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Borland Backs Down 224

Posted by timothy
from the oh-ok-you're-only-entering-my-business dept.
Danborg writes: "Borland has backed down from its horrible Kylix/JBuilder license after all the bad press they received on Slashdot and Freshmeat. You may now all resume using Kylix and/or JBuilder. Seriously though, it's good to see a company respond to the voices of the online community, and admit it made a mistake. Good job Borland."
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Borland Backs Down

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  • On Kylix and CLX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IgD (232964) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @09:38AM (#2847669)
    Now that the licensing scandal is over, maybe Borland can find time to focus their efforts on getting rid of all the bugs in Kylix/CLX. I've used them for some time and have been pretty frustrated. Checkout freeclx.sourceforge.net. That's the repository where CLX (Kylix's programming language) is maintained. There haven't been updates in weeks. Nobody even bothers to submit bug reports there since they are ignored.
  • by booyah (28487) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @09:39AM (#2847675)
    they just posted a big ol "Ooops" and sait they were sorry for it....

    saying they backed down is announcing a victory when there was no enemy...

    ah well, slashdot!=truth in reporting

  • by blirp (147278) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @09:48AM (#2847710)
    Remember that the info on Borland's web pages is only for personal, non-commercial use. And you can only read the info on one machine. Don't believe me, see for yourself [borland.com]

    M.

  • by ringbarer (545020) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @09:51AM (#2847725) Homepage Journal
    It's amazing how easily Slashdot advocates 'Mob Rule', isn't it?

    If a company or individual is doing something you don't like, FORCE them to!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @10:01AM (#2847762)
    Just because they've noticed some "mistaken language" in their license agreement doesn't mean it's going to be much different when it's "fixed." People don't just pull legally binding statements out of thin air, they're very carefully plotted and worded before any user has to see them. If anything, this will probably just ensure that the new license is more convoluted and difficult for an average user to read, now that they know there are users reading them.
  • Good and Bad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by opkool (231966) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @10:05AM (#2847775) Homepage
    It is A Good Ting (tm) that Borland actualy changed the license.

    It makes them seem to care for their customer base (like me, a customer that bought Kylix), when they (we) politely cry "You Morons! what kind of terms are those? And next, you'll ask for my first born, right?" in their face -actualy, the letter that I sent was more polite. And had no 'F' words on it-.

    But it is also A Bad Thing (tm).

    Yes, they published a license that was way over the top. Specialy, when everyone and their mother seems to be asking for a much limited set of private personal freedom and right (for our own protection, of course). And, of course, a good corporation must mimmic the government. So, let's throw some lawyers to the License Dept. and make them review the licensing terms, so we can count on unexpected revenues if nobody discovers what we have done.

    Let's face it. Borland is just YAC (Yet Another Corporation). Their goal is to make money. No matter what.

    Or so I see it.

    How do you see it?
  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @10:14AM (#2847807)
    No. It's the employment of lawyers with nothing better to do than to screw with a good thing.

    Who remembers the Borland license of TP5 days when the software was to be treated like a book?
    I think they called it their "No Nonsense License Agreement" or something like that. We didn't complain about that one as it was pretty fair. I heard it was crafted by the software engineers themselves. Why can't a license like that become the industry boilerplate?

    Unfortunately, the company grew and they hired laywers who had to make it virtually unreadable to anyone without a legal background. It went downhill from there. Lawyers server a purpose in a software company, like protecting it from litigation and protection of intellectual property. But, when it comes to licensing, they need to listen to the engineers and development community and license accordingly.

    A few years ago, there was a similar frackus about, I think it was the Borland C++ license. They had a "non-compete" clause there. That was promptly removed after the application of public pressure. You'd think they learn from that. Perhaps, if they're smart, they'll pass the license by their real users for review and comment before putting it in the box.

    There's still a strong push on the Borland NG to have the license reverted to one like the NNLA. Let's see what happens. Borland has a tendency to react favorably to its developer community.

    RD
  • by DonJefe68 (533739) <donjefe68.gmail@com> on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @10:19AM (#2847819)
    I dunno - basically, this looks like an "Oops, you caught me" more than anything else. Accepting their explanation at face value makes me wonder how many times any developer at a large site has submitted themselves to these terms.

    I think it would be wise (and maybe someone has done this) to have EULAs from all sorts of companies examined closely by laywers (not IANALs, real Juris Doctor lawyers). I think we need to see the revised non-enterprise license from Borland. For those of us who bring in personal laptops to the office, how does an enterprise license apply to us? How about telecommuters? Is there some sort of paper wall between the portion of my home PC that dials into work and allows me to work from home, and the rest of my home PC with its ripped MP3s, software "borrowed" from friends and collections of pr0n? How about the USB harddrive that holds MP3s that I take to work to listen to tunes while I work? Does that become "infected" by the enterprise license?

    There are enough EULA's to choke a horse out there, and a lot of people (me included) have a tendency to buzz right by them on the way to an install. Add to that the variety of source licences and other varied licenses that we submit to and use, it makes for a nice legal morass that a lot of folks do not really comprehend until they get called on it, when it is too late. Just take a moment and try to count the number of legal agreements that you have made to get your PC to the point it is right now. How many? 100? 1000?

    Is there anyone out there who has created a website specifically to deal with these sorts of things? A technologically inclined lawyer with a whole lotta time on their hands? Someone to offer all us legal dilettantes and wannabees some guidelines and advice regarding the various legal "boilerplate" to which we submit ourselves every day?
  • by RedSynapse (90206) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @10:20AM (#2847826)
    I'm not defending this particular licence but it's important to recognize that Standard Form Contracts (aka EULAs in the software industry) in general help reduce costs for both the producer and the consumer. If the terms of a transaction had to be negotiated on an individual basis every time we rented a car or bought a videogame many of these products would simply be priced out of the market. But the inclusion of standard "boilerplate" disclaimers reduces transaction costs (i.e. lawyers and time) for both parties.

    Some people would claim that the producer has more power than the consumer in this situation, but if consumers find that conditions a particular producer's SFC too onerous then they are free to switch to a competitor's product which has more favourable terms (i.e. dump Kylix/JBuilder for something else which is exactly what I'm sure many people were planning to do).

    Whether people actually pay any attention to SFC's is another matter entirely. Steven E. Rhoades writes in The Economist's View of the World that in the mid 1980's one bank inserted a sentence in the midst of its disclosure statement offering ten dollars to anyone who sent in a postcard with the words "Regulation E" on it. Out of 115,000 recipients of the statement not one responded.

  • Re:quibble (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeremyp (130771) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @11:11AM (#2848034) Homepage Journal

    It is correct to use an apostrophe to pluralize a symbol or acronym



    No it isn't. In fact the correct punctuation should be "V.C.R.s".


    For the record apostrophes are used to denote possesives as in "the cat's feet" or "the cats' feet" if there is more than one cat except for the pronoun "it" so you would have "its feet". This is because the other place to use an apostrophe is to denote letters you can't be bothered to type such as the "no" in the preceding "cannot" and "it's" really means "it is". Now you could say that the apostrophe in "VCR's" stands for "ecorder", but to be consistent you'd have to have "V'C'R's".

  • by serano (544693) on Wednesday January 16, 2002 @12:35PM (#2848473)
    How does activation relate to licensing?

    I have JBuilder 5, and every time I have to install it on a new computer, I have to activate the installation with JBuilder's website, or I continue to get an annoying message telling me I must do so. It's not too hard to imagine this feature deactivating my installation in some future version of JBuilder (ala XP, Citrix, and probably others).

    If Borland were to go out of business, what would happen to my product and the activation requirement? Would I never be able to install it on a new machine?

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