Windows XP is dead in Redmond, but alive and kicking in a huge quantity of devices such ATMs. When the news hit the media, waves of “concerns” for the security of our money and safety stormed the public, with no actual effect on the Microsoft’s strategies. And history keeps repeating with domotics, wearable technologies and in-car systems.
This aftermath was easy to foresee when some “clever” IT manager chose to go proprietary when moving its ATM infrastructure “to the next step”, but between this and the open source alternative a third option would have spare us all the current trouble: just put into the agreement a source-code escrow provision, to guarantee the (big) client against the End-of-Life of the software.
Sure, this wouldn’t have been a cheap solutions (we’re not talking about a bunch of PHP code, here) but there are no free beers and easy life can’t last forever. If you go proprietary and enjoy the safety(?) of having somebody else who cares about bugs, patches and updates, you need to have a contingency plan for the moment when your licensor plugs-off the cord that keeps alive the software you’re using.
And now history is re-repeating itself. We’re on the edge of a new invasion of pervasive technology based on Apple’s OSX or – again – Microsoft Windows Whatever, and in a bunch of years we will complain again that because of a copyright issue we can’t enter our home, use the fridge, watch the television, start the car, know what’s the time, have a medical diagnosis and so on…
A final, collateral, question: where do the corporate lawyers were, when those agreement have been signed?