Ridiculous requirement to upgrade to RM9 to retain Ancestry and FamilySearch integration

Again, here’s what is says: “Built For the Future: RootsMagic 8 is the biggest release in our 30-year history. We’ve rewritten RootsMagic to support the latest genealogical technologies available today while building a foundation for future functionality that would have been impossible with our older code.”

My interpretation of this language when I bough RM8 was that there had been a substantial rewrite of the underlying code that would make the software more stable and easier to update as new changes and features came along.

Your interpretation seems to be that this was simply an announcement that compatibility with Apple Mac computers was going to improve because the codebase could now be cross-compiled between Windows and Mac.

I don’t think any new (or the vast majority of existing) customers would have shared your interpretation of that passage, but perhaps I am the only one that got “hung up” on it.

I don’t really want to argue with other users on this. I am sure you are all very nice and devoted people, as are the RM developers and staff.

I understand your frustration in buying a product which you thought would last much longer than expected. I too had RootsMagic 8 but unlike you, I am using a Mac computer and it doesn’t work with my latest operating system. That was really disappointing and I had a choice between upgrading RootsMagic or upgrading another Mac genealogy program, whose version also doesn’t work with my latest operating system.

I suppose RM9 must be different internally to work with my current operating system, and I can only guess that it was an upgrade to the foundation work that was present in RM8. I expect that RM8 provided a new base and additional security requirements were added in RM9 which enables it to work with OAuth requirements in Ancestry. Could RM8 work with OAuth and my new operating system? Seems not, yep disappointing.

For me the choice on upgrading one of two software products came down to whether I liked the product, was the community active and did they provide good support. I choose RM9 since the community seemed helpful and provides good advice.

Before choosing another product, can you get a trial version (like RM essentials) and how good is the vendor for your support needs, and maybe those support needs are better met by RM team and this community, with a small upgrade.

please consider.

This was not “simply”. The look and design of this program completely changed. They even chose to author their own reports facility for .DOCX and PDF generation instead of using Delphi’s .RTF capabilities. Some previous features still have not been re-incorporated. This was not exaggeration in announcement. The two programmers had their changeover cut out for them. You apparently haven’t seen how RM 7 looked and worked.

I think you are getting way too hung up on text that was written and was indeed true for the time that it was written. They did not lie to you!

Unfortunately, times change. In this particular case, no one expected the turn change in login procedures that Ancestry (and soon, FamilySearch) are implementing. Even Ancestry probably didn’t anticipate this change, at least not before the 23andMe breach. If you really want to get to the brass tacks, the OAuth stuff that is now being used is technically “future functionality”. It has been stated that they would not have been able to implement this under that RM7 codebase.

I am not one of those “nice and devoted people” that you refer to. I think RM has stumbled down the wrong path and put out a poor product as a result. I have been somewhat vocal about this since the previews of RM8 were first released. However, in this particular case, I don’t see that RM did you so wrong. Sure, RM9 did come along quicker than most releases on the past.

Maybe try some deep breathing and letting this go! It is software and it is truly not worth giving yourself an ulcer over.

Correct, I had never seen RM7 (and still haven’t). To understand my viewpoint, I think you have to suspend all of your history with RM and put yourself in my shoes. I was a new user who was looking for genealogy software for the first time when RM8 was released. All I knew about RM7 at the time was that it had been the current version for seven years. Other than that, RM7 was not relevant to my software choice.

I thought choosing the best genealogy software was important, because once I made the choice, it could be very painful to switch in the future, once I started entering all of my information, media, etc. I was under the impression that import/export functions and GEDCOM could lead to loss of data when switching between programs.

Based on the marketing of RM8 that included integration with FamilySearch/Ancestry and the alleged modern code update, as well as the historically long software life cycle (seven years for RM7), I decided to commit to RM8. Unfortunately, all of these primary things that drew me to RM8 quickly turned out to be incorrect–and add in the constant crashing and “unexpected errors” of the program and database.

The constant crashing/errors made me leery of entering my information into RM8, so I was waiting for more updates to fix those problems. Then, support stopped when RM9 was released, and the crashes/errors were not resolved. I guess the silver lining of the instability is that I never entered much information into RM8, but I have no confidence that RM9 is any better based on the reports I have seen about it. I’m certainly not going to pay for it–no matter how small the price.

When I made the argument that the language in the RM8 press release indicated that it was a major re-write of the code, you argued that I was misinterpreting what was really intended to be just an announcement that the code for the Mac version could be cross-compiled. Now you seem to be implying that RM8 was, indeed, a major re-write of the overall code for both platforms. I have whiplash, and it is futile to keep arguing back-and-forth. I guess we both just want to get the last word in.

No, what they said was that they can only update the sign-in methods in RM9, because all of the previous versions are “built on older technologies that are not compatible with the new security measures.” That includes RM8, even though they claimed not very long ago that RM8 was a major rebuild to a modern codebase that could accommodate future technologies.

I am not losing any sleep or getting any ulcers over this, but I am beginning to wonder whether my communications skills are really bad, because many people seem to think I was a user of RM7 and am seeking to make comparisons to that version that I have never seen. :slight_smile:

Thanks, teddy, for understanding my frustration. Hopefully, RM9 will turn out to be a good choice for you. Hopefully, when I choose a different platform, it will turn out to be a good choice for me, as well. Best regards.

They lied! RM8 isn’t getting updated because they don’t update old releases. From the bit of work that I have done with OAuth, I am pretty certain it wouldn’t have been impossible to update RM7 for it either, but it would have been more work. They have been touting the fact that they couldn’t do X, Y, and Z because of old technology in general, which explains the current state of the RM8/9 user interface. They also tend to blame development tools on some of the issues that the program had through out the RM8/9 cycle, yet they won’t divulge what tool chain they use. I have asked several times.

So, while you say you are not be trying to get the last word, actions speak louder than words. You have precisely two choices here, RM or the one other program that also integrates with FS/Ancestry. You can currently get both of those choices for between $20 and $30 as they are both on sale or offer upgrade pricing. If neither option suits you, then that leaves some online site, such as Ancestry, as the place to build your tree. You also good choose one of many other software packages, and forego the Ancestry/FS bits.

You are honestly going to get nothing by rattling on here, other than maybe an ulcer. No one here can help you as all of us are just regular users like you (except for Renee). I am pretty certain RM is not going to hand you a freebie.

I think those who had purchased RM8 within 90 days before the surprise release of RM9 on 2023-02-27 were granted a free upgrade. Maybe it was only 30 days to avoid covering the seasonal surge of purchases of discounted licences.

@splinke I sympathise with your disappointment in RM8 and choosing not to place a bet on RM9 as you had not been previously exposed to RM and its development history. Yet you commented that RM7 was on the market for 7 years and took that as an assumption for the market life expectancy of RM8. RM7 was truly an outlier in RM’s release history spanning nearly 21 years:

RM Version Date Released Age Superseded
1.0 2003-02-04 1.3
2.0 2004-05-24 1.3
3.0 2005-09-08 3.5
4.0 2009-03-25 2.7
5.0 2011-11-28 1.0
6.0 2012-11-19 2.0
7.0 2014-11-25 6.8
8.0 2021-09-30 1.4
9.0 2023-02-27
Average 2.5
Median 1.7
Three versions had shorter lives than RM8! One might also consider that RM7.5 (2017-06-28) which introduced Ancestry TreeShare was tantamount to a major release but for what I’m sure was an expectation of many bugs to be discovered and resolved which would have raised a hue and cry over having paid for that as an upgrade from 7.

Good luck to you whatever path you choose to follow. None of them are easy or perfect for me, in my experience.

I am aware of that, however that 90 days is long over, so no freebie!

Don’t start that discussion, I paid for RM8 over a year before it was released and was so patient and supportive of the team, then within months of getting a very buggy release they ditched it and released RM9 leaving us loyal users on the shelf. I am still mad and let down and will not recommend RM to another user (previously I would have fought you to the death for RM). I have finally upgraded (at a cost) but still feel very let down by the team.

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TomH, thanks for understanding my concerns. And the scientist in me appreciates and smiles at your spreadsheet and calculation of the average and median software release periods. :slight_smile: I definitely did not go to that level of analysis when vetting genealogy software, so that is new to me–and I was unaware that it was RM’s policy to stop all bug fixes on previous versions when a new version came out. I was never expecting seven years, but I was shocked at what happened. I guess RM is sort of subscription-based thing that you need to keep paying for every year or two to retain functionality and get bug fixes. That seems to be the trend nowadays.

@splinke I understand what you are saying but RM is NOT a subscription-based thing that you need to keep paying for every year or two-- basically I have found that it is the same for any company I’ve used to NOT do any further updates on previous versions when a new one has come out- and I’ve tried a lot of them…

take Family Tree Maker before MacKiev. ( sorry Renee)-- they released 20 VERSIONS IN 25 YEARS and then in December 2015, Ancestry.com announced that it would discontinue Family Tree Maker.
updating to the next version wasn’t cheap— You could still use an older version until you upgraded your browser or some other issue came up BUT the same can be said for RM as long as you don’t want to use Tree Share or download/upload from Family Search…

Just saying what my experiences have been

You would guess incorrectly! RM is still following the old software model of releasing a new version and leaving the upgrade to the user. They do not remove functionality from older versions, they simply stop releasing updates. Pretty much every software package that I have ever used eventually stops releasing updates for older versions. The subscription model is a whole different beast, for example Office 365, Adoabe Creative Suite etc. Those packages simply stop offering full access, or even stops offering access at all without payment of a fee (yearly, monthly etc.

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I just saw this thread for the first time this evening and can’t help but chuckle at people going wild over having to pay $20 to $30 every one+ to six years for an upgraded version of a program that usually has useful new features and generally good technical support when things are not always perfect. Many of the programs many of us have used over the years cost well in excess of $100 and many much more and still they have upgraded to new versions frequently.

i believe much of the griping would subside if the developers would still let people purchase RM7 or be able to download and activate the older program with the key for the newest version. It is similar in look and feel to the early versions of Family Origins through the first 6 versions of RM. Many of us have entered data in a similar manner for decades, and change does not come easily. Add to that the more complicated issues are not in your face and you can use RM7 in much the same manner as you did FO6.

i will continue to purchase the new versions as they come out and toggle back and forth with RM7 and versions later unless the developers go back to cleaner data entry screens. Bruce has always tried to meet the needs of we users, and this user remains loyal to his attempts to change to meet the needs of we researchers. Yes, I was disappointed with versions 8 and 9, but still looking forward what the future might bring.

In 1990 my colleagues and I developed a DB interface for customer initiated studies. The source was a secure proprietary system that needed us to negotiated a secure login process, then transfer data into a new local DB. Over the next 24 years the transport, protocols, and validation methods significantly changed but not once did these changes force a major change in the main code. We simply modified the much smaller module that managed the actual login. In fact, we could have moved any of the new login methods into our earlier versions with absolutely no major issues.

It is akin to buying a digital door lock mechanism then being told you need an entire new house because the lock no longer supports a key. Good coding should not force this degree of wholesale change, but this type of wholesale change as a marketing tool, a huge benefit…

I might have quietly accepted this forced upgrade if the family search interface worked almost as well as it did in RM7. But sadly no such luck and I just couldn’t get everything done on RM7 before the change was forced on me.

BTW I was initially licensed for both RM7 and RM8. I gave RM8 a good try then switched back to RM7. I found RM7 was a far more mature code and with a more logical interface. RM9 is as unimpressive as RM8 and after over 35 years in IT I can’t believe I have to do research to use the same functions I just figured out on RM7. I guess I am just too old :wink: to get the “new and improved” layout and methods

I guess I too am too old to accept the newest format as an improvement. My initial response was that the “look and feel” of RM8 and RM9 was like the old TMG that I thought was impossible, especially as compared to Bruce’s Family Origins program in which one could learn so easily how to get started in genealogy and then progress to the more complicated issues of sources once learned the concepts of going from what person you knew to the next generation back in time one step at a time. My professional career involved developing educational materials and these major changes don’t fit well with my approaches to teaching and learning. I am trying, however, to keep up with this forum and hope eventually to feel comfortable with the new approach. For me RM7 is the way to go for the ease of data entry and the clean look of the data entry screens. Maybe I will like the next version better.

All this fuss over one of the cheapest upgrade fees around! £20 (UK) or it’s equivalent in dollars doesn’t even buy a dinner these days yet it’s the paltry amount RM charge to upgrade so it’s a no-brainer to do so. And having been there since RM3 I love the new features of 8 and 9.

Other software costs much, much more. One of my favourites, run by a similar sized UK company, is 5 times that to upgrade versions ( oddly enough also v8 to v9). Then there’s Microsoft’s pricing…

And I do work in software and understand the hassle and ugliness of API programming and the challenge that RM have keeping up with Ancestry changes. Vendors do things almost overnight and you have to run around and work with new technologies to keep up.

Every software vendor releases new versions and almost no-one supports previous ones. RM are no different because it’s complex and costly. Older versions don’t have what’s needed to base the changes on - that’s why the newer versions were released and why the next version is needed, especially with the security hacks seen today.

I say get real about the cost and keep up to date.