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Re: Another point about Mathematica 8.0

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  • Subject: [mg116544] Re: Another point about Mathematica 8.0
  • From: Daniel Lichtblau <danl at>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2011 05:12:48 -0500 (EST)

AES wrote:
> Can anyone (Wolfram employees in particular) point me to any other 
> consumer software product that requires purchasers to promise to limit 
> the tasks that they will perform using the standard, built-in, 
> non-crippled capabilities of the software?  
> (Tasks that the software is designed and intended to do; and a promise 
> that is legally binding, and can, at least in theory, be legally 
> enforced and lead to penalties.)
> I'm not talking about limitations as to what machine, or how many 
> machines, the software will be used on; or on how many users or how 
> copies of the software can be active simultaneously; or limitations the 
> product itself imposes on how large generated files sizes can be, or how 
> many items can be entered into a database, or the like.  And I'm not 
> talking restrictions your employer may put on a machine and associated 
> software that the employer has purchased and owns.
> I'm talking about a "home edition" of a spreadsheet that a school 
> teacher can use to keep track of his/her personal finances and Christmas 
> card list, but has to promise not to use it to the keep the books and 
> prepare the budgets of a nonprofit for which one is the elected 
> treasurer, and not to keep the homework and exam grades for the classes 
> in the school where one works.
> Or a "home edition" of a word processor that one can use to write 
> letters to Aunt Minnie, but has to promise not to use it to write 
> reports for the same nonprofit, or business plans for the firm where one 
> works.
> Or a "home edition" of a desktop publishing program that one can use to 
> do your own family newsletter at Christmas, but has to make a legally 
> binding promise not to use this software for the nonprofit's newsletter 
> or your employer's annual report (or a prospectus and other work 
> products for your half-time freelance consulting business).
> Anyone know of any retail personal-computer software that requires 
> anything like this?  (Direct quotes or relevant URLs, please)

Non-commercial licensing for software is quite common. If you do a web 
search you will find that such licensing exists even in the world of 
free software. And that some licenses are devised to cause more 
difficulty for commercial use than simply disallowing it altogether.

Below are some URLs involving non-commercial licensing in various forms. 
Some are directly relevant to the area of computational math software.
(See single user license)

Regarding the Home Edition, I will mention that it is something Wolfram 
Research was requested to offer for many years. The main issue is not in 
its licensing, but rather that it is not available in all parts of the 

Once again you are pretty much making up scenarios that at best barely 
apply to the Home Edition of Mathematica. I find it quite annoying that 
you consistently stoop to what I can only describe as intellectual 
dishonesty. Even more disturbing, under the circumstances, is that you 
occupy a position of respect and influence within your academic community.


Daniel Lichtblau
Wolfram Research

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