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InstantDB: RE: InstantDB's Licensing and Open Source Status

This discussion is overdue, so please don't hold back on your inquiries., has sections 3.1-3.5, and
I just re-read them.  I think your point is, "Hey Keith, only 3.5 makes any
sense for binary redistributions, right?"  Well, I'm no lawyer, but I think
you're right, 3.5 is the most relevant part for IDB.   You would not be in
compliance if you did not follow the Required Notices in Exhibit A & B.

I encourage purchase of the certified version because Lutris is my employer,
and Lutris expends a great deal of money and resources to maintain, Enhydra, and InstantDB.  Purchasing a certified copy assures
you that yup, we tested it and certify it to work, and we'll support you in
your use of it via our tech support organization if you need help directly
from Lutris.  Lutris tech support won't help you with a problem you're
having with an uncertified release, because we have no idea how it has been
modified.  So your summary of "better support" is right on the mark.

Finally, we have people who have indeed requested source for IDB and want to
contribute.  Some want to modify the JDBC driver, others want to extend SQL
compliance in a certain area, etc.  Perhaps your company looked at InstantDB
and said, "HOT DAMN, this little baby needs to be ported to the Sun J2ME KVM
so that it will run on cellular phones, TV set top boxes, and so on!"  Well,
you'd need source to do that, because the KVM is a limited Java platform,
and you'd need to do some serious trimming of source to get it to run in the
approx. 48K that sits on a cell phone today (though with some of these new
phones I understand the memory footprint could be as large as 150K).

You will see some really cool J2ME news from Lutris soon, and let me tell
you, I can't wait for IDB source to be out there, because I want to see a
KVM version ASAP, and I want the community to help build it.


-----Original Message-----
From: Terry Steichen []
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2000 6:30 AM
Cc: 'Paul Morgan (E-mail)'; 'Greg Schwarzer (E-mail)';;
Subject: Re: InstantDB's Licensing and Open Source Status


Thanks for the reply.  Not to flog the poor horse any more than is
necessary, but I'm curious again. (Oh, no, not again!).

The sections of the EPL with which you require compliance (3.1 - 3.5) in
order to redistribute InstandDB, ALL pertain to source code modifications.
Since, as you say, there is no source code involved, what is the point of
insisting on such compliance?  What meaning could it possibly have (pending
availability of source code)?  Put another way, how could one NOT be in

You encourage (but do not require) purchase of a 'certified' version of
InstantDB.  What real benefit does anyone receive by purchasing a 'certified
version of the software (apparently bundled with the commercial version of
Enhdra)?  Is it more reliable, faster, or what?  Or is this an issue of
better support?

A broader question is  why would anyone want to modify the InstantDB source?
(My take is that most folks don't even modify Enhydra - rather they build on
it.  In some - probably rare - cases developers can 'tweak' Enhydra source
code for various purposes.  But I would think that a RDBMS is a component
and not one that most folks would want to fool around with.)

Given the above, it logically seems to me that, for the moment, InstantDB is
actually freeware, with only a notice requirement.




PS:  I'm going to this effort because I think InstantDB is an excellent
product that has many potential uses (provided that licensing allows them,
which it appears to).

----- Original Message -----
From: "Keith Bigelow" <>
To: "'Terry Steichen'" <>
Cc: "'Paul Morgan (E-mail)'" <>; "'Greg Schwarzer
(E-mail)'" <>; <>;
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 9:05 PM
Subject: RE: InstantDB's Licensing and Open Source Status

> Today, if you sent me this email I'd answer with the following:
> You may use InstantDB in your commercial software applications free of
> charge.  You do not need to buy a license to use InstantDB.  You may
> distribute InstantDB with your commercial software provided that you're in
> compliance with sections 3.1-3.5 of the Enhydra Public License.  Since the
> source code for InstantDB is not yet available, you are not required to
> return your extensions to the community.  Certainly, Lutris would love for
> you to purchase the certified version of the software for this
> as we can assure its quality, and you can do this by purchasing Lutris
> Enhydra Professional at
> We would ask that you simply cite your use of InstantDB either within your
> printed documentation or the Readme.txt file for the software, and include
> mention that:
> a> Lutris Technologies, Inc. is the copyright holder.
> b> The software is freely available at, and
> covered under the Enhydra Public License, accessible at
> c> A pointer to your inclusion of the EPL.txt/EPL.html file in your online
> distribution or within your printed documentation.
> Please review the exact terms in the license.  The license terms are VERY
> EASY to comply with, and are the only restriction on your use of the
> software.
> best regards,
> Keith Bigelow
> Lutris
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Terry Steichen []
> Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 8:54 AM
> To:
> Cc: Paul Morgan (E-mail); Greg Schwarzer (E-mail);
> Subject: Re: InstantDB's Licensing and Open Source Status
> Keith,
> Thanks for the detailed reply.  Good answers all.
> One more question: What do I have to do if I want to distribute InstantDB
> today with a product I create (opensource, freeware or commercial)?
> Regards,
> Terry
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Keith Bigelow" <>
> To: <>; <>;
> <>
> Cc: "Paul Morgan (E-mail)" <>; "Greg Schwarzer
> (E-mail)" <>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2000 10:34 AM
> > Terry,
> >
> > Thanks for the post.  If I know Peter, he'd probably prefer that I
> > marketing questions and that he get to answer engineering ones...  :)
> >
> > So, you post asks 3 questions:
> >
> > a>  Why is the licensing vague on IDB on
> > b>  What's up with releasing the source?
> > c>  You planning in reindeer games with the licensing??
> >
> > The short answer to "A" is "We've been really busy and a little sloppy."
> > When we acquired ICS/IDB, we were unclear on how we'd license it.  Many
> > internally wanted it free-ware, and to sell the source.  Others wanted
> > Enhydra Public License applied to the code.  During this indecision, the
> web
> > site said "ask us".  For what it's worth, I now receive upwards of 5
> emails
> > a day from companies planning to redistribute the software as part of a
> > solution they've created.  And, with company like IBM Websphere and
> > doing this, it's not surprising that people are jumping on board.  We
> > fix "A" probably around the time that we release source to IDB.  Right
> now,
> > we are so heads down on Enhydra Enterprise, which utilizes IDB at its
> core,
> > that we simply haven't been spending a lot of time updating the site.
> >
> > The short answer to "B" is "We've been rearchitecting and perfecting IDB
> as
> > a service for use within Enhydra/Enhydra Enterprise, and until that work
> is
> > complete we're unlikely to release source."  That stated, I'm hoping to
> see
> > us accomplish this goal and release source to IDB in Q1/2001, which is
> when
> > I expect to see Enhydra Enterprise in bulletproof form on as
> > well.  I should note, that while we're doing this work, it in no way
> > precludes your use of IDB with Websphere or any other application server
> > development suite.  So, we're making progress, but we're not there yet.
> >
> > The short answer to "C" is "No."  The long answer to "C" is "No, no
> reindeer
> > games.  I expect IDB source to be covered by the EPL."  The licensing of
> > XMLC was not about playing games, but about trying to ensure the code
> didn't
> > fork.  With EPL's current form, we're pretty certain that is unlikely to
> > happen.
> >
> > I haven't 'vetted' any of these responses with our exec staff, so I'm
> > going to swear that the dates are perfect or anything, but this is the
> > intent that I come to work with every day.
> >
> > best regards,
> > Keith
> >
> > Keith Bigelow
> > Director of Product Mgmt
> > Lutris Technologies
> > Sponsors of Enhydra
> > 831.460-7408
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- From: Terry Steichen
> > <>
> > To: Peter Hearty <>
> > Cc: <>
> > Sent: Monday, November 27, 2000 9:28 AM
> > Subject: InstantDB: InstantDB's Licensing and Open Source Status
> > Hi Peter,
> > My curiosity is piqued on two points. The first pertains to InstantDB
> > licnesing. You've made it very clear in a coupleof recent e-mails that
> > anyone has the right to use and even redistribute InstantDB, as long as
> that
> > includes an acknowledgement of Lutris' ownership (and other small
> details).
> > However, on the web site, the official Lutris statement is "check with
> > for licensing details". Why doesn't Lustris just update the website to
> > consistent with your rather clear and unambiguous licensing explanation?
> > The second part of my curiosity pertains to open-source plans. Lutris
> > you) have stated that this is planned. Yet there are a number of folks
> > have asked for more details and - curiously - their requests remains
> > unanswered (which is rather strange for this list). Why is that (or
> better,
> > what are Lutris' plans in this regard)?
> > Perhaps I'm a bit jaded by my memory of Lutris' strange initial effort
> > shift XMLC away from open-source and into a proprietary status. For
> > who were 'around' at that time, this created quite a furor, till Lutris
> > eventually backed off. I don't imagine anything like that is afoot, but
> > little clarification would be most welcome.
> > Regards,
> > Terry Steichen
> >
> >

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