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Sometimes an ant hill becomes a mountain

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on August 29, 2006 07:57 AM
Just one example from my life in IT related fields...

Most EULAs require that when upgrading your software all use of the previous version must cease. No big deal right?

True story:
- Create, ship and archive a design in a well known schematic capture program.
- Upgrade the program which now has a new data file format.
- Upgrade active files to the new format.
- All is well for about two years when the program is upgraded again.
- Upgrade active files to the new format and continue on.
- Law suit is filed involving the several-year-old design.
- Latest version of the software cannot read the data files archived from two versions back.
- Not allowed to run previous version to convert two versions back file format forward.
- Company that makes the software *refuses* to grant one time license to previous version software since they "cannot support it."
- Software company requires and gets a fee *eight times the cost* of a new license to convert the two versions prior formatted data files up to the new version.

This little story involves two problems: Extortionist EULA policies and closed data formats. Had the tool been open source, converting the old data files would have been a non-issue either by just installing the old version or by processing the data files to bring them current.

Want another?

A company merges with another company. The service contract on some of their networking equipment is declared invalid by the vendor because the newly merged entity doesn't have a license to run the software on the equipment. The EULA does not allow license transfer. The new company already owns the hardware and the software. But they must pay again the multi-thousand dollar fee for the license to use the software they are already using. No new version. Just another license fee. Free money to the vendor and no added value to the customer.

Only one comment about your statement that Open Source users would be "pirating software" if there was no Open Source: If you actually believe that you need to open your closed, biggotted mind and come out of your troll cave to look at the world around you a little more often.

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