Why a ‘Single Line’ was added to the Solaris Terms of Use by Oracle?

After the OpenDocument Format (ODF) Plug-in mentioned in my previous post (Oracle starts to monetize Free Software, is it wrong?), here goes Solaris.

Oracle has changed the Solaris (aka. Sun Solaris [not OpenSolaris]) terms of use to reflect the Oracles policy of monetizing and generating more revenue from Sun applications by changing service models.

Earlier,

According to the Sun Solaris 10 license as it was offered back in 2005:

Obtaining an Entitlement Document is simple. On the Solaris 10 Get It page, select the platform and format you desire from the drop-down menus, and then click the Download Solaris 10 button. When you arrive at the Sun Download Center, either sign in or register, ensuring that a valid e-mail address is part of your Sun Download Center account to receive the Entitlement Document. Fill out the Solaris download survey, specifying the number of systems on which you are installing the software. Once you have completed the survey, you will be redirected to the Solaris 10 download page for downloading, and your Entitlement Document will be sent to your registered e-mail address.

Today,

Now Oracle has appended a single sentence that effectively modifies the entire intent of the above terms of use.

Please remember, your right to use Solaris acquired as a download is limited to a trial of 90 days, unless you acquire a service contract for the downloaded Software.

That’s right, you need a service contract from Oracle now onwards to use Solaris more than 90 days. Previously, you could use the Solaris download as long as you wish without having a contract with Sun Microsystems.

If you are giving away something for free while being able to generate revenue out of it, you’re probably in a bad business model.

For Oracle[as always], there is no wrong time to make money. If you don’t own shares of Oracle or worried about the future of commitments from Oracle to the communities involving the users of these software, don’t complain.

But still, you can comment here on this blog. 🙂

Related Articles :

Oracle starts to monetize Free Software, is it wrong?

According to a recent tweet, Oracle (the company which recently acquired Sun Microsystems) has started to charge a license fee for its popular open office compatibility plug-in for Microsoft Office.

Is this a signal for other open source and free software vendors to start charging for commercially valuable applications?

Given the functionality and usability of the OpenOffice, it’s the right time to start investing more time and effort on its competencies against Microsoft  Office and most other online office applications such as Google Docs.

The OpenOffice suite follows the OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard, and there is no other reason that it should be kept free when there are better free or low cost alternatives available which follow the same standard. For Oracle, it’s time to make money. Free users, don’t complain.

In most blogs that discussed about the new offer from Oracle, it was always noted that certain versions of the Microsoft Office software costs less than the Oracle converter.

Would this be fueling the open source through increased amount of investments from commercial entities?

This is a tricky question, as most companies who earn from Free and Open Source applications earn revenue by providing support. Most of them function and generate profit like they are having thousands of great programmers working free for them.

Yes, some programmers are enthusiastic about free coding and contributing to the open source projects, but it is the time they need to be paid and recognized for their commitments to projects accordingly.

Programmers : If you’re ever good at anything, don’t do it for free.

Starting charging for free software [for the Office plug-in (in this instance)] has created a large amount of negative impressions on Oracle’s commitment to Open Source. As most us know, developers and open source enthusiasts rallied upon and evangelized OpenOffice because it was the best free alternative available for desktop office operations as they had high hopes on OpenOffice to beat its commercial competitors by being completely free and standards compliant.

Any open source company who earns money by using code written by someone else, has an ethical responsibility to look after the community and their wishes. The licensing model of the code doesn’t matter. This is a purely an ethical concern.

Oracle is doing what it thinks that could make money in the short run. There is nothing wrong in Oracles approach apart from the above concerns. Revenues and the community should be kept in balance in order to make profits and foster innovation, if you keep aligned to one, your business is going to fail. Someday, somehow.

Finally for all the open source enthusiasts and hobbyists,

…As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

– Bill Gates [in his famous open letter to hobbyists on February 3rd, 1976]

Yes Bill, I agree with you.

Related :

Mobitel ‘Smart’ ‘Loan’, is it a real loan?

This is NOT a real credit loan; it’s a desperate attempt to charge more from the typical prepaid customer who runs out of credit.

[Taking loans is bad. I do not like to spend what I don’t have.]

I once activated this when I ran out of credits after someone needed my phone to take some calls. After activating, the balance showed -30 LKR, and I was unable to browse using WAP, or use any other service apart from calls, which wasn’t the requirement for me.
Then I cycled to a nearby shop and bought a ‘smart’ reload card, and topped up my account with 100 LKR, and after the top-up the balance showed as 70 LKR, even if I didn’t take a single call using the so called ‘loan’.

[It must be definitely a bug in the account balance checking method when a connection is made through packet data. The authorization method for calls is able to use a minus value, while the other authorization and account balance checking methods returning false at times when the account balance is less than or equal to zero]

Thereafter I called the customer care, the call dropped twice, once after the agent picked up my call and were ‘busy’ looking for a solution, ending the two free customer care calls.

Somehow, in the third time (after being exposed to ads more than 5 minutes), I was able to successfully reach an agent. I inquired why the WAP wasn’t functional when I activated the ‘loan’ and why didn’t they notice whether the ‘loan’ is applicable for value added services such as WAP.

The agent was clueless at first because I talked about the small print, and after sometime told me that there are TWO account balances in my account. One for the free calls left from the ‘loan’ and the other one containing the real balance. He told that if I make a call, it would be directly charged from the free calls balance and asked me check next time when I make a call. I said thank you and hung up.

After sometime I had to make a call, and saw the call has been charged from my ‘normal balance’. I didn’t want to call the customer care again to ‘confirm’ that agent my credit has gone missing.

Over the past few weeks I have been disappointed at Mobitel and also I’m not happy about the tariff for the data consumer. Mobitel charges 98 LKR (VAT included) to give a 200MB per week naming it as weekly freedom. I usually do not activate this unless I want to download something over 10 mega bytes. (That’s right; I’ve been paying more than 500 LKR for just over 5 Megabytes per month for packet data)

In the meantime, Airtel Lanka has come up with a fairly simple plan of offering 400MB of data for 99 LKR per month, and I’m thinking of trying it out though I wasn’t happy with the signal strength of the Airtel 3G network even in where I live, Bambalapitiya the ‘Las Vegas’ in the capital Colombo of Sri Lanka.

Related links:

Mobitel: http://www.mobitel.lk
Airtel new offering: http://www.airtel.lk/AirtelSL/prepaid/youth_pack.html

Developer : Today I understood what it really meant by Cross Browser Compatibility… Sorry !name!, but IE really really sucks…

!name! is for a Microsoft employee.

I think the following is an interesting discussion worth sharing with the world.

A friend updated his status as in above, and I replied.

You can’t exactly blame Internet Explorer. The recent versions are largely compatible with the web standards.

If a person is running any other browser, s/he is most probably running a latest version of it, which is not the case of IE. Most people are reluctant to update IE just because they feel safe with the 5-10 year old versions of itself which came bundled with their Operating Systems.

The vendors must always push the customers and users to use the latest version of any software in order to have the maximum benefits of a particular technology. If a customer complains telling there is incompatibility, it’s the vendor’s honest responsibility to educate the customer on why a particular feature is not supported or ignored in an older version/ other browser. And offer help to upgrade or use another browser.

From Microsoft’s point of view, if there wasn’t any significant innovation that lead to the dumping of most old web technologies at the times when Microsoft took the lead, most people would even be using NCSA Mosaic to date and would be complaining telling that they have cross browser issues or incompatibilities with the latest web technologies as even the oldest browsers can show a pretty much amount of legible text from current html without the additional features offered by the latest technologies.

His next response.

please try applying rounded corners and shaddow effects on some component in a browser compatible way…

My second reply.

Gecko and WebKit engines have their own syntax for rounded corners and shadows, in case you didn’t notice.

These are standardized in the CSS3 working draft. The most recent and widely used version of IE, IE 8 is supporting CSS 2.1 specification.

IE 9 is coming with support for the CSS3.

If a client is really keen on having rounded corners and shadows at the moment and still insist on IE, you can either ask him to upgrade IE, use a temporary workaround or use a javascript library plugin such as curvy-corners for jquery.

He replies,

webkit engines doesn’t support IE … it mainly targets Chrome. let’s forget about CSS 3 since you can’t apply them. can you ask an end client to use a specific version if it runs on WWW ? 😛 😛 buddy there are many people with so many ridiculous browsers exists…

My reply,

Yeah, IE uses Triad rendering engine. I didn’t say that the IE uses WebKit.

IE can render using WebKit if it uses the Google Chrome Frame addon. 😀

Hope your clients do not have their favorite browser logo tattooed on their backs. :P…

Try my last suggested alternative of using progressive enhancement if you are so desperate.

And read my first and second comment again, in case you didn’t understand it properly.

He replies,

my client have a web site that is used by around 20 Million customers… So how do you manage the browsers ?

My final reply.

First check whether the client is comfortable with Standards Compliance or Browser Compliance.

Seriously. 😉

Resistive or Capacitive Touch?

Capacitive and Resistive each has its own strengths and weaknesses and it doesn’t matter.

The users want responsive touch. 😉

Code Anthem’s Law on Developer Productivity

Found on a status message and in a twitter update of a colleague.

http://codeanthem.com/blog/index.php/2010/04/code-anthem-law/

You can also follow @codeanthem and @zerolinesofcode on twitter.

Hello world!

This is my first blog post on this blog. This blog focuses on mostly everything else apart from coding.

All content on this blog is disclaimed, the posts are intended to be informative and fun to read and not to discredit or force a  change in organizations that are not happy with better change.

Zero lines of code is a concept originated by the quote “More lines of code doesn’t mean it works.”. An application is successful if and only if, the developers, users, client and the vendor is happy with what they exchange.

This blog will pave the way for less coding and more developer productivity through the introduction and promotion of techniques, tools and technologies which are able to cut down unwanted writing of code along with most other things which are not related to code.