JBoss, as an open source software provider, is stepping up to the plate to offer indemnification comparable to that offered by commercial/proprietary software vendors.
- Posted by: Nathalie Mason-Fleury
- Posted on: April 13 2005 12:22 EDT
JBoss, Inc. announces extended indemnification coverage for JBoss Professional Open Source software. When the company first offered indemnification coverage in 2003, its value was limited to the value of the contract the customer had with the company. Now, JBoss is offering unlimited indemnification coverage for legal defense expenses, repair and replacement of code. Existing customers with JBoss Professional Support will have the upgraded indemnification coverage added to their contracts at no additional charge.
For further information:
- Good or bad? by Clinton Begin on April 13 2005 13:18 EDT
- Does JBOSS have enough money? by dean gio on April 13 2005 13:19 EDT
- JBoss Upgrades Indemnification Coverage by Achwamabat Machmabalamat on April 13 2005 20:11 EDT
- JBoss Upgrades Indemnification Coverage by Cameron Purdy on April 14 2005 07:29 EDT
- JBoss Reply by Bob Bickel on April 14 2005 17:40 EDT
I'm trying to decide if this is a good or a bad thing.
Hibernate has been threatened in the past by companies like Thought Inc. (Cocobase). Hibernate was relatively safe because their license made it impractical for Thought (or most anyone else in that space) to take any sort of legal action.
Does this move paint a single target on JBoss and create an opportunity for Thought to sue?
(or perhaps Hibernate isn't covered by this "unlimited" indemnification?)
Has JBOSS, Inc. bought insurance to back their indemnification? Or, is this promise as good as their bank balance?
- JBoss now has the resources in terms of size, key developers, balance sheet and insurance to deliver on this commitment.
the mentioning of "jboss now has the resources in terms of
size, key developers, balance sheet and insurance to deliver"
would clearly solidify my past decisions if i was to be your
customer. wish u more size, sheets and insurances (start now!)
I think this is a good move to eliminate one of the potential concerns that companies could raise about using open source software, particularly after all the FUD that SCO raised about Linux stealing from SCO.
JBoss will, subject to certain conditions and limitations, provide unlimited defense against any threatened or pending legal action alleging that JBoss infringes any third party intellectual property right. The new coverage also includes unlimited repair or replacement of the software to ensure no intellectual property infringement. JBoss will pay any damage awards up to four times the value of the support contract.
I'm curious what the conditions and limitations are.
The damage awards are probably the scariest thing about IP suits. Take the SCO case as an example -- they sued for over a billion dollars. The limitation on the coverage for damages is probably not as bad as it sounds though, because just by agreeing to defend against IP suits, JBoss reduces the risk of having any IP suits filed against it.
At any rate, this looks like a good business decision, and one that's already paid off in PR value. Hopefully, it's one "feature" that never has to get used.
Coherence: Cluster your POJOs!
Just to answer some of the questions in the thread...
Most of the answers are in my blog referenced above.
The basic idea is that we are putting the full resources of the company (no, we are not IBM or HP, but we aren't an in-laws garage shop anymore) behind our products we support. As pointed out, this is our people (most of the key developers for all the projects), our balance sheet (we have been pretty public that we took $10M of financing and have been cash flow break even), as well as insurance. We feel this is enough to fix anything that is reasonable in nature. We obviously do not have the resources to provide unlimited damage protection - that would be a hollow promise.
As for the terms and conditions, they are typical of what you find in a commercial contract with the additional components noted of covering all IP as well as the unlimited support on defense and repair or replace. We have hundreds of support customers that are satisfied with these terms (and who provided the feedback that helped shape them).