Re: X-Cart become subscription based, so what should I do?
XC4 and XC5 share the name but are 2 different platforms.
Keep in mind XC4 was initially developed in 2003 I believe. While it has been constantly updated through the years at its core it stayed in 2003. And because over all these years there was a patch over patch over patch... its code got really bloated.
There is nothing wrong with XC4 and yes it works way faster compare to XC5. But when you have clients still using XC 4.1.x and do not want to upgrade because "orders are coming in", asking to support modern browsers and latest technology at the same time, saving CC info in database and manually processing orders that's not good.
XC4 code could have been optimized and half of it stripped out resulting in way better admin and customers experience. QT decided to go another way though and simply started from scratch. And keep in mind that XC4 may have more functionality from XC5 however half of that is simply something that was "cool" years ago and just left in the code. Some stores may use it but most don't. XC5 cleaned that up. And still playing catch up.
When QT started on XC5 I always thought it will be more like a framework, a core skeleton and you just add the modules you need. Basically when installed there is no storefront only admin. You want to sell physical products - you add products module, you have only one products - no need of categories module. Having modular structure and being able to simple add/remove without touching any code is a big advantage. Not ideal for those who know XC4 and how to make simple changes though. Not to mention the price tag we have now.
But lets also keep in mind - XC4 is subscription based too. Everyone using 4.6.x and up (I think it started with 4.6) is supposed to pay annual fee in order to get new updates. QT simply has no way of enforcing this. One more reason for them to phase out XC4.
And let's keep in mind XC5 started as subscription based cloud only cart. There are still articles from 6-7 years ago online which refer to XC5 as cloud based cart. QT made it downloadable because of the pressure they had from the forum and because XC4 users were the only potential customers for XC5 at the time. Now this is not the case anymore. As Kevin said "If XC4 owners hadn't already jumped to XC5 by this late stage of the game, they never would have anyway". QT/SL does not count on XC4 users anymore to make XC5 platform usable.
One way I think QT/SL may benefit of XC4 is to release it under "community" license and make it a community supported cart. That way they get it off of their hands and XC4 continues to live. Anyone using it will assume responsibility and that there is not one central place for support/maintenance or new features.
Giving the way everybody is moving to the cloud nowdays, consolidating different services into very few, making everything subscription based, etc no wonder XC5 is moving the same direction too. It's just that I think they could have done it better instead of completely cutting off everybody already using the platform.