There is a bit of a stir in the Embarcadero community following the leaking of a document which appears to be an email to partners concerning a major change in the EULA (End User Licence Agreement) for the Professional edition of Delphi, the RAD development tool for Windows (with lately some cross-platform capability).
This email is to let Embarcadero Technology partners know about some changes being made to the EULA changes in our XE3 release.
In particular, the use of data access technologies for client/server connectivity will no longer be allowed in the Professional edition.
This includes both Embarcadero and 3rd party solutions. Professional users may only, legally, access local databases with their applications.
Users who want to use client/server database access can purchase a Client/Server Add-On Pack for their Professional edition or purchase
an Enterprise, Ultimate or Architect edition product.
This restriction if for new licenses only. Users upgrading to XE3 will be "grandfathered" in that they will be able to continue to use 3rd party data access technologies for client/server database access in version XE3. Additionally, Starter Edition has been restricted to use of MyBase (.CDS or .XML file formats) only for "database access."
While this has not been officially confirmed I believe the email, at least,is authentic. Embarcadero’s David Intersimone implicitly confirms it with comments in the lengthy discussion on the Embarcadero forums.
It sounds complex and, like many software licences, based essentially on trust rather than technical limitation.
In the past, Professional has been the edition of Delphi to get if you want to do real work but do not need fancy stuff like modeling tools, advanced database frameworks and so on.
A “Professional” edition with local database access only does not deserve the name. This kind of restriction is usually reserved for tools aimed at hobbyists or intended mainly for trial purposes.
The news has not gone down well. Some of the most vocal on the Embarcadero forums are partners whose add-ons will no longer be legal to use with the Professional edition.
As a loyal Delphi developer since 1995… and as an Embarcadero Technology Partner… I cannot simply sit by and say nothing. This EULA change is WRONG. There’s no moral ambiguity here! It doesn’t tow a line, fall into a "grey area" or wobble on the tightrope… it is simply wrong. It crosses every line: ethically, morally, and progressively. Not only that, but as an idea it is patently stupid! The condition is financially and logistically unenforcable, and the only thing it does is serve to deter new customers.
says Simon Stuart, creator of the Lua4Delphi library.
The core problem here? It is hard to make money on development tools, given the competition that is either free or provided by platform vendors (meaning Microsoft or Apple) who have every advantage in terms of finance and inside knowledge.
Delphi is a fantastic tool; but Embarcadero still struggles with quality issues. The answer is greater investment, but where does that come from? Upping the price is one strategy, though it is no sure-fire solution as the above debate demonstrates.
Update: It appears that Embarcadero has backed down. The “finalized” EULA states that the local database restriction only applies to dbExpress, a specific Embarcadero database framework:
Licensee may not use that portion of the Product identified as “dbExpress” in association with a database located on a different machine other than the machine on which the Works are installed.