Subject Re: [IB-Architect] IB licensing methods
Author Jim Starkey
At 02:25 PM 4/11/00 -0700, ann harrison wrote:
>As many of you are aware, some applications built
>on Interbase rely on Interbase's licensing to control
>their own access. Needless to say, Interbase V6
>will have no licensing, leaving the developers of
>those applications in the lurch.
>I bring this problem to your attention, hoping
>to find a solution that is consistent with our
>open source license, open source philosophy, and
>a certain desire to provide real protection
>rather than obfuscation.

I would like to see Interbase out of the license
enforcement business altogether. I think everyone
understands that the current scheme, open sourced,
can be trivially defeated. Clearly any third party
application that depends on the current scheme must
be recoded. Why not recode the application to use
a purpose-built, appropriate license enforcement
scheme rather than a hacked Interbase server?

There are three serious problems with Interbase license
enforcement. First, as mentioned, the existing scheme
doesn't work. Second, it is off message (to use a
Donaldism). Interbase should be a standard package
that any application can use. There shouldn't have
to be different versions with different capabilities
installed on the same system, introducing an unnecessary
and undesirable operational complexity. Third, Interbase
is a very poor license enforcement system. At best,
it counts attachments to the database, not an application.
If somebody installs an accounting system that uses
licensing and a report writer that does not, the user
will be charged by the accounting package for use of
the report writer. This is not fair to the user, not
intended by the accounting package developer, and an
afront to the distributed of the report writer.

There is no reason that a database vendor should be
responsible for license enforcement of third party
applications except history. And since there is no
way to provide a compatible upgrade that works, let's
just give it up. Interbase currently doesn't have a
solution. Why should it spend precious engineering
resources to build a bad partial solution to a problem
it doesn't have?

A better solution is a independent license enforcement
server that manages licenses. It doesn't sound difficult,
so why not build one? Simple. Many have been written
and all have failed.

I don't think Interbase should be in this business. Period.

Jim Starkey