I'm a long time use of Borland's C++ Builder (formerly Borland, then CodeGear, now Embarcadero). It's basically a C++ development tool for Microsoft Windows, that has a large number of component-based libraries and GUI widgets. The components are shared with the more well known Delphi RAD tool (Pascal based), that has been popular among indie developers.
Borland, then CodeGear, now Embarcadero, have gone through some turbulent times.. For many of us who grew up coding during the original IBM PC days, Borland Turbo C/C++/Pascal were like gifts from the Gods.
With the future of Embarcadero and C++ Builder/Delphi still in some doubt, the pricing of the standard editions made it nearly impossible for indie developers to continue using these tools.
- This weekend the company announced new "Starter" editions of C++ Builder and Delphi, priced at about $200.
The idea of the starter editions is that you can use them commercially, but only if you are doing a small volume of sales (I think under $1000 a year); there are just a few other restrictions (you can't have both Delphi and C++ Builder starter editions installed at the same time), but unlike their previous "turbo" edition incarnations, these are the full tools and you can install 3rd party component libraries into them -- of which their are thousands of great ones.
This seems to me a reasonable price for a very powerful tool.
Many of my larger applications are coded in C++ Builder because it let's me design elaborate GUI interfaces quickly and painlessly. Even as just a prototyping tool I think it's worth the money. I'm still unsure about it's future, so I wouldn't recommend it as a path for coders looking to choose a path for future development and employment.
But if you are looking to do some hobbyist programming on windows, these are absolutely fantastic tools to play with. It's without a doubt one of the fastest ways to develop full-featured windows applications, and the free 3rd party visual components available for it are outstanding.
We think an indie license is a better alternative to the traditional non-commercial license. We want to provide our latest tools for both hobby use and for developers getting started. Offering a non-commercial license would allow us to offer lower cost editions. However, a non-commercial license generally prevents a developer from earning money selling goods or services based on their work unless the developer first purchases a commercial license. This can be problematic for a developer who is not yet earning income from their work. An Indie style license allows a developer to jumpstart their career, business, or education without a significant monetary investment up-front. We want to help developers get started, and only when the developer generates revenues of US $1,000 do we require a full commercial license.