Quilt Design Software Runs Out Of Thread Too Soon

Let’s be honest here. There is not very much overlap between the groups of “people who are quite tech-savvy” and “quilters.” (I can say that because I’m a quilter! Put down the rotary cutters!) That’s why reader T. is annoyed that the makers of popular quilt design software Electric Quilt only offer their users four “activations,” or installations on a particular operating system, and has their users scared to upgrade their Windows version or purchase a new computer.

Electric Quilt 6 is a popular software package for quilters which costs nearly $150. Since EQ’s previous version was pirated the company decided to only allow registered users to “activate” the software four times. This could be four activations on the same PC or four activations on four different PCs- it doesn’t matter. Additional activations cost $37.50 although EQ6 will at times provide one extra for free.

Electric Quilt put together this handy chart to help users understand exactly what an “activation” is. My guess is that 90% of their users could not explain that chart if they tried. They’re quilters, not computer experts!

The chart basically states that users can uninstall/reinstall the EQ6 software with the same OS installation without using one of their four precious activations. If the hard drive is formatted or the OS is changed it does not matter if the user is using the same computer or not- an activation is used.

There are plenty of posts on the web from EQ6 users who are scared to format their computers in fear of using an activation. Some posts are from users who purchased new computers but will not install the software because they do not want to use an activation either. This is not software ownership.

Over the last few years I have purchased a new computer, suffered a hard drive crash, used Vista for a few months on a new computer to eventually switch back to XP, switched from XP to Windows 7 and had reformatted my XP hard drive once just to remove a few drivers and applications which I could not figure out how to uninstall completely. If I had kept EQ6 installed for my wife this entire time I would have used seven activations.

Recently I picked up a tablet PC too, which lends itself to a program such as EQ6, which is basically a simple 2D CAD application. We’re down to two activations and are not sure if we will purchase Windows 7 after the RC is up or stick with Vista so we have no desire to install that software.

At this time, EQ6 sits on an old laptop which is unbearably slow and is hardly ever turned on. There is also an image on a hard drive but that image is for a computer which sits in a spare bedroom because it too is obsolete.

I am a bit bothered at having wasted $150 on EQ6 but more so I’m bothered that this type of behavior is accepted. I hope this is an isolated incident but I have learned that several major software titles have attempted to use a similar scheme in the past (anti-virus and financial apps).

It’s understandable that the makers of an expensive nice program would try to limit installations in order to prevent excessive sharing or outright piracy, but at the same time, as T. states, how is this software ownership? How many times have you changed computers, upgraded your OS, or lost the contents of your hard drive in the last few years? In my case, it’s more than four.

(Photo: art_es_anna)