Re: Borland's Free Movement

I applaud Borland's free editions of Kylix and Delphi 6-- it was a bold move for them to make. At the same time, I can't help but feel that they only got it half-right. For one, the free editions are severly handicapped-- they have very few components compared to their commercially-licensed counterparts.

What if they had released the enterprise edition of their products under a non-commercial license? To me, that would be like saying "Here-- these are the best we have to offer. Feel free to use them for any open source or otherwise non-commercial development you wish." What a gift and what a gesture that would be to the open source community!

I know what you're thinking-- they would lose too much money on sales because all the commercial users would just use the free version instead. Well, maybe, but they would have to violate their license agreement by doing so. Big deal? Yes, that is a big deal to Borland's core paying customers. The companies that traditionally buy the commercial licenses would continue to do so or suffer the legal consequences.

Besides, I think it would do more good than bad. Borland products would soon become the de-facto standard for education (because schools like 'cheaper' and 'free' just like the rest of us). And their use in the open source community would skyrocket. That momentum would carry over into the commercial world as more developers make Borland products their preferred tools. And because there would be more Borland developers in the job market, corporations would be more likely to use those products.

Another reason they got it half-right. The Kylix compiler should have been open-sourced and donated into the GCC project. Imagine if the Kylix Object Pascal compiler were built right into GCC? Before long, it would be part of the standard GNU distribution. Having the backend compiler as part of the standard GCC distro would facilitate open source development much better than requiring folks to download and install the open edition of Kylix.

Oh well-- wishful thinking I guess.

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This article was published on August 26, 2001 12:43 AM.

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