MetaCard Corporation


11. Where can I get MetaCard?

If you have anonymous FTP access to the Internet, you can download the free MetaCard Starter Kit (which includes complete on-line documentation and is fully functional except that it places a limit on the length of scripts you can create for each object) from or You can also get it from the Get MetaCard page.

The distribution can also be emailed, or sent out on CDROMs or DAT tapes (a nominal charges applies for the latter two). Contact MetaCard Corporation at or call 303-494-6763 if you want to get the distribution either of these ways. Be sure to specify which platform you'll be using MetaCard on if you want MetaCard emailed to you.

After installing the software, you can license it by following the directions in the Licensing stack (available from the MetaCard Help menu). Your initial MetaCard license includes 1 year of unlimited technical support via email and free upgrades for 1 year. After that, you'll need to renew a subscription as specified in Question 14.

12. How do I get a license for MetaCard (PO, payment terms, etc.)?

See the Licensing MetaCard stack (from the Help menu) for pricing and terms. For most companies, the process is simple: fax a PO to MetaCard Corporation (303-499-9855) and email in the License Form with the PO number in the appropriate field. You'll get the key via return email, usually within a few minutes.

13. What kind of license should I (we) get?

The single-user license requires that the name of a user be supplied. Though there is no license manager, node locking, or user-name locking, only the specified user may legally use the single user license. The licensed user can use the software on any machine or combination of machines. If the license must be transferred at any point, a new user must be specified and a nominal fee paid.

With 5 and larger packs, individuals names do not have to be supplied. A single key is supplied, and copies are made of the license Home ( stack. It is the responsibility of the site-support contact to ensure that no more than the licensed number of Home stacks exist on the sites machines. If more than 1 user will be using MetaCard, or if the licensed user will change frequently, a 5 or larger pack is therefore strongly recommended.

Any license can be upgraded to a larger license at any time by paying the difference between the prices of the smaller and larger licenses. Licensees granted the 50% educational discount who later wish to sell applications that they have developed with MetaCard can upgrade to a commercial license by paying the difference between the educational and commercial price.

14. How do I upgrade to a new version of MetaCard?

Your initial MetaCard license includes support and upgrades for a 1 year period. After that period, you'll need to renew your subscription and/or support contracts for each 1 year interval. A subscription includes free upgrades to all versions that are released or go to beta test within that 1 year period. At least 2 upgrades are guaranteed to be released within the duration of each subscription.

Subscriptions are priced yearly according to the table below, and educational institutions will receive a 50% discount from these prices. Unlimited technical support via email is available separately priced according to the table below, and the 50% discount *does not* apply to this service. All pricing is in U.S. Dollars.

              Subscription   Technical Support
Single user       300              200
5-user           1000              300
10-user          1500              300

To upgrade, you should relicense the new Home stack rather than continue to use your old one. It's technically possible to use your old Home stack, but the color and custom properties set in that stack may conflict with the new development environment rendering it ugly at best and inoperable at worst. See the directions in the file README.install for details.

15. Are there international versions of MetaCard?

MetaCard supports both Latin-1 (8 bit) and 16 bit character sets on all platforms, as well as the X11R5 Xmb calls for mixed-size text on UNIX systems, but the current development and documentation stacks ( and are only available in English. Creating versions for other languages would be relatively straightforward, no such translations are expected to become available in the near future.

16. Are any examples of applications built in MetaCard available?

Some applications and scripts that have been contributed are available for anonymous FTP from, directory MetaCard/contrib. Additional contributions are actively sought, and should be addressed to

17. Is there a MetaCard mailing list? An archive site?

The unmoderated MetaCard mailing list is maintained by Runtime Revolution Ltd. All MetaCard users are strongly encouraged to join the list, to seek advice when needed and to share their knowledge when appropriate.

To subscribe, go to

The messages posted to the various incarnations of the metacard list are archived at, and

If you have comments or questions about the list, please address them to

18. Where can I read about MetaCard?

MetaCard press releases have been covered in most major computer magazines since it was first released in 1992. MetaCard was named one of the Hot Products for 1996 in SCO World Magazine (January 1996), 10 Best Products of 1992 by UNIXWorld Magazine (January 1993), and has been reviewed in Sun World (January 1993), UNIXWorld (May 1993), InfoWorld (Sept 14, 1998, available on the InfoWorld WWW site), Inside Solaris (December 1999, available on the ZD Journals WWW site), and The Internet Eye (January 2000).

An article on a MetaCard application for Linux appeared in the November 1997 issue of the Linux Journal. An extensive comparison of MetaCard with Tcl/Tk and the Desktop Korn Shell (dtksh) appeared in The X Resource Issue Eleven (Summer 1994), an O'Reilly & Associates publication (707-829-0515). This document, titled Interactive GUI Development Environments, is available as Interactive GUI Development Environments.

19. Where can I get documentation on MetaCard?

All documentation for MetaCard is available on-line. A book form of the on-line documentation is also available. See the "Order Forms" stack from the "Licensing MetaCard" stack in the MetaCard release for details.

Many of the books on HyperCard can be used to supplement the MetaCard documentation, since the scripting languages are compatible. Some examples include the 3rd Edition of Danny Goodman's best-selling "The Complete HyperCard 2.0 Handbook", Dan Winkler's "HyperTalk 2.2: The Book" and "Cooking with HyperTalk 2.0", and "HyperProgramming - Building Interactive Programs in HyperCard" by George Coulouris and Harold Thimbleby.

A contract was signed for third party book by a major publisher a while back, but unfortunately the author missed several deadlines and the contract was canceled.

20. Can I redistribute my stacks? Are royalties required?

The MetaCard engines can be distributed without licenses, so stacks that you produce can be distributed without any special arrangements with MetaCard Corporation, whether you are using the Starter Kit or a licensed Home stack. When stacks other than Home stacks open, no license screen is shown. Stacks can be run directly from the command line on UNIX systems since they have a shell script tacked on to the front of them, and can be built into single-file applications on all platforms which renders them indistinguishable from stand-alone applications.

21. How do I redistribute my stacks?

First, clean out the stackFiles property, which is what MetaCard uses to locate other stacks by name. Choose "Stack Files" from the Edit menu and press the "Reset" button. Then, save your stacks into separate files using "Save As...".

You'll need to distribute an engine together with your stacks. You'll also need to distribute the stack if you use any of the standard dialogs or bitmaps (icons or cursors). You can also use the built-in "Resource Mover" to move these objects into your stack instead.

If you prefer a single-file distribution, you can use the "Standalone Builder" to bind your stack to the engine and make a single executable file.

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