On 2018-04-12 20:02, Nick Holland wrote:
On 04/12/18 09:47, Consus wrote:
On 08:28 Thu 12 Apr, Nick Holland wrote:
Another "failure mode" of VirtualBox people should be aware of:
I understand through good sources, Oracle monitors the IP addresses that it's downloaded from, and if they can trace it back to a commercial IP (i.e., not a home address), and if they see you download (or update) the
"not for unrestricted free use" parts, their lawyers will contact you
and send you a bill...and they really don't care about "for work" or
"not for work related" uses.

I'd really recommend removing this product from your computers.

This won't stand in court. You sources are so high on crack it's not
even funny.

Think about it a moment,
Using my real name, and a public, trackable identity, I just accused a
very big company with lots of lawyers (and they know how to use them!)
of something.  If my facts are not in order, I could be in big trouble.
My facts are in order.

It's not about court.  It's about threatening lots of companies and
hoping a few pay up to avoid the cost of going to court -- which is
considerable, win or lose.

What you believe changes nothing.  Their licenses are complicated, easy
to use wrong, and they seem to care.  I recommend against using their
products for that reason.


My tale of Oracle woe:

My company got spanked by Oracle a couple of years ago because one of our developers was downloading multiple versions of the RDBMS, trying to find a version that would be happy with a binary database file we got from a client. Their License Enforcement dept. (it's part of the Sales division, which tells you something...) undertook a sneaky campaign of phoning all our staff asking them how they were satisfied with their Oracle products. They finally audited us, and - not for the products that dev was downloading, but for something else entirely - it turned out we were accidentally in violation of one of our licenses, as one sentence had changed somewhere in the ~20yrs we'd been using it to invalidate our use case. Since it was not intentional, and we were cooperating with them, and we are very small (~10 persons, at the time) they ONLY required a top-up payment roughly equal to 1 developer's annual salary. The threat of being sued out of existence, if we didn't cooperate, was made explicitly. We were, in my opinion, deliberately maneuvered into a non-compliant position over a period of many years, then subject to a "sting" operation, and finally bullied into compliance.

And we also use VirtualBox :-(.  For now.

It's notable that at least in Canada, BSA (MS,Adobe,Sybase,etc.,etc.) audits are legal - and are often accompanied by provincial Sheriffs. (Not the same thing as a U.S Sheriff, but still a law enforcement officer.) The threat of legal action is NOT just an empty threat.


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