Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiledlanguages/platforms

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Matt Pelletier, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. Hello all. I'm looking for feedback on the following:

    What options does one have, as a company that produces software that is
    distributed directly to clients/VARs, when that software is built with a
    platform/architecture that uses a dynamic (non-compiled) language, and
    further, when that platform and/or language is open-source? This
    question qualifies for Rails and Ruby, but also it could hold for PHP,
    Perl, etc.

    I'm interested not just in the general legal considerations (like
    licensing, intellectual property rights), but also practical
    considerations. For example, I could get an airtight licensing contract
    written for me, but if I have to hand the software to a client or
    vendor, they could easily turn around and get a team to re-sell it under
    another name (Pear PC anyone?). At least with designer bag knockoffs
    there is the latent pride on the part of the consumer of having the
    *real-thing* (albeit at 10x the cost). With software, if it walks like a
    duck and talks like a duck... who cares if it's a rip-off? I could force
    the use of keys or certificates, but these are easily cracked even when
    the software is written in C++. This is less likely to happen in the
    ever-litigious US, but it's a major concern for any company working
    internationally, where well-trained techies, cheap labor, and loose
    laws/enforcement abound.

    If we wrote software in assembly it would still be a concern, but when
    there is little-to-no reverse-engineering needed for languages that
    don't need to be compiled in the first place, it affects decision-making
    when selecting platforms/languages, which is rather unfortunate. With
    Java/.NET you can download a decompiler and have source code exported in
    a day. You can obfuscate, but that's a small comfort; anyone with time
    and interest can figure that out. With dynamic languages, all the hard
    work is done for you.

    If you are operating as an ASP (a la 37 signals with Basecamp), this
    isn't much of an issue. However, if you have to give your software to
    *anyone*, whether a client to run on their own network, or to a 3rd
    party in general, what are your options?

    This isn't really a concern when dealing with smaller projects for
    smaller clients, where the compensation is based on project time, even
    if license it to them (as opposed to letting them own it). In those
    cases, PHP (and from this point forward RoR!) is usually the best
    choice, for all the reasons that we love (quick development, simple
    changes / customization). But when you're licensing software that you
    own, the value - which at face value is the feature set and
    maintenance/support services - ultimately boils down to the source code,
    and needs to be protected to the fullest possible extent. Yes there are
    business models where the value is strictly your support (Red Hat, at
    least at first), but that's not really what I'm asking about (though I
    welcome the comments).

    This is something I've been curious about for some time, but PHP et al
    have never been attractive alternatives for larger projects. RoR is
    compelling enough that these concerns have escalated.

    Any comments / sites / experience are welcome. Thanks!

    Matt
    Matt Pelletier, Apr 15, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    On Friday 15 April 2005 01:14, Matt Pelletier said something like:
    > What options does one have, as a company that produces software that
    > is distributed directly to clients/VARs, when that software is built
    > with a platform/architecture that uses a dynamic (non-compiled)
    > language, and further, when that platform and/or language is
    > open-source? This question qualifies for Rails and Ruby, but also it
    > could hold for PHP, Perl, etc.


    <SNIP>

    It really does come down to a matter of trust. You can put strong
    language in a license agreement, but it does rely on trusting your
    customer to not "take your code and run." Really. There are lots of
    examples, but a good one is:

    http://www.brownbearsw.com/calcium/WhatIsIt.html

    Brownbear makes a great bit of calendaring software. So good in fact,
    that I went with it for a project over every other open source
    calendaring solution I could find. Their entire product is written in
    Perl, which means you get (and can modify, but not distribute) the
    source code. They are still going strong, if their client list
    <http://www.brownbearsw.com/clients.html> is any indication. Can
    someone steal your code? Yep. Do you then crawl in a hole and program
    no more? Well, that's really up to you. Everything with possible
    benefit involves risk, so you just have to decide how much risk you
    want to take. That's really the bottom line.

    Sorry if that was a downer...wasn't meant to be.

    j----- k-----

    --
    Joshua J. Kugler -- Fairbanks, Alaska -- ICQ#:13706295
    Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, in heaven, on earth, and
    under the earth, that Jesus Christ is LORD -- Count on it!
    Joshua J. Kugler, Apr 15, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Matt Pelletier, April 15:

    > What options does one have, as a company that produces software that is
    > distributed directly to clients/VARs, when that software is built with a
    > platform/architecture that uses a dynamic (non-compiled) language, and
    > further, when that platform and/or language is open-source? This
    > question qualifies for Rails and Ruby, but also it could hold for PHP,
    > Perl, etc.


    Documentation, Support, and updates.

    > I'm interested not just in the general legal considerations (like
    > licensing, intellectual property rights), but also practical
    > considerations. For example, I could get an airtight licensing contract
    > written for me, but if I have to hand the software to a client or
    > vendor, they could easily turn around and get a team to re-sell it under
    > another name (Pear PC anyone?). At least with designer bag knockoffs
    > there is the latent pride on the part of the consumer of having the
    > *real-thing* (albeit at 10x the cost). With software, if it walks like a
    > duck and talks like a duck... who cares if it's a rip-off? I could force
    > the use of keys or certificates, but these are easily cracked even when
    > the software is written in C++. This is less likely to happen in the
    > ever-litigious US, but it's a major concern for any company working
    > internationally, where well-trained techies, cheap labor, and loose
    > laws/enforcement abound.


    You couldn't get an airtight licensing contract. They don't exist.

    And if you could, how could the client then turn around and get a team
    to re-sell it under another name? That'd be breaking the license,
    right?

    Still, what you get with the "authentic" software is a sense of
    reliability, right?

    Cheap labor is everywhere but the US is it? Loose laws/enforcement
    everywhere but the US? Man, I don't want to be a bastard, but you're
    sounding just a tad racist right about now.

    > If we wrote software in assembly it would still be a concern, but when
    > there is little-to-no reverse-engineering needed for languages that
    > don't need to be compiled in the first place, it affects decision-making
    > when selecting platforms/languages, which is rather unfortunate. With
    > Java/.NET you can download a decompiler and have source code exported in
    > a day. You can obfuscate, but that's a small comfort; anyone with time
    > and interest can figure that out. With dynamic languages, all the hard
    > work is done for you.


    One days work isn't really that much work, is it? So the difference
    between decompilable languages and uncompiled languages is non-existant
    really.

    > If you are operating as an ASP (a la 37 signals with Basecamp), this
    > isn't much of an issue. However, if you have to give your software to
    > *anyone*, whether a client to run on their own network, or to a 3rd
    > party in general, what are your options?


    Why do you have to give it away?

    > This isn't really a concern when dealing with smaller projects for
    > smaller clients, where the compensation is based on project time, even
    > if license it to them (as opposed to letting them own it). In those
    > cases, PHP (and from this point forward RoR!) is usually the best
    > choice, for all the reasons that we love (quick development, simple
    > changes / customization). But when you're licensing software that you
    > own, the value - which at face value is the feature set and
    > maintenance/support services - ultimately boils down to the source code,
    > and needs to be protected to the fullest possible extent. Yes there are
    > business models where the value is strictly your support (Red Hat, at
    > least at first), but that's not really what I'm asking about (though I
    > welcome the comments).


    You obviously haven't had much experience with open source. It seems
    that you should get more information before posting questions regarding
    open source to a programming-language mailing list. Opensource.org
    should have all the information you may need. I am not trying to end
    this discussion, but I don't think you'll get much out of this
    discussion if you haven't tried to understand how open source works.

    > This is something I've been curious about for some time, but PHP et al
    > have never been attractive alternatives for larger projects. RoR is
    > compelling enough that these concerns have escalated.


    Again, when you're developing an online service, you really don't have
    to worry about anyone trying to steal your work. You control
    everything. Check out some of the essays by Paul Graham
    (paulgraham.com) on the subject,
    nikolai

    --
    Nikolai Weibull: now available free of charge at http://bitwi.se/!
    Born in Chicago, IL USA; currently residing in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    main(){printf(&linux["\021%six\012\0"],(linux)["have"]+"fun"-97);}
    Nikolai Weibull, Apr 15, 2005
    #3
  4. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written withdynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    See comments below.

    Nikolai Weibull wrote:
    > Matt Pelletier, April 15:
    >
    >
    >>What options does one have, as a company that produces software that is
    >>distributed directly to clients/VARs, when that software is built with a
    >>platform/architecture that uses a dynamic (non-compiled) language, and
    >>further, when that platform and/or language is open-source? This
    >>question qualifies for Rails and Ruby, but also it could hold for PHP,
    >>Perl, etc.

    >
    >
    > Documentation, Support, and updates.
    >
    >
    >>I'm interested not just in the general legal considerations (like
    >>licensing, intellectual property rights), but also practical
    >>considerations. For example, I could get an airtight licensing contract
    >>written for me, but if I have to hand the software to a client or
    >>vendor, they could easily turn around and get a team to re-sell it under
    >>another name (Pear PC anyone?). At least with designer bag knockoffs
    >>there is the latent pride on the part of the consumer of having the
    >>*real-thing* (albeit at 10x the cost). With software, if it walks like a
    >>duck and talks like a duck... who cares if it's a rip-off? I could force
    >>the use of keys or certificates, but these are easily cracked even when
    >>the software is written in C++. This is less likely to happen in the
    >>ever-litigious US, but it's a major concern for any company working
    >>internationally, where well-trained techies, cheap labor, and loose
    >>laws/enforcement abound.

    >
    >
    > You couldn't get an airtight licensing contract. They don't exist.
    >
    > And if you could, how could the client then turn around and get a team
    > to re-sell it under another name? That'd be breaking the license,
    > right?


    That's the point, that they're knowingly breaking the license. I might
    not even be able to find out who did it, if this were an app with a big
    install base. Breaking the license, on the part of the 'breaker', is not
    a concern, esp. if there is not a great fear of legal prosecution. (this
    relates to your comment below).

    >
    > Still, what you get with the "authentic" software is a sense of
    > reliability, right?


    It depends on the company using it. They might be just as willing to
    hire a team of programmers to manage it themselves.

    >
    > Cheap labor is everywhere but the US is it? Loose laws/enforcement
    > everywhere but the US? Man, I don't want to be a bastard, but you're
    > sounding just a tad racist right about now.
    >


    Race has nothing to do with it. This deals with the maturity of a
    country's Intellectual Property laws, the labor cost of reverse
    engineering an application. I'm seeking practical comments from people
    who understand that the laws in various countries affect an unethical
    person's willingness to try to make money from someone else's work
    illegitimately. If it is inexpensive to hire programmers to reverse
    engineer an application, and the Intellectual Property laws are not
    mature or well enforced, than it is more attractive for someone with the
    resources to pursue such an unethical track. I used the US as an example
    because the ferocious enforcement of Intellectual Property law would
    seem to be a discouraging, not encouraging, factor. My simple point,
    perhaps not clearly explained, is that fear of prosecution and the
    production costs play a role in someone's decision when contemplating
    ripping something off (can i get away with it?). It is all just
    hypothetical. Nothing deeper.

    >
    >>If we wrote software in assembly it would still be a concern, but when
    >>there is little-to-no reverse-engineering needed for languages that
    >>don't need to be compiled in the first place, it affects decision-making
    >>when selecting platforms/languages, which is rather unfortunate. With
    >>Java/.NET you can download a decompiler and have source code exported in
    >>a day. You can obfuscate, but that's a small comfort; anyone with time
    >>and interest can figure that out. With dynamic languages, all the hard
    >>work is done for you.

    >
    >
    > One days work isn't really that much work, is it? So the difference
    > between decompilable languages and uncompiled languages is non-existant
    > really.
    >


    The time required to turn a binary into a usable source tree is only one
    factor (see above). In this case if it's already source code the labor
    cost for reverse engineering is cheaper.

    >
    >>If you are operating as an ASP (a la 37 signals with Basecamp), this
    >>isn't much of an issue. However, if you have to give your software to
    >>*anyone*, whether a client to run on their own network, or to a 3rd
    >>party in general, what are your options?

    >
    >
    > Why do you have to give it away?
    >


    I don't. I meant 'give' as in deliver or install, as part of the license
    agreement (if it's not run from my server).

    >
    >>This isn't really a concern when dealing with smaller projects for
    >>smaller clients, where the compensation is based on project time, even
    >>if license it to them (as opposed to letting them own it). In those
    >>cases, PHP (and from this point forward RoR!) is usually the best
    >>choice, for all the reasons that we love (quick development, simple
    >>changes / customization). But when you're licensing software that you
    >>own, the value - which at face value is the feature set and
    >>maintenance/support services - ultimately boils down to the source code,
    >>and needs to be protected to the fullest possible extent. Yes there are
    >>business models where the value is strictly your support (Red Hat, at
    >>least at first), but that's not really what I'm asking about (though I
    >>welcome the comments).

    >
    >
    > You obviously haven't had much experience with open source. It seems
    > that you should get more information before posting questions regarding
    > open source to a programming-language mailing list. Opensource.org
    > should have all the information you may need. I am not trying to end
    > this discussion, but I don't think you'll get much out of this
    > discussion if you haven't tried to understand how open source works.
    >


    Thanks for the thoughtful advice.

    >
    >>This is something I've been curious about for some time, but PHP et al
    >>have never been attractive alternatives for larger projects. RoR is
    >>compelling enough that these concerns have escalated.

    >
    >
    > Again, when you're developing an online service, you really don't have
    > to worry about anyone trying to steal your work. You control
    > everything. Check out some of the essays by Paul Graham
    > (paulgraham.com) on the subject,


    That's the point I was making re. 'operating as an ASP' above.

    > nikolai
    >


    Look, overall, this is a hypothetical and marginal situation (where bad
    people do bad things), and I'm just trying to cull the experience of
    helpful programmers. I realize this may not be a likely situation, but
    it does happen, that I'm just trying to see what people know about these
    things. Nothing more. I hope I haven't offended people by referring to
    countries, laws, labor costs, and the decision making processes of
    unethical people.

    Thanks Nikolai,
    Matt
    Matt Pelletier, Apr 15, 2005
    #4
  5. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Matt Pelletier, April 15:

    > > And if you could, how could the client then turn around and get a team
    > > to re-sell it under another name? That'd be breaking the license,
    > > right?


    > That's the point, that they're knowingly breaking the license. I might
    > not even be able to find out who did it, if this were an app with a big
    > install base. Breaking the license, on the part of the 'breaker', is not
    > a concern, esp. if there is not a great fear of legal prosecution. (this
    > relates to your comment below).


    Well, look at instances where the GPL has been violated. I have no idea
    how the people who have been violated have managed to figure it out, but
    they have. Look at the MPlayer cases where code they've written has
    wound up in DVD-players, or similar cases with routers using
    netfilter/iptables code (see http://rubyurl.com/BTfkV), and so on.

    > > Still, what you get with the "authentic" software is a sense of
    > > reliability, right?

    >
    > It depends on the company using it. They might be just as willing to
    > hire a team of programmers to manage it themselves.


    OK, but tell me this, how much does this matter? You are the ones who
    have the actual original code and hopefully the best knowledge of it.
    It wouldn't be hard to figure out when a customer suddenly stops using
    your services, support, and so on and release their own software right?
    You have to believe in some kind of justice system staying in effect
    here, otherwise you might as well consider what happens when someone
    breaks into your offices and steal your code that way, right?

    > > Cheap labor is everywhere but the US is it? Loose laws/enforcement
    > > everywhere but the US? Man, I don't want to be a bastard, but you're
    > > sounding just a tad racist right about now.


    > Race has nothing to do with it.


    Precisely. You can still be what is called a racist without discussing
    races. Culture, social situation, and religion are as much a part of
    what defines an indiviual or a group.

    I was not accusing you of being a racist, but it's been really tiresome
    lately, where Americans have gotten it into their head that the US is
    somehow the best place on Earth and that only they can save the rest of
    the world. Don't get me wrong, I love America unhealthily much. I'm
    just getting really tired of being adversely affected by stupid
    decisions made 2000 miles (a horrible guess at the actual distance, I'm
    sure) away.

    > This deals with the maturity of a country's Intellectual Property
    > laws, the labor cost of reverse engineering an application.


    Remember Russia back in the 80s? They actually used hackers to hack
    into American systems to gain access to C compilers and other tools.
    People will gain access to your software by any means necessary if
    necessary (hehe).

    > I'm seeking practical comments from people who understand that the
    > laws in various countries affect an unethical person's willingness to
    > try to make money from someone else's work illegitimately. If it is
    > inexpensive to hire programmers to reverse engineer an application,
    > and the Intellectual Property laws are not mature or well enforced,
    > than it is more attractive for someone with the resources to pursue
    > such an unethical track.


    Well, if you figure that people will be able to reverse engineer
    anything you write, what's the worry with using "dynamic languages"?
    You won't get any of the money that someone will receive for
    reverse-engineering your application anyway, so why give them that
    satisfaction?

    > I used the US as an example because the ferocious enforcement of
    > Intellectual Property law would seem to be a discouraging, not
    > encouraging, factor. My simple point, perhaps not clearly explained,
    > is that fear of prosecution and the production costs play a role in
    > someone's decision when contemplating ripping something off (can i get
    > away with it?). It is all just hypothetical. Nothing deeper.


    My bet is that almost all of the serious IP violations are taking place
    in the US. The US IP and patent system is a cancer on the development
    of new technology and other fields of knowledge. Both nationally and
    internationally. Do you know how hard it is for foreigners to secure a
    patent in the US? It's practically impossible. Its a corrupt, racist
    system. We're talking Italian government corrupt and racist here.

    You seem to be worrying too much about someone stealing your work and
    profit than actually figuring out how to make your work generate profit
    in the first place. I understand that you are worried that you will
    lose out, but in the end nothing is more important than providing a
    service that people want. If you do, no one will ever be able to
    replace you, unless they do something that's better and they
    theoretically can't do that by simply copying what you do. Now they may
    get a jump-start by reverse-engineering your work and/or simply copying
    your sources, but as far as I understand it takes as much work (if not
    more) trying to understand someone elses system as writing your own.

    > > >If you are operating as an ASP (a la 37 signals with Basecamp),
    > > >this isn't much of an issue. However, if you have to give your
    > > >software to *anyone*, whether a client to run on their own network,
    > > >or to a 3rd party in general, what are your options?


    > > Why do you have to give it away?


    > I don't. I meant 'give' as in deliver or install, as part of the
    > license agreement (if it's not run from my server).


    Yes, but why would you have to do that? What's so great about providing
    an online service is that you control everything. You can provide
    updates immediately, you don't have to give anyone access to anything
    you don't want them to have access to, and so on.

    > > >This isn't really a concern when dealing with smaller projects for
    > > >smaller clients, where the compensation is based on project time,
    > > >even if license it to them (as opposed to letting them own it). In
    > > >those cases, PHP (and from this point forward RoR!) is usually the
    > > >best choice, for all the reasons that we love (quick development,
    > > >simple changes / customization). But when you're licensing software
    > > >that you own, the value - which at face value is the feature set
    > > >and maintenance/support services - ultimately boils down to the
    > > >source code, and needs to be protected to the fullest possible
    > > >extent. Yes there are business models where the value is strictly
    > > >your support (Red Hat, at least at first), but that's not really
    > > >what I'm asking about (though I welcome the comments).


    > > You obviously haven't had much experience with open source. It
    > > seems that you should get more information before posting questions
    > > regarding open source to a programming-language mailing list.
    > > Opensource.org should have all the information you may need. I am
    > > not trying to end this discussion, but I don't think you'll get much
    > > out of this discussion if you haven't tried to understand how open
    > > source works.


    > Thanks for the thoughtful advice.


    Sorry if I sounded a bit harsh. I just get a bit excited in these kinds
    of discussions. I really need to take a course in rhetoric...

    > > >This is something I've been curious about for some time, but PHP et
    > > >al have never been attractive alternatives for larger projects. RoR
    > > >is compelling enough that these concerns have escalated.


    > > Again, when you're developing an online service, you really don't
    > > have to worry about anyone trying to steal your work. You control
    > > everything. Check out some of the essays by Paul Graham
    > > (paulgraham.com) on the subject,


    > That's the point I was making re. 'operating as an ASP' above.
    > Look, overall, this is a hypothetical and marginal situation (where
    > bad people do bad things), and I'm just trying to cull the experience
    > of helpful programmers. I realize this may not be a likely situation,
    > but it does happen, that I'm just trying to see what people know about
    > these things. Nothing more. I hope I haven't offended people by
    > referring to countries, laws, labor costs, and the decision making
    > processes of unethical people.


    As I see it, and I guess it makes me sort of a pessimist, people are
    going to do bad things. For that reason, you simply can't worry too
    much about what they're going to do and instead focus on being good
    yourself and doing good onto others.

    I'll try and leave this alone now, allowing more experienced people tell
    you about these sorts of issues.

    My main suggestion is: If you can put your services on the Web, then
    do so. You will open up your business for an incredibly large number of
    potential customer and you will still make sure that you are in control
    over everything. Also, consider providing your service for a price that
    may seem far too low initially. Look at flickr. People can create an
    account for free. This is probably costing flickr a bunch of revenue
    and money (for maintenance, servers, and so on). But if they hadn't
    done so, who would have bought into it? I would never (and perhaps
    never will as I don't take that many pictures anyway) pay the $59.95
    that a pro account costs without seeing it work first. And, as far as I
    can tell, flickr's main attraction is that anyone can gain access to it
    for free. Still, in the long run, people are going to want the features
    that a pro account will provide them with and will pay the $59.95
    annually. Consider how much revenue this will generate at that time.
    Consider how flickr was bought by yahoo for $18 million. Flickr would
    never have been such a success if people didn't have such easy access to
    it.

    Blah blah blah, but there's a point to be made in there somewhere.

    Anyway, good luck with your endeavors,
    nikolai

    --
    Nikolai Weibull: now available free of charge at http://bitwi.se/!
    Born in Chicago, IL USA; currently residing in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    main(){printf(&linux["\021%six\012\0"],(linux)["have"]+"fun"-97);}
    Nikolai Weibull, Apr 15, 2005
    #5
  6. Matt Pelletier

    Matt Taylor Guest

    Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written withdynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Hi Matt,

    My 2c:

    If you hand someone information they will do with it as they please.
    Whether it is a stock-tip, a recipe for chicken-soup, or code.

    It is inherent in the nature of information that you loose control of it
    at the precise moment that you share it with someone else. The more
    'understandable' the information is the more likely they are to use that
    information in their own creations. They may use small sections or
    large sections of the original but the result is the same. All of your
    hard work can be duplicated and used by someone else with basically no
    effort on their part. It's like magic! :)

    Thus the only real way to protect information is to not distribute it
    ala the ASP model or to try to obfuscate it thus making it more
    difficult to use as creative building blocks for anyone else. This
    doesn't prevent someone sharing your work 'as a whole' but does make it
    harder for others to use pieces of your work to incorporate into their
    creations. Also the 'trust issue' is an important factor and becoming
    increasingly so. Sophisticated users are more and more unlikely to run
    software on their system that they themselves don't understand unless it
    comes from a 'safe' source (we all owe a debt of gratitude to the virus
    writers for educating users on this subject).

    In the end though I guess the target audience determines how you protect
    your code if at all.

    Never used it but here are some ruby 'compilers'

    http://exerb.sourceforge.jp/index.en.html
    http://www.erikveen.dds.nl/rubyscript2exe/index.html


    Matt

    --

    mailto:
    web: http://www.rexbot.com
    auction: http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/www-rexbot-com/
    Matt Taylor, Apr 15, 2005
    #6
  7. Matt Pelletier

    Zach Dennis Guest

    Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written withdynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Nikolai Weibull wrote:

    > I was not accusing you of being a racist, but it's been really tiresome
    > lately, where Americans have gotten it into their head that the US is
    > somehow the best place on Earth and that only they can save the rest of
    > the world.


    Hasty generalization...please don't tie all of us americans into that
    claim. Add "where some Americans have gotten..." to that sentence,
    otherwise you sound just as racist as what you claimed that Matt's
    statement was starting to sound. Although i dont' think you mean it that
    way....and I didn't get the impression that he didn't mean it the way
    you took it either.

    Zach
    Zach Dennis, Apr 15, 2005
    #7
  8. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Zach Dennis, April 16:

    > Nikolai Weibull wrote:


    > > I was not accusing you of being a racist, but it's been really
    > > tiresome lately, where Americans have gotten it into their head that
    > > the US is somehow the best place on Earth and that only they can
    > > save the rest of the world.


    > Hasty generalization...please don't tie all of us americans into that
    > claim. Add "where some Americans have gotten..." to that sentence,
    > otherwise you sound just as racist as what you claimed that Matt's
    > statement was starting to sound.


    Since when can't I use the word "Americans" to mean a subset of all
    Americans? Is there some new law in effect that forbids me to do so?
    If I wanted additional effect, I would have written "all Americans" as
    it says a lot more than plain "Americans", right? Have you perhaps not
    realized that I am an American as well? I thought it was made pretty
    clear, both by what I wrote, how I wrote it, and from what my signature
    reads.

    > Although i dont' think you mean it that way....and I didn't get the
    > impression that he didn't mean it the way you took it either.


    The problem of double negatives here.

    I'm sure he didn't mean what he said. But he did say it, and that's the
    problem. It's a problem of not realizing just what you're actually
    saying. I don't hold Matt to his words, I just hope that I made him
    aware of the fact that the way he expressed himself could be considered
    offensive to a lot of people.

    Sometimes I wake up at night distressed from realizing that I'm not
    living in the states. That's how much I miss the America of my dreams;
    an America that doesn't exist anywhere but in my head, being nothing but
    a romanticized version of the real thing. I'll never let anyone take
    that America from me, though,
    nikolai

    --
    Nikolai Weibull: now available free of charge at http://bitwi.se/!
    Born in Chicago, IL USA; currently residing in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    main(){printf(&linux["\021%six\012\0"],(linux)["have"]+"fun"-97);}
    Nikolai Weibull, Apr 15, 2005
    #8
  9. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written withdynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Matt Taylor wrote:

    > Never used it but here are some ruby 'compilers'
    >
    > http://exerb.sourceforge.jp/index.en.html
    > http://www.erikveen.dds.nl/rubyscript2exe/index.html


    Those are really only ruby 'packagers' in that they collect source code
    and package it into a single binary. They don't even try to make the
    source code in the binary less clear.

    I suppose you could instead try nodewrap[1] or something similar which
    is close to shipping byte code -- you will lose some information, but
    will usually still have enough of it to be able to understand the code
    logic in case you chose to reverse engineer.

    There really isn't much more to stopping your people from building upon
    your source code than removing things that help humans, but not
    machines. In Ruby that will probably mean using non-meaningful names and
    perhaps stripping comments and whitespace when they are ignored by Ruby.

    [1] http://raa.ruby-lang.org/project/nodewrap/
    Florian Groß, Apr 15, 2005
    #9
  10. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written withdynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    [quote Nikolai Weibull::eek:n 4/15/2005 11:39 PM]
    > Zach Dennis, April 16:
    >
    >> Nikolai Weibull wrote:

    >
    >> > I was not accusing you of being a racist, but it's been really
    >> > tiresome lately, where Americans have gotten it into their head that
    >> > the US is somehow the best place on Earth and that only they can
    >> > save the rest of the world.

    >
    >> Hasty generalization...please don't tie all of us americans into that
    >> claim. Add "where some Americans have gotten..." to that sentence,
    >> otherwise you sound just as racist as what you claimed that Matt's
    >> statement was starting to sound.

    >
    > Since when can't I use the word "Americans" to mean a subset of all
    > Americans? Is there some new law in effect that forbids me to do so?
    > If I wanted additional effect, I would have written "all Americans" as
    > it says a lot more than plain "Americans", right? Have you perhaps not
    > realized that I am an American as well? I thought it was made pretty
    > clear, both by what I wrote, how I wrote it, and from what my signature
    > reads.
    >
    >> Although i dont' think you mean it that way....and I didn't get the
    >> impression that he didn't mean it the way you took it either.

    >
    > The problem of double negatives here.
    >
    > I'm sure he didn't mean what he said. But he did say it, and that's the
    > problem. It's a problem of not realizing just what you're actually
    > saying. I don't hold Matt to his words, I just hope that I made him
    > aware of the fact that the way he expressed himself could be considered
    > offensive to a lot of people.
    >
    > Sometimes I wake up at night distressed from realizing that I'm not
    > living in the states. That's how much I miss the America of my dreams;
    > an America that doesn't exist anywhere but in my head, being nothing but
    > a romanticized version of the real thing. I'll never let anyone take
    > that America from me, though,
    > nikolai
    >

    Mr Nikolai,

    I would probably end up by being criticized for my english - which is by no means my native
    language, but I would like to emphasize one thing:
    you (and i mean you americans) are too obsessed with -ism words (racism, sexism, whatsoever-ism)
    claiming that this is protecting the freedom (freedom of speech included). In my romanian opinion,
    talking good or bad about some guys leaving in usa as americans is by no means an -ism situation. It
    is just an opinion. a fact. That's all.

    cheers,
    - --
    :alex |.::the_mindstorm::.|
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    Alexandru Popescu, Apr 16, 2005
    #10
  11. Re: Practical considerations for licensing software written with dynamic/non-compiled languages/platforms

    Alexandru Popescu, April 17:

    > I would probably end up by being criticized for my english - which is
    > by no means my native language, but I would like to emphasize one
    > thing: you (and i mean you americans) are too obsessed with -ism words
    > (racism, sexism, whatsoever-ism) claiming that this is protecting the
    > freedom (freedom of speech included). In my romanian opinion, talking
    > good or bad about some guys leaving in usa as americans is by no means
    > an -ism situation. It is just an opinion. a fact. That's all.


    I don't understand what you're getting at,
    nikolai

    --
    Nikolai Weibull: now available free of charge at http://bitwi.se/!
    Born in Chicago, IL USA; currently residing in Gothenburg, Sweden.
    main(){printf(&linux["\021%six\012\0"],(linux)["have"]+"fun"-97);}
    Nikolai Weibull, Apr 17, 2005
    #11
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