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The New CST Eval License

August 18, 2011 18:50:09.276

There are some curious things about the new license for the eval (not NC; they apparently changed things) version of VW and OS. I didn't look at the license carefully when installing (I know, but really - who does?). After seeing some discussion in the mailing list, I dug the license out of the product directory, and wow - it's a lot more restrictive than it used to be. Take this, for instance:

Licensor hereby grants to you, and you do hereby accept, a nonexclusive and nontransferable license to use the Product only as is authorized in this License Agreement. The Product may be used only at a single location on computers owned, leased or otherwise controlled by you in the manner and subject to the terms set forth in this License Agreement. You agree that you will not deploy, assign, sublicense, transfer, pledge, lease, rent, allow access to or share your rights under this License Agreement. You agree that your rights under this License Agreement do not cover deployment and are not to pass to a successor through merger or consolidation.

Technically speaking, you can't create a runtime image and deploy it even for personal, non-commercial use on one machine. That's kind of silly; I can accomplish the same thing by running a development image, so it's not clear to me who or what they think they are protecting here.

More importantly, this takes any and all community projects that might consider using VW or OS and just stops them dead. If you have been using the NC, the safest route is probably to stay with the latest version that was downloadable (7.7.1 if you grabbed it before they had it offline). As a curious side note, the old license is still the one they have on the website, which makes the whole thing even more confusing.

The amazing thing about this is that Smalltalk is already a niche product - the primary problem is that there aren't enough developers using it. How this encourages more people to grab it and give it a try is beyond me. Instantiations has the open source license path, if you are building open source applications - that leaves a door open to people who want to try something out using VA. Gemstone makes it even easier - you pay them for Gemstone/S when you hit a wall with the (CPU limited) version they have up for download.

Meanwhile, Cincom reminds me of the opening scene in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" - where the aliens remind humanity that the bypass plans have been locked in a basement on a distant planet for 50 years, and gosh, that should have been obvious enough.

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posted by James Robertson

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