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Datamation: META Group Report: UCITA: An IT Value Issue

Apr 28, 2001, 05:54 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Shawn Bohner)

UCITA is nothing new to consider for a lot of Linux and Open Source activists, who have been almost uniformly opposed to it since its initial conception (and defeat) at the national level, and into its second life as state-sponsored law. This article reveals that those activists aren't laboring alone: state attorneys general, IT professionals, and even the FTC are raising their voices in opposition. Even if you're not troubled by the thought of unfair licensing in some shrinkwrap software from Redmond you'll never buy, consider the implications for embedded systems: like the anti-lock brake system on your car.

"META Group's research indicates that more than 30% of the IT application portfolio consists of packaged applications -- up from 25% in 1999 and likely to exceed 40% by 2004. More than 75% of commercial software packages are purchased with the vendor's original licensing agreement -- representing considerable exposure to UCITA impacts. META Group believes loopholes that UCITA provides to publishers will manifest in decreasing software quality -- lowering customer satisfaction and productivity for application groups. During 2002/03, defects delivered by software publishers will rise by at least 3%. By 2004/05, more than 15% of states will adopt some variant of UCITA, not only making them attractive homes for software companies, but also increasing defects by at least 10%, dropping customer satisfaction, and reducing packaged application productivity. Poor software licensing policy could significantly diminish the value gains from packaged applications (see Figure 1 in Addendum)."

"UCITA could extend readily to many types of embedded software (e.g., antilock braking systems in cars) and even to computers and computer peripheral sales. If UCITA were consumer friendly, this would reduce risks and increase value for IT consumers. However, because of considerable vendor influence in the drafting of UCITA, questionable terms contained therein, and its journey into state law, IT value is diminished for consumers as UCITA expands to more states."

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