Scrolling through Facebook today, I happened upon one of those sponsored links. The advertisement immediately caught my attention for a few reasons. First, I too believe that software developers, like everyone in this industry should be appropriately compensated. Furthermore, customers should pay for what they use in accordance with what they agree to via license agreements. I did find it interesting that the ad went on to encourage employees to turn in their employers and be financially awarded for sharing their knowledge of software indiscretions.
What really struck me was how one-sided the thought process was. Much of the software industry has broken license models. For example, talking to two representatives from a software giant will likely result in two opinions of how the licensing process works. The agreements are often found contradictory. In some cases the licenses don’t even align with modern deployment scenarios. Rebuilding a computer, which I seem to do regularly, forces a call to get software reissued.
And this is when things work right. What about when something happens and it doesn’t work correctly? Consider this, you are a customer and can prove the purchase of a product. The vendor even agrees that your organization owns the right to the product. However, the record keeps getting screwed up in their database and it causes you considerable grief. What if you own a perpetual license agreement and the vendor goes out of business? All is well until you have to activate it again.
Honestly licensing should not be as painful as it is. I strongly discourage piracy, but I think vendors must do their part. This requires them to work hard and give customers simplified license agreements that just work.