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Subscriptions & Versions

The 74¢ model.

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Rixstep subscriptions work like hardcopy newspaper subscriptions. They don't work like Apple subscriptions. The model's based as closely as possible on that of Paul Graham.

You subscribe to a newspaper, the newspaper is sent to your door. You can discontinue your subscription at any time, you get to keep the newspapers you already have.

Developers in one of Apple's channels have to pay $100 per year just to have their software listed. They can pay $100 and put up a product. But if they don't renew that subscription at year's end, the product is taken down.

Rixstep subscribers get continual 24/7/365.2422 access to daily builds. Always. Notices are occasionally sent out (one or two times per month) when something big is happening. Rixstep subscribers have a fast and easy method (deliberately not built into the software itself) to check if there have been any updates. The downloads are lean and mean like no others, but some people are still on dial-ups and/or have a bandwidth limit. The update check costs them less than one kilobyte.

All new purchases come with one year's free support, one year's updates to existing software, and one year's free receipt of new software. The difference between the ACP and Xfile subscriptions is clear: the Xfile subscription has all Rixstep software related to file management, ACP is literally everything - dozens more programs, console utilities, help files.

The 'subscription' per se is renewable on a biannual basis averaging out to $10 per year. This is always going to be cheaper than getting a discount on an upgrade for a single product anywhere else. And again: it's not just the programs you currently have that are affected - you get new programs too. For free.

Xfile and ACP subscribers are now getting the new file managment utility XaBatch - added to both subscriptions for free.

An Xfile purchase is currently $59 for a single user. The less cerebrally franchised have been known to remark 'OMGLOLWTF $60 is a lot for a file browser!'

$60 would be a lot for a single program, even something of Xfile's caliber. But the $60 Xfile purchase is not about a single program. It's currently twenty four (24) programs. At $59 for the lot, that's dirt cheap. And it's meant to be - you get the world's only Cocoa-based access control list manager, a Cocoa bundle inspector, a catalogue node ID editor, the ACP versions of Clipothèque and CLIX, a Finder info editor, a resource fork utility, another file manager that's even lower level than Xfile, a message digest generator, a comparison utility, a permissions batch editor, a file timestamp batch editor, a file info viewer, a disk activity tracker, a utility to 'hide' and 'unhide' files, an extended attribute batch editor, a file attribute editor, Xfile, a search program, a disk scanner, a string substitution batch editor, a shelf utility, an HFS file timestamp batch editor, and a string extractor. All for those $60. That's not $60 for a 'file browser'. That's just over $2 for it.

Those who purchased the original Xfile with 12 applications have doubled their software over the years for free. And the Xfile collection is adding more programs all the time as more and more of the ACP utilities related to file management are ported over.

ACP subscribers get everything Xfile subscribers get but more: they get all the utilities not connected with file management. A look at the ACP product page makes it easy to understand. The ACP currently has 69 Cocoa applications, the ACP Text and Web Services, and a perfunctory screen saver. An ACP purchase gives you more than double the software of an Xfile purchase, but the price isn't double. The price actually drops to approximately $1.40 per program, including Xfile.

And that's not counting ACP Portable, a special USB-based tool for administrators with another 28 Cocoa programs (and one console utility). The price per app - and this is still not counting everything else - is now $1.02. That's US dollars.

Now add in another 38 OS X/Cocoa console apps for administrators and you begin to see what ACP subscribers are getting - 135 native OS X/Cocoa applications at an average price of 74¢ per app, Xfile and the entire Xfile subscription included.

And finally add to that the fact that Xfile and ACP subscribers get separate supported builds for 10.4 Tiger/10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard/10.7 Lion and you begin to understand how Rixstep subscribers are drowning in software downloads - all for as little as 74¢ per app.

So no one pays $59 for a 'file browser'. And for the record, Xfile isn't a file browser anyway - it's a file manager. File managers are the real thing. File browsers are for kids.

Version Numbers

Version numbers aren't a big thing at Rixstep. PR people normally recommend bumping major version numbers as often as possible, because IT reporters will pay more attention than they would to a point upgrade. This is how we today have Chrome brandishing version 12.

Everything at Rixstep is dependent on the ACP.framework. Some people may at times forget to update their framework. (Rixstep software installs require not one but two mouse drags. Wear yourself out.) Version numbers are bumped only when the ACP.framework changes.

Versions are currently at 1.8.1 for 10.4, 1.9.0 for ACP Portable, 2.0.1 for 10.5, and 2.1.0 for 10.6 and 10.7 Lion. The coming ACP.framework for 10.7 Lion will most likely have a new version number as there are already changes slated. Time's needed to see how many of these changes are needed, how users react to Lion's feature set.

But all Xfile and ACP software already runs smoothly on 10.7 Lion.

Further Reading
Rixstep: Buy the Software
Rixstep Products: The ACP
Rixstep Products: Test Drive Xfile
ACP Gurus: Version Numbers (2008-10-25)

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