I wasn’t going to say anything further on this as it has been pretty much covered in the forums and on other blogs, but when a duly annointed “MVP” suggests that I should publish a post explaining that the news about the proposed changes in the EULA were FUD, then it behoves me to put some stark, plain facts on the table.
The MVP’s seem – in the main – to be following the Embarcadero crib sheet on spinning these events.
The line being taken is variously one of either:
See, the new EULA isn’t what was rumoured. There wasn’t anything to worry about.
It’s great that Embarcadero have listened to their customers and decided not to go ahead with the change.
But unfortunately neither of these is actually what happened.
The new EULA was not proposed or discussed. Technology Partners were notified of the change, after the fact. As others have observed, the EULA was already changed in the BETA distributions of Delphi. It is also quite clear from the wording in the leaked email about the EULA change that it was talking about something that – from the author’s point of view – had already happened. Not that I think it is necessary, but you only have to look at a handful of extracts of illustrative language from that email (my emphasis added):
..changes being made..
This restriction is [sic] for new licenses only
..will be “grandfathered”..
..Starter Edition has been restricted..
This is not the language of a consultative, discussion process. The email was informing Technology Partners of the impact on them that this change had, and quite bluntly too.
The author of that email, I should note, was an Embarcadero employee. The leaked email was not – as some have speculated – written by someone who was interpreting information.
If, even after this, there remains any doubt then we only have to look at the initial response from Embarcadero. As soon as the email was leaked people were, unsurprisingly, calling for that response and hoping for a denial.
This was their opportunity to retract in private, shielded by the NDA that the Technology Partners remained bound by, and present the change as something that had been considered but rejected. I even speculated that they might try this in my original post drawing attention to the email. But they didn’t.
Their initial responses – when they finally came – contained no form of denial that this change had happened and was going to appear in the released product, no denial at all; not in any way, shape or form. Instead they focussed on emphasising the “grandfathering” of upgraded license rights and – disingenuously and frankly inaccurately – insisting that “existing customers” would not be affected.
This latter response is particularly astounding since it is predicated on the ignorance of the fact that you cannot upgrade a Delphi license to XE3 from any version earlier than Delphi 2009. So despite what is said, a Delphi 1 license – or fot that matter a Delphi 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2006 or 2007 – cannot be “grandfathered” as those licenses cannot be upgraded to XE3. Anyone on such an old license is required now to buy an entirely new license.
But crucially, if the license change had at this point already been rejected and wasn’t going to happen then nobody would be affected, never mind “existing customers”. So why didn’t they just say that ? (*)
If that’s still not enough, then there is explicit acknowledgement that the EULA was being updated, and that the changes being discussed were “this update”.
If that’s still not enough, there is further, explicit confirmation of the notion of “grandfathering”, something that is only relevant in the light of the EULA change.
No. The notion that this was only ever a proposed change and not one that was already enacted and would appear in the released product EULA is specious nonsense.
The fact that otherwise supposedly intelligent people cannot see, or refuse to see, this beggars belief. If on the other hand they see it but believe that other people will swallow the horse manure they are spinning on Embarcadero’s behalf is just downright insulting.
As for Embarcadero listening.
The Technology Partners were understandably up in arms. They protested this change vigorously – to no effect. This was in fact why the email was leaked in the first place – why else do people think that someone would go to the lengths of breaching an NDA ?
Just for the hell of it ?
If so, then stop and think for a moment about the relationship that the “partners” of Embarcadero must have if you are more willing to believe that NDA’s are broken vexatiously and frivolously, rather than only as a desperate, last resort.
No. The Technology Partners were getting nowhere with Embarcadero and at least one felt sufficiently strongly about it to leak the information.
And why should Embarcadero care about the Technology Partners views on this ? The impact of the license change was quite obviously detrimental to a significant number of those Technology Partners – Embarcadero didn’t need to be told this. They just didn’t care. If they did, they wouldn’t have made this EULA change in the first place (*).
And again, despite even the initial outcry from the wider community, Embarcadero continued with their intent to press ahead. Only when the protests reached fever pitch and people started actively and quite aggressively talking about finally making the switch from Delphi that they had – in some cases – been contemplating for some time, did Embarcadero finally back down.
* The “Incompetence Rather Than Malice” Dictum
There is a dictum – attributed to numerous people – that one should not attribute to malice, things which can be explained by incompetence.
This dictum generally holds quite well. The problem comes when it is applied to certain situations, where the notion that “incompetence” is somehow a more comfortable explanation than “malice” is dubious in the extreme. This becomes an especially difficult balance to strike when faced with a mounting pile of examples to take into account:
In each case, ask yourself if incompetence or malice is the most comfortable or likely explanation:
- Extending “territoriality” of licenses from Concurrent Users to Named Users
- Narrowing the upgrade eligibility window for licensees (perhaps not as narrow this year, but time has still yet to tell)
- Demanding an increase in SA renewal in contravention of the SA terms and conditions (with no apology for any “mistake” when this is pointed out)
- Introducing mobile platform support in Delphi, actively promoting and marketing this in the product, then removing it and telling Delphi customers they have to buy a new product to get that capability back (but not telling them how much at the point at which they are told they have to upgrade or be on SA even to get access to the beta of that new product)
Then ask yourself: is this company – on balance – being nasty or just incompetent ?
And in either case: do I want to do business with, and perhaps build my business on a relationship with, a company that is either incompetent, nasty or some amalgam of both ?
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