What is up with people making public betas and then insisting that they be kept top-secret?
I decided to download the ReSharper 4.0 beta, so I could finally get some ReSharpery goodness in Visual Studio 2008. Then I read their license agreement, and it’s almost as bad as the public embarrassment that was the Delphi 2005 beta license. You’d think someone posting a public beta would want advance publicity and grassroots buzz, but I guess not.
Some excerpts (which I will later have to deny ever posting, or indeed reading):
Any and all test results, error data, reports or other information, feedback or materials made or provided by Licensee relating to Software (collectively, “Feedback”) are the exclusive property of JetBrains…
Read that a few times. It says that anything I could possibly have to say about the beta (“reports or other information”), whether I send it to JetBrains or not (“made or provided”), is not mine. Which means I would be in violation of copyright (by illegally copying JetBrains’ intellectual property) if I posted anything on my blog about the beta.
(They note elsewhere that I should treat my feedback as confidential information. My reports or other information, on the other hand, are not confidential; they’re just not mine.)
[“Confidential Information” means] … (iii) the terms, conditions, and existence of this Agreement.
Even though it’s an open beta, and anyone can download it and look at the license agreement, I will hereafter have to disavow any knowledge of said license agreement. I’ll tell you I don’t even know there is a license agreement for the beta. (At least I can admit the existence of the beta itself, if not the beta license. That’s a pleasant change from Delphi betas. Oops — what Delphi betas?)
Licensee’s obligations regarding Confidential Information will expire no less than five (5) years from the date of receipt of the Confidential Information
The first time I read this, I thought it meant I couldn’t talk about ReSharper at all for five years. Fortunately, it wasn’t quite that bad:
«Software» means the ReSharper pre-release software
They were, in fact, smart enough to only make me promise to keep the beta top-secret (along with any other pre-release software they may make public over the next five years). I can still talk about released versions. Whew!
They’re also nice enough to say that I don’t have to disavow knowledge that was already publicly available. Again, a step up from Delphi. But still a disappointment.
Anyway, don’t expect me to help hype their public beta. I wish I could; it looks like it’ll have loads of cool stuff in it. But they don’t want my hype; they want their public beta kept secret… so I will be contractually obligated to disavow this blog post, starting about two minutes from now.