Tuesday, 31 July 2007

OTN and Development Licences part 73.2 -- a FAQ!

This is yet another blog post around the issues of Oracle's Development Licenses downloaded from OTN.... this time with some light at the end of the tunnel.

Thought some readers might be interested on Doug Burn's blog, Justin Kestelyn of OTN fame has made the comment "We [sic: Oracle] are in fact working on a plain-English Developer Licensing FAQ".

This is nice to see, particularly with all the confusion based around the OTN development licenses.... and once again shows Oracle is listening.

(And well timed as if I read one more discussion about someone giving their interpretation of the licenses with the disclaimer "but I'm no lawyer" .... I'm going to scream! ;) -- or at least employee a lawyer)

I think many of us will be waiting keenly for this. I hope Justin and Oracle will take suggestions like Doug's on board before publishing the FAQ (not necessarily about licenses conditions but rather what should be in the FAQ).


Howard Rogers said...

I get slightly disappointed to readthe suggestion that a legal document doesn't count as English!

It is not as if contracts or licenses have just arrived from Mars, after all! If you own a car, have a mortgage, rent an appartment -you've seen these sorts of documents before!

And the implication that pieces I write that conclude 'I am not a lawyer' are somehow not worth anything is also disappointing. I disclaim being a lawyer because I don't want to get sued, not because I believe my view of the law in this specific regard is in some way deficient.

Many of us will recognise a FAQ for what it is: largely worthless where it counts, in a court of law. Anything they put in the FAQ that is permissive will effectively undermine a future attempt by Oracle to restrict an activity, sure enough (because the defendant will simply be able to say, 'Their FAQ said it was OK'). But anything it is silent on will still have to be adjudicated according to the terms of the license itself... and it is therefore still going to be a requirement to understand that license.

Seeing a FAQ as a 'light at the end of the tunnel' misses the point: understanding the license itself is the only light that actually counts.

Chris Muir said...

With apologies Howard, I wasn't attempting to discount your opinion with my jip about "not a lawyer". Just adding some (poor?) wit to the discussion. I respect your opinion (though I reserve the right to disagree), and also respect (as you with your website/blog) that you've taken time out to address the issue and write blog entries.

I disagree that the FAQ will be worthless, but that's my opinion. I guess we'll leave the readers to make their own judgment based on your points.

Sorry for cross posting blogs, but I wanted to highlight your, Doug's and Justin comments (and now Nial's) as a new blog entry, rather than them disappearing into the comments. The opinions of all parties are well respected and I thought people would like to hear what you had to say.



PS. For those interested in all the comments I'm referring to above, also head to Doug's blog at the link above.

Howard Rogers said...

Fair enough, Chris. I just got the impression that since I (and others) are 'constrained to disclaim' because we have a mortgage to pay, that somehow meant the opinion was lightweight or flippant.

Anyway, I won't prolong the discussion except to clarify in my turn that when I said the FAQ will be worthless, I meant it will be *legally* worthless, in the sense that its existence won't change what is in fact the legal document.

I'm sure a plain English clarification will help many *users*.

Chris Muir said...

Nah, I'm not as contentious as all that..... nothing is worth insulting or upsetting others over (especially when I find it very useful to hear all the opinions to understand what people think :)

The original post is just the vagaries of my writing and poor wit coming through (which I'll correct in my own FAQ soon ;)