Licensing policies (was Re: ANN: Docuverse DOM SDK PR2

Tyler Baker tyler at
Tue Sep 8 09:03:40 BST 1998

Don Park wrote:

> Tyler,
> >For those people using the DOM SDK now and who enjoy the product, I would
> seriously
> >encourage these people to plea for Docuverse to charge something for a
> commercial
> >license, even if it is as low as $99 so that they can have some solace in
> the fact
> >that there will be future quality versions of the DOM SDK.  99$ is
> basically the
> >same cost as 3 development hours for the average engineer.  If 99$ is too
> much money
> >to spend on any commercial product, then your whole business plan for your
> product
> >needs some serious reevaluation.  Small ISV's like Docuverse should not
> feel
> >pressured to capitulate to the large ISV's like IBM or Microsoft who can
> afford to
> >give all their tools away for free in their efforts to squelch the up and
> coming.
> Thanks for the thought but even if all of the hundred or so DOM SDK users I
> am aware of sent me a check for $99, it will not even begin to cover the
> cost of developing and maintaining the DOM SDK. It is also unfair to tax
> early developers with financial burden.  They are mostly individual
> developers with pioneering spirits working in explorative projects which are
> not usually funded well.  I think it makes more sense to 'invest' in
> encouraging these pioneers so that XML-based technologies will be widely
> accepted in corporations around the world.  At this time, far less than 1%
> of data in corporations are in XML format.  When the figure exceeds 10%, we
> will begin to see the fruits of our combined efforts.

I agree totally here, but I think this misses the point.  Large ISV's are rarely
innovators, but adapters.  They let all the small guys like Docuverse do all the
hard work to grow the market and come up with useful implementations and
marketing plans and then clone both the implementations and marketing plans and
use anti-competitive business practices like giving away free software to own the
market that the little guys worked so hard to create.

Yes the early adopters should not be punished for developing with your product,
but they should be charged something if they ever use it in a real application.
Whatever you charge can then be discounted at your discretion based upon things
like how active they were in beta-testing, but only give away your software for
free if you never intend upon charging for it.  Likewise, developers who use
free-tools should accept them as is and not expect any kind of support
whatsoever, nor should they expect any degree of product quality.

Though this may bring about a lot of flames, for-profit organizations should not
be allowed to give out free-software.  What once was a great libertarian idea I
feel now has become a tool of large software monopolies to protect their own turf
and promote an anti-competive software market in general.  Large ISV's make most
of their money selling support for their own tools, not on the actual software
itself.  The crappier the software, the more support they sell.  You would think
most IT organizations would catch on, but to date they have not.  They continue
to buy overpriced databases (and support), overpriced computing systems and spend
billions on fly-by night consultants that would be unnecessary if the software
was robust in the first place.  When a large ISV gives away free software, it is
a simple bait and trap.

You should be able to take a company to court and sue for damages if you can
prove that they are willing to lose money on a software product solely to win
market-share.  These sort of practices are bad for the software industry and
discourage entrepreneurial endeavours in general.

Anyways this is an XML-DEV list so I will try and end this thread here as the
politics of the software industry have little to with promoting and developing
XML in the first place...


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