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Can two (or more) separate developers on a project use the same (purchased) plugins somehow?
Started by sieler2 Jan 21 2019 03:30 PM

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#1

sieler2

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Hi,

When I try to build, using plugin.qrscanner, it works fine ... because my account bought the right to use that plugin.  When my R&D partner tries to build, he can't ... because *his* CoronaLabs account hasn't purchased (and has no interest in purchasing) the plugin.

 

Surely there's some way for more than one person to work / build a project in Corona?

 

I'd *expect* a mechanism at coronalabs.com where I could say "my account and account X are working on the same project, Z", and then both accounts could build Z using my plugins.

 

From my build.settings:

 

plugins =

{

        ['plugin.qrscanner'] = {publisherId = 'com.spiralcodestudio'},

        ["plugin.pasteboard"] = { publisherId = "com.coronalabs", },

        ["plugin.bit"] = { publisherId = "com.coronalabs" }, 

},

 

 

thanks!

 

Stan



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#2

anaqim

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Either he has to buy it for his account or you have to give him your account info and let him use it. No way around it, as it shouldn't be, or it would be equivalent with using pirated software, which is extra low coming from a developer.

If he has no interest in buying the plugin...then he has no right to use it.

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#3

sieler2

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Leaving aspersions / misunderstandings aside, I'll mention that the Preferences pane of Corona SDK on the Mac explicitly forbids using the same account on more than one computer.

 

This ... the ability to have multiple developers do a build ... is not piracy of any kind (of *course* (#1)). 

It is, rather, an extremely obvious feature that clearly ... *clearly* ... ought to exist (#2).

 

Well...I've written/re-written this next section a dozen times:   

I'm still steaming at the apparent suggestion that you think this is somehow piracy, or that I might condone piracy. 

If I interpreted you incorrectly, I apologize. 

If I interpreted you correctly, then I'll say two things, at: http://www.sieler.com/piracy.html

 

And, to repeat: this is quite clearly not piracy. 

 

SS

 

----

#1. ok, I couldn't leave it entirely aside

 

#2. I'd have no problem if Corona Labs wanted to create a mechanism where a given purchase of a given plugin was locked to a single specified app.   That would allow other neat things, like the ability to have an open-source cooperative project that uses a bought plugin (because ... again, quite clearly, each of the hundreds shouldn't have to buy the same plugin merely to contribute to a public project (#3)).

 

#3. yes, I'm assuming they all want to build ... hard to test on a device otherwise!



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#4

XeduR @Spyric

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Just think of the plugins as having a per developer license instead of per project. I would expect that Corona offers some means of purchasing in bulk for larger organisations, but when it comes to purchasing a 19,99$/year plugin for two people, the easiest and cheapest approach for all is probably to just buy it for both accounts separately.

I also believe that the extent of @anaqim's comparison to piracy was that it would be the same in the sense that one person buys it and others would simply use it without paying for it. But, as your link states, I'm 45 years too early to discuss the matter with you, so let's continue this when I'm 74. :P



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#5

anaqim

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Xedur is spot on, akaif licenses are per developer.

 

As for my comment regarding piracy, it was a "it would be like" comparison, since you asked if there is a way to allow your partner to use software registered to your account, with his account, without intent of purchasing it. If you want to save the money, there is the solution to circumvent this by do builds only using your account, but other than that, I don't see how that would be either possible nor right for a second or further accounts to get access to software they have not rightfully aquired.

 

Perhaps Corona could/should offer group discounts, but I haven't seen any VLKs anywhere, so suspect that's not currently available. Maybe Corona staff know something?

 

Note, written communication is much harder than face to face, as we all know, and things can be read into it that was never the intention of the author. As a general rule its often best to give the author the benefit of the doubt. Be assured, my reply was not intended to offend or accuse in any way, and it was felt that way, I apologize.



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#6

SGS

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Just to add my opinion, If the plugin has been purchased it should be able to be "used" by another dev.  But that dev CANNOT compile against it.

 

This is quite common in business software components.  Like most DLLs for example, only one can dev can actually compile a DLL but other team members can "use" it.

 

Just a thought.



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#7

sieler2

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Thanks, all, including aniqim!

 

I suspect the problem is that most people here are operating with the independent developer mindset.

(I shouldn't complain, since effectively I've been doing that too, for decades ... the advantage of having a small

software company :)

 

However, I've seen a lot of corporate projects / multi-developer projects, and haven't seen one where we'd buy a plugin (DLL, library, etc) that's intended to go *into* the product (app/program/etc.) and where we had to pay per developer.

(Buying an IDE, or compiler, or editor per developer, yeah, but somehow that's different.)

 

Ah ... got it: I see charging per developer as normal/acceptable for *tools*, but not for things that go *into* a single product.

(Obviously, group/site licenses are alternatives to per-developer charges ... I've bought those, too.)

 

For per-product items, I have no philosophical problem with a mechanism (e.g., code or licensing) that prevents using the per-product purchases in more than one product (which would be piracy)!

 

I've also seen charging developers a per-end-user charge, that's really bad.

(IIRC, some third party Amiga C compiler tried to do that in the late 1980s ... they weren't successful,

and I've seen one or two mainframe compiler vendors try to do that.)

 

I'd posted in the hope of discovering that Corona Labs marketplace did, indeed, have a mechanism of registering a given plugin as "per-product", thereby allowing multiple developers to build with it.

 

BTW, the reason we want two developers to be able to build is that I absolutely abhor the Apple cr*p involved with certificates, profiles, etc., and every time I need to get a new profile/whatever, I lose 2 to 3 days.  So, I now have a second developer helping me, and one of his tasks would have been to do the Apple builds while I do the Android builds.  (I'd originally thought of having him do both, but I realized belatedly that the plugin was registered to my personal account, and I (a) wouldn't let him use it, and (B) can't (per Corona licensing limits).)   I suspect we'll just bite the bullet and buy a second set of all the plugins, to make life easier.

 

Also, if you think about it, there's another reason the failure ...yes ... to provide some mechanism to allow this is bad: it theoretically screws a development team where the build computer dies.  According to the Corona SDK license, one has to deauthorize the build computer *from that computer* before moving the build account to another computer.

(Yeah, I don't think Corona actually checks this ... but that's not a valid counter argument in this discussion.)

 

In short, plugin authorization should be re-thought, as well as Corona SDK licensing.

 

thanks again,

 

Stan

 

P.s.: when I say I've been programming for 50 years...that first year was FORTRAN IV, so does that count? :)

 

P.p.s:  Hey, I'm still struggling with accepting the concept that the same program might cost more on a 100 user mainframe than on a 2 user mainframe ... especially if its operation isn't related to the number of users (we used to see this a lot in the HP 3000 MPE marketplace) 

 

P.p.p.s: darn forum software complained that I had four instances of colon parenthesis (I can't put it here, as that would get counted), and said I had "too many emoticons".  Sheesh.  At least I've cut back on my exclamation points!



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#8

richard11

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This is an interesting topic actually, and I'm not sure where I stand.

As most already know, my business is primarily web development so Corona is a new platform for us. In web, I tend to build most of the back end functionality myself, but we have a number of designers and front end developers for the aesthetics.

Say we're asked to build a new website. The first person to get stuck in would be one of our designers, who'll come up with the page designs as Photoshop or Illustrator files. Our designers work on contract so it's up to them to pay for their own Adobe license. It's also up to them to pay for things like fonts to use within the design, or commercial brush sets that they might like. They're buying those libraries for themselves and potentially using in a number of projects. In some cases the clients brand guidelines might require use of a specific font, and they can be expensive - some are around the £200 mark! It's tough-luck but the designer just has to swallow that cost as we can't be pirating commercial assets to them.

BUT, as a contractor the designer is of course going to be invoicing us for their work, and we'll be factoring their cost in to our own quote to the client. So although the cost is theirs to swallow, they just need to factor that in to their quote to us and we're all good.

Next stage, the design files are passed over to a front end developer. I.e. either myself or another contractor. This developer also needs an Adobe license to be able to open the files, and fonts used can be seen within the design, but to code those into a web page you need to have them yourself, to create webfont files from, and the designer can't just pass them over as again - piracy. Like with the designer, our front end developer would be working on contract so again needs to swallow any such costs themselves and factor that in to their fee to us, since again they might use those fonts for other projects.

This is where licensing gets tricky. At this point, our designer and developer have both separately purchased the font and the developer has produced webfont files to drop into the website. Now if a visitor lands on the website, these files are distributed to them exactly like any other page asset, so that the browser can render the page properly without the visitor having to have the right fonts installed. But this means that as a host, you're literally pirating those fonts out to everyone who lands on the website. These days, commercial fonts tend to be licensed in a way that doesn't prohibit this because it would be ridiculous to enforce. More often, the license is for use of the font, not for distribution. But some fonts require a separate license for use on a website which we'd then need to purchase (we generally ask our client to make sure they have distribution rights, as the website and its branding is theirs). Some font licenses do prohibit distribution, sometimes entirely and other times as a type-specific rule. E.g. we might be allowed to distribute .woff at no cost, but not .ttf - limiting the number of browsers that would be able to render the page in its correct font.

So by the time a website front end is built, something like a commercial font has been purchased at least twice, sometimes more often, and other design assets like brush libraries and Adobe software licenses have been purchased twice too. Adobe do provide team licenses but they're for installation to company-owned computers for internal staff to use, not for contractors using their own computers.

As a developer I just use text editors - Notepad++ and KDE's KATE. But other contractors might prefer something commercial. Again, it's up to them to pay for any licenses there.

Back end development then also might rely on commercial libraries. We're LAMP stack so our core set-up is open source, but for example a project might need to produce PDF files and a PHP library might already exist for that, saving us the development time. As a back end developer it would be up to me to purchase that. And finally, some libraries are a per-site cost - WordPress plugins for example.

Point being, in the world of web and because my business works around a contractor model as opposed to having a large team on payroll, to use anything commercial often does mean each individual person working on a project has to pay for their own license, covering their own use, and sometimes the end client has to pay for various licenses too, covering their websites use or subsequent distribution.

But game is different. You don't get teams of 100 people working on any one website like you do with game. But then you wouldn't have 100 contractors working on a game either - perhaps the odd few, but anything large scale would need everybody on payroll I think...

What's bouncing around in my head at this point, is that Corona should indeed offer team accounts. Plugins are attached to the account you're logged in as so if team accounts were available, i.e. just a regular account but with terms that don't prohibit sharing, and maybe with the ability to create multiple login names, then a company could sign up (buy?) a team account and give each of its staff the login to it. If the company needs a plugin, somebody purchase through the team account and everybody with a login to it gains the ability to compile it in. The marketplace could even automatically apply a higher fee for team accounts - perhaps controlled by the individual plugin developer. And if a staff member leaves the company, they can just have their login revoked.

Seems like a fair solution to me, and having written all of the above I think I now know where I stand. Corona should have team accounts and plugin developers should be able to set the price of a plugin for teams independently. This might even nudge Corona further into the industry as a tool for game studios and not just SMEs.

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#9

XeduR @Spyric

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Having team accounts would certainly make things easier in some aspects. I remember when I had to log in and purchase subscriptions to a couple of my developers' accounts on Corona (back when Corona was subscription based) as the alternative would have been giving them the company's credit card information for them to buy it for them. There might have been another solution had we contacted Corona, but we didn't. :P

Also, I would see that per-end-user license as something of a royalty model, i.e. the usual, the more you earn, the more you pay. However, I don't agree with such models.

 

As I also provide web development and graphic design services on the side, I too am abhorred by some of the license agreements that I encounter, especially with fonts. Technically, when I provide a client with the original files for some designs that I made for them, I always have to strip away the fonts and turn them into vector art or else I'd be liable for breaking the license agreement. Web fonts are a whole other beast as, based on my observations of my clients, 95% of people don't care about the allotted page views per month, if they use the font elsewhere or if they break the terms of the license agreement in general. This is why I have my clients buy the fonts if they have such licenses, otherwise I'd again be liable for their actions. Licenses are fun. :D



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#10

sieler2

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Richard and XeDur have interesting, thought provoking posts!
 
I think an additional aspect of the Corona Marketplace should be discussed ... one that has nothing to do with individual versus team licensing.
 
The Marketplace is actually pretty shaky ground.  
Said differently: it's not robustly professional.
 
If I were a major business building critical apps internally (or buying critical apps from a third party), I'd have very strong questions about the plugins.   
 
In the mainframe / Unix arena, it isn't unheard of for a major company to require a vendor to submit their source code to an escrow service (google: source code escrow).  
(An escrow service is a third-party repository that will make the code available to the purchaser under certain conditions, like the original vendor disappearing.)
 
(In some cases in the 1990s, companies buying products from small vendors had contracts that said "if you get bought by Computer Associates, we get the product source code for internal use"!)
 
With the current Corona Marketplace, as purchasers we have to hope:
 
   1) the vendor stays around;
 
   2) the vendor supports the code;
 
   3) the vendor responds to the customer;
 
and we don't know:
 
   4) the code size of the plugin;
 
   5) the resources used by the plugin.
 
(although this note doesn't address items 4 and 5)
 
While I haven't had a problem with number 1, numbers 2 and 3 have sometimes been lacking (still waiting on a question to one plugin provider).
 
I'd like to propose changes to the Marketplace:
 
   1. plugins must be submitted with source code, to allow Corona Labs to reproduce the plugin if needed
 
      No source = no submission
  
   2. the plugin vendor must agree to some kind of process with Corona Labs
   that could result in Corona Labs gaining control of the plugin
   (i.e, making / releasing changes), and could result in the purchaser obtaining
   in-house use of the source. 
   By "could result" I mean things like vendor disappearance,
   vendor malfeasance could trigger these results.
   ("Some kind of process" would include rules, guidelines, perhaps an arbitration process.)
       
Thus, I could see (in bad cases), a purchaser contacting Corona Labs and perhaps eventually paying Corona Labs to make modifications to a plugin to fix a problem.  I could see (in really bad cases), a purchaser contacting Corona Labs and eventually obtaining the source for a plugin ... with the restriction that only the one account that bought the plugin could use the source (i.e., it can't be redistributed).
 
The system could be setup so that the cost to Corona Labs is minimal, or zero, and the monetary cost to the vendor is zero (obviously, the burden of submitting the source in a suitable format is a non-zero labor cost).  The system could have reasonable charges to the purchaser (e.g., if I have a dispute I could pay a small fee to initiate a review by Corona Labs).
 
Such a system would allow businesses to wisely buy in the Marketplace.
 
thanks,
 
Stan
 


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#11

anaqim

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The marketpace does leave much to be desired, i agree.

 

For one, why isnt there a possibility for customers to review/rate products, like in any app store?

That would be easy to implement and beneficial to all parts involved.

 

sieler2 brings up many important points, of which i'm myself struggling with having bought a core plugin, building my app around it, only to find that the developer is no longer around on forums for support. I understand its due to health reasons, but from my perspective, I'm left with no support and an uncertain future of this plugin, and that just before release. It's not a feel good situation.

 

When Corona introduced the new marketplace, a lot of work was made to it and it was promoted as the next big thing. Today it feels like a beta version thats not longer being developed.

 

My big wish (if i can have one) is for corona labs to enter into a cooperation with the developer or straight out purchase it from him, and merge it into the corona api. I cant praise the plugin enough! Oh, if you haven't figurered it out already form my other forum ramblings, i'm talking about the amazing Coronium Core, developed by Develephant. Hope he recovers and comes back to us  :mellow:



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#12

richard11

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To some extent, I think you just have to factor in who the developer is and how likely the code is to need maintaining when choosing a plugin. The marketplace is just a market - you wouldn't expect the Google Play store to host copies of the code for every app published through it just in case the app developer disappeared one day, or for any other marketplace to.

When you submit a plugin to the Corona marketplace, it's reviewed and tested by Corona staff before it appears for purchase. The files are then hosted on Corona build servers and on a Mercurial repository, so they're pretty safe and reliably stored, regardless of who submitted them.

I can understand the concern that a developer might disappear and stop supporting their plugins, but you can always check how active the developer is, and has been, or reach out to them before choosing to purchase. I do the same when considering other commercial assets - if a library hasn't been updated in a couple of years I'll judge whether it's because the developer is no longer maintaining it, or if it's that the code just doesn't need further work. Sometimes a lack of updates can actually be a good sign. Same goes for a lack of questions or bug reports - perhaps the library is just solid and intuitive. Unanswered questions on the other hand, are a bad sign.

A reviews system would be nice to have though. Perhaps also an eBay or Amazon style questions section. There's a lot of room for improvement with the marketplace website itself, agreed.

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#13

sieler2

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Richard11 writes: ... marketplace is just a market - you wouldn't expect the Google Play store to host copies  ...

 

 

Actually, that's a good idea.  Many abandoned apps on iOS and Android have had problems with newer releases of the OS.

I'd love to access (or get someone to access) the source for "7 Cities" on iOS, and update it for modern iOS!

 

However, back to the Corona Marketplace ...

 

This is an area where you can't rely on letting the free market do its job. 

That's because each individual developer (or team :) has little weight for a given marketplace vendor ... but Corona has *immense* weight.  

Thus, for this concept, yes, it makes sense to have a requirement like this.

 

Don't forget: the robustness / legitimacy of the Corona Marketplace redounds on Corona Labs and the success of Corona/Lua.

 

Stan



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#14

sieler2

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anaqim mentions the Coronium Core plugin as an example of a plugin that is in danger of being abandoned ...

 

In the mainframe/Unix area (specifically, the HP 3000 (running MPE/iX)), my company (Allegro Consultants, Inc.) offers a home for old products.  This means we receive the source code, and host the binaries for users to access.  In some cases, the product isn't dead yet, but the developer has decided to hedge his bets and wanted to be sure someone (us) could step in and help the user if a problem occurs.  In our case, we've charged nothing for this.  Perhaps Corona, or the community, could make a similar offer until a real Corona driven escrow gets implemented (if ever).

 

Stan



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#15

davebollinger

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I chose to release a plugin with source, as it's the only way that I myself would buy one (other than Corona's plugins), for all the reasons already mentioned.  But many devs seem to be freakishly paranoid with regard to distributing source code - I don't know if that's the result of "ego" (ie "my code is so unique, I'm protecting trade secrets") or "cynicism" (ie "if I release source it'll surely be stolen") or what, but such concerns are probably misplaced, and a form-letter cease-and-desist would likely be enough to solve any problems if they arose -  the marketplace EULA is pretty thorough.  But it seems unlikely the marketplace would ever require source (direct or escrowed).




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