Subject: Re: ACL 6.0 Trial Edition ships with non ANSI reader behavior.
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 11 Nov 2000 04:15:33 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Bakhash <>
| After a few years of development, deliveries of various products,
| Company suddenly notices that Franz has decided that to run a server
| application, they will charge _not_ for the single seat, as they used
| to, but for each person accessing the server, and at the VAR pricing
| (which is far from cheap).  Oh, but unfortunately, Company doesn't
| know exaclty how many people will access that server.  No big deal;
| Franz will assume a few hundred, if not more.  Do you think that's
| something to at least worry a little about, given that you're already
| a Franz customer?  I'm just happy they changed this pricing thing
| _before_ I ever purchased anything from them.

  You're looking at a very strange situation and getting it all wrong.
  Franz Inc has always demanded royalties for commercial deployment of
  their software.  The developer license terms have always been just
  that: _developer_ licenses.  What happened was that they didn't know
  what to charge for the evolving server-based applications market, and
  for a long time didn't charge anything, despite the very clear text in
  the license agreement that you should pay them for commercial use of
  their product.  Now, did Franz Inc _sue_ you for this violation?  Did
  they become completely unreasonable and irrational when faced with a
  new condition?  No.  Neither.  Many users (me, included) observed that
  the license terms had changed for them, but that was only because they
  were abusing a loop-hole that it wouldn't take a whole lot of work to
  see was just that: a loop-hole.  You could argue until you're blue in
  the fact that Franz Inc were changing their license conditions, but
  the facts remain that (1) you were not licensed to do what you did, so
  got something for free, which they have not demanded back payment for,
  and (2) when they started to set up a price schedule for this, they
  made the same "mistake" they have made on many occasions, namely to
  give you a half-offending price up front and fail to understand why
  you walk away instead of negotiate.

| As far as I know, Franz is the _only_ Lisp vendor I'm aware of that
| prices this way, with respect to servers.  I get sickened that other
| vendors might follow along with this pricing approach.  Tell me, Tim.
| Do I have your consent in feeling this way?

  You would have had my consent in feeling this way half a year ago,
  when I was trying to recover from the serious blow that their first
  demand at unlimited server access would have on my work and on our
  business.  However, despite a very current, very disappointing case,
  reasoning with people at Franz Inc have been successful, even if time-
  consuming (we don't fit into any of their models, making the situation
  hard for us all).

  I think Franz Inc have good negotiators.  That means you have to look
  out for #1 and be aware of what you want to do and why.  This may not
  be the ideal situation for Common Lisp, but lots of people make the
  choice that they would rather stay with Franz Inc and Common Lisp, so
  it can't be _wrong_, only unsuitable to your current needs.  There is
  nothing wrong with that, either.  Sometimes, a product simply isn't
  for you.  Like, at my current target shooting skill level, I'm still
  not better than my $500 gun, and it would be a waste of money to go
  for a $1000 gun.  If and when I outperform my gun, I would upgrade.
  If you only produce small tools for small businesses, chances are you
  aren't making enough of a difference for them to be better than the
  tools you can get at a lot lower prices.  This should not piss you off
  if you are a rational individual.  It should tell you that as your
  demands increase and the value of the tool increases with them, you
  have an additional vendor to go to; you're not stuck in the low end of
  the market, having to change the programming language, which happens
  all too often to the many inferior languages.

  I'm a very big proponent of professional tools for professionals.
  That's probably because I make such tools, myself, so I know what it
  takes to succeed in a very small and well-defined area, giving me the
  opportunity to understand just how much work it is to do it in a large
  area like confomring to a standard and building an environment around
  it.  (And how easy it is to get lazy and how important it is _not_ to
  be lazy in the face of such challenges.)  When I was but an egg, I
  thought that the price of a software tool should be proportional to my
  own value -- except I didn't think of it in those terms then -- and
  thus wanted free tools because my time was basically free, too.  Now
  that my time very far from free, either for me nor my employer, I can
  no longer afford to work for free just to lower the price of the tool
  because it would cost more to do so than to buy an expensive tool.

  I'll make a simple statement and claim that the relationship between
  your own value and the price of your tools will remain fairly constant
  throughout your carreer, when you look at it in retrospect, mind you.

  ALGORITHM: a procedure for solving a mathematical problem in a finite
  number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.
  ALGOREISM: a procedure for solving an electoral problem in a finite
  number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.