EULA

BaseEULA. While it may be the sound you make right before and while you are throwing up, that is not what I was thinking. End User License Agreement is what I mean by EULA. Have you ever read one of those things of late? They are indeed a mouth full of legal jargon that basically most of the time sum up that you as the end-user can not really do anything with that software you just purchased. Of course I would have to start with just how many of you have even read one of them? I can tell you that I have read several, both as a consumer and back when I did software testing.

Bottom line is I have to agree with the recent comments of Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, a writer over on ZDNet who said a few things about them not so long ago. First of all, the legalize and length of typical EULA seems to be done just so anyone who is seriously thinking about reading them will become discouraged and head go ahead and click-through them anyway. Add to that the many additional supplements to it and the basic complexity of so many different licensing schemes with a lot of the recently released software and especially some operating systems.

First of all you have sometimes a half-dozen or more different levels of licensing. But then there are so many complications and various restrictions and what you can do and can’t do and limits and so on. It really is just like Adrian said. If you write software and publish it and you can not write your EULA in a paragraph or two of plain simple English, it is time to quit.

I means basically, there should be two or maybe three EULA’s in general and that be it. Think about how simple it is if you follow these basic formulas:

  1. This software is licensed under the GPU/GPL licensing scheme. You are free to make modifications, copy it, distribute it, and pretty much whatever else. The only exception is you can not take this code/software and use distribute it for profit. You may charge a nominal fee for the media and that is it.
  2. This software is copyrighted. You may not copy it, distribute, or even install it on more than N number of systems. Further you may not make modifications, not that we are going to give you the source code, but this also prohibits you from doing funky things like reverse engineering code. All our rights are reserved and belong us the owner and may prosecute under the appropriate United States or international laws.
  3. We can’t really make up our minds about this licensing thing and so some parts are copyrighted, but these other things listed below are free for you to modify and such just like open source licensing. See the above respective notes and see the list below of which parts are applicable to which.

Bottom line is that is simple and straightforward and the kind of thing that anyone can understand without having to consult with your own legal adviser before deciding if you want to install software or be in risk of signing your soul over to some executive on the west coast. And reminds of some of the comments I read following this article on ZDNet. Yes, we should, as Shakespeare suggested start with the lawyers in our uprising – and the folks that argued that is not what he meant, clearly he did, but that is another blog-post.