11 Replies Latest reply on Apr 9, 2010 6:50 AM by Karl_Sigiscar_1971

    selling application developed in flex

    schm1cky

      Hi

       

      if I develop an application using the Flex SDK do I have the right to sell it? Am I allowed to charge a subscription for client using it (like SAAS) ? do I have to publish the sources?

       

      Thank you

        • 1. Re: selling application developed in flex
          David_F57 Level 5

          Hi,

           

          Anything you develop with flex is yours, you can sell it, license it or give it away. What you can't sell/re-distribute are parts of the sdk such as the compiler.

           

          David.

          • 2. Re: selling application developed in flex
            JeffryHouser Level 4

            David_F57 wrote:

             

            What you can't sell/re-distribute are parts of the sdk such as the compiler.

            Can you provide a source for that claim?

             

            All parts of the Flex SDK are released under the Mozilla Public License ( http://www.mozilla.org/MPL/MPL-1.1-annotated.html ).

             

            Based on that, I believe it is entirely possible to repackage up the SDK and sell it.  This allows people to creae alternatives to Flash Builder, such as the product from Sapphire Steel ( http://www.sapphiresteel.com/Adobe-Flex-In-Visual-Studio ) or FDT .

             

            My own interpertation of the MPL is here ( http://www.jeffryhouser.com/index.cfm/2008/1/15/What-does-the-Adobe-Flex-Open-Source-Licen se-mean-to-me).

             

            Formally, Adobe employees are not allowed to give legal advice; so they  will probably not chime in.  But I'm sure they'll be more than happy to sue you if they feel you did something wrong.  It is up to you to discuss such licenses with your own lawyer with your own goals to figure out what you can or cannot do.

            • 3. Re: selling application developed in flex
              David_F57 Level 5

              Hi,

               

              Those that offer FB alternatives neither sell or redistribute the sdk they offer links which is a pretty normal practice. There are always different ways to interprete public licenses and the best way to deal with grey areas is to err to the safe bet, i.e. offer a link to the extras.

               

              David.

              • 4. Re: selling application developed in flex
                david.t.lanton

                As far as what the OP was asking, he/she didn't say they were selling the SDK. They said they were selling an app (specifically SaaS service) built with the Flex SDK. So let's not drown him in our own wisdom here.

                 

                Basically, the answer to this simple question is yes, of course any app you create with Flex you can sell on subscription basis. Are you kidding me? This is what these technologies are made for: commercial use in mind.

                 

                The source of his confusion may be because the SDK is open source. But note that not all open source licenses are equal. There are commercially friendly licences, and others that aren't. And even within the commercially-friendly category, not all licenses are the same. There are some that are commercially friendly to the creator/developer, and ones that are commercially friendly to everyone that wants to use the creator's work but leave almost no rights to the creator i.e. they are commercially friendly to everyone else who wants to rip the creator off because they can and have bigger marketing powers. Don't get me started on that one

                 

                But simple answer to OP is yes, of course you can sell your app built with Flex as a service. Assuming of course that you've built it yourself, and didn't take anyone else's code, or that such code allows this, etc. etc.

                 

                I forgot the second part to the question: do I have to show the source. No, the source is yours, assuming again that you've written it yourself, etc.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: selling application developed in flex
                  JeffryHouser Level 4

                  David_F57 wrote:

                   

                  Those that offer FB alternatives neither sell or redistribute the sdk they offer links which is a pretty normal practice.

                   

                  If you have a source for this, please share.

                   

                  I downloaded FDT (  http://www.fdt.powerflasher.com/developer-tools/fdt-3/getting-started/ )  and the install process installed the Flex 3 SDK.  If you think they are in violation, let me know why and I'll be more than happy to pass the word on.

                   

                  I'm under the firm belief that the Mozilla Public License allows what they are doing.  We could argue whether or not they are selling the Flex SDK; but they are clearly selling a product which includes the Flex SDK.

                  • 6. Re: selling application developed in flex
                    david.t.lanton Level 1
                    I'm under the firm belief that the Mozilla Public License allows what they are doing.  We could argue whether or not they are selling the Flex SDK; but they are clearly selling a product which includes the Flex SDK.

                    Actually the issue usually is the concept of distribution not selling.

                     

                    Selling is usually not the main issue for licenses like the MPL or (the classical one) MIT. Selling is usually a main point for the CC license that specifies conditions like Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. In this case, you can still override any condition you don't like by asking the author and working something out with them.

                     

                    For an MIT license (similar to MPL), I can incorporate into my commercial product without needing to open my source. A similar license to this is the Apache license. There was a recent post on this forum where someone was asking people to basically donate code to his commercial product. I say basically "donate code" because his project is closed source and he requested that they submit code under an Apache. In this case, the license choice stinks, but most developers don't understand that. It basically means that he has the right to include new code into his closed source product, not pay the developer/creator anything, AND not need to open source any of his existing code. Pretty good deal, for him that is.

                     

                    This license is good however for projects like the SDK or for example it's been used with the OSMF (open source media framework). It's actually a good license for me as a product developer because I can use a framework or OSMF in my commercial project without having to open source (even though the framework itself is open source). This is why it makes sense for a company like Adobe.

                     

                    Then there are licenses like the GPL. That's a bit of a virus. Here's how it works. If I build on top of a GPL, I would have to release my source when asked. But what if I have a commercial problem and can't open source my project? The original author of the GPL would say, no problem, pay me the big bucks and I will let you keep your source closed.

                     

                    Then there are dual licensing like what jQuery uses (GPL/MIT). It can get pretty complex.

                     

                    In most of these cases, selling or not selling is rarely the main issue on my mind when setting the license or using existing work, well with the exception of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial. I'd mostly be thinking about what distribution and modifications rights exactly I'm giving to others (or expected from me).

                     

                    Licensing is actually one of the most important topics we should all get familiar with as engineers and developers. You can get ripped off pretty easily and all your work can go into someone else codebase for free if you're not careful. I have a few of these books on my to-read list. As important as technical knowledge itself, maybe even more important when you come to think of it

                    • 7. Re: selling application developed in flex
                      JeffryHouser Level 4

                      My only item to add to the conversation is that Creatives Common Licenses are not designed for software ( http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FFAQ#Can_I_license_software_using_CC_licenses.3F ) and as such; I'm not clear if there is a good parallel comparison to be made between CC and traditionalcommon software licenses.

                      • 8. Re: selling application developed in flex
                        david.t.lanton Level 1

                        My only item to add to the conversation is that Creatives Common Licenses are not designed for software

                         

                        You're right. They advise against using their license for software, but that apparently hasn't stopped developers from using CC variations for their code. I think it's being used because it's intuitive to understand. There is a yes/no template that I saw somewhere. Do you want to allow commercial use? Do you want to allow derivate work? etc. and they give you the right flavor of CC you might want to use.

                         

                        Actually, you don't need to choose an existing license. You could draft your own and include what you want to allow and disallow. Display it to the user and get them to agree before downloading the source, kind of like what Adobe has here when you download the Flex SDK.

                         

                        Regardless of the license and what you allow/disallow, the big question is how are you going to enforce that license? It's paper with no teeth. How can you get someone to open their closed source project to verify that they didn't incorporate your code in it? You can take them to court, but be prepared to shell out the upfront cash and who knows what the judge will decide. Maybe judge will say not enough reason to require this company to open its code to you stranger to look at.

                        • 10. Re: selling application developed in flex
                          JeffryHouser Level 4

                          Traditionally; the Adobe AIR marketplace has been a directory of apps.  It's not an actual marketplace that allows you to sell stuff.  You'd have to build your own infrastructure for that.

                           

                          Has that changed?

                          • 11. Re: selling application developed in flex
                            Karl_Sigiscar_1971 Level 3

                            Shibuya is linked from the Adobe AIR Market Place homepage. I guess they will be related somehow:

                            http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/shibuya/