Article about software licenses

The Register published an article about software licenses and their implications.

Man, that is an awfully written article. He goes on and on like a Trumpian about things most (intelligent) people already know. I couldn’t read the whole thing as it was so bad, so just skimmed it. Is there something there you think is revealing or revolutionary?

P.S. I’m not bashing you, just the article.

you can’t buy software, just a licence to use it…

SHOCKING :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:

Change to a free OS because you cant “OWN” windows :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Yeah, it is written in a ranty style. Many people who do not specialise in sw development or licensing/purchasing of sw licenses are simply not aware of these facts. No news to the members of this forum but valuable information for many people.
Why did I post this here?
After the debacles with Filemaker and now Xojo I am exploring candidates for my next coding language and IDE.
The one thing that both the FileMaker and Xojo language share is that they are closed source, each controlled by a single corporation. Commercial interest and marketing considerations often prime over technical ones. The process of language evolution is opaque to those who use it for coding. Both languages suffer from this, the shortcomings are all too visible. Today’s most popular languages are all open source.
My conclusion: the language must be open source, the IDE can be closed source but must be replaceable with reasonable effort (at least two IDEs available).

I read the article twice and still fail to see what it really “said”

It is recommended that a language and it’s compiler is open source like it is for C++, C#, Python, Java and many, many more. And also IDE’s you can find for the stuffs as open source like IntelliJIdea community edition, Eclipse or Netbeans. No need for a closed source toolchain. When buying Xojo you accept that:

  • your license is only the right to use until the time you upgraded last time
  • you have no right to publish the Software
  • you have no Source Codes
  • you have no rights
  • you may have bugs and cannot fix them

It is a decision. If you buy for example QT you have an open source path and a closed source path. Makes no difference in use but in licensing. What ever: I decided to develop based on open Source with Java, C++, Python, Javascript and more. That does not mean that this tools I use are better or not. But it means that I can change bugs. The community can take care of Bugs.

That is the main difference. But still: it is your decision what to do.

1 Like

Do you mean “No rights to public the software you create” ?
AFAICT thats not true & whatever you create is unencumbered by their licenses

Well … you have some
In Texas :stuck_out_tongue:
And maybe those are superseded by your local / national laws

What is the problem with a LANGUAGE not being open source? Xojo isn’t, VB6 wasn’t, Swift (kinda is, but only for non-Apple platforms if I recall). Personally I want a language where if there are bugs, I have ONE and only one vendor to blame. Not a “well Joe in Kansas messed that up, and Suzy in Germany broke that”.

I yet have to meet the vendor that does better than one of the top open source languages. Which is kind of natural. Even well-heeled corporations cannot muster all the talent in quality and quantity, an open source project attracts.

It holds true what @thorstenstueker stated:

But still: it is your decision what to do.

no right to publish the software you bought the right to use not the software you created.

look on Xojo. At the end: you have no rights in their eyes and they treat you exactly so.

yes you dont have redistribution rights
thats not surprising

same as if you bought a book you dont have any rights to republish it under your own label

Another aspect: development tools do not necessarily mean that you can publish the product “stand-a-lone”. SAP for instance is kind of closed-source by definition and you need an SAP instance to run any SAP program. BUT if you own a license, you can see every bit of code (and even change it), with the only exception of the core kernel. And of course you can develop within SAP add-ons, programs, UIs, which you can be re-used for a different customer using SAP, or sell as a module, etc. for other SAP customers.

By common definition it is of course closed source and you are depending on the sole vendor, but if you are “within” the tool, it is very open source like. I know SAP well, I am not sure about Oracle and salesforce but I assume it is most likely pretty much the same. A neat feature in SAP for instance is that you can not only change SAP core code, but you can report your change, and it might become part of a future releases (so they mimic some open source concepts for over 3 decades).

An open source project alone might die quickly, if the owner(s) of the project or fork will not maintain it. For me it is more about the interaction between the “creator” and the “users”. If that process is unfair, a one-way road, or even broken, it is a bad solution. But you can break things in open source as well.


:+1: 1000%

1 Like

I don’t think Xojo (Geoff) understands Europe at all.

I remember face-palming when they started insisting on real names on TOF - A couple of years after every school in Europe had started teaching kids not to use their real names online. Then there was GDPR and the disbelief that Xojo are subject to EU law if they sell product in the EU or allow EU citizens to use the website and forum.

Whatever rights are granted are for nought without leverage. Bob, Dave and yourself inhabiting this place would appear to be the proof that no Xojo customer has sufficient leverage and so effectively no rights at all.

The more general point would be that open source tools are not encumbered by distribution restrictions. Licensing becomes an ethical, moral and budgetary problem you do not have. If your customer wants your open source toolchain they can have it without taking a chunk out the budget.

The article points out that one vendor being able to take responsibility is a mistruth. Every software product we use, whether closed source or open source, contains code or library or license dependencies owned by 3rd parties. The modern software environment has become so horrendously complicated there is no one person or even one organisation that knows how it all works.

The article was one sided and did not provide any valid reason to choose closed source. I think it’s pretty simple, time costs. Open Source tooling typically requires investing time and resource in a dedicated development environment. With the exception of Lazarus I struggle to think of an open source development tool that comes anywhere near to being RAD. What classic VB, Delphi, Power Builder and Real Basic all had in common is you could run an installer and were pretty much ready to go. You could focus on the problem you wanted to solve and not get bogged down with O/S message loops and interface elements. The bugs and the foibles are outweighed by productivity.

The big difference I see between open source and closed source is the governance of the project. Open source is democratic while closed source is autocratic.


The problem with a toolchain is also: what happens when the business model of a company like Xojo ends up. While the license servers are at end of life then, people can not get their licenses from server and - at least after need of changing hard disk or the entire computer - will not be able to use xojo anymore. Means also: using a closed source toolchain inherits the risk that you can’t use your source code anymore from one day to the other. Toolchains like Have, C++ or C and Python are at least minimizing that problem. You can use the IDE’s and also the Toolchains by self further. Like also with CodenameOne for Mobile or with Vaadin for Web or with Java Swing for Desktop.

In that case there would be a problem and one real important thing would be to know what happened with the closed source stuff if that would be happened. And there can be a buyer of all of it that says: okay, as internal tool, no licensing outside, no sales. The end of it.

To the moral question: I’m in bug fixing for Java and also for JavaFX, I do that in believing that OPEN SOURCE can’s stay alive without that community helps. So I will further do exactly that. Okay, I will loose time. But will I really loose the time? Finding a Bug and fixing it results in a better Code quality for the users. That is the ethical question.

1 Like

Except the fact that for Netbeans you may have to run two installers (one for the Netbeans, one for the JDK) there is no problem to build Desktop Apps with Gui Builder integrated with Netbeans and Java. With the integrated JPackage you can build your needed platform binary packages.

No question there are risks that closed source exposes you to - like license servers being switched off.

Open source tools often mitigate that risk

1 Like

That is my biggest concern with using Xojo. It may have been around about 25 years, but that is no guarantee it will stay around and there are reasons to think it may not…

If they go out of business I doubt they would give out license keys that would work perpetually without the license server AND be transferable from machine to machine first.

  • Karen
1 Like