an understanding of the IDE and of the general way of developing applications with WinDev. Uh, is there any download on Softvelocity's web site. Any?

2 - Dongle. In 2000, I've had an extensive exchange of mails with a Clarion manager and he told me that their main problem to generate turnovers was that even big software shops bought a single new version only and had ten and more programmers using it. They could have had it a bit easier by introducing dongles. Dongles are the real thing to ensure that each programmer uses a licensed version. You can use that single dongle on all of your computers but it enforces you to buy a second license for a second programmer. Where's the problem?

3 - PC Soft's name is never seen in our applications, but we're not ashame to use a PC Soft product. There are several free utilities to be distributed with WinDev and whoever wants can have a look at them ..

Kind regards, Guenter
Jimbo
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 11:07AM

Hi, of course, that could happen. If it is defective, it takes about 24 hours to get an exchange. You only need a credit card number - PC Soft will send a new dongle with the same serial number and will charge 49,- Euros for that service. In turn you will send the defective dongle back and that's it. If you don't send the defective dongle within 4 weeks, they'll charge you with the full price of a WinDev version (990,- Euros). If 24 hours are a problem then buy a second license .. I recommend to some of my customers to buy a second server, printer or label printer if any of the said equipment has to be exchanged within less than a day ...

If a dongle is lost, PC Soft will charge for another WinDev version. No way out. Ask your insurance company or simply take care of your dongle ..

kind regards, Guenter
Ruben Sanchez Peña
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 05, 2011 11:57PM

Hi.

I have my dongles (a dongle for each PcSoft product) since 2006. No issues here.


Rubén
Ola
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 07:18AM
Hi,

About the Dongle. Of course I would like to be without the dongle, but I do not see any real problems with it. I had to change it once, from parallel to USB type, no problem in that either.

The main negative thing with the dongle is that it is old-fashioned compared to the possibilities that are (cheaply) available today:

1) The dongle is too long. It could be of the very small nano-size, which would protect it from possible breakage when the side of the computer is knocked against something. To prevent this I am now using a short extension cord which is taped to the cover of the laptop - an ugly looking tune-up.

2) simultaneously it could also be a memory stick of sufficient capacity (32-64 Gcool smiley to hold both the 4 GB Windev itself and several large projects. That would make Windev really portable and the dongle a preferable feature!

I wish the next version would be delivered in, or the current version could be upgraded to, such a format.

About the inplanted PCSoft texts. There is a problem. Some error situations will show a message urging the user to contact PCSoft (and not the developer)! I find this rather inconvenient, to put it mildly.

best regards
Ola
DarrenF
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 08:52AM
Ola (et al),

With regard to the dongle, I've had mine since 2008 and it's worn out, and trust me, I've really looked after it! Unfortunately, I need to unplug it (carefully), on a weekly basis to take it along with my laptop. They are NOT durable enough - with thin (tapering) plastic sidewalls - the outer shell of mine has just started to crack! :eek:

Only this week I crossed my fingers and got out the super glue! :eek: ...luckily, it seems to have worked - phew! Hopefully I'll get get another few years out of it!? [[5]]

Changing the design to the new "nano" design would be great! The dongle idea is old and outdated. All protection systems can be cracked and/or bypassed given the right amount of will, time and in some cases, money! I'm sure there must be many software based protection techniques that could be employed nowerdays!?

Anyways, can't talk all day - I need to put a bit more cotton wool and bubble wrap around my dongle! winking smiley

Arie
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 08:58AM
Well Darren, maybe you your hands are too big for dongles winking smiley

I plug/unplug the WD dongle almost every day, since 5 years now. Never had any problem and they still look new. Sometimes I even do this when powered up (USB is made for that), but most of the time I try to avoid this. Just to be extra carefull.
DarrenF
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 09:24AM
Yes - you may be correct! :-)

I've always thought that, no matter which USB port it's plugged into, that it's a very tight fit!

Maybe it was from a bad batch or manufactured on a Friday afternoon perhaps?! :drink: winking smiley
Al
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 09:44AM
Hello Darren

Ola has the right idea in terms of the USB dongle. We have had ours on a lead since it arrived. I remember reading that there is a physical limit to the number of times a usb device can be plugged and unplugged and having it on a lead eliminates that issue and because of the increased bulk makes it harder to misplace or forget about.

In terms of longevity, we still have on old Windev parallel port dongle that still works fine.

Regards
Al
DarrenF
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 06, 2011 09:51AM
Hi Al,

I seem to remember you mentioned this on a previous post...

I see what you mean - so you plug & un-plug the extension lead as opposed to the actual dongle itself? ...great idea! :spos: I think I have a nice heavy duty "bendy" one that was supplied with a USB wireless adapter I once purchased - now where did I...:confused:



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2011 09:52AM by DarrenF.
Ruben Sanchez Peña
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 07, 2011 10:06AM

Hi. I have the four dongles for my diferents PCSoft products pluged to a USB hub. I only must plug and unplug the hub to my notebook and never must touch the dongles :cheers:

Rubén
DarrenF
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 07, 2011 10:31AM
Well... as we say in the UK - you live and learn! :cheers:
Art Bonds
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 05:52AM
Had mine since 2000 or 2001... getting old, can't remember when I first got it! :rolleyes:

WD 5.5, if that nails it down. Have had all three dongles since ver 9.
John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 09:08AM
Hi,

I know that software piracy is a big issue, and that software companies want to protect their investment.....BUT I think the use of a dongle has more disadvantages then advantages.

Take the instant where the dongle malfunctions. I have to pay 50 euros to get a new one?? WTF? So, it's not my fault that it's stopped working, but because I have to follow the paranoia of the software company, I have to fork out to get it fixed? That does not seem right what-so-ever! And the same applies if I knock the dongle, dependent on the computer the dongle can stick out at an awkward angle, especially on a laptop. But again, it costs me to protect PCSoft's investment!? Thanks !

And suppose I lose the dongle? Ok, you could say that it's my problem, but if you're on the road doing demonstrations to prospective clients, it can be easy to mislay things. And ok, it may only take two days to get a new dongle, but during that time you are effectively stuffed.And the price of a replacement, ludicrous ! Something that is purely a money-earner for PCSoft, I mean, c'mon, they could charge a fraction of that if the user was someone who had purchased Win X products in the past ? If the same person kept 'losing' their dongle, then sure, charge them the full price.

So, to sum up, dongles - outdated concept which ends up making the user financially responsible for protecting the software companies work.

Regards

John
Jimbo
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 10:39AM

Hi,

imho, there's no better way than a dongle to copy-protect your application!

There are several ways to do copy protection and each of them is flawed, inelegant or downright silly.

I agree that the Wx-dongles could be cheaper (a simple usb memory stick is much cheaper) but there's nothing better than that. When PC Soft started out with their first WinDev editions, dongles had to be plugged onto the parallel port, USB hadn't been invented then. And companies like Aladdin, WiBukey etc dominated the market. So they decided for Aladdin ..

Sorry, a dongle may be inconveniant, but it is a necessary item. Clarion still could be a flourishing company - if they introduced a dongle. They did not .. look at what's left.

Ok, and now tell me what you'd suggest for copy-protection of your own applications!

Thanks, Guenter
John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 01:26PM
Hi Guenter,

Dongles are a neccessary item for whom? Me or PCSoft ? I don't win by having to use a dongle, as I said in my last post, if the dongle is lost or damaged or malfunctions, then it's me that has to foot the bill so PCSoft can keep tabs on their investment?

Can you image if I insisted that all my clients had to use a dongle and then charged them if any of the above incidents happened to it !? I soon wouldn't have many clients and would be unlikely to get any more ! And how could you implement dongles on most Smartphones/PDAs/Tablets? How long do you think a dongle sticking out of even those devices that did have USB ports on would survive?

I'm not saying that software copy protection is going to be easy, but I do think that there are better ways then a dongle.

Regards

John
Jimbo
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 04:00PM
Quote
John
Hi Guenter,

Dongles are a neccessary item for whom? Me or PCSoft ? I don't win by having to use a dongle, as I said in my last post, if the dongle is lost or damaged or malfunctions, then it's me that has to foot the bill so PCSoft can keep tabs on their investment?

Can you image if I insisted that all my clients had to use a dongle and then charged them if any of the above incidents happened to it !? I soon wouldn't have many clients and would be unlikely to get any more ! And how could you implement dongles on most Smartphones/PDAs/Tablets? How long do you think a dongle sticking out of even those devices that did have USB ports on would survive?

I'm not saying that software copy protection is going to be easy, but I do think that there are better ways then a dongle.

Regards

John

Hi John, WHICH method of copy protection is better / easier? You didn't answer my question ... what is YOUR method to protect your applications? Regards, Guenter
John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 09, 2011 06:46PM
Hi Guenter,

Sure. There are a lot of encryption based software protection suppliers out there, using different methods of protecting your software, from stopping the media itself from being copied using DRM methods, to the activation of the software itself, with a lot of companies employing activation over the internet,, to the more common 'enter a crypto key' type of protection. What method is 'best' is up for grabs and is dependent on a number of factors.

Are any of them foolproof? Nope. But I can go on the internet and do a search for HASP hacking software and find a shedload of hits back, so no, the dongle method isn't foolproof either.

As for me, as most of my clients are mobile based, I just have a small algorithm based on their name and date of birth and a random number that is generated by myself on the date of installation and they are prompted for the key at point on first running it on the mobile device. A webservice runs every the program is ran which updates a server I have showing me who is using what and the client is told about this obviously before I start the project.

So, I've answered your question, so now you answer mine :-) . Why should I have to be financially responsible for protecting PCSoft's investment, as in losing/damaging the dongle, or even worse, it malfunctions through no fault of my own? How do you run dongle protection on mobile devices which are becoming popular without damage or loss?

Regards

John
John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 10, 2011 03:18PM
Actually, WinDev 14 is up for grabs on one of the more well-known pirate software sites right now !

Regards

John
Art Bonds
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 12, 2011 12:14AM
Quote
John
Actually, WinDev 14 is up for grabs on one of the more well-known pirate software sites right now !

Regards

John

A dongle and other means of protection are never 100 percent. It's like your home... you can put deadbolts on the door, but there will always be a way in. All you can do is make it harder for the average crook.

I think the only thing folks may have been saying is Clarion leaves the door open for you while PCS uses a dead bolt. Which can jam or be broken.
John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 12, 2011 04:38PM
Hi Art,

Yes, I can see what you're saying about Clarion, although I'd find it very hard to believe that all their woes come from not using a dongle. My point was, and still is, why should I, (we), have to be financially responsible for PCSofts piracy protection? There are a lot of very successful software companies out there that don't insist on their users having to have pieces of plastic plugged into their PCs before they can do any work.

Regards

John
Art Bonds
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 16, 2011 10:47PM
Quote
John
... why should I, (we), have to be financially responsible for PCSofts piracy protection?
John

You ARE going to be responsible for piracy one way or the other, protection or not. If you think otherwise then just keep taking that blue pill.

10 people use WD, 9 paid to get the dongle, 1 used a crack, which will be delt with by PCS in the next release which will invalidate the crack. You note you said WD 14 was up... and what version is the current one? 16? Tell me when that goes up will you? If you are making money with the product you will buy it so you can continue to enhance your own selling applications with the new features... effectively making that 10 out of 10 paid users.

10 people use Clarion, 4 people paid for it because they are honest, 6 just copied the program. No incentive to buy the program. Any new release will be subsequently pirated and released.

What is the cost of the two systems mentioned. Clarion is higher, right? You would think that for the higher price Clarion would have more features, more bells and whistles, even something simple like PNG support, right? Do they? (shake your head no...) Which product has the most features, giving you the best bang for the buck?

Costs to develop and market the products are passed on to the purchaser (or the company goes out of business). Now take development cost of the software and divide by 9. Or 4. Which honest user ends up paying more for the same amount of development? Or looking at it from the other view, the product that sells less and gets pirated more will have less development dollars, and less features.

Here is the choice: Buy the piracy protection in the form of a dongle, protect it well and get a better product at a reduced cost per function because the cost is spread over more (admittedly forced) paying users, or leave the door open, pay more and get less features. The proof is right in front of your fingertips.

You probably know how I will vote... even if I MAY have to replace my broken dongles every now and then.. which I HAVE NOT had to do in over 10 years of owning the product.

Tell me with a straight face all those Russian, Chinese, South African and South American programmers have plenty of money to buy Clarion. In fact if you follow the SV NG's you might remember at least one prominanent French speaking Clarion developer (who is very vocal about not liking WinDev) accidently admitting to having an 'evaluation copy' of Clarion 7... before he was shamed into buying a legit copy. Gee, I wonder why he does not like WD... :rolleyes:

I was told by one French WD programmer that his countrymen are famous for pirating, and thats why PCS uses dongles. Otherwise one person would buy the product and another 10,000 would use it.

>> There are a lot of very successful software companies out there that don't insist on their users having to have pieces of plastic plugged into their PCs before they can do any work.

True. And conversely many that don't and are either no longer in business or they are selling overpriced under-featured software and calling incremental releases a new version. Like one person said...

>> C8 is C7 with a very few features added (some of them should have been
>> in c7) plus some regressions (SV is working on those to fix them very
>> quickly) and renamed as c8 for evident money purposes (CSP renewals).

Thanks, but I for one will put up with the dongles in order to get better software and at a cheaper price. YMMV of course.







John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 17, 2011 04:44PM
Hi Art,

I was speaking of being directly responsible for being financially responsible of course; your comment can equally be applied to any form of piracy, music or copyright theft. Ever copied a CD or taped something of the radio when you were a kid, Art? No, of course not! :-)

I think we'll both have to differ on our points of view on the use of dongles, which is fair enough; the world would be boring if we all agreed. Something I would ask though is that if dongles are indeed the saviour of software companies then why do a very small amount of software companies bother to use them? Surely if they are so viable an option I'd have 10 USB ports on my PC filled with dongles, an amusing thought eh?

As for the WinDev 14 being on a pirate site I feel it was valid to point out that obviously a dongle didn't stop that from being hacked. True, it's not V16, but then again I myself use V14 to program with still, mainly for legacy customers, I find that VS2010 with DevExpress gives me far more power and flexibility than WinDev does. My point there really was that I can go online and Google and find a LOT of HASP hacking tools. So there goes your dongle protection, sure it may take me a while to hack, but I'd get there, (if it WAS my intention to hack, I'd hasten to add!).

However, the main point that I'd originally made, that you seem to have bypassed and that Guenter sort of went off on a tangent about, (how do I protect my software? It's not me we're talking about & I certainly wouldn't expect my clients to have to use dongles, and besides, I deal with Mobile software mainly, so the dongle argument falls flat on its backside there), is why should I have to pay to protect PCSofts investment? Please explain to me that, if the dongle malfunctions through NO fault of my own, I should have to pay 50 euros to PCSoft to be kind enough to send me a working one? Not to mention that if I'm unlucky enough to have the defective one get lost in the post I then have to stump up for a full version of the software? Or have to sit twiddling my thumbs for the three days I'd be without the ability to get to any of my code, hoping no support issues crop up during those 3 days otherwise I'd be stuffed !

You could even question that perhaps it's the very requirement for a dongle that prevents a lot of companies from using PCSoft in the first place? I take your point that a dongle prevents a lot of people from getting free copies of the software and I've no doubt that it does deter those sorts of people, but if it's also deterring the very people you want to buy your software then it's a bit of a Catch 22, wouldn't you say?

I wasn't all that convinced with your argument about software at a cheaper price or that had better features either. I wouldn't say PCSofts track record on releasing stable new XXXX versions was great, would you? I nearly bought WinDev 16 on the promise of the Scheduler component, which was something of great interest to me. However, after seeing the posts in the forum about its lack of features and bugs, and actually seeing some screenshots of what it looks like, I'm glad I opted for DevExpress instead, far superior product. Incidentally, DevExpress use some very good copy protection on their software installation.

I've never used Clarion, so I can't pass comment on how good or how bad their software is. Mind you, all those people that have pirated it must have thought it was something worth having, so can't be all bad?

Regards

John

John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 17, 2011 04:45PM
Opps, sorry, went a bit BOLD in places !
Art Bonds
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 18, 2011 05:47PM
Quote
John
I was speaking of being directly responsible for being financially responsible of course; your comment can equally be applied to any form of piracy, music or copyright theft. Ever copied a CD or taped something of the radio when you were a kid, Art? No, of course not! :-)

Yes I have. Kind of proves the point, doesn't it. winking smiley

Quote
John
However, the main point that I'd originally made, that you seem to have bypassed and that Guenter sort of went off on a tangent about, (how do I protect my software?

I thought the original post was how amused Mr or Ms Purple was about PCS using dongles. That's a business decision made by the manufacture. I was responding to your question about " Why should I have to be financially responsible for protecting PCSoft's investment, ...", not how you should protect your software. You can choose to use a dongle or not. Just as PCS can choose to use a dongle or not. If they did not I would bet we would be paying a lot more for the software, that's all.

John
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 18, 2011 10:40PM
Ummm, no, it proves no point whatsoever, as I was referring to the cost of a dongle. The fact that piracy goes on is news to no-one Art, THAT was my point.......sigh, never mind.....

No, that's why I put the bit about "how do I protect my software" in brackets, because that's what Guenter was asking me, which is why I said he went off on a tangent, because it WASN'T my software I was talking about! Which is now what you've done!

Still though, I'm still awaiting SOMEONE to tell me how dongles are worthwhile. I can't be bothered to type out my arguments against them again, I've done it twice now, so , short version:

Cost of replacement, from loss or malfunction.
Cost in time and hassle whilst waiting for replacement of above to arrive.
Lack of practicality with mobile devices.
How many dongles would we need if every software manufacturer insisted on the use of such devices? And USB ports?
Lack of interest from the majority of software developers to take up dongle usage.

Regards
John
Jimbo
Re: Getting to know PCSoft
July 19, 2011 05:16PM
Hi John,

a dongle is the ONLY device which works in the interest of software users AND software makers. All other copy protection systems work in the interest of the software maker only. Only few of them are as efficient as a dongle device is but make life much harder for the software user.

The dongle lets the user freely move the software between different computers and different hard disks. A defective computer doesn't stop them from continuing their work on another computer or to continue after their computer has been fixed. The software maker isn't forced to track sold applications in the field by inserting an ET into the application and there's no need to have the computer connected to web if an install is done. No other protection method is able to deliver that.

Cost of replacement, from loss or malfunction.
Of course, every hardware can get bad. In case of the Wx-dongles it's a very rare event.
But. Replacing the dongle means that the software maker still knows that only the licensed application is used. Imho, one could replace the dongle for free, it's such a rare event - compared to the danger of having a second unpaid app running somewhere ..

Cost in time and hassle whilst waiting for replacement of above to arrive.
24 hours. 1 of 1000 will go bad in the span of a year. Mostly, the dongles are destroyed, they don't just go bad. Carrying the dongles to customer's sites calls for physical abuse. I recommend to leave the dongle at home and do the programming by remotely logging in at your home office. This has two advantages. One that you cannot lose what's firmly seated in your computer. Another that all software changes are safely at the home office. To do serious programming at customer's sites is a bad idea anyway ..

Lack of practicality with mobile devices.
All memory cards have a unique *hardware* serial number like dongles have. Use a micro-SD-card? Just an idea.

How many dongles would we need if every software manufacturer insisted on the use of such devices? And USB ports?
Their problem. USB-hubs can extend USB port numbers to infinite ..

Lack of interest from the majority of software developers to take up dongle usage.
I do know quite a number of software makers who protect their applications with dongles. But right, most do not. Mostly they fear to discuss dongles with their customers. And of course, if I sell my applications over the web there's no place for sending out dongles.

Regards, Guenter




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