View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:41 pm






Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season. 
Author Message
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Just got an e-blast announcing that we have to purchase RobotC licenses for next season. I have problem with their pricing options. We don't know how many students are in our programming team yet but it is usually between 3 to 5. So it would be 4-6 seats including one mentor. If we have to purchase two 3-seat licenses, it costs almost the same as purchasing a 30-seat license. But since all licenses expire in one year, it doesn't make sense to "over purchase" on the number of seats. To make the cost more bearable in the longer run, it would make sense to purchase "Perpetual" licenses but the options only offer that for 30 seats. I suspect most of the teams don't need 30 seats so it would be a waste. The only make sense option I can see is to coordinate with several teams in the area to share a 30-seat 1-year or perpetual license. Any comments?
Quote:
ROBOTC news:
As you may already know, ROBOTC is no longer included in the FTC Kit of Parts.

It is important to note that there is no difference between FTC ROBOTC and ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS. If your team already has a ROBOTC classroom license, you do not need to purchase special ROBOTC software for the FTC competition.

ROBOTC 3.0 will be available on August 31st. Prior to August 31st, please order the “ROBOTC for FTC Off-Season” license. If your team purchases a “ROBOTC for FTC Off-Season” license, the full amount of the purchase price will be applied to your ROBOTC 3.0 upgrade.

If your team is purchasing a new license of ROBOTC 3.0 for the FTC Competition, you’ll have the following options:
· ROBOTC single license which will last 1 year from the day it is activated for $49.00
· ROBOTC 3.0 three (3) seat competition license will last 1 year from the day it is activated for $99.00
· ROBOTC 3.0 thirty (30) seat classroom license will last 1 year from the day it is activated for $199.00
· ROBOTC 3.0 plus ROBOTC Robot Virtual World thirty (30) seat classroom license will last 1 year from the day it is activated for $249.00. This is a $250.00 savings for FTC teams.
· ROBOTC 3.0 thirty (30) seat perpetual license will not expire, and teams who purchase this option will receive upgrades for the life of ROBOTC3. The cost for this option is $549.99
· Server licenses are also available

To order your copy of ROBOTC, please go to http://www.ROBOTC.net/ftc


Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:22 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Carnegie Mellon
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Hello MHTS,

Thank you for the note regarding ROBOTC for FTC pricing. Since I am a classroom teacher, I understand your concern. For the last three years the ROBOTC team has supported FTC at a very high level and we will continue to support the FTC community at a very high level; we've installed drivers at the last minute, developed training materials and posted them at our site, and answer lots of questions for teachers and students. This year we've added multiple new features to ROBOTC including enabling students to test their TETRIX and MINDSTORM robots in virtual worlds. We will be releasing the FTC Virtual Game Model so that your programming team will be able to begin writing code before the hardware team completes the robot. Eventually we envision teams will be able to build their robots using parametric solid modeling software and upload them into the Virtual World; this year, teams will only be able to use the standard robot build that we develop... We've also added multi-robot communications to the new ROBOTC3.0 build. Students and teachers will be able to build robots that can talk to each other using WiFi communications. For the last three years the price of the software was included when teams registered; the software has never been free. We currently have three full time developers working on ROBOTC and another team of developers working on Robot Virtual Worlds plus we have people working on curriculum development; all of these folks expect to be paid.

The majority of FTC teams are part of schools and will not need to purchase a license of ROBOTC because they already have a copy therefore this is a savings for many teams. ROBOTC has been highly optimized for use in schools, schools are the target market for the ROBOTC development team. Supporting schools and teachers is much more expensive than supporting a hobbyist community, we devote lots of resources to develop resources to make it easier for new programmers to learn to program robots. We've made a conscious decision to post our curriculum so that students have access to all of our training materials at http://www.robotc.net, we also support the community with blogs, a moodle based LMS, and forums like this one.

For schools that haven't purchased the software we are offering ROBOTC at a significant discount if you are part of a robotics team.

Regarding moving to an annual subscription, we have been forced to move in this direction. We want to keep the software reasonably priced, but also want to keep it updated. Software is very expensive to keep updated because of all of the changes in computer systems and hardware. We are doing the absolute best that we can to develop a product that is optimized for education and includes everything that a teacher needs to run a classroom. We believe that programming is a "new basic" that all students need to understand and that all students need to learn to program not just the programming team.

I imagine that you could share a 30 seat license between multiple teams, but a better option is to purchase a license for your school and use the software the way it is intended to be used.

Regards, Robin


Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:12 pm
Profile WWW
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
We have no problem purchasing licenses for the FTC competition but I felt the options provided are too limited and don't reflect the need of a typical FTC team. FTC team has a limit of 10 students max. Therefore, the number of programmers in a team is typically 3 to 4 plus one mentor. A 3-seat license is not enough. Two 3-seat license is almost the same price as a 30-seat. I would not think any of the FTC teams need that many licenses espeically if they will expire in one year. For the flexibility of off-season training, perpetual licenses make more sense but it is only offered for 30-seat which is too expensive for the team. Since the team has a fixed budget, we will want to spend the fund raised dollars wisely.
RobinShoop wrote:

I imagine that you could share a 30 seat license between multiple teams, but a better option is to purchase a license for your school and use the software the way it is intended to be used.

I am not aware of the option of purchasing a license for our school. Is it perpetual? How many students can use the school license? If this is a perpetual unlimited license, I would imagine it would be the most expensive option? In that case, the team probably cannot afford it.


Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:40 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Carnegie Mellon
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Dear MHTS,

It is very difficult to get the right number of seats for a school license, we decided to error on the high side (30 seats). It is difficult for us to make the distinction between a teacher that has an "FTC team with a couple of programmers" and schools that have an "FTC team and teach all students to program"; many coaches are teaching programming to all of their students. Regular pricing for schools can be found at: http://www.robotc.net/purchase/nxt/ You will be able to find perpetual license pricing there.

There is no difference between "ROBOTC for FTC" software and "ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS" software; the distinction was made for bookkeeping purposes only and so many teachers have purchased perpetual licenses; these teachers will not need to purchase software for their FTC teams. We will continue to have perpetual licensing options with ROBOTC3.0.

Good luck this season.

Robin


Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:41 pm
Profile WWW
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Is the 12-seat classroom license at $265 perpetual or just for 2.x or is it also good for upgrading to 3.0 later on? I was told that as soon as the major version changed, we have to pay for the license again. BTW, what is the definition of perpetual license?


Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:04 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Carnegie Mellon
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Quote:
Is the 12-seat classroom license at $265 perpetual or just for 2.x or is it also good for upgrading to 3.0 later on?


The 12 seat license is for 2.x. We have no plans to do any more development on ROBOTC2.x. This license will not expire.

Quote:
I was told that as soon as the major version changed, we have to pay for the license again. BTW, what is the definition of perpetual license?


A perpetual license does not expire, and will include free upgrades for as long as that version of the software is being supported.


Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:50 pm
Profile WWW
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
RobinShoop wrote:
The 12 seat license is for 2.x. We have no plans to do any more development on ROBOTC2.x. This license will not expire.

I assume the 12-seat license doesn't allow upgrading to 3.0? If so, what class room license do you suggest to get?
RobinShoop wrote:
A perpetual license does not expire, and will include free upgrades for as long as that version of the software is being supported.

I don't understand this statement. It includes free upgrades to future versions "but as long as the version is being supported". From my point of view, 2.x to 3.0 is an upgrade. So do you mean a different version means the change of the major version number? So 3.0 is a total different version and not an upgrade to 2.x?


Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:54 pm
Profile
Expert

Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:59 pm
Posts: 137
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Robin,
Thank you for the explanation. I understand some of MHTS's confusion though.
Although it is typical in commercial software to only support a perpetual license within a major version, it is unusual to me to restrict a license both within major versions AND annually. That is, if the license is good only for a given major version (for example, 2.x) and including updates, then I would generally expect it to be perpetual by default. If however, the license is only good for a year, then I would generally expect it to be for your most current version. I work with numerous commercial software vendors who license based on annual contracts, but they typically include upgrades to newer major versions. This makes sense as they really don't want to support multiple versions of their software and getting customers to move to the latest release often lowers costs as much as selling the latest version to existing clients can bring in new revenue. Of course, some of these software solutions are service based & it is difficult not to upgrade clients.
I guess my point is that hitting teams with both models can feel like a double whammy to those not familiar with software licensing.

ROBOTC is a great language/IDE & I am a huge advocate of it in FTC. However, my experience has been that the sudden expiration of the license at the end of the season leaves teams with a bad taste in their mouths in spite of all the wonderful things about ROBOTC during the season. It also creates a needless barrier to overcome for FTC teams to continue using, learning, & advocating ROBOTC during the off season.

So far you have released a new major version of ROBOTC between seasons at least twice.
Why not either consider offering perpetual licenses within a major version to teams to avoid the yearly license expiration or consider only offering yearly licenses, but giving teams upgrades to new major versions as long as their license is still valid?

Again, my compliments to the development staff; in my opinion ROBOTC is easily the best programming option out there for the NXT. My two FTC teams will be purchasing a 3-seat license once 3.0 is released. Just wanted to offer some feedback as long as this thread is open.

Regards,
l0jec

PS: ROBOTC for Arduino >> Virtual Worlds :poke:


Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:37 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Carnegie Mellon
Post Increasing Team Licenses to 6 seats
Hello IOjec,

We had several folks on vacation last week and finally had a chance to pull the ROBOTC team together. We've decided to make the team licenses a 6 seat license. MHTS made a good point when he suggested that teams probably need to have 6 licenses and we will take his suggestion and add the required number of seats for teams. Thanks for the suggestion MHTS.

You wrote:
Quote:
If however, the license is only good for a year, then I would generally expect it to be for your most current version. I work with numerous commercial software vendors who license based on annual contracts, but they typically include upgrades to newer major versions.


With both our annual licenses and our perpetual licenses users will receive upgrades as long as their license is valid and will always have access to the latest software. In the past we've needed to provide upgrades mid season to address hardware issues based on new hardware being added or new game management software. In the perfect world we would not make changes during the season, but sometimes we had to. We want the best user experience possible for teams.

Quote:
I guess my point is that hitting teams with both models can feel like a double whammy to those not familiar with software licensing.


We've tried to support our development team using a perpetual license model, that is a user purchases a license and they have an upgradable license for life (people that purchased a $30 license of ROBOTC in 2006 have had free upgrades for the last 5 years). We've learned that we cannot support our development team using that model. If you want to have a functional piece of software, then you need to have full time developers upgrading the software based on new hardware, changes in operating systems, and general updates to the IDE. As a teacher, I never understood why software companies always had new releases; I thought that they were just trying to nickle and dime me. Now that I am in the role of trying to support a software platform I have a much different perspective. We are not looking to hit teams with a double whammy, we are looking to give teams affordable choices and at the same time trying to support a best in class software and keep it reasonably priced. I was a technology education teachers and entered teams in competitions from 1997 - 2006, my experience was that the software was by far the least expensive part of the competition, but if you don't have a high-quality easy-to-understand software, it is hard for many teams to find reasonably skilled programmer that allow them to compete. Every year I had new students and had to find new programmers, our goal is to support teachers by developing training tools, hosting webinars, monitoring forums, and by continually upgrading our software. We are dedicated to giving schools a high quality programming tool. :)

We couldn't do this without having some of the top embedded system programmers in the world working on ROBOTC, it takes a very skilled programmer to optimize code for small processors. We need to be able to compensate them fairly.

Quote:
ROBOTC is a great language/IDE & I am a huge advocate of it in FTC.


Thanks for the kind words! Having been a teacher for nearly 30 years I am a big fan of teachers, they are doing the heavy lifting; our team works very hard to support them.

Regards,

Robin


Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:19 pm
Profile WWW
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post Re: Increasing Team Licenses to 6 seats
RobinShoop wrote:
We've decided to make the team licenses a 6 seat license. MHTS made a good point when he suggested that teams probably need to have 6 licenses and we will take his suggestion and add the required number of seats for teams. Thanks for the suggestion MHTS.

Thank you for taking my suggestion. It would help out a lot of teams. Would you post the updated license options now? Do you still have a perpetual license option that allows upgrade within a major version or are you getting rid of it altogether?

BTW, one way to support the development team is to allow people holding perpetual licenses to upgrade with a discount. Like I said, for teams who want to have year round activities and yet want to be able to program with the latest version of RobotC, it makes a lot of sense. Besides, you need to provide an incentive to move people to the latest version so you can stop supporting an older version at some point.


Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:26 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:45 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Carnegie Mellon
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
Quote:
Would you post the updated license options now?


Our release date is August 31. We are completing our testing. There are many new features in this release including, multi-robot communications using Xbee radios, natural language libraries designed for new programmers http://www.robotc.net/NaturalLanguage/, multiple updates to the IDE, and of course integration of the new Robot Virtual World software with ROBOTC3.0. All FTC teams will receive a 60 day trial version of the Robot Virtual Worlds.

Quote:
Do you still have a perpetual license option that allows upgrade within a major version or are you getting rid of it altogether?


Anyone that purchases a perpetual license will receive all upgrades within that major version.

Quote:
BTW, one way to support the development team is to allow people holding perpetual licenses to upgrade with a discount.


We have established upgrade pricing. For schools that have already purchased ROBOTC2.x the upgrade cost is modest.

Regards, Robin


Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:51 pm
Profile WWW
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:46 am
Posts: 1343
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
I like the new pricing options. May I add another suggestion? Is it possible to add a 6-seat perpetual license? There seems to be a big gap between a single perpetual and a 30-seat perpetual.


Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:56 pm
Profile
Site Admin
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:42 am
Posts: 592
Post Re: RobotC v3.0 for next FTC season.
We are planning on adding in a Perpetual 6-Seat "Team License" for $239.00 for teams. This will be available by the end of the week.

Thanks!

_________________
Timothy Friez
ROBOTC Developer - SW Engineer
tfriez@robotc.net


Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:03 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 13 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  



Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.