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How can we do business with Perl

by shonorio (Hermit)
on Jan 11, 2007 at 10:27 UTC ( #594096=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm leader of Sao Paulo Perl Monger, of Brazil, and is very common we have post asking how to compile Perl as a like compiled language to protect they code. And we first recommend to keep on opensource or than protect by license, because Perl was not build to hide code (maybe by obfuscation). I know about PDK and perl2exe, and we recommend too, but most post are about web system.

But I would like know how others mongers are doing business with Perl around world ? How they build and sales a product with no code "protection" ? Have we just a way of build a open source and sales consulting ?

Thanks for this meditation

Solli Moreira Honorio
Sao Paulo - Brazil

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: How can we do business with Perl
by davorg (Chancellor) on Jan 11, 2007 at 10:43 UTC

    Firstly, you seem to be confused about the meaning of the term "open source". It doesn't mean "you can see the source code". The term "open source" refers to the licence that the code is released under. An open source licence gives people the (legal) ability to alter and distribute your code. Perl is open source. Any product that you build with Perl doesn't have to be open source. Movable Type is a good example of a successful product which is built with Perl and isn't open source.

    Secondly, the whole question of protecting Perl source code is addressed in the FAQ. All methods that obfuscate the code are pretty much doomed to failure. Your best approach is to make the licence terms really clear (or to make your product open source and make money on installations, training and consultancy).

    --
    <http://dave.org.uk>

    "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
    -- Chip Salzenberg

      Maybe shonorio could clarify, but I read that a little differently. My interpretation is that customers are asking them how to hide code via compilation or obfuscation, and the response is to use legal protection or just not worry about it by distributing code as open source, since there aren't many practical technical options and Perl isn't built to be obscured in that particular way.

      And I think the question is "how do people make money like this?"

      Again, clarification from shonorio would be good.

        how do people make money like this?

        The people at SixApart would be able to answer that better than me :-)

        --
        <http://dave.org.uk>

        "The first rule of Perl club is you do not talk about Perl club."
        -- Chip Salzenberg

Re: How can we do business with Perl
by Mutant (Priest) on Jan 11, 2007 at 11:57 UTC
    I can think of three possibilities:
    1. Don't distribute your application. Run it on a server that you own and control access to. Web-based (or network-based) applications are pretty much the vogue at the moment, so this is a pretty reasonable solution for many. I've worked on a lot of projects where this has been the case, and it's a pretty tried and tested method.
    2. Protect yourself legally, not technically. This might not be as hairy as it first sounds. If your primary customers are businesses, not individuals, you don't have to worry too much about people stealing your code, or distributing it legally. If your product is successful enough, you'll still make a lot of money even if people are breaking your license (e.g. lots of people pirate Windows, but Microsoft still seem to make a lot of money).
    3. Embrace Open Source and Free Software. "Free" in this context means "liberated", not "given away". It's worked for many companies (e.g. Red Hat), who mostly base their business model off charging for support.
    I don't think your question actually relates to Perl specifically, and it's certainly not a technical one. It's really up to business people to get their heads around how to function in a world where the resource their dealing in (intellectual property) can't easily be locked down.

    It's really really hard to lock down / hide / obscure bits on a hard drive, especially when they're executable code not data, and the language is interpreted. Perl is pretty open about this fact, but there are other systems that "pretend" it can be done (e.g. it's really easy to de-compile Flash, some Windows apps, etc).

    I think it's much better to accept our reality and try to adapt to it.
Re: How can we do business with Perl
by lin0 (Curate) on Jan 11, 2007 at 13:59 UTC

    Hi shonorio

    I recommend you to have a look at the node: Building a Perl based business. That node and the discussions in that thread will give you some ideas that might or might not apply in your case but that are a good starting point.

    Good luck with your search and please share your findings with us :-)

    Cheers,

    lin0
Re: How can we do business with Perl
by cog (Parson) on Jan 11, 2007 at 11:45 UTC
    Perl was not build to hide code (maybe by obfuscation)

    No, obfuscation's not gonna help.

    How they build and sales a product with no code "protection" ?

    With licenses, I guess.

    To give you a specific case (and one that may not adapt to your philosophy), in the company I work at, the client always gets the code and the right to change it (the caveat being that as soon as he modifies it we are no longer liable for the malfunctioning of the system). The one thing he cannot do, because it is stated in the contract, is to sell the code to someone else (this, of course, simply put, because the contract has more words).

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