I am looking forward to continuing my effort with their IDE. I spoke with them, and they do plan on adding other Cortex M vendors in the future, so that can be an advantage in that you can program for multiple vendors and have a bit better portability of code. I plan on revisiting my review of their compiler in a few months as I post about my other project that I have going on. It should give a feel of what it is like to use it long term and any other benefits or limitations there might be.
If you need to do any of the options you spoke about, all you need to do is send an email to them and they will help you transfer the license. It would be nice to see a feature to check out the license. I would use that a lot. I might make a recommendation to them and see if they might put that down as a development project.
microC for ARM is currently on sale for $199, including the USB dongle version. I haven't used it, and probably won't have a need for a while, but it does look tasty, with some nice libraries, if you are using TI (Stellaris/Tiva) or STM32.
mikroelectronika also has the mikroBus and Click Boards, which is a connector standard similar to TinkerKit (Arduino), Grove (Seeedstudio), Gadgeteer (Microsoft), or Pmod (Digilent). Besides working with mikroe's own dev kits, they make adapters for TI LaunchPads (click BoosterPack - I'm planning on getting one this summer), RPi (Pi click shield), STM32F3 & F4 Discovery, PC (click USB adapter), and BeagleBone Black (via Tigal mikroBus Cape).
Finally, I think good libraries and tool chains are critical, probably more important than the actually micrcontroller hardware. TI's policy is pretty good (full CCS is $495 + $100/year, and that covers ALL of TI's MCUs, MPUs, and DSPs) and you can use it for free with any TI dev kit or your own, if you're using a XDS100 emulator. IIRC, a lot of others have their own IDE's, too, including Microchip (I think it's free used with the non-optimizing compiler), Freescale (bought CodeWarrior), NXP (bought CodeRed), and Atmel (Atmel Studio). I wish I had more time to play with stuff....
I wondered what happens to "perpetual" and "lifetime updates" when the system that it is "node-locked" to is lost, stolen, dies, or just becomes long-in-the-tooth, and you need/want to re-install it on a different host. Their web site indicates that a new key can be requested, free of charge.
They also have a USB dongle version that is not locked to one workstation, but if the USB dongle is lost, you have to pay the full price for the compiler to get a replacement.
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