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Why I don't do well with subscription based software

 
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Although many people love subscription-based software, I don't.  People keep asking me "why don't you just subscribe to...".  I have reasons.  And here they are.

1.  My income is unstable.

Because of my health and my job, my income is seasonal.  There can be many months where I only just meet my basic needs for housing, transport, and food.  Sometimes I make more money.  The problem with subscriptions is that one gets charged extra if they buy a monthly subscription, but save money with a yearlong subscription.  But most subscriptions charge a monthly fee to the annual plan.  If I sign up for the monthly plan, I can't afford the price, but an annual plan, I cannot cancel the plan for the months I can't afford it.

With subscriptions, I have to put aside two years worth of fees to cover the months when I don't make enough money to pay for the service.

Which means I have to remember that this money is set aside for subscriptions.  Which leads us to number 2.


2.  I'm not good with money.  

I'm not good with numbers in general (thank you sliding decimal point and base ten mathematics).  So I developed a very simple concept for handling money: Spend less than I earn.

Since my brain is very poor with numbers and virtual concepts, I use cash to keep track of my expenses.  If I spend money on my credit card, I put the cash in the credit card pile and I know I cannot spend that cash.  Everything else I buy with cash and if I run out of cash before the end of the month, I don't buy anything until the next pension payment.  

Subscriptions are virtual.  They don't fit into the cash system I have set up.  Since they come out of my account, I cannot take the cash out and put it in a pile even if I wanted to because I don't know how much the charge will be each month because of ...


3. The exchange rate

Most subscriptions I buy or want to buy are in US dollars or UK pounds.  

They are reoccurring payments that fluctuate based on the exchange rate.  I don't know how much they are going to be until the bill comes in and when you live this far under the poverty line, $4 can mean days worth of food.  I don't have that kind of leeway.


4.  Constant updates

This is the biggest benefit of subscribing.  The software is constantly updated.  To me, this is the worst possible thing.  

If I open a programme, I want to just do the thing and get it done.  I have a set amount of time that I know the task takes.  Updates obliterate that.  

Some software asks if I want to update now or later, but many don't.  They just update, which takes ages.  Then they give me a bunch of popups explaining the new thing which I don't have time to look at right now, so I click them away.  Then I cannot figure out how to use the updated software... but the tutorial is gone.  What should have taken under 2 min has now taken over an hour and the supper has burnt and I'm very angry.

If I buy the version outright, I can choose better when I upgrade.  I usually like to stick with a programme for about 4 or 5 years then upgrade.


5. Only works online

So many software I've subscribed to in the past require the internet to work.  Grammarly (which I love!) is one such program.

Some times of the year, my internet is intermittent.  If we get a storm, it can easily be 10 days without internet.  Which means I cannot get things done because the software is internet dependent.


6. Money

The reason I don't do debt is that I can't tolerate the idea of paying interest.  It's money spent without any tangible return.  

Likewise, subscription fees add up quickly.  It usually takes 14 to 20 months of subscription to pass the outright cost of buying the software.  Everything after that is paying for the services and updates.  Um... which I don't always want.


7.  I don't like feeling bullied

Buisnesses are in it to make money, I get that.  Since I don't have much money, I want to choose who gets it based on the choices they offer me.  If someone is only offering me subscritpion that is filled with stuff I don't need (see above) and doesn't fit my style, then I get my back up.  I fell like that company is bullying me and I don't like it.  I would rather give my money to someone who at least presents me with the illusion of choice.  


That's not all the reasons, just a basic outline.  
These are simply reasons I don't like software subscriptions.  But you know, I'm an odd duck.  
Most people don't have the same chalanges I do, so I think most people would like subscriptions.
 
r ranson
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8. When you run out of money, you don't access to the software.  Sometimes there are free equivalents, but the file format hardly ever transfers properly.

When the work needs the software, it becomes a choice of not eating so one can pay the subscription and make money from the job next month, or cancel the subscription to eat now and not get income next month.
 
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Subscription based software is awful. For all these reasons and more.

It is terribly disappointing to me that the market in general shrugged and lived with the new model, rather than it resulting in a lot of business/money/progress going to products and companies willing to buck the trend.


Perhaps the most terrifying badness is the example of entire countries losing access to software for political reasons. Adobe software is often a key piece of business equipment, and it can go away with the stroke of a pen..


As I am reliant on only a shitty cell connection for data, software updates that cannot be delayed are a big problem. A large update or new program means driving to town and killing time while dealing with it via wifi..

I am very glad that I do not depend on any such programs for income.
 
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This frustrates me as well for the same reasons.

I used to have Adobe CS6 for all my photo editing and book formatting. We got a new computer and for some silly reason my old software doesn't work on it. The only certain way I know of to get the versions of InDesign and Photoshop that will work on it is by subscription.

Does anyone know of any non-subscription alternatives to Photoshop and InDesign?

Or any way to get old Adobe software to work on MacOs Mojave?

I don't care about updates or having the latest version of anything, it seems a lot of technology now is designed for people who are connected to the internet all the time and care about updates.

Subscription services seem a bit like debt to me.
 
r ranson
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This is what's happening in my head:

The options I'm considering are:
1.  Photoshop/lightroom which costs US$9.99 per month (CAD $13-15 per month - depending on exchange rate)
or the forerunner of many possible options
2. Capture One: CAD $405 for a Perpetual license.

$9 looks like a lot less than $400.  But is it?  $9 is actually $9.99 which due to the unstable nature of exchange rates, I should budget as $15 per month in my currency.  Already, we are half again as much as advertised.

$405 / $15 = 27months / 12 = 2.25 years.  So, if I go with the subscription, in a little over two years, it will cost me more than the perpetual licence.  

How long will the perpetual licence last me?

Well, at a rough estimate, my computer has 5 to 8 years left in it.  Since it's a tower, when one component goes, I can replace it and keep on going.  I can also upgrade... so I think I can safely say I have 8 more years before I need to think about buying a whole new PC.  
This perpetual licence means I can have access to security and other updates, but I have to pay for the future versions.  It also means I don't have access to cloud storage and other extras that comes with Adobe.  These aren't features I would use.  I'm slow to adjust to new software, so I'm feeling happy with saying this would last me at least 5 years before I would be tempted to upgrade.

That means if I go with the subscription, I would pay nearly $500 more than if I go with the perpetual license.  

However, if I go with the subscription service, I have access to a lot more than with Capture one.  The cloud storage for example.  Photoshop can do a lot more than Capture One can.  Capture one is more like Adobe's Lightroom.  But then again, I also have the free software GIMP which can do almost as much as Photoshop - albeit, it's more geeky and harder to learn.  I'm a geek.  I'm okay with that.  What I really want is a RAW converter and nondestructive editor.  There are free and cheap ones out there but they don't seem to do as much as the two I'm considering (lightroom and Capture 1).  

So the subscription would have me paying more, but I would get more.  But would any of these extras be something I would use?  I don't think so.  Not in the next few years at least.  
 
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I have photoshop and really enjoy it. But, the only reason I have it is that my brother is a digital artist. So he would get the current version of photoshop and give my parent or me his older version. I've never paid subscription for it. I've had the same copy on various computers for at least 10 years.

I just looked at mine, and it's Photoshop CS2, from 2005. Still does everything I need it to do.

Maybe you could get a used copy of an older version of photoshop? I've no kknowledge of the other programs you've listed, but maybe there's used copies or older versions that still do everything you need for cheaper?

I've never, not once, paid for a subscription for something. I don't even have amazon prime. I'm sad enough that I have to pay mortgage payment, auto insurance, home insurance, electricity, taxes,and phone/internet bills. I don't want any more bills to forget/freak out about.
 
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I still have old photoshop installed for the moment but with all this subscription trend I have already gone open source for some things. I have been using Libreoffice for about 5 years and it is excellent free alternative for word, excel etc. So I better go intall GIMP and get used to photo editing with that instead.
 
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Kate...

Paint Shop Pro 2020

It is produced by Corel now, and has a one time fee of $79. You can try it free for 30 days.

I am testing it out myself right now. I have the older 2004 version of PaintShopPro8 and really like it...
 
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r ranson wrote:Although many people love subscription-based software, I don't.  People keep asking me "why don't you just subscribe to...".  I have reasons.  And here they are.

1.  My income is unstable.

Because of my health and my job, my income is seasonal.  There can be many months where I only just meet my basic needs for housing, transport, and food.  Sometimes I make more money.  The problem with subscriptions is that one gets charged extra if they buy a monthly subscription, but save money with a yearlong subscription.  But most subscriptions charge a monthly fee to the annual plan.  If I sign up for the monthly plan, I can't afford the price, but an annual plan, I cannot cancel the plan for the months I can't afford it.

With subscriptions, I have to put aside two years worth of fees to cover the months when I don't make enough money to pay for the service.

Which means I have to remember that this money is set aside for subscriptions.  Which leads us to number 2.


2.  I'm not good with money.  

I'm not good with numbers in general (thank you sliding decimal point and base ten mathematics).  So I developed a very simple concept for handling money: Spend less than I earn.

Since my brain is very poor with numbers and virtual concepts, I use cash to keep track of my expenses.  If I spend money on my credit card, I put the cash in the credit card pile and I know I cannot spend that cash.  Everything else I buy with cash and if I run out of cash before the end of the month, I don't buy anything until the next pension payment.  

Subscriptions are virtual.  They don't fit into the cash system I have set up.  Since they come out of my account, I cannot take the cash out and put it in a pile even if I wanted to because I don't know how much the charge will be each month because of ...


3. The exchange rate

Most subscriptions I buy or want to buy are in US dollars or UK pounds.  

They are reoccurring payments that fluctuate based on the exchange rate.  I don't know how much they are going to be until the bill comes in and when you live this far under the poverty line, $4 can mean days worth of food.  I don't have that kind of leeway.


4.  Constant updates

This is the biggest benefit of subscribing.  The software is constantly updated.  To me, this is the worst possible thing.  

If I open a programme, I want to just do the thing and get it done.  I have a set amount of time that I know the task takes.  Updates obliterate that.  

Some software asks if I want to update now or later, but many don't.  They just update, which takes ages.  Then they give me a bunch of popups explaining the new thing which I don't have time to look at right now, so I click them away.  Then I cannot figure out how to use the updated software... but the tutorial is gone.  What should have taken under 2 min has now taken over an hour and the supper has burnt and I'm very angry.

If I buy the version outright, I can choose better when I upgrade.  I usually like to stick with a programme for about 4 or 5 years then upgrade.


5. Only works online

So many software I've subscribed to in the past require the internet to work.  Grammarly (which I love!) is one such program.

Some times of the year, my internet is intermittent.  If we get a storm, it can easily be 10 days without internet.  Which means I cannot get things done because the software is internet dependent.


6. Money

The reason I don't do debt is that I can't tolerate the idea of paying interest.  It's money spent without any tangible return.  

Likewise, subscription fees add up quickly.  It usually takes 14 to 20 months of subscription to pass the outright cost of buying the software.  Everything after that is paying for the services and updates.  Um... which I don't always want.


7.  I don't like feeling bullied

Buisnesses are in it to make money, I get that.  Since I don't have much money, I want to choose who gets it based on the choices they offer me.  If someone is only offering me subscritpion that is filled with stuff I don't need (see above) and doesn't fit my style, then I get my back up.  I fell like that company is bullying me and I don't like it.  I would rather give my money to someone who at least presents me with the illusion of choice.  


That's not all the reasons, just a basic outline.  
These are simply reasons I don't like software subscriptions.  But you know, I'm an odd duck.  
Most people don't have the same chalanges I do, so I think most people would like subscriptions.




Good morning, and I hope you are doing well.

As the IT director of a small chemical laboratory, I couldn't agree with you more about all these gripes!

While there are myriad advantages for IT folks for a subscription based software, for most people, it is completely impractical.

You lose ALL control over the software, updates, and functionality of it.

Sadly, we have decided to start developing as many things as possible, in house. Sadly because it means a ton of work for me; however, our life has never run more smoothly.


All things considered, if you really want to escape this seemingly unending pit, I suggest you start the switch to open source software.

You will need to first and foremost, change your operating system to a linux based one.

Next you are going to have to start finding alternatives to what you need or even ways to live without them at all.

Warning to the faint of heart, linux is not easy, nor will transitioning to open source software.

This being said, this is the only way for people like you and I to really stick it to the man in a reasonable manner.

Eventually, you may find yourself even helping to develop the software you use, how cool is that?


Anyways, get open source, deal with hell on earth for a few months while you transition, then never look back.
 
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Yeah, I really don't like the subscriptions either... My wife and I always complain to each other about this issue. I remember buying Microsoft Office and using the same version for years without paying for it again. Now we have a yearly subscription for it...

I have actually paid extra (in the short run) for some services that offer a life time one time price to avoid a subscription. For me it was worth it.

For my business I use several services to manage it all and they're all subscription based. It's really annoying...
 
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Affinity Designer. Affinity Photo. Affinity Publisher. For me, the only way to go. And you get regular updates, too, for life. This is world-class software.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/

 
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Don't most of these subscription services want auto-debit from a bank account? Or automatically charge a credit card periodically? Besides all the other excellent reasons, these are practices I'm very leery of. Anyone who has had trouble cancelling auto-payments will know what I mean. Then there's things like Paypal helping itself to my account with no authorization, no notification, no explanation. Experiences like these shake one's trust in subscription based anything.

Hamilton Betchman wrote:
All things considered, if you really want to escape this seemingly unending pit, I suggest you start the switch to open source software.

You will need to first and foremost, change your operating system to a linux based one.


I second this suggestion and highly recommend any of the Ubuntu Linux flavors (I like Xubuntu). Very user friendly, even for the Linux uninitiated, and with hundreds/thousands of open source software choices.
 
r ranson
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With the photo editing side of things, what I'm looking for isn't anything like Photoshop.  I'm actually searching for a RAW image management system that can do non-destructive light editing like Lightroom.  We have a thread about it over here.

 
r ranson
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Leigh Tate wrote:Don't most of these subscription services want auto-debit from a bank account? Or automatically charge a credit card periodically?



Yeh, this is a big problem for me.  I don't do debt so if something is charged to my credit card, I need to know how much it is (subscriptions fluctuate by exchange rate) and to remember not to spend that money (keeping track of subscriptions hurts my brain).  

As for unsubscribing... I have stories.
 
r ranson
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Opensource: I think it is wonderful that these resources exist.  Sometimes I use them.  Sometimes they work well.  But I also feel like making software that works really really well must cost a lot of time and money, so I'm not opposed to paying money to use the software.  What I don't like is paying for things I don't use.  

Example Amazon Prime:  I think I would like this except the thing I would like the most (free next day shipping) doesn't work.  I'm only 8 minutes drive from the main sorting office, but my address is considered rural.  Next day delivery takes 4 to 6 working days via Canada Post and about 4 days via any other shipper.  Free non-prime delivery costs nothing and takes 5 to 7 working days.  I'm sure there are other things we can get from Prime.  But I don't have time or a machine to watch videos, I don't have a machine that can stream music... So I would be paying nearly $80 per year for all this stuff I don't or cannot use.


Going back to opensource: I had Libra Office for years, but it wasn't good enough when I needed to communicate with other MS Office users as the formatting wouldn't transfer.  

When I looked at getting MS office, I had two problems that needed fixing.  
1. My mail manager (live mail) was misbehaving.  Deleting random stuff and worse, opening and checking the mail on startup - BEFORE my antivirus had woken up.  This led to some pretty close calls.
2. I needed something that could keep the formatting when sending to a computer that used MS Office (both excel and word processor)

And a third thing that I didn't know I needed but turned out to be just as important:
3. I needed a Word Processor that could work with the Grammarly plugin.  

At that time, there were two options.  The subscription-based where I pay an annual fee and a one time purchase.  The one-time purchase cost about 3 years of subscription but it didn't have all the components of office.  It didn't do mail or Excel.  It also only did one machine and we have two in the house.  

Most importantly, when I stop paying the subscription, I can still access my files and formatting via opensource software (the formatting stays the same when going from MS Office to Libre Office).

Reading about Adobe and their image editing and managing software, some forums suggest that they recently made it (looks to be in the last 5 or 6 months) that if I ever stop the subscription, I'll lose access to a lot of library management and unconverted edits.  This is another nail in the Adobe coffin.

 
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r ranson wrote:With the photo editing side of things, what I'm looking for isn't anything like Photoshop.  I'm actually searching for a RAW image management system that can do non-destructive light editing like Lightroom.  We have a thread about it over here.


There's an plugin for Gimp for handling RAW images, but I don't know if it can do the things Lightroom can do.
 
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I posted some things about the different types of imaging software in the other thread - https://permies.com/wiki/130542/art/Giant-List-Photoshop-alternatives

Let's try and migrate that part of the conversation over there
 
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Daron Williams wrote:Yeah, I really don't like the subscriptions either... My wife and I always complain to each other about this issue. I remember buying Microsoft Office and using the same version for years without paying for it again. Now we have a yearly subscription for it...



You can still buy Microsoft in a one shot deal. I did last year anyway. They have both choices; a one time deal, or subscription based...unless they have changed that in the last few months???
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:

Daron Williams wrote:Yeah, I really don't like the subscriptions either... My wife and I always complain to each other about this issue. I remember buying Microsoft Office and using the same version for years without paying for it again. Now we have a yearly subscription for it...



You can still buy Microsoft in a one shot deal. I did last year anyway. They have both choices; a one time deal, or subscription based...unless they have changed that in the last few months???



When I was looking into MS office last year, I noticed I could buy a small package with a perpetual licence or I could get the full package with a subscription.  The problem is, I needed the stuff that was subscription only.

I suspect this is different in different countries.
 
Travis Johnson
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r ranson wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:

Daron Williams wrote:Yeah, I really don't like the subscriptions either... My wife and I always complain to each other about this issue. I remember buying Microsoft Office and using the same version for years without paying for it again. Now we have a yearly subscription for it...



You can still buy Microsoft in a one shot deal. I did last year anyway. They have both choices; a one time deal, or subscription based...unless they have changed that in the last few months???



When I was looking into MS office last year, I noticed I could buy a small package with a perpetual licence or I could get the full package with a subscription.  The problem is, I needed the stuff that was subscription only.

I suspect this is different in different countries.



If I remember right, the bundle I bought did not come with Microsoft Publisher, but you can buy that separately too. There are work arounds; not as convenient, but work arounds if a person is determined.
 
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