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Freedom of Opinion WAS: Enercalc

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From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu] Wrote:

Subject: Re: ENERCALC

And the thing that you don't mention is that many software companies are
now writing into their EULAs that users cannot publish/write reviews of
software without obtaining permission from the software publisher.  I
honestly don't know if such provisions are enforcable or not, but I would
hope not.

-------------------------------------------

Let's assume for the moment that this "contract" were inforcible. Why would any of you lower yourselves to agree to such a standard rather than creating your own or a colaborative software that can be used freely? I remember being in a business where we were to agree to a contract that prevented us from working for a competitor in the same geographical area for a number of years after leaving. This was considered common place, but was not enforcible because it was not reasonable to expect the worker to either learn a new trade or get the hell out of Dodge simply because he did not like the working conditions or was fired or laid off.

It would be difficult to enforce an agreement of this magnitude when it is so broad in scope as to "gag" a user of their opinions. If the opinion is so bad, then it would seem logical to stop using the software and spread the word while you are no longer under the terms of the agreement.

I've been asked not to review a software product in the past. For the most part, I've done so because the request had some merit and because I was given the choice. We are in an industry where software is not a prevalent as it is in other industries. Sure there are many FEA programs out there, but how many Lateral Analysis programs design light-framed structures and have still survived. For the small office budget, I can only think of one commercial and one free. To write a negative review on a product that has potential can prevent something benificial from occuring. However, treating the process of review as a product development can provide positive feedback to the developer so long as they are willing to consider the information valuable.

Personally, I've starting to see that I may be losing touch with my own basic skills after relying so heavily upon software created by others. I am starting to spend more creative time re-learning my skills around programs like TEDDS and spreadsheets to create my own analysis rather to rely upon a "library" for every day calc's. Yes there is a genuine need for a library as long as we don't forget our basic skills and can identify a problem of input or output by our own prefessional experience of where the range should lay.

Dennis


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