Ulysses ** Breaking News **

It’s not my writing app, which is obviously Scrivener - but I know many users who go ballistic today, because Ulysses has changed the app license without forewarning and announcement to a subscription model. I can read from the feedback in the user groups that most people are very upset about it, especially those, who just bought the app.

While it will be a good opportunity to win new Scrivener users, I now got some comments in our Scrivener user group too, saying (quote): “Don’t feel save, Scrivener will probably follow that pest shortly”. (end quote)

While I do not hope this is going to happen, there is a strange feeling in my stomache remaining.
Recently, a lot of apps have changed that way and joined “Setapp” for instance.
Since a subscription model would change the whole perspective, I hope someone can wipe away that concern for now …
Can you?


…and answered

Whew! I came here out of the exact same concern. Thank you, thank you, thank you Literature and Latte for not trying to hold all our writing hostage to monthly tribute! I’m a user of both apps–revise that, I was a user of both Scrivener and Ulysses, but now I’m a Scrivener man!

I was planning on supporting both products with a humble app I’m developing, but I just dropped support for Ulysses.

And just to put it out there: I will be buying 3.0 on the Mac App Store as soon as it is available, and I do not mind in any way paying you for the hard work you’ve put into this update. Of course, I would prefer an upgrade price, but Apple doesn’t make that possible. No problem. I vastly prefer the App Store install option, update model, and added security, and I’m willing to pay for that.

Thank you for treating us as customers by giving us choices, rather than the Ulysses style of “this is how it’s going to be” users.

If anyone want’s the details of Ulysses’ greedy move, here’s the link:
medium.com/building-ulysses/why … f80b07a9cd

I am glad someone posted this here, I had purchased both version of Ulysses, but had swapped back to Scrivener. This post prompted me to ask for refunds from Apple for both the Ulysses purchases.

Scrivener’s paid major version update model is the better choice.

Holy cow, I didn’t think they’d actually do it. I thought they were priced high enough to stoop to that strategy.

Super pleased LitNLat has reaffirmed their position on pay-outright and I will be lining up to pay for Scrivener 3 just as I did with 1, 2 and iOS.

I blogged not long ago about my distaste and distrust of subscriptions models when Day One went that way. chrisrosser.net/posts/2017/06/30 … e-too-far/

I’m gobsmacked

I’m one of those heathens who moved from Scrivener to Ulysses, but thanks to this news, you can count me in for v3.

I was honestly testing the waters in a draft, Ulyssess from the POV of a Scrivener User review.

Spared me the trouble at least.

I bought Ulysses a couple of years ago for both desktop and iPad: I quite like it but I rarely use it — I use Emacs for short text and Scrivener for longer work so Ulysses really sits a bit in the middle.

Therefore I’m unlikely to pay the subscription, because for me Ulysses is not worth it on a purely cost-benefit basis. But I already pay subscriptions for Office365 and Tinderbox: the former because my wife uses it and Tinderbox because – well, it’s Tinderbox, and nobody can explain what draws us to Tinderbox… Both are approximately £90 a year and neither is as essential to me as Scrivener.

Of course, Lit&Lat have said that they’re not considering a subscription model, which is fine. But if they’re ever forced to by the economics, then I will certainly subscribe.

If more companies start subscribing, then it won’t stop me using the programs I rely on now, because I’ll pay the subscription — it will stop me buying as many new programs on a whim (‘it’s only a few quid…’). I have an embarrassingly large investment in programs I’ve bought and never use… that’s just as much dead money as a subscription. I’ll probably end up spending as much on software as I do now, but on a small number of program subscriptions.

The article by the chap from Ulysses raised a lot of questions for me: I can understand their dilemma. How do you make software pay in the long term and what are the long term consequences of having to produce a snazzy new update to keep the funds coming in? Take Omnifocus – a really good program which was made less powerful (in my view) by a paid update which focused on cosmetics rather than features. Would that have happened if they’d been able to rely on a steady income? I paid for Omnifocus 1 and 2: never use them anymore…

This is a big relieve for me. Thank you!
I have build my entire workflow / workday around Scrivener and I am more than happy with L&L’s way as is.


I do not subscribe for software. I never will. (if I can help it.)

I posted a full reply to this same question earlier today here:


All the best,

Yikes, I hope the new model is sustainable for them. I don’t use Ulysses (I did buy a previous version, but Scrivener is just much better for my needs), but it is a beautifully designed writing tool, and Keith always has good things to say about the developers and their generosity, and it would be sad if this impacted them negatively…

I agree - I don’t use Ulysses anything like as much as Scrivener, and my first reaction to their announcement was a tad negative, but I’ve been a user for years now and so decided to subscribe for a year (the current user discount makes it fairly painless) to see how it goes.

By contrast I hated the `updates’ to Day One - a swerve away from the simplicity of the original to fixed-width silliness - and so when they announced a subscription I dropped it immediately.

I may be wrong, of course, but with subscription model you are basically held hostage and have to trust the kidnappers on their word that they will treat you right and won’t kill you.

What motivation do the developers have to keep working on the app and adding new feautures, when subscription money will keep coming in regardless of what the developers do (or don’t do)?

Paid updates I can understand. Subscriptions to web-based apps are also understandable (say, Office 365 suite, even though I personally don’t use it at home). Even small subscriptions to priority support, or something. But charging a subscription fee for a locally installed app, regardless of whether it is updated or not… just because the developers have to eat… Well, I have to eat, too. :slight_smile: We all have. :slight_smile: Somehow I don’t see my employer willing to keep paying me for projects I have already completed long time ago. :slight_smile:

Yes, IMHO you are wrong.

The Ulysses folks are not kidnappers–you can’t walk away from kidnappers–they are a tiny company providing software that apparently many people find useful. (Not me, never tried it.)

If the Ulysses folks have priced their subscription correctly–if the price is worth the value–then customers will pay it.

If they’ve priced their subscription incorrectly, then customers won’t pay it. They’ll vote with their feet, by moving on to another product. Or staying on the old version, if that’s an option. Then the Ulysses folks will have to change their pricing model, or take some other action to make it right. Or go out of business.

I would guess they’ve had and will have many sleepless nights whether they’ve made the right decision.

Me, I don’t worry about L&L charging for an update or moving to a subscription model. What I worry about is Keith getting hit by a bus.

ETA: :smiley:

Okay. Still, what is their motivation then? If somebody has installed software and subscribed, then they must find it useful the way it is. I don’t think that they will just suddenly up up and away at some point.

I have used unsupported Scrivener for Linux for years and haven’t had any problems (apart from default scaling percent). No reason to leave it behind yet. At least, not until I upgrade my Xubuntu to next LTS and Scrivener stops working, which is known. I knew I was on my own with it, and agreed to that. If initial terms of usage satisfied me, I just kept going. So if users are satisfied with functions and pricing when making this contract, and keep paying, then what motivation do the developers have?

On the aside, their pricing does seem to target professionals. Which means inevitable drop in userbase. Whether the remaining users will be able to compensate for non-professionals who are less likely to subscribe, it remains to be seen.

I really hope lightning doesn’t strike twice! Here’s what happened the first time:

(Top tip: when you are drunk after celebrating getting your teaching qualification and you’ve missed the last train, don’t cross busy roads in New Cross full of bendy buses.)


You obviously didn’t dodge that bus, but we many happy Scrivener users surely dodged a bullet.

To stay in business?

I haven’t even really looked–as mentioned, I don’t use Ulysses, so I really don’t care–and I’ve seen a crap load of posts from Ulysses users who claim they’re going to walk. Assuming that 50% of those are bluster–they’re angry now but will change their minds once they cool off–it seems that Ulysses is going to lose customers, at least during this initial adjustment phase. There are other choices out there, which customers will move to if they perceive better value.

To stay in business. There are other tools out there. If the Ulysses guys sit on their butts and don’t keep up with the other tools, then their customers will walk to the other tools.

And if there are no other comparable tools out there, then some enterprising man or woman–someone like our Keith–will say, “I can do this better”, and they’ll build a better tool.

Good point.

I use both Scrivener and Ulysses; Ulysses for short and long fiction works, Scrivener for long fiction with complicated plots/subplots/time arcs, etc. I like both programs (and both development teams), and aside from momentary disorientation when moving from the markdown environment to the WYSIWYG environment, and vice-versa, am happy with both.

Did I pop for the subscription model Ulysses just introduced. Yep. $30/year for both the Mac and iOS versions seems reasonable to me since I use Ulysses nearly every day. Do I like the subscription model? Not at all. But, as Keith said, the company has decided the change is what it requires to stay in business and continue to improve the software.

So I signed up for the annual/lifetime discount, but will assess over the year the frequency of improvements/new and enhanced features, etc. If those things don’t happen, I can always cancel the subscription and easily get my work out of the program. Also, I’ve saved the old Mac and iOS versions should I decide to return to it and use it until inevitable OS changes break it, which could be years.

In the end, a straight forward business decision for me, with an out. I still have control over how I choose to write. In the future I may decide not to use one program or the other, or neither, but as Keith also noted, (duh) who can foretell the future. :smiley: