The much anticipated July 2005 version of the NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT (NISLA) has finally arrived. I am happy to say that the non-compete verbiage (see bold/red text in license agreements, below) has been completely removed.
This important change took just under two years, from start to finish. On November 25, 2003 I posted a message to the Info-LabVIEW mailing list about how NI had added verbiage to the NISLA, in April 2003, which gave NI the sole right to determine whether or not an application created with LabVIEW was authorized for distribution. That message was a shot heard around the LabVIEW world. There was much discussion on Info-LabVIEW and I received quite a bit of negative attention from some people within NI, mostly because of the public relations and support issues that erupted.
NI was very assertive, in private conversations, that there was no intention to enforce the NISLA against OpenG, Alliance Members, or others who create software products developed using LabVIEW. However, as I mentioned in a follow-up posting in the LAVA discussion forums, intentions for enforcement of the NISLA don’t provide much of a foundation for the future of LabVIEW software developers. My point was that companies change, and that messages of goodwill don’t solve licensing/legal issues. In fact, during the history of this issue, four of the NI employees in legal/marketing that I have been in contact with on this issue have left NI or are now working in different departments.
Well, we are still here — the community has stood strong. We said what we had to say, and we said it again and again. And now, finally, we’ve effected a significant change in how we can use LabVIEW. Yes, LabVIEW just took one more step towards being a general purpose software development environment.
I’m sure that the NI’s Acquisition of Measurement Computing after the Software Patent Infringement Lawsuit and wining the MathWorks Lawsuit had an impact in NI adopting a more relaxed posture, but I still like to think that our efforts and outspokenness had some small part in it
Now go get LabVIEW 8.0, get back to work, and be confident that you will be able to enjoy the right to distribute your LabVIEW work-products…
NISLA – July 2005 @ circa LabVIEW 8.0
1.E. “Authorized Applications.” Means only those applications that you create with development versions of the SOFTWARE that you have validly licensed. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any application created with the SOFTWARE acquired under an evaluation license is not an Authorized Application.
NISLA – April 2003 @ circa LabVIEW 7.0
1.E. “Authorized Applications.” Means only those applications that: (i) you create with development versions of the SOFTWARE that you have validly licensed and (ii) which do not, as solely determined by NI, perform (by themselves or in combination with other products) the same or similar functions as (or are otherwise intended to replace or supplant any component of) the SOFTWARE or any other software of NI. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any application created with the SOFTWARE acquired under an evaluation license is not an Authorized Application.
1.E. “Authorized Applications.” Means only those applications that: (i) you create with development versions of the SOFTWARE that you have validly licensed and (ii) are not in themselves general purpose tools that permit the development of applications to acquire, display, or analyze data.