Home > open-source, PlanetCDOT, programming > BSD License vs. Excel 2003 License

BSD License vs. Excel 2003 License

OK! So it took me long enough but I’ve finally managed to read through the remainder of the Excel 2003 license. It’s been rough. I’ve been reading this license slowly for over a week and a half now; essentially since the first week of class. Now, I’ve finally managed to finish it and compare it to the oh-so-lovingly-short BSD license.

First off the bat, what struck me the most about the Excel 2003 license is just how LONG it is; reading it was a less than enjoyable journey.

Second, the wording of the Excel license is extremely terse. The license is clearly not meant to make it easy for a layman (such as myself) to read. Reading it was a chore. Contrast this with the BSD license:

  • Short
  • Clear
  • Straight to the point

Microsoft, why is your license so nasty to read? 😦

Third, the terms of the Excel license were highly redundant. After a complete reading and having eliminated similar terms, the EULA essentially states that the software:

  • Should not be present on two devices at the same time and is transferrable.
  • The software is refundable within a 90 day period (30 day in some regions).
  • So long as a user has a valid license, Microsoft’s customer service reps will answer any support calls and help as much as is reasonably possible.
  • I believe that the EULA also allows the user to sell the software to another user provided that the original user passes on all paper documentation to the new user and destroys all traces of the software from their possession.

That’s pretty much it. Do those 4 terms warrant a 7 page EULA with extremely terse and difficult to read wording? I think not.

I think that the most important difference is that the Excel EULA concentrates on what the user can’t do, in fact much of the 7 pages is riddled with various things that a user can’t do. The BSD license on the other hand, similar to other licenses such as the LGPL or MIT license, concentrates on what the user can do. It is this distinction that makes open source the force that it is today.

I read EULAs whenever I can but until the wording is simplified, I don’t think that I’ll be able to make it much of a habit.

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