Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 15th Oct 2009 14:47 UTC
Legal Let's do a little trip down memory lane. We're talking the '80s, early '90s, and we're looking at a company called Borland, which produced several well-known and popular products related to software development. Back in those days, Borland had an end user license agreement. However, contrary to the EULAs we know and despise today, Borland's 'No-Nonsense License Statement' was a whole lot simpler, and in fact, is a perfect example of how software should be treated.
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Furthermore ...
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 15th Oct 2009 14:55 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

After their software was ancient and of no longer practical use for serious development, but still of interest to nostalgic hobbyist like myself, they released it free of charge on their website. I liked borland, but I think they really screwed up Delphi.

Also to be fair, Microsoft poached all of their talent.

Reply Score: 4

Borland in a box
by Doc Pain on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:31 UTC in reply to "Furthermore ..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

After their software was ancient and of no longer practical use for serious development, but still of interest to nostalgic hobbyist like myself, [...]


When I was at university, I thought that - having programmed in Assembler, BASIC, Logo and 4th before - TurboPascal was a real good programming language. I just had started programming in C, so many things looked strange there to me at first glance. A buddy gave me a complete Borland TurboPascal 7.0 box, including four 3,5" diskettes (those litte squares with the magnetic thingy in it, for those who don't know them) and several printed manuals (books made of paper with letters and pictures on it). The day I got this present I decided to not program anymore TP, because I fell in love with C. I hope nobody gives me a Borland C box as a present so I will have to look out for another primary programming language... :-)

I still have that box sitting on my "nostalgia shelf".

Here in Germany, Borland software was obviously present quite up to 2000. Especially schools often used TP 6.0 for "educational purposes" (haha). Even Borland Delphi made it into the classrooms for a short period of time, but today, nobody remembers the word "Borland" anymore.

Only exception: "Al Borland, name that wood!" :-) I always remember that sentence (but in german, "Al Borland, sag den Namen der Holzart!"), and the corresponding "Home Improvement" scene appear infront of my mind, when someone mentions "TurboPascal" or "Borland"...

And very few people can remember other Borland product names that do not primarily refer to programming languages.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Furthermore ...
by snorkel on Fri 16th Oct 2009 05:05 UTC in reply to "Furthermore ..."
snorkel Member since:
2006-03-16

Borland no longer owns Delphi, it's now owned by Embarcadero and the lastest version Delphi 2010 totally kicks butt, no kidding. Way better than .net garbage.

Reply Score: 1

theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

The more complex you make a license the greater the chance that honest people will be breaking it. Companies should suck it up and realize people will do things that they may not want them to do with their product.

Reply Score: 3

Very true
by g2devi on Thu 15th Oct 2009 16:31 UTC
g2devi
Member since:
2005-07-09

Borland's license was probably the single factor that made Borland's products dominate, even over Microsoft which made Windows and DOS. If it weren't for the way they badly bungled the OWL1 to OWL2 upgrade and completely removed OWL1 support from future versions of C++, they might still be number one.

Reply Score: 2

Borland rocked
by Lousewort on Thu 15th Oct 2009 16:38 UTC
Lousewort
Member since:
2006-09-12

...that is until their entire dev team up and left to join Microsoft. I still think the OWL libraries were the best abstraction of the win32 API I ever came across. Why they had to favor Delphi and as a consequence that abortion of a C++ builder I will never understand.

A few years ago, Borland (or what was left of the original Borland) decided to concentrate on development lifecycle tools instead of compilers, and faded gently into obscurity.

Whilst in their ascension, (imho) they produced the best compilers yet produced on this planet.

I am complete agreement about their license.

Reply Score: 1

Applies to any law
by Yamin on Thu 15th Oct 2009 16:44 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

This pretty much applies to any law. Any law that is not simple, clear, and concise is generally meaningless or just used to make everyone a criminal

This is hardly a problem with software. Just look at pretty much any law or tax code.

I'm of firm belief that if the average person cannot represent themselves in court (as they did in ancient Greece), the law needs to be simplified.

Reply Score: 7

Beautiful!
by skeezix on Thu 15th Oct 2009 16:49 UTC
skeezix
Member since:
2006-02-06

This license is absolutely brilliant. I wonder if the license is protected under copyright laws, because I'd really like to use it (or something very similar to it) as a license for my software.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Beautiful!
by Ventajou on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:12 UTC in reply to "Beautiful!"
Ventajou Member since:
2006-10-31

That license can only be used by one person at the same time...

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Beautiful!
by skeezix on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Beautiful!"
skeezix Member since:
2006-02-06

Oh, well I'd certainly modify it to suit my software -- there are clauses in it that aren't appropriate for modern web-based applications.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Beautiful!
by phoenix on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Beautiful!"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Whoosh! ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Beautiful!
by skeezix on Thu 15th Oct 2009 20:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Beautiful!"
skeezix Member since:
2006-02-06

Pardon?! :S

Reply Score: 1

Delphi
by jgagnon on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:01 UTC
jgagnon
Member since:
2008-06-24

Delphi is still my development environment of choice. I've owned most versions of Delphi since 1.0 and about the only one I truly hated was 2005 (not so much for the change in looks but because it was one very buggy product), though I did run into quite a few limitations with 1.0 and short strings. I just bought Delphi 2010 from Embarcadero (the current owners of Delphi) and am liking it so far.

Reply Score: 2

Ah, Borland...
by bosco_bearbank on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:03 UTC
bosco_bearbank
Member since:
2005-10-12

Tubro Pascal for the Apple ][ Plus with a Z-80 card. Seems to me that first version cost only $9.95

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ah, Borland...
by jgagnon on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:12 UTC in reply to "Ah, Borland..."
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

The first version of Turbo Pascal I ever used was 3 (in high school). I think the first version I bought was 4, but my favorite was starting with 5.5. I've always been an OO nut and favor it over procedural programming.

Borland was my favorite company for a long time. They just did things right, from their license agreement to their products and product pricing. The Borland of old is surely missed by me.

Reply Score: 1

Forlorn
by fretinator on Thu 15th Oct 2009 17:53 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Looking back, I REALLY liked Borland Sidekick and Turbo Pascal. Also, Borland C++, with MFC and OWL, was an awesome product. Unfortunately, MS spanked Borland with Visual Studio. I really feel the death knell for Pascal (frm a business perspective only ...go FPC!) was the exclusion of Pascal from Visual Studio. Pascal as a language rocks, WAY safer than C/C++.

Darn, sometimes it's hard being old!

Reply Score: 3

I'm with Thom on this
by Kalessin on Thu 15th Oct 2009 18:10 UTC
Kalessin
Member since:
2007-01-18

I always treat the software that I buy like a book. I always have. The EULA's are too much of a mess to even try to read, let alone understand.

As for Borland, if I were still writing software for Windows, I'd be using their stuff (well, Embarcadero now). But since I use linux almost exclusively now, I haven't bought any of their stuff in a while. The little Windows C++ development that I have to do at work has been with Visual Studio. All the rest is in linux. So really, I don't even have to deal with many EULAs these days anyway. It's mostly open source stuff.

Reply Score: 3

Borland ruled!
by Budd on Thu 15th Oct 2009 18:14 UTC
Budd
Member since:
2005-07-08

I have used their products starting with Turbo Pascal 3.0 in uni and the until 6.0 . After that CPP Builder,this one was leaps and bounds above MS Visual series. Delphi was not really my environment (mainly because I quit Pascal for CPP) but then in '99-'00 they came with JBuilder. This also was a decent tool (it even had a swing visual editor back in the time). Borland brings back only good memories. I still have around a copy of CPP Builder bought by the company I was working before. I simply liked their tools.

Reply Score: 2

Can't use that
by Leroy on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:01 UTC
Leroy
Member since:
2006-07-06

"treat it like a book" now. The software companies will just point to e-books on Kindle as an example then delete your copy.

By the way, I prefer paper books over their electronic counterparts any day.

Reply Score: 2

Ah...memories
by umccullough on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:02 UTC
umccullough
Member since:
2006-01-26

Pretty sure TurboPascal in DOS was my first serious experiences writing software. The editor was pretty awesome at the time compared to edit.exe, and pascal was such a nice language to learn with.

I bet I still have some "educational versions" of Borland products kicking around in my garage somewhere - maybe I should dig those out and see how they compare again to the stuff I use now.

Reply Score: 2

Default
by Carewolf on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:17 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

I still believe this is the default. EULA's are invalid (except for certain parts of US and Australia), so you have to go by sale laws. They usually allow back-up for personal use, and media shifting (necessary to ever install a program), re-installing on new computer and selling used software. While not as clear as Borlands License, I still believe most sales laws would allow this interpretation which is why I've used this a general rule since the first time I read it.

Reply Score: 1

Just like a book...
by drstorm on Thu 15th Oct 2009 19:59 UTC
drstorm
Member since:
2009-04-24

The way the things are going, we might as well see books with EULAs printed on their first pages.

"By reading this book or any portion of it you agree to forfeit your Soul to the Devil International Inc. further referred to as "The Devil" [...]"

Reply Score: 4

RE: Just like a book...
by npcomplete on Thu 15th Oct 2009 21:39 UTC in reply to "Just like a book..."
npcomplete Member since:
2009-08-21

Yeah that's what I'm afraid of too, especially with e-books. Remember the recent Amazon Kindle fiasco where user's already purchased books were deleted from their Kindles (with refund) because the publisher later decided to remove them from print or electronic distribution?

And of course there's no way to mitigate that as you're only allowed to use your book on a Kindle, not allowed to print or backup, etc, AFAIK (but feel free to correct me).

Edited 2009-10-15 21:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Unicorns and Pixies...
by mrhasbean on Thu 15th Oct 2009 22:59 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

Unless we get to a point where EULAs are presented as part of the sale, with a proper signature both from myself as well as the vendor, only then will I - as contract law suggests - abide by its clauses.


The book analogy falls apart at so many levels. Are you allowed to make a copy of a book for archival purposes? That would be no - certainly not where I come from. Have you ever lay in bed with your kids reading with them? One of the greatest rewards a parent can experience. But wait, doesn't that mean that more than one person is reading that book at once? So why shouldn't I be allowed to have my software installed on my computer and my kid's computer too?

In over 25 years in this industry I have on numerous occasions come across business people who have a single Office license and have Word and Outlook installed on the receptionists computer, Excel on the accounts person's computer, and Publisher and Powerpoint on their marketing person's computer. Because as far as they're concerned they aren't doing anything illegal - and according to your article they would be right - no different to buying a box set of your favourite trilogy and different people reading each of the books at the same time is it?

The reason we have complex licenses is because of people who take this attitude. People who want to use something that has particular terms associated with it's use but don't want to abide by those terms so they hide behind the "well I never signed anything" crud.

And software isn't by itself in this boat. What about buying a DVD that you then can't show to more than a certain number of people without it being considered a public screening? There is no difference here - there is a condition of use associated with the product. If you don't like the terms and conditions don't use the thing.

If I can ask this Thom. Take your favourite and most used piece of software. Now, imagine that the company that sells it is going to implement the "sign at purchase" policy you mentioned. Are you still going to use that software? What if they added a clause that allowed them to modify the license at their discretion? You'd certainly be thinking twice yes? And why? Because suddenly you've had to sign something rather than abide by a "good will" agreement you made by using the software previously. And therein lies the crux of the problem of verbose licenses - too many consumers think good will should only be a one way street...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Unicorns and Pixies...
by license_2_blather on Thu 15th Oct 2009 23:49 UTC in reply to "Unicorns and Pixies..."
license_2_blather Member since:
2006-02-05

The book analogy falls apart at so many levels. Are you allowed to make a copy of a book for archival purposes? That would be no - certainly not where I come from.


Not here, either. But books don't have spinning hard disks that are prone to failure. Books don't run on OSes (cough *Windows* cough) that randomly consume themselves and your software and data like some electronic Jim Jones.


Have you ever lay in bed with your kids reading with them? One of the greatest rewards a parent can experience. But wait, doesn't that mean that more than one person is reading that book at once? So why shouldn't I be allowed to have my software installed on my computer and my kid's computer too?


Not the same thing. Your lying-in-bed-with-your-kids analogy is more akin to me sitting in front of my computer with my kids beside me, collaborating on a family photo project, or helping them with their homework. Like the book example, we are using one copy of the software, on one computer.

In over 25 years in this industry I have on numerous occasions come across business people who have a single Office license and have Word and Outlook installed on the receptionists computer, Excel on the accounts person's computer, and Publisher and Powerpoint on their marketing person's computer. Because as far as they're concerned they aren't doing anything illegal - and according to your article they would be right - no different to buying a box set of your favourite trilogy and different people reading each of the books at the same time is it?


Is this really the sort of thing that keeps software execs up at night? Or is it people making (and worse, distributing in large quantities) entire copies of the software? In other words, the same thing that movie studios, record companies, and yes, book publishers, have to worry about?

OK, that's beside the point maybe, as the EULA could prohibit "splitting up" use of the suite. But some software company going after some small business that did this (but didn't use more than one copy of any particular program at one time) hardly shows good faith.

The reason we have complex licenses is because of people who take this attitude. People who want to use something that has particular terms associated with it's use but don't want to abide by those terms so they hide behind the "well I never signed anything" crud.


Never signed anything? How about never got the opportunity to read it?

You don't typically see the EULA until you open the box, or worse, start the software install. Then, whoops, you don't agree with it. So you take it back to the local Best Buy, and they tell you, too bad, we don't give refunds on opened software packages. How is that fair to the consumer?

And software isn't by itself in this boat. What about buying a DVD that you then can't show to more than a certain number of people without it being considered a public screening? There is no difference here - there is a condition of use associated with the product. If you don't like the terms and conditions don't use the thing.


Easy to say. But good luck on those Ts and Cs with software -- see previous comment.

And therein lies the crux of the problem of verbose licenses - too many consumers think good will should only be a one way street...


Oh, spare me. Aside from my points above, software companies don't even have to give you a quality product -- and often don't. If my washing machine has an inherent design flaw, some regulatory agency forces the maker to issue a recall/exchange/refund (or some class-action attorney beats them to it). If my software is crap, too bad -- can't take it back, I already opened it. EULA exempts software maker from any quality metric, and the FTC and other like agencies look the other way, or don't take any interest.

I like the "book" license because it is simple, understandable, and software is in most ways (maybe not all) like a book. But let's not kid ourselves; EULAs are the way they are because software makers have been allowed to get away with them.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Unicorns and Pixies...
by Carewolf on Fri 16th Oct 2009 17:28 UTC in reply to "Unicorns and Pixies..."
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Of course you are allowed to make a copy of a book you own for personal use. The photocopy laws only apply to distributing those copies to others.

Reply Score: 1

EULA are probably illegal
by snorkel on Fri 16th Oct 2009 05:11 UTC
snorkel
Member since:
2006-03-16

For one, no one reads them ever. These software companies spend tons of money to have lawyers write these monstrous messes and they are ignored.

The best thing to do with them is ignore them. I don't know if one has ever been tested in court, but since no one aside from the legal team that wrote them has any clue what they mean, I doubt they would hold water.

Reply Score: 1

RE: EULA are probably illegal
by DrillSgt on Fri 16th Oct 2009 13:51 UTC in reply to "EULA are probably illegal"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

For one, no one reads them ever. These software companies spend tons of money to have lawyers write these monstrous messes and they are ignored.

The best thing to do with them is ignore them. I don't know if one has ever been tested in court, but since no one aside from the legal team that wrote them has any clue what they mean, I doubt they would hold water.


Some EULA's have been tested in court and found to be valid, others have found to have invalid clauses. The problem with EULA's in this sense is everyone of them has to be tested to see if it is valid or not. There is no across the board ruling.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: EULA are probably illegal
by boldingd on Fri 16th Oct 2009 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE: EULA are probably illegal"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Well, that's kinda true in general. I gather that, whenever any given contract is taken to court, it's likely that some clause somewhere will be found to be unenforcable. There's a "which parts of this document are enforcable" step in all contract negotiation.

I think.

Reply Score: 2

It wasn't always nice
by moondevil on Fri 16th Oct 2009 07:22 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

Borland was my favorite company for developer tools, while I was growing up and giving my first steps as a programmer.

But Borland licences were also problematic. I don't know if someone else here can remember this, but when Borland C++ 4.5 came out, the license forbade the developers to use it for developing software that would compete with Borland.

Then after the uproar from developers around the world not happy with this new license, Borland issued an EULA update, which removed the above mentioned restriction.

I cannot provide any web link. This was in the days were no Internet existed, most of this happened in Magazines like PC Techniques or BBS.

Still it was a great company and MFC is no match for OWL.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It wasn't always nice
by StaubSaugerNZ on Fri 16th Oct 2009 07:42 UTC in reply to "It wasn't always nice"
StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13


Still it was a great company and MFC is no match for OWL.


I agree. OWL was a very nice model and far more object oriented that the heap of macro rubbish that was MFC (a blight shared by Qt and Gtk+).

How soon everyone forgets! Borland C++ was a real threat to Microsoft's crappy Visual Studio. OWL was a dream compared to MFC, and had the possibility of being portable to OS/2 as well.

So what happened? MS delayed licensing the Win32 APIs to Borland ('cutting off their air' - although this phrase was earlier used by MS in an different context). Everyone was rushing to move to the exciting new Win32 platform Win95 and MS Visual Studio had the goods and Borland didn't (despite trying to get a license for it). Borland couldn't complain to Commerce as they needed the libraries from MS or they knew they were dead meat (they originally had Win32s compatibility library but that was a bridging step until the real Win32 library and platform came out). The rest, as they say, is history. Borland were only one in a long list of competitors to MS that were strangled for being a threat to the company that controlled the platform. That's why people with long memories are very, very wary about relying on Microsoft for technology (I bet you were too young at the time and now too full of hubris to remember this history Mono team?).

Reply Score: 2

RE: It wasn't always nice
by deathshadow on Fri 16th Oct 2009 20:33 UTC in reply to "It wasn't always nice"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

I'd take that statement one step further as IMHO the VCL is no match for OWL when it comes to simplicity of writing a windows program.

I loved OWL, particularly under TPW 1.5 - it was SO much easier for me to deal with than the Delphi/VCL was - hell in a number of ways the lack of a toolkit I could actually wrap my head around that worked native 32 bit (or under 64 bit OS at all) is what drove me to start writing web applications instead of continuing to use TPW.

But I have some wierd mental block in that department - I can hand compile Z80 machine language, but can't make the least bit of sense out of visual programming.

Edited 2009-10-16 20:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Yes, great license
by Drunkula on Fri 16th Oct 2009 13:07 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

I still have Turbo Assembler installed on one of my computers. TASM blew MASM away IMHO.

Reply Score: 1

The good old days of Borland
by deathshadow on Fri 16th Oct 2009 20:29 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

The licensing was only part of the 'magic' that was Borland - in many ways they brought programming to the masses and were the first high-level compiled language many people got access to.

When Turbo Pascal came out, I had been writing assembler (often hand assembling machine language as bytecode) and BASIC for about six years - the reason I used those two languages is they were the only ones that were either built in or reasonably priced to work with. (TRS-80 EDTASM FTW). Even on the Z80 your average C compiler was several hundred dollars, and you wanted to work with in a 16 bit environment you were looking at a grand or more.... money most hobbyists were better off spending on hardware when 32k of RAM was an 'ungodly amount' and 4k was 'standard'.

There were no 'free compilers' - GCC wasn't even a twinkle in a backroom server geek's eye - Literally, Cobol, Pascal, even a compiled basic were all $200-$300 a pop - I remember drooling over them in the TRS-80 catalogs and realizing I had pretty much shot my load financially just on a 16k expansion interface and a single sided 32 track floppy drive.

Which is where the biggest change Borland brought to the table came into play - price. At under $60 a copy Turbo Pascal was the cheapest high speed compiler of it's day readily available through retail channels. It and the later Borland C became the weapon of choice for hobbyists who couldn't afford to shell out $300 for a copy of Microsoft C, much less a grand or so for DiBol. (I still remember my first copy of Turbo Pascal was actually for my DEC Rainbow at work)

Reply Score: 2