Buddies in Bad Times II

The stock market and in particular the NASDAQ has taken a tumble because more software companies are showing weak financial results. Its tough times in the software business. We think one of the reasons is because of EULA. EULA is the licensing agreements users sign in order to use the software.

Curently EULAs absolve the software maker of all responsibilities, liabilities, and any implied warranties regarding the fitness of their software. In effect, after wooing you with promises, promises, promises – vendors turn around and say through the EULA – “well maybe not”. Now Open Source is no great shakes better with their licensing agreements – with one key exception. They let you get at their code. So if it does not work for you – and the Open Source vendor has not fixed it – you and your cohorts can ban together and try to get it fixed yourself.

Now this last provision along with the no/low cost plus a more open process for deciding upon future improvements and additions appear to be “just good enough” to sway a lot of software purchasers to take a good look at open source software before succumbing to the siren call of commercial vendors.

But this also may be a question of expectations. For example, the dozen or so software programs that I frequently use consistently return good value to me. But I do not press the programs to deliver on state of the art capabilities. I am not betting the business on one program or a specific functionality. In short, I let the programs shine in their trusted capability zones. In effect I reduce the risks of having to support or carry through my program “buddy” in bad times. The net result is that I tend to upgrade all the programs in my toolkit.