LewisC proclaims himself to be “an expert”, but in what it’s a tad difficult to know. It’s certainly not in being able to read software licenses, as I had occasion to point out in these pages not so long ago.
My final comments on that thread were, unfortunately, censored: it’s apparently OK for Lewis to tell me that my factual critique of his nonsense is nothing but “smarmy crock” and that I should “go crawl back under your rock”, but not OK for me to make a factual rebuttal of Lewis’ claim that, in the end, I agree with him on the licensing issue. So I’ll take this opportunity to re-state the gist of what would have been my final post:
His statement that “you end up agreeing with me anyway” is mere wishful thinking on his part. He posted originally that you needed to pay for Oracle the minute more than one person made use of the OTN-downloaded database. You don’t.
He posted originally that you needed to pay for Oracle the minute you wanted to develop in a RAC or Dataguard environment. You don’t.
Every substantive point Lewis made in his original blog piece about the OTN license and its applicability I disagree with. I can understand his wanting to extricate himself from this mess of his own creation; but trying to do so by asserting agreement between us on matters about which we have diametrically opposite opinions is, frankly, ridiculous.
Short story, therefore: Lewis was wrong about the OTN License. He remains wrong. He owes people a withdrawal of and considered apology for his comments about it. But instead, he merely attacks the only person who bothered to point out his errors in entirely factual terms.
Meanwhile, I see someone called Alex Andrews has contributed to that thread yet more muck and murk, claiming that “the key licensing term for Oracle products is the following statement; “Other Upon 45 days written notice Oracle may audit the use of the program.” He concludes from this that “unless you noted the date that you downloaded the product and saved a copy of the license agreement, your compliance [is] in doubt.”
This is not the case, of course, since that statement about ‘45 days notice’ doesn’t appear once in the OTN License that is actually the topic under discussion …though, somewhat predictably, the Great Expert Lewis fails to mention this not-so minor point in his reply. All the OTN License says is, “We may audit your use of the programs”, with not a time-scale or a costs-component clause in sight. Alex’s point may well apply to full-blown Oracle licensing issues, in which case fair enough. But it’s got sod-all to do with the free OTN License that Lewis got all worked up about and decided to scare everyone else about as a result. Unfortunately, this tendency to swirl all sorts of non-relevant issues into the mix at the drop of a hat is all-too-common in “discussions” about the OTN license in particular and software licenses generally.
Incidentally, I thought Tod Tomlinson’s contribution to that thread some of the most cogent I’ve seen about the issue: “sales reps are hungry for new license opportunities and if you have a rep who is smart enough to put 2+2 together to see that helping you prove your environment will result in new license revenue for them – they’ll likely step up and help you succeed“. Or, as I would have put it, the OTN License is there to encourage you to use Oracle products and come up with applications and environments which will make use, eventually, of paid-for licenses. The sensible thing to do, therefore, is to read the OTN License in that light: permissive, liberal, encouraging. Scare stories about how trivial it is to inadvertently step outside its bounds and into paid-for territory miss that point by a wild mile.
I conclude from this latest licensing storm in a tea-cup merely that (1) there’s one born every minute; (2) anyone proclaiming themselves an expert is probably not; (3) providing you’re being honest about it, your usage of the OTN license is almost certainly just fine.