Trial Software done right

I’ve been using OmniGraffle for some time now. It’s simply one of the most easy to use diagramming tools I’ve seen so far. So now I also got my new laptop which doesn’t come with that tool bundled unlike the old Powerbooks (and probably also the new MacBook Pros) and since I already considered upgrading for the last couple of months and because I also need a powerful diagramming tool for my master thesis, I downloaded the trial version …

Well, actually I requested a trial license and then downloaded the software. Right after starting OmniGraffle Pro (referred to as OGP from now on to save was left of my sanity) IIRC the licenses screen popped up and for some reason I didn’t enter the trial license key right away. Imagine my surprise when I could the program anyway.

It seems like the OmniGroup takes a very interesting approach to the whole trial version/shareware story in the sense that both exist:

  1. If you don’t enter a license key, OGP runs in unlicensed mode which basically gives you the whole program with some limitations. In this case it’s a limit of 20 objects you can have in your diagrams.
  2. If you want to have the whole program without limitations to really test it, you can request a trial license which works for 24 hours. Afterwards the program will return into the unlicensed mode unless you order a real license or another trial license (I guess there is a limit somewhere that prevents you from just ordering a license every day for the rest of your life).

This is really a great approach because it allows anyone to just download the software and really test it for a reasonable period of time and if a case turns up when you really need the whole thing, you can get it for 24 hours (And everyone who has ever drawn a “normal” UML-diagram can probably attest that 20 objects is nothing ;-)).