Free Open Source Technology Not Always Free

October 4, 2012

Open-source technology is heralded by developers for the innovation and the free tools that are available. This is a way for developers to access the technology they need without the highly inflated costs, except when the tools actually are not free.

I came across “When ‘Free’ Isn’t: Developer Accuses Tool Vendor of Extorting Customer” recently on Ars Technica, which informs us of Appcelerator’s Titanium mobile developer tools which were the center of a big complaint and quite a lot of controversy. It seems an aggressive salesperson misled users to believe the technology was free and is now being accused of “extortionate fees” and contacting a developer’s client in order to attain those fees.

The article gives us some insight from Appcelerator:

“‘Rarely does this happen that we get such confusion and noise (about the licensing),’ Appcelerator Vice President of Products Jonathan Rende said in an interview with Ars. ‘We acknowledge there’s some confusion on our licensing. We hear the feedback loud and clear. We’re going to make sure the message is very clear as we approach customers in the future. Our developer community is super important to us, and we want to do right by them.’”

The “confusion” lies in the blending of open-source software development kit and a proprietary integrated development tool. We view this as an open-source bear trap and are unsure where this lies in the realm of ethical use of open-source software. Hopefully this does not become a trend.

Andrea Hayden, October 04, 2012

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext.

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