Thursday, 27 November 2008

Asking the right question about software licensing.

I have mentioned here before how dissatisfied I am with the software I use the most at work.
I guess lots of people can understand that feeling.

We are having to change the way we work to fit around this software. That is NOT acceptable to me.
Again.. I hear that a lot, nothing unusual there.

However, my situation is perhaps unusual in that I personally made the decision to purchase this software and paid for it myself. (We are talking several thousand pounds).

Also unusual, is that it would be trivial for me to improve the software myself if I had the source code. In fact, I have already written several plug-ins to give me the functionality I desperately need to keep my business running smoothly (functionality destroyed by the recent 'upgrade'). In doing so, I may already have broken my side of the 'license' (not that I've seen one.)

This software is central to my livelyhood.My 'support' contract is due for renewal on 22nd March 2009. I need to clarify my position before then.

Ideally, I want to continue with this software, albeit heavily modified. My staff are trained to use it, and I have 12 years of invaluable data which no other software could lever correctly.

I am writing to the company expressing my dissatisfaction, but after listening to the freedom law centre podcast this morning... I think I need to accept that what I need to do is re-write my contract with this company. I need them to agree to an open-source license of some description.

I would love to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation.

Sorry for the verbosity of this posting... my thoughts are unclear due to 2 weeks with disturbed sleep. This issue is one I need to get 'closure' on.

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